July 19, 2011

Should My Tears Forever, Should My Zeal No Respite Know

A week ago I was in Africa. We made a day trip to Bujagali Falls, and witnessed the full force of a class 6 rapid, referred to comfortingly as "The Widowmaaker."  (Three years earlier when I had rafted that same river, our raft had circumnavigated that specific rapid and opted for the class 5 rapid where only one person had died previously.) 

The pent up force of the nile at that point was really overwhelming. It reminded me of one of my favorite pictures, by Thomas Cole:
His inscription reminds me, in turn, of our absolute need to rely completely on our Savior to make it through each day. "All for sin would not atone, Thou must save, and Thou alone."  God's mercy and grace are so amazing beautiful!

(If you're interested, here's Thomas Cole's description of the above painting, entitled: The Journey of Life: Manhood: 

Storm and cloud enshroud the dreary landscape. Bare impending precipices rise in the lurid light.  The swollen stream rushes furiously down a dark ravine, whirling and foaming in its wild career, and speeding toward the Ocean, which is dimly seen through the mist and falling rain. The boat is there, plunging amid the turbulent waters.  The voyager is now a man of middle age: the helm of the boat is gone, and he looks imploringly toward heaven as if heaven’s aid alone could save him from the perils that surround him. The Guardian Spirit calmly sits in the clouds, watching with an air of solicitude the affrighted voyager.  Demon forms are hovering in the air.

Trouble is characteristic of the period of Manhood. In Childhood there is no cankering care; in Youth no despairing thought. It is only when experience has taught us the realities of the world, that we lift from our eyes the golden veil of early life; that we feel deep and abiding sorrow; and in the picture, the gloomy, eclipse-like tone, the conflicting elements, the trees riven by tempest, are the allegory; and the Ocean, dimly seen, figures the end of life, to which the voyager is now approaching. The demon forms are Suicide, Intemperance, and Murder, which are the temptations that beset men in their direst trouble. The upward and imploring look of the voyager shows his dependence on a Superior Power and that faith saves him from the destruction that seems inevitable.
            - Thomas Cole, 1840

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this painting too! Thanks for sharing, E!