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pact by slain animals, follows from what has been just said. Nor can it more be an object of wonder, that by slaughtered beasts they believed they could call down, propitiate, and prevail upon the heavenly powers, whom they always regarded as partisans, either opposing or assisting them. But if we consider only the offerings, and the way in which they were performed in that primeval time, we find a strange usage, to us altogether abhorrent, which probably had been derived from war: this, namely the sacrificed animals of every kind, however great the number, had to be hewn in twain, and laid on either hand, and in the space between those placed themselves who wished to make a covenant with the Deity.
Another fearful trait passes wonderfully and awfully through all that fair world-that all which was consecrated and devoted must die; probably also a war custom, transferred to peace. The inhabitants of a town which defends itself strongly, are threatened with such a vow. It falls by storm or otherwise, and nothing is left alive; men never, and often not the women, the children, even the cattle. Precipitately and superstitiously such offerings are, with more or less distinctness, vowed to Heaven; and thus those whom the votary would fain spare, even the nearest to him, his own children, are exposed to perish as the sin-offerings of such a madness.
So barbarous a kind of devotion could not arise in the mild, truly patriarchal character of Abraham. But Heaven, which often, in order to tempt us, seems to exert those qualities which man is inclined to attribute to it, lays monstrous commands on him. He must sacrifice his son as a pledge of the new covenant; and if usage is followed, must not only slay and burn him, but divide him into two parts, and between the smoking members expect a new promise from the benign Power. Without delay, and blindly, Abraham prepared himself to execute the command.
But the will is sufficient. Abraham's trials are now over, for they could not be carried to a higher point. But Sarah dies, and this gives occasion for Abraham taking possession typi cally of the land of Canaan.
He wants a grave, and this is the first time when he concerns himself for any possession on this earth. He had probably before sought out a double cavern
This he buys
at the wood of Mamre. with the field about it; and the legal form which he observes in the purchase, shows how important is this possession to him. It was so, perhaps more than he could himself imagine. For he, his children, and his grandchildren, were to rest there; and the chief claim to the whole land, as well as the ever-increasing wish of his descendants to gather themselves in it, was thereby to be most appropriately grounded.
Henceforth the manifold family scenes continue to vary. Abraham still keeps himself severely apart from the inhabitants; and if Ishmael himself, the son of an Egyptian woman, has moreover married a daughter of that country, so Isaac, too, must wed a kinswoman and an equal.
Abraham sends his servant to Mesopotamia, to the relatives whom he has left there. The prudent Eleazar arrives unknown, and, in order to take home the right bride, he tries the scrviceableness of the damsels at the well. He begs to drink himself, and Rebecca, unasked, gives drink also to his camels. He gives her presents, and demands her in marriage; nor is she refused him. Thus he takes her home to his master, and she is united to Isaac. In this case, also, the offspring must be long waited for. Not till after years of trial is Rebecca blessed; and the same division which arose from Abraham's double marriage is here produced by one. Two boys of opposite characters struggle even in the mother's womb. They come to light; the elder lively and strong, the younger mild and prudent. The former is the father's, the latter the mother's favourite. The strife for the precedence, which begins even with their birth, always continues. Esau is quiet and indifferent in his possession of those rights of the first-born which fate has given him; Jacob does not forget that his brother thrust him back. Attentive to every opportunity of gaining the desired advantage, he buys the right of the first-born from his brother, and overreaches him as to their father's blessing. Esau is enraged, and vows his brother's death, and Jacob flees to seek his fortune in the land of his forefathers.
Now, for the first time in so noble a family, appears one who has no hesitation in seeking by prudence and cunning the advantages which na
ture and circumstance refused him. It has often enough been noticed and expressed, that the sacred writings by no means aim at representing the patriarchs and other divinely favoured men as models of virtue. They, too, are men of the most different characters, with many defects and failings. But there is one chief quality, which these men after God's heart could not want-an immovable faith that God had special regard to them and theirs.
General, natural religion, requires, properly speaking, no faith.
the persuasion that a great, productive, regulating, and guiding Being, as it were, hides himself behind Nature, in order to make himself conceivable by us-a persuasion of this kind impresses itself on every one. Nay, if one often lets go the thread of it, which conducts him through life, yet will he be able immediately and every where to resume it. But it is quite otherwise with a particular religion, which announces to us that this great Being distinctly and preeminently loves some one individual, one race, one people, one country. This religion is grounded on faith, which must be immovable if it is not to be instantly levelled with the ground. Every doubt of such a religion is mortal to it. One may return to persuation, but not to faith. Hence the endless trials, the delay in the fulfilment of so often repeated promises, by which the capacity for faith of those great forefathers is set in the clearest light.
It is in faith, too, that Jacob begins his expedition; and if, by his cunning and deception, he has not gained our liking, yet he secures it by his lasting and inviolable love for Rachel, whom he himself on the moment sues for, as in his father's name Eleazar had sued for Rebecca. In him was the promise of a countless people first to be fully unfolded. He was to see many sons about him, but through them and their mothers was to suffer many pangs of heart.
He serves seven years for his beloved, without impatience and without wavering. His father-in-law, resembling him in cunning, and disposed, like him, to consider this means to his end legitimate, deceives him, and so repays him what he had done to his brother. Jacob finds in his arms a wife whom he does not love. In order
to appease him, Laban indeed, after a short time, gives him his beloved also, but under the condition of seven more years of service. So now there comes vexation on vexation. The unbeloved wife is fruitful, the beloved brings no children. The latter wishes, like Sarah, to become a mother by means of her maid. The former grudges her even this advantage. She, too, presents a maid to her hus band; and now the good patriarch is the most troubled of men-four women, children from three, and none from the beloved one! At last she too is favoured, and Joseph comes into the world, a late offspring of the most passionate love. Jacob's fourteen years of service are past. But Laban will not part with his chief and most faithful servant. They form a new contract, and divide the herds between them. Laban keeps the white ones as the more numerous; Jacob must be content with the spotted as it were with the refuse. But he too is able to secure his own advan tage; and as he gained the rights of the first-born by a bad decision, and his father's blessing by a disguise, so now too he is able, by art and sympa thy, to appropriate the best and largest part of the herds, and in this way also becomes the truly worthy ancestor of the people of Israel, and a model for his descendants. Laban and his dependants remark not perhaps the stratagem, but the results. Vexation arises. Jacob flees with all his family, with all his possessions, and escapes from his pursuer Laban, partly by fortune, partly by cunning. Rachel is now to bear him a son; but she dies in giving him birth. The son of sorrow, Benjamin, survives her; but the old father is to feel yet greater sorrow from the apparent loss of his Joseph.
Some one may perhaps ask, for what reason these well-known and oftrepeated and explained narratives are here again circumstantially told. Such an enquirer must be satisfied with the answer, that I could no otherwise exhibit how it was that, in my scattered life and desultory instruction, I yet collected my mind and feelings on one point, and in one kind of quiet activity; and no otherwise could paint the peace which surrounded me, even when the world about me was in the wildest and strangest commotion. When an ever-busy imagination, of
which that boy's legend may give witness, led me now here now therewhen the mixture of fable and history, mythology and religion, threatened to bewilder me, I fled eagerly to those eastern regions-I immersed myself in the first book of Moses, and among the scattered tribes of herdsmen found myself at once in the greatest solitude and the greatest society.
These family scenes, before they were to lose themselves in a history of the Israelitish people, show now in conclusion a shape with which the hopes and imaginations, more particularly of the young, may most pleasantly delight themselves. Joseph, the child of the most passionate wedded love-he appears to us tranquil and clear, and foretells to himself the advantages which are to raise him above his family. Cast by his brothers into misfortune, he remains constant and upright in slavery, resists the most dangerous temptations, frees himself by prophecy, and is raised for his services to high honours. He first shows himself helpful and useful to a great kingdom, and then to his own kin. He resembles his ancestor Abraham in tranquillity and greatness, his grandfather Isaac in stillness and devotion. He exercises on a large scale the spirit of traffic inherited from his father. It is no longer herds gained for one's-self from a father-in-law-it is peoples, with all their professions, which he knows how to purchase for a king. Most graceful is this natural story, only it seems too short, and one feels called to expand it into details.
Such an expansion of the characters and events presented only in outline in the Bible, was no longer strange to the Germans. The persons of the Old and New Testaments had received through Klopstock a tender and sympathetic kind of existence, which admirably suited the boy as well as many of his contemporaries. Of the labours of Bodmer in this kind, little or nothing reached him; but Daniel in the Lion's Den, by Moser, made a strong impression on the young heart. In this, a right-minded man of business and of the Court passes through many afflictions to high honours; and his piety, through which he was threatened to be destroyed, becomes from first to last his shield and sword. I had already long wished to work out the history of Joseph. But I could not make any thing satisfactory of the
form of the composition, particularly as no kind of metre was familiar to me which would have suited such a work. But now I thought the treatment of it in prose would be very proper, and devoted myself with all my strength to the execution. I now tried to distinguish and paint the characters, and, by the insertion of incidents and episodes, to make the old simple history a new and complete work. I did not consider, what indeed cannot be considered by the young, that for this purpose a substance is re quired, and this can arise in us only by the intimations of experience. In fine, I represented to myself all the incidents even to the smallest detail, and repeated them to myself most accurately, one after another.
My undertaking was much facilitated by a circumstance which threatened to make this work and my authorship in general very voluminous. A young man of great capacity, but who had become imbecile by over-exertion and self-conceit, lived as a ward in my father's house, mixed quietly with the family, and, if let go on in his usual way, was contented and pleasant. He had written out his notes of the lectures at the university very carefully, and had attained a rapid and legible hand. He employed himself in writing more willingly than in any thing else, and was gratified if something was given him to copy. But he was still more pleased if any one dictated to him, because he then felt himself "arried back to his happy academical years. My father, who did not write a ready hand, and whose German character was small and trembling, desired nothing better; and he was therefore accustomed, in carrying on either his own business or that of others, to dictate for some hours daily to this young man. I found it no less convenient, during the intervals of this employment, to see fixed on paper, by another's hand, all that flew swiftly through my head, and my powers of feeling and of imitation strengthened from the facility with which their products were caught and preserved.
I had not as yet attempted any work so great as that Biblical prose epic poem. There was now a toler
ably peaceful time, and nothing called back my imagination from Palestine and Egypt. Thus my manuscript flowed forth day after day, while the poem, which I repeated to myself as
it were into the air, lay length after length upon the paper, and only a few pages now and then required to be
When the work was done, for to my own astonishment it was really accomplished, I reflected that I had many poems by me from former years, which even now did not seem to me worthless, and which, if written out in the same size with Joseph, would make a very handsome quarto, and might have the title of Miscellaneous Poems. This gave me great pleasure, as I had thus an opportunity of imitating in private well known and celebrated authors. I had composed a good number of so-called Anacreontic poems, which, on account of the convenience of the measure and the easiness of the subject, were very readily produced. But these I could not well make use of, because they had no rhymes, and I wished above all things to do what would gratify my father. Therefore the Spiritual Odes seemed here quite suitable, having been composed with much zeal in imitation of the Last Judgment of Elias Schlegel. One written in honour of the Descent of Christ into Hell, received much applause from my parents and friends, and had the fortune to please me myself for some years afterwards. The so-called texts of the Sunday music for the churches, which were to be had every where in print, I studied diligently. They were in truth very weak, and I could well venture to believe that mine, of which I had composed many in the prescribed manner, deserved as well to be set to music, and executed for the edification of the congregation. More than a year before I had written out these with my own hand, and many like them, because in favour of this private practice I was released from the copies of the writing-master. All was now corrected and brought into good order, and little persuasion was required to have all neatly copied by the young man who was so fond of writing. I hastened with them to the bookbinder, and, when very soon after, I presented the handsome volume to my father, he exhorted me, with much satisfaction, to give him every year a similar quarto, which he did with the greater confidence because I had ac
complished the whole only in my
hours of recreation.
Another circumstance also increas ed my inclination to these theological, or rather Biblical studies. The senior of the clergy, John Philip Fresenius, a mild man, of handsome and pleasing appearance, who was respected by his congregation and by the whole city as an exemplary minister and good preacher, but who, because he had stood forth against the Moravians, was not in esteem with the peculiarly devout; while, on the contrary, he had rendered himself famous, and almost sacred among the multitude, by the conversion of a free-thinking general who had been mortally wounded;this man died, and his successor Plitt, a large handsome dignified person, who had brought from his professorial chair at Marburg the gift rather of instructing than of edifying, announced immediately a kind of religious course, in which his sermons were to be delivered with a certain methodical connexion. Even before, as I was obliged to go to church, I had noticed the distribution of the subject, and could occasionally display my talents in a tolerably complete recitation of the sermon. But now, as much was said in the congregation for and against the new senior, and many had no great confidence in his announced didactic sermons, I undertook to write them down more carefully. I succeeded in this the better, from having already made some smaller attempts in a seat very convenient for hearing, and yet concealed from view. I was very attentive and alert; the moment he had said Amen I hurried from the church, and employed a couple of hours in hastily dictating what I retained on paper and in my memory, so that it was still before dinner when I was able to present my father with the written sermon. My father was very proud of this achievement, and the good friend of the family, who came in then to dinner, had his share of the pleasure. He was at all events very kindly disposed to wards me, because I had so made his Messiah my own, that in my frequent visits to him to get impressions of seals for my collection of coats-of-arms, I used to repeat long passages to him till the tears stood in his eyes.
JUDITH; OR, THE OPERA-BOX.
A VOLUME of tales by the celebrated Eugene Scribe, fell lately into our hands; and as we had never met with any of his performances in that department, though every stage in Europe is supplied with his innumerable farces, and though we have seen, at a moderate computation, five hundred of them for our own share, we thought it likely that our readers would have the same curiosity as ourselves to see him in a walk to which he is so little accustomed; and we present them with the story which we consider the best in the collection.
ONE evening-if I remember rightly, it was at the end of 1831-there was a great crowd at the Opera, for Taglioni was to dance. The spectators had crowded themselves on the steps of the orchestra, and the extra stools furnished for the friends of the conductor, formed a sort of barricade which I found it difficult to surmount, amidst cries of" Hush, hush, silence, silence!" from the enthusiastic amateurs whom I disturbed. For when Taglioni dances, one not only gazes but listens. It seems as if the eye were not sufficient to admire with. I found myself in an awkward position, forced to stand amidst a group of my friends whom I met there by appointment, and who were too much crowded to make room for me, when a young man rose and offered me his seat, which of course I declined, not wishing to des prive him of the pleasure of the spectacle.
"It is no deprivation," he said; "I am going out."
I accepted his offer with thanks; and my obliging neighbour casting a last look at the stage before taking his departure, stopped an instant, and leaning his back against the box of General Claparede, seemed to look for some one in the distance; and then, sinking gradually into a profound reverie, thought no more of retiring.
He was right in saying I did not deprive him of the view; for, turning his back to the stage-seeing nothing -hearing nothing-he appeared entirely to forget where he was. amined him attentively. It was impossible to imagine a face more handsome or expressive. Dressed simply and elegantly, there was something noble and distinguished in all his movements. He seemed about fiveand-twenty; his fine black eyes were fixed incessantly on a front box of the second tier with an indefinable expres
sion of melancholy and despair. In voluntarily I turned in that direction, and I saw that the box was empty.
"He expects somebody who has not come!" I said. "She has deceived him—she is ill-or her father has prevented her-and he loves and expects in vain! Poor young man! And I watched as attentively as he ; I pitied him, and would have given the world to see the door of the box opened
but it remained closed the whole night. The ballet was about to end; and while the inferior dancers were performing, conversation as usual proceeded almost aloud. Among other things we talked of Robert le Diable, which was then in rehearsal, and was about to appear in a few days. My friends made all sorts of inquiriesabout the music -the ballets the situations, &c., and begged very earnestly to attend the last rehearsals. A rehearsal seems so strange and wonderful to those unaccustomed to it! I promised to introduce them, and we all rose up to go away-for the curtain was about to fall-and as I found myself near my unknown friend, who remained still motionless in the same place, I expressed my regret that I had accepted his offer, and my gratification if I could do any thing to oblige him in return.
"You can do so, quite easily," he replied; " I have just gathered that you are M. Meyerbeer."
"I have not the honour""At any rate, you are one of the authors of Robert le Diable?" "After a sort," I said; " I wrote the words."
"Well, then," he rejoined; "let me be present at the rehearsal to
"We are so little prepared as yet, that I can only venture to ask friends." my "That is one reason more for my repeating the request."