wisdom, and it affords singularly little help if we are seeking purpose in nature: 'which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in the dust, and forgetteth that the foot may crush them or that the wild beast may break them. She is hardened against her young ones as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain without fear; because Ood hath deprived her of ivisdorn, neither hath he imparted to her understanding.'
It is the same with the ' wild ass' (verse 5) and the unicorn (verse 9). These are beasts whose complete ' dysteleology' or negation of purposiveness is truly magnificently depicted; but, nevertheless, with their mysterious instincts and their inexplicable behaviour, this very negation of purpose becomes a thing of baffling significance, as in the case of the, ' wild goat' (verse 1) and the hind. The 'wisdom' of the inward parts (xxxviii. 36), and the ' knowledge' of dayspring, winds, and clouds, with the mysterious ways in which they come and go, arise and vanish, shift and veer and re-form; and the wonderful Pleiades aloft in heaven, with Orion and 'Arcturus and his sons'—these serve but to emphasize the same lesson. It is conjectured that the descriptions of the hippopotamus (behemoth) and crocodile (leviathan) in xl. 15 ff. are a later interpolation. This may well be the fact; but, if so, it must be admitted that the interpolator hae felt the point of the entire section extraordinarily well. He only brings to its grossest expression tha'thought intended by all the other examples of animals; they gave portents only, he gives us 'monsters'—but 'the monstrous' is just the ' mysterious' in a gross form. Assuredly these beasts would be the most unfortunate examples that one could hit upon if searching for evidences of the purposefulness of the divine ' wisdom'. But they, no less than all the previous examples and the whole context, tenor, and sense of the entire passage, do express in masterly fashion the downright stupendousness, the wellnigh daemonic ami wholly incomprehensible character of the eternal creative power; how, incalculable and ' wholly other', it mocks at all conceiving but can yet stir the mind to its depths, fascinate and overbrim the heart. What is meant is the mysterium not as mysterious simply, but at the same time also as ' fascinating' and ' august'; ami here, too, these latter meanings live, not in any explicit concepts, but in the tone, the enthusiasm, in the very rhythm of the entire exposition. And here is indeed the point of the whole passage, comprising alike the theodicy and the appeasement and calming of Job's soul. The mysterium, simply as such, would merely (as discussed above) be a part of the 'absolute inconceivability' of the numen, and that, though it might strike Job utterly dumb, could not convict him inwardly. That of which we are conscious is rather an intrinsic value in the incomprehensible—a value inexpressible, positive, and 'fascinating'. This is incommensurable with thoughts of rational human teleology and is not assimilated to them : it remains in all its mystery. lint it is as it becomes felt in consciousness that Elohim is justified and at the same time Job's soul brought to peace.
A very real parallel to this experience of Job is to be found in the work of a writer of our own day, which is not the less deeply impressive because it is found in the fictitious context of a novel. Max Evth recounts in his story JJervfs-Tragik (in the collection Hinter Pjlug unci Schrauhstvck) the building of the mighty bridge over the estuary of the Ennobucht. The most profound ami thorough labour of the intellect, tho most assiduous and devoted professional toil, had gone to the construction of the great edifice, making it in all its significance and purposefulness a marvel of human achievement. In spite of endless difficulties and gigantic obstacles, the bridge is at length finished, anil stands defying wind and waves. Then there comes a raging cyclone, and building and builder are swept into the deep. Utter meaninglessness seems to triumph over richest significance, blind 'destiny' seems to strido on its way over prostrate virtue and merit. The narrator tells how he visits the scene of the tragedy and return-! again.
When we got to the end of the bridge, there was hardly o 2
a breath of wind ; high above, the sky showed blue-green, and with an eerie brightness. Behind us, like a great open grave, lay the Ennobucht. The Lord of life and death hovered over the waters in silent majesty. We felt His presence, as one feels one's own hand. And the old man and I knelt down before the open grave and before Him.'
Why did they kneel ? Why did they feel constrained to do so 1 One does not kneel before a cyclone or the blind forces of nature, nor even before Omnipotence merely as such. But one does kneel before the wholly uncomprehended Mystery, revealed yet unrevealed, and one's soul is stilled by feeling the way of its wTorking, and therein its justification.
It would be possible to cite many other traces of numinous feeling in the Old Testament. But they have already been admirably put together by one who wrote sixteen hundred years ago in the same sense as we 'upon the non-rational'. This was Chrysostom. We shall be considering him later on and will not anticipate further in this place.1
1 See Appendix I.
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