As foretold in days of yore, here is the beginning of a lengthy serialized presentation of Christina Georgina Rossetti’s The Face of the Deep: A Devotional Commentary on the Apocalypse. The reader is guaranteed to gain from this:
a.) excellent poetry;
b.) the devotional commentary of a woman who, in the words of her brother,
clung to and loved the Christian creed because she loved Jesus Christ. “Christ is God” was her one dominant idea. Faith with her was faith pure and absolute: an entire acceptance of a thing revealed—not a quest for any confirmation or demonstrative proof (p. liv, The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti, William Michael Rossetti, ed. London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd, 1914);
c.) the first verse-by-verse commentary on the Apocalypse written by a woman, which makes it of historical import for various fields;
and d.) a work written by a highly literate, perceptive, and expressive person whose knowledge of the Bible was truly minute and ready (idem, lxix), whose other theological reading apparently consisted of only the Confessions of Augustine, The Imitation of Christ of Thomas à Kempis, and The Pilgrim’s Progress of John Bunyan (idem, lxix). And yet I think all will agree that this limitation in the author’s reading has not in any way damaged the power of her commentary, for it is a “devotional commentary” after all, which is a genre having its own gemstones strewn on however different a beach than some of my readers may tend to walk.
I intend to keep matters of orthography, formatting, and emphasis as close as possible to the printed text. Due to the length of the pericopes, I think I’ll only post this first fully as a blog entry, an apéritif, with the rest to be posted on a web page. So! Here we go!
1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John:
2. Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
“Things which must shortly come to pass.”—At the end of 1800 years we are still repeating this “shortly,” because it is the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ: thus starting in the fellowship of patience with that blessed John who owns all Christians as his brethren (see ver. 9).