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ed for this restore
end find light which fort for the world's
are used for this purpose become invisible, are taken away, and those which are left form upon our retina the impression which we call green. If you take red from the spectrum the other rays join to form green. It is the red light which worries, it is the red light which we cannot gaze upon with comfort for any length of time; and so beautifully is it arranged that over the world's surface, through the tender leaves of trees and herbs and grass, the red light is rendered invisible, is taken away, and made a slave, bidden first to build up our food and then to cook itmis told off for lower work, while the milder green is left for the higher task of being a joy and pleasure to our eyes.
When the starch has been made and carried away to be hoarded up for the winter in the root, the stem, the bud, or the ripened seed, when the leaf-cell has finished its labour under the sun, a change comes over the chlorophyle, a change of death and decay. Part of it disappears, migrates with all the other good things of the leaf into some part of the plant, and what is left fades into yellow and brown or is transmuted into red. The organized lumps, the corpuscles, break up and crumble away into coloured dust, or are dissolved into yellowish fluids which stand in drops in the thin and withering cells. The exact nature of this change we know not; nor do we know by what means it is effected or what purpose it serves. Yet it is a change, to miss which would be to us a great loss. There would be a great gap in the glory of our earth's covering if the chlorophyle suddenly vanished from its bright greenness into the blackness of mould, instead of, as now, crowning a life of use and beauty with the dying grandeur of autumnal tints.
Of the other colours of plants there is not much to be said. Most of their effects are due to the presence of coloured fluids in the various cells. We do not at present at all know how the fluid contents of the cells become coloured, or how the colour is preserved amid the incessant changes taking place in the cell, or how the colouring matter of one cell which, it may be, is blue, is kept from mingling with that of the next to it which is perhaps red, while other substances are continually passing from one to the other. Nor, except it be for the sake of beauty alone, can we understand why flowers are so gorgeously arrayed. We can point to no such useful function as that which the chlorophyle enjoys; for none of these coloured parts have any share in the work of fixing carbon or of making stuff. They all consume stuff, they all waste carbon and give off carbonic acid. By this means some of them are able to produce of themselves, like an animal, some amount of heat. This, however, cannot be their real use. We may form some dim guesses as to their use in the economy of nature, we may think we see some slender link between their beauty and the world of insect life, or some alluring purpose in their gay appearance, we may even feel confident that their loveliness is merely the outside of some deeper good,—but at present we must be content with their beauty alone.
THE BOOK OF PSALMS.*
THE Bible contains indications of a much larger lyrical literature than has come down to us. The Sépher Hajjaschar is twice quoted (Jos. x. 13, 2 Sam. i. 18), and was probably a collection of songs. A song is transcribed from the “ Book of the Wars of Jahveh” (Num. xxi. 14); and a collection of Lamentations is referred to (2 Chron. xxxv. 25). Solomon is said to have written 1,005 songs (1 Kings iv. 32), which have all perished. But a magnificent collection of lyrics, a selection from a rich supply, has happily been preserved in the Book of Psalms, the hymn-book of the Jewish Church.
This book offers most interesting subjects for inquiry. We see it contains hymns by many authors, ranging over a period of at least six hundred years. How were the single hymns preserved ? How was the whole, book formed ? Was it formed all at once, or gradually? What was the principle of selection ? These and similar questions arise the moment we try to give an account of the Psalter. Our author deals with these inquiries. Let us follow him.
· As to the preservation of small poems in general, two methods are met with in the Bible. They are inserted in historical books, as Ex. xv., 1 Sam. ii., or are formed into collections. These collections may be made upon several principles. The name of an old and famous poet may attract and protect more modern productions; or similarity of subject or of use may procure collection, as in the instance of a Gnomic poem (Proy, xã.1-31). The single Psalms owe their preservation to several causes. They were not collected for the single purpose of preservation, else we
* Die Dichter des Alten Bundes, erklärt von Heinrich Ewald. Erster Theil. Erste Hälfte : Allgemeines über die Hebräische Dichtung und über das Psalmenbuch. Zweite Hälfte : die Psalmen und die Klaglieder. Göttingen, 1866.
should find in the Psalter more than Psalm xviii. of all the Psalms of David that are preserved in the books of Samuel. And a glance at their character shows that only lyrics of a special kind are admitted, such as refer to God; and of these only such as are somewhat general, and not too personal, 2 Sam. i. 19–29 being excluded as unfit in both respects. The Psalms were collected for devotional objects: first, those especially being chosen which refer to Zion, the pre-Davidic, therefore, being passed by; and, second, those suited not merely for private, but also for Temple worship. To these objects, another, of secondary importance, was to preserve the most beautiful of the ancient songs.
When was our present collection made? We know that it had received its present form when the LXX. made their translation, but we are not told how or when. Internal indications, however, supply considerable information. The book is divided by the Massorites into five smaller books,* the fanciful correspondence between it and the five books of the Pentateuch being irresistible; but this division rests upon a misunderstanding of Psalm cvi. 48, which is an integral part of the Psalm, and of the true relation of Psalms xlii.lxxxix. The true division is into three books, or greater collections, Psalm i.- xli., Psalm xlii.
-xxxix., Psalm xc.-cl. Of these the first book has as its nucleus David's Psalms, the third contains chiefly the latest Psalms, and the second mainly those of the middle period.
Each of these three collections appears to have gone through the revising hand of its editor.' One reason for this conclusion is the remarkable difference observable in the Divine names of these books. In the first and third books, Jahveh is predominant, but in the second, Elôhim.f The poets of the centuries to which the Psalms of the second book belong used usually and most naturally the name Jahveh. The fear of debasing the holy name by too frequent usage was of later origin, and was besides of very gradual growth, affecting for a long time individuals only; so that it cannot be supposed that all the poets of this book were governed by it. Further, Psalm liii. and Psalm lxx. are the same as Psalm xiv. and Psalm xl., but the editorial change of names is evident. For other reasons for this conclusion our author must be consulted.
nto thirue relations, which iivision restabooks of the the fancifcis
* I. 1-41; II. 42—72; III. 73–89; IV. 90—106; V. 107–150.
+ I. contains Jahveh 274 times, Elohim 65. III. Jahveh 379 times, Elohim 67. II. Jahveh 79 times, but Elohim 293. Given thus roughly the difference is manifest, while a more careful consideration makes it still more striking.
Careful inspection of these three books shows, further, that they were preceded by earlier collections. This is most evident in the third book. The fifteen Psalms, cxx.-Cxxxiv., form a distinct collection, closely akin to each other in thought, form, and language, and are all headed alike, Pilgrim-songs. The Psalms xcii.-c. form another small book, all bearing a distinct likeness in subject and language, and originating at the same time, and later than the nucleus of the two former collections, since Psalm xcvi. is an echo of Psalm xxix. ; Psalm xcvii. 8 is a quotation of Psalm xlviii. 12. A third small book may be discerned in Psalm ciii.—cvii., cxi.-cxvii., CXXXV.-Cxxxvi., cxlv.-cl. These twenty hymns are distinguished and related by the added word Hallelujah at the beginning, or the end, or both, as well as by their pre-eminently liturgic character.
It is further clear that these collections existed for a considerable time in a separate and independent form, not being brought into one larger book before each had acquired a more or less established shape. For some hymns appear in two collections. Psalm liü. is the same as Psalm xiv., Psalm lxx. the same as Psalm xl. 13–19, and Psalm cviii. is made up of Psalins lvii. and lx.
Our author's general summary of the origin of the Book of Psalms, the result of the most minute and extensive examination, published in the work under review, and in his great work, the Geschichte des Volkes Israel, is in substance this. David was
“ The first warbler whose sweet breath
Preluded those melodious bursts”
of lyric song that broke forth at every important moment of Israel's life during the subsequent 600 years. His songs are the rich and strong fountain of the Book of Psalms, the stream of which is joined by the effusions of many more true poets. Soon after the death of the great poet-king, his lyrics were collected, but without reference to their character or use. Many of them lived in the hearts and on the lips of the people, as the truest expression of their religious feeling; and many a one might find its way into the Temple service, to the exclusion of older ones used since the time of Moses. At the same time, the sacred muse enriched with her inspirations other gifted men. The free, strong life of that time of Israel's glory poured forth a stream of beautiful songs. For the Temple service and the great feast days new hymns were composed, of which we have many examples. The religion of this people was most favourable to the production of hymns referring to God; and as David had led the way, and given the most beautiful models for their com
songs wered feeling Whlished. Andegard was håh the exceptioof
position, from his time onward they became more and more numerous. From this wealthy store the collections from which our Psalter was subsequently formed were taken. There were collections of religious songs, as well as collections of a different character. For a long time, lyrics having a general reference to God, and not necessarily adapted for the Temple service, were received, and only those which had not this Divine reference were excluded. It was then easy to admit other songs tending to promote godliness, even though they contained no address to God. Respect was also paid to the simplicity and general reference of a composition; so that an artistically imperfect song, like Psalm xxviii., notwithstanding its imperfection, was received, while an artistically perfect, but somewhat heavy one, Isaiah xxxviii. 10–20, was rejected. In these collections, Davidic songs were for a long time chosen as a nucleus to which others of kindred feeling were added, but gradually collections of another kind were published. And since the main object was to promote godliness, not much regard was had to the mere names of poets, and they were gradually lost, with the exception of his who had laid the foundation of this class of poetry and of these collections, so that his name might suffice for all the others.
The whole Psalter, under the name of Th To Aapio, 2 Macc. ii. 13, obtained under Nehemiah its position in the Temple service, which it ever after retained. It was completed when the 1st Chronicles was written—that is, not later than the end of the Persian, or, at the latest, the beginning of the Grecian rule. 1 Chron. xvi. 7–36 is taken from the latest portion of the Psalter, vers. 8–22 from Psalm cv. 1415, vers. 23–33 from Psalm xcvi. 2–13, and vers. 34-36 from Psalm cvi. 1, 47, 48; and the reference of these Psalms to David throws light upon the Maccabean name. Tá ToŰ Aaßid. The translation of the LXX, is the next sign of the completion of the Psalter. It follows a Hebrew MS. which does not much differ from the Massoretic text. But it misunderstands or alters the titles of the Psalms, which are the latest additions to the book,—a proof that a considerable space of time intervened between their insertion and the translation.
Many important points discussed in our author's first volume, as the Temple music, the headings of the Psalms, the principle of interpretation, the method of translation, we must pass unnoticed, and glance at his second volume.
This second volume contains a translation and explanation of the Psalms in the chronological order in which they are supposed to have been written, and with continual reference to the
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