« FöregåendeFortsätt »
The following scenes are entitled “a Mystery," in conformity with the ancient title annexed to dramas upon similar subjects, which were styled “Mysteries, or Moralities.” The author has by no means taken the same liberties with his subject which were common formerly, as may be seen by any reader curious enough to refer to those very profane productions, whether in English, French, Italian, or Spanish. The author has endeavoured to preserve the language adapted to his characters; and where it is (and this is but rarely) taken from actual Scripture, he has made as little alteration, even of words, as the rhythm would permit.* The reader will recollect that the book of Genesis does not state that Eve was tempted by a demon, but by “the Serpent;" and that only because he was the most subtil of all the beasts of the field.” Whatever interpretation the Rabbins and the Fathers may have put upon this, I must take the words
* Some variations will be occasionally noticed.-G.
as I find them, and reply with Bishop Watson upon similar occasions, when the Fathers were quoted to him, as Moderator in the schools of Cambridge, “Behold the Book !” — holding up the Scripture.* It is to be recollected that my present subject has nothing to do with the New Testament, to which no reference can be here made without anachronism.t With the poems upon similar topics I have not been recently familiar. Since I was twenty, I have never read Milton; but I had read him so frequently before, that this may make little difference. Gesner's “ Death of Abel” I have never read since I was eight years of age at Aberdeen. The general impression of my recollection is delight; but of the contents I remem
Certainly, the scriptures are the only rule and authority. But then those scriptures must be the subject of fair reasoning and criticism, derived from right sources, in order to be understood in some parts of them. For instance Bishop Watson, I presume, would have referred to reason and common sense, and perhaps other legitimate authority, in explaining those words of Jesus Christ -“This is my Body:"— he would not, I must suppose, have “held up the book” in order to prove that Christ's human body was literally eaten in the wafer or bread in the celebration of the Lord's Supper. And so of other things. Therefore the mere“ holding up the book” is not always sufficient. But in general it is. Yet again, it is not when the same passage is differently rendered or understood by different individuals. And individuals have a right to differ. In such cases must not reference be had to analogy, and other rational aids to a true interpretation ?-G.
+ Yet it will be seen throughout the Notes, that his Lordship has many allusions, if not references, to the New Testament.- G.