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The introduction of the Linnaean sexual system of plant classification in 1737 and its almost universal acceptance gave a tremendous impetus to the production of illustrated botanical books. IN the art of botanical illustration, evolution was by no means a simple and straightforward process.
There are a number of other manuscript herbals in existence, illustrated with interesting figures. This work contains coloured drawings of exceptional beauty, which are smaller than those in the Vienna manuscript, but quite equally realistic. It is however with the history of botanical figures since the invention of the printing press that we are here more especially concerned.
Botanical wood-engravings may be regarded as belonging to two schools, but it should be understood that the distinction between them is somewhat arbitrary and must not be pressed very far. The first school, of which we may take the cuts in the Roman edition of the ` Herbarium' of Apuleius Platonicus (?
The illustrations of the ` Herbarium' of Apuleius were copied from pre-existing manuscripts, and the age of the originals is no doubt much greater than that of the printed work. Colouring of the figures was characteristic of many of the earliest works in which wood-engraving was employed. The engravings in the ` Herbarium' of Apuleius are executed in black, in very crude outline.
The figures in the ` Herbarium' are characterised by an excellent trait, which is common to most of the older herbals, namely the habit of portraying the plant as a whole, including its roots. We now come to a series of illustrations, which may be regarded as occupying an intermediate position between the classical tradition of the ` Herbarium' of Apuleius, and the renaissance of botanical drawing, which took place early in the sixteenth century.
Das puch der natur' of Konrad von Megenberg occupies a unique position in the history of botany, for it is the first work in which a wood-cut representing plants was used with the definite intention of illustrating the text, and not merely for a decorative purpose. A wood-cut, somewhat similar in style to that just described, but more primitive, occurs in Trevisa's version of the medi?val encyclop?dia of Bartholomaeus Anglicus, which was printed by Wynkyn de Worde before the end of the fifteenth century.
The illustrations to the Latin 'Herbarius' or ` Herbarius Moguntinus,' published at Mainz in 1484 (Text-figs. A more interesting series of figures, also illustrating the text of the Latin ` Herbarius,' was published in Italy a little later. In 1485, the year following the first appearance of the Latin `Herbarius,' the very important work known as the German `Herbarius,' or ' Herbarius zu Teutsch,' made its appearance at Mainz.
A pirated second edition of the `Herbarius zu Teutsch' appeared at Augsburg only a few months after the publication of the first at Mainz.
In the `Ortus Sanitatis' of 1491, about two-thirds of the drawings of plants are copied from the ` Herbarius zu Teutsch.' They are often much spoiled in the process, and it is evident that the copyist frequently failed to grasp the intention of the original artist. The use of a black background, against which the stalks and leaves form a contrast in white, which we noticed in the Book of Nature,' is carried further in the ` Ortus Sanitatis.' This is shown particularly well in the Tree of Paradise (Text-fig. An edition of the `Ortus Sanitatis,' which was published in Venice in 151 I, is illustrated in great part with woodcuts based on the original figures.
During the first three decades of the sixteenth century, the art of botanical illustration was practically in abeyance in Europe. Brunfels' illustrations represent a notable advance on any previous botanical wood-cuts, so much so, indeed, that the suddenness of the improvement seems to call for some special explanation. The engravings in Brunfels' herbal and the fine books which succeeded it, should not be considered as if they were an isolated manifestation, but should be viewed in relation to other contemporary and even earlier plant drawings, which were not intended for book illustrations. In Italy, Leonardo da Vinci's exquisite studies of plants, of which Plate XVI I I is an example, must also have pointed the way to a better era of herbal illustration. We are thus led to the conclusion that, though the engravings in Brunfels' herbal are separated from previous botanical figures by an almost impassable gulf, they should not be regarded as a sudden and inexplicable develop-ment. The illustrations in Brunfels' herbal were engraved, and probably drawn also, by Hans Weiditz, or Guiditius, some of whose work has been ascribed to Albrecht Durer. The title ` Herbarum vivae eicones'—` Living Pictures of Plants '—indicates the most distinctive feature of the book, namely that the artist went direct to nature, instead of regarding the plant world through the eyes of previous draughtsmen. In one respect the welcome reaction from the conventional and generalised early drawings went almost too far.
Our chronological survey of the chief botanical wood-cuts brings us next to those published by Egenolph in 1533, to illustrate Rhodion's ' Kreutterbuch.' These have sometimes been regarded as of considerable importance, almost comparable, in fact, with those of Brunfels. It is interesting to notice that, as the third part of Brunfels' great work had not appeared when Egenolph's book was published, the latter must have been at a loss for figures of the plants which Brunfels had reserved for his third volume. In the third volume of Brunfels' herbal (which appeared after his death) there is a small figure, that of Auricula muris, which differs conspicuously in style from the other engravings, and which appears to represent a case in which the tables were turned, and a figure was borrowed from Egenolph. In his later books, Egenolph used wood-cuts pirated from those of Fuchs and Bock, which we must now consider. In the work of Leonhard Fuchs (Frontispiece) plant drawing, as an art, may be said to have reached its culminating point. Fuchs' figures are on so large a scale that the plant frequently had to be represented as curved, in order to fit it into the folio page.
Sometimes in Fuchs' figures a wonderfully decorative spirit is shown, as in the case of the Earth-nut Pea (Text-fig.
The figures here reproduced show how great a variety of subjects were successfully dealt with in Fuchs' work. We have so far spoken, for the sake of brevity, as if Fuchs actually executed the figures himself. The drawing and painting of flowers is sometimes dismissed almost contemptuously, as though it were a humble art in which an inferior artist, incapable of the more exacting work of drawing from the life, might be able to excel. As far as concerns the pictures themselves, each of which is positively delineated according to the features and likeness of the living plants, we have taken peculiar care that they should be most perfect, and, moreover, we have devoted the greatest diligence to secure that every plant should be depicted with its own roots, stalks, leaves, flowers, seeds and fruits. How dull and colourless the phrases of modern scientific writers appear, beside the hot-blooded, arrogant enthusiasm of the sixteenth century! Fuchs' wood-cuts were extensively pirated, especially those on a reduced scale, which were published in his edition of 1545.
In general character, Bock's illustrations are neater and more conventional than those of Brunfels or Fuchs. In point of time, the illustrations to the early editions of Mattioli's Commentaries on the Six Books of Dioscorides follow fairly closely on those of Fuchs, but they are extremely different in style (Text-figs.
Another remarkable group of wood-engravings consists of those published by Plantin in connection with the work of the three Low Country herbalists, Dodoens, de l'Ecluse and de l'Obel.
There is little to be said about de l'Obel's figures, which partook of the character of the rest of the wood-cuts for which Plantin made himself responsible.
The wood-cuts illustrating the comparatively small books of de l'Ecluse are perhaps the most interesting of the figures associated with this trio of botanists. The popularity of the large collection of blocks got together by the publishing house of Plantin is shown by the frequency with which they were copied.
Professor Treviranus, whose work on the use of wood-engravings as botanical illustrations is so well known, considered that some of the drawings published by Camerarius in connection with his last work (` Hortus medicus et philosophicus,' 1588) were among the best ever produced.
A number of wood-blocks were cut at Lyons to illustrate d'Alechamps' great work, the ' Historia generalis plantarum,' 1586-7. Among less important botanical wood-engravings of the sixteenth century we may mention those in the works of Pierre Belon, such as `De arboribus' (1553). Some specimens of the quaint little illustrations to Castor Durante's `Herbario Nuovo' of 1585 are shown in Text-figs.
The engravings in Porta's 'Phytognomonica' (1588) and in Prospero Alpino's little book on Egyptian plants (1592) are of good quality.
Passing on to the seventeenth century, we find that the ` Prodromos' of Gaspard Bauhin (162o) contains a number of original illustrations, but they are not very remarkable, and often have rather the appearance of having been drawn from pressed specimens.
Parkinson's ` Paradisus Terrestris' of 1629 contains a considerable proportion of original figures, besides others borrowed from previous writers.
Among still later wood-engravings, we may mention the large, rather coarse cuts in Aldrovandi's `Dendrologia' of 1667, one of which, the figure of the Orange, or Mala Aurantia Chinensia, is reproduced in Text-fig. In the present chapter no attempt has been made to discuss the illustrations of those herbals (e.g. This brief review of the history of botanical wood-cuts leads us to the conclusion that between 1530 and 1630, that is to say during the hundred years when the herbal was at its zenith, the number of sets of wood-engravings which were pre-eminent—either on account of their intrinsic qualities, or because they were repeatedly copied from book to book—was strictly limited. At the close of the sixteenth century, wood cutting on the Continent was distinctly on the wane, and had begun to be superseded by engraving on metal. In the seventeenth century, a large number of botanical books, illustrated by means of copper-plates, were produced. In 1615 an English edition of Crispian de Passe's work was published at Utrecht, under the title of `A Garden of Flowers.' The plates are the same as those in the original work. The purchaser of ` The Garden of Flowers' receives detailed directions for the painting of the figures, which he is expected to carry out himself. As we have already mentioned, it is not our intention to deal with the books published in the latter part of the seventeenth century. In the plates which illustrate Blankaart's herbal, a landscape and figures are often introduced to form a back-ground, and the low horizon, to which we referred in speaking of the ` Hortus Floridus,' is a very conspicuous feature. Etching and engraving on metal are well adapted to very delicate and detailed work, but from the point of view of book-illustration, wood-engraving is generally more effective.
The History of Botanical Prints  What is a Botanical Print? The first school, of which we may take the cuts in the Roman edition of the ` Herbarium’ of Apuleius Platonicus (?
The illustrations of the ` Herbarium’ of Apuleius were copied from pre-existing manuscripts, and the age of the originals is no doubt much greater than that of the printed work. The engravings in the ` Herbarium’ of Apuleius are executed in black, in very crude outline. The figures in the ` Herbarium’ are characterised by an excellent trait, which is common to most of the older herbals, namely the habit of portraying the plant as a whole, including its roots.
We now come to a series of illustrations, which may be regarded as occupying an intermediate position between the classical tradition of the ` Herbarium’ of Apuleius, and the renaissance of botanical drawing, which took place early in the sixteenth century. Das puch der natur’ of Konrad von Megenberg occupies a unique position in the history of botany, for it is the first work in which a wood-cut representing plants was used with the definite intention of illustrating the text, and not merely for a decorative purpose.
A wood-cut, somewhat similar in style to that just described, but more primitive, occurs in Trevisa’s version of the medi?val encyclop?dia of Bartholomaeus Anglicus, which was printed by Wynkyn de Worde before the end of the fifteenth century.
A more interesting series of figures, also illustrating the text of the Latin ` Herbarius,’ was published in Italy a little later. A pirated second edition of the `Herbarius zu Teutsch’ appeared at Augsburg only a few months after the publication of the first at Mainz. An edition of the `Ortus Sanitatis,’ which was published in Venice in 151 I, is illustrated in great part with woodcuts based on the original figures. Brunfels’ illustrations represent a notable advance on any previous botanical wood-cuts, so much so, indeed, that the suddenness of the improvement seems to call for some special explanation.
The engravings in Brunfels’ herbal and the fine books which succeeded it, should not be considered as if they were an isolated manifestation, but should be viewed in relation to other contemporary and even earlier plant drawings, which were not intended for book illustrations. In Italy, Leonardo da Vinci’s exquisite studies of plants, of which Plate XVI I I is an example, must also have pointed the way to a better era of herbal illustration.
We are thus led to the conclusion that, though the engravings in Brunfels’ herbal are separated from previous botanical figures by an almost impassable gulf, they should not be regarded as a sudden and inexplicable develop-ment. The illustrations in Brunfels’ herbal were engraved, and probably drawn also, by Hans Weiditz, or Guiditius, some of whose work has been ascribed to Albrecht Durer.
Fuchs’ figures are on so large a scale that the plant frequently had to be represented as curved, in order to fit it into the folio page. Sometimes in Fuchs’ figures a wonderfully decorative spirit is shown, as in the case of the Earth-nut Pea (Text-fig.
Benefiting from improved printing techniques, botanical depiction in the latter half of the 18th century saw the marriage of beauty and scientific accuracy.
This period saw the publication of many botanical magazines modeled on the success of William Curtis's Botanical Magazine.
The transfer of the artist's image to the printing plate was now achieved by mechanical processes, rather than the plate being worked on directly by the artist or craftsman. The quality of the printmaking techniques used (now associated with fine art prints) and the quality of the papers will soon make apparent to the beginning collector the reason genuine antique prints (as opposed to modern reproductions) are sought after. We do not find, in Europe, a steady advance from early illustrations of poor quality to later ones of a finer character. The Library of the University of Leyden possesses a particularly fine example', which is ascribed to the seventh century A.D.
From this epoch onwards, the history of botanical illustration is intimately bound up with the history of wood-engraving, until, at the extreme end of the sixteenth century, engraving on metal first came into use to illustrate herbals. One of these may perhaps be regarded as representing the last, decadent expression of that school of late classical art which, a thousand years earlier, had given rise to the drawings in the Vienna manuscript.
1484) as typical examples, has, as Dr Payne has pointed out, certain very well-marked characteristics.
Those here reproduced are taken from a copy in the British Museum, in which the pictures were coloured, probably at the time when the book was published.
In cases where uncoloured copies of such books exist, there are often blank spaces in the wood-cuts, which were left in order that certain details might afterwards be added in colour.
Figures of the animals whose bites or stings were supposed to be cured by the use of a particular herb, were often introduced into the drawing, as in the case of the Plantain (Text-fig. This came about naturally because the root was often of special value from the druggist's point of view. These include the illustrations to the ` Book of Nature,' and to the Latin and German Herbarius,' the ` Ortus Sanitatis,' and their derivatives, which were discussed in Chapters II and III. It was first printed in Augsburg in 1475, and is thus several years older than the earliest printed edition of the ` Herbarium' of Apuleius Platonicus which we have just discussed. 57) there is an attempt to represent the tuberous roots, which are indicated in solid black. As we pointed out in Chapter II, its illustrations, which are executed on a large scale, are often of remarkable beauty.
The figures, which are roughly copied from those of the original edition, are very inferior to them.
They have, however, a very different appearance, since a great deal of shading is introduced, and in some cases parallel lines are laid in with considerable dexterity.
The oft-repeated set of wood-cuts, ultimately derived from the ` Herbarius zu Teutsch,' were also used to illustrate Hieronymus Braunschweig's Distillation Book (Liber de arte distillandi de Simplicibus, 1500). On taking a broader view of the subject, we find that, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, there was a marked advance in all the branches of book illustration, and not merely in the botanical side with which we are here concerned. Some of the most remarkable are those by Albrecht Durer, which were produced before the appearance of Brunfels' herbal, during the first thirty years of the sixteenth century. In his work, the artistic interest predominates over the botanical to a greater extent than is the case with D Durer's drawings. The art of naturalistic plant drawing had arrived independently at what was perhaps its high-water mark of excellence, but it is in Brunfels' great work that we find it, for the first time, applied to the illustration of a botanical book. This characteristic is best appreciated on comparing Brunfels' figures with those of his predecessors.
Many of Brunfels' wood-cuts were done from imperfect specimens, in which, for example, the leaves had withered or had been damaged by insects.
A careful examination of these wood-engravings leads, how-ever, to the conclusion that practically all the chief figures in Egenolph's book have been copied from those of Brunfels, but on a smaller scale, and reversed.
It is true that, at a later period, when the botanical importance of the detailed structure of the flower and fruit was recognised, figures were produced which conveyed exacter and more copious information on these points than did those of Fuchs. 87) which fills the rectangular space almost in the manner of an all-over wall-paper pattern. The falsity of this view is shown by the fact that the greatest of flower painters have generally been men who also did admirable figure work. Furthermore we have purposely and deliberately avoided the obliteration of the natural form of the plants by shadows, and other less necessary things, by which the delineators sometimes try to win artistic glory : and we have not allowed the craftsmen so to indulge their whims as to cause the drawing not to correspond accurately to the truth. The crowns of the trees are often made practically square so as to fit the block (Text-fig. In the original edition of Dodoens' herbal (` Cruydeboeck,' published by Vanderloe in 1554), more than half the illustrations were taken from Fuchs' octavo edition of 1545.
Many of these figures were taken from the herbals of Fuchs, Mattioli and Dodoens, but they were often embellished with representations of insects, and detached leaves and flowers, scattered over the block with no apparent object except to fill the space.
In this book there are some graceful wood-cuts of trees, one of which is reproduced in Text-fig. Some curious examples of the former, which will be discussed at greater length in the next chapter, are shown in Text-figs. We might almost say that there were only five collections of wood-cuts of plants of really first-rate importance—those, namely, of Brunfels, Fuchs, Mattioli, and Plantin, with those of Gesner and Camerarius, all of which were published in the sixty years between 1530 and 1590.
The earliest botanical work, in which copper-plate etchings were used as illustrations, is said to be Fabio Colonna's ` Phytobasanos' of 1592. The majority of these were published late in the century, and thus scarcely come within our purview.
The artist is particularly successful with the bulbous and tuberous plants, the cultivation of which has long been such a specialty of Holland. The book is divided into four parts, appropriate to the four seasons, and each part is preceded by an encouraging verse intended to keep alive the owner's enthusiasm for his task. We may, however, for the sake of completeness, mention two or three examples in order to show the kind of work that was then being done. In the latter the lines are raised, and the method of printing is thus exactly the same as in the case of type, while in the former the process is reversed and the lines are incised. This period saw the publication of many botanical magazines modeled on the success of William Curtis’s Botanical Magazine. The transfer of the artist’s image to the printing plate was now achieved by mechanical processes, rather than the plate being worked on directly by the artist or craftsman. This came about naturally because the root was often of special value from the druggist’s point of view. It was first printed in Augsburg in 1475, and is thus several years older than the earliest printed edition of the ` Herbarium’ of Apuleius Platonicus which we have just discussed. Some of the most remarkable are those by Albrecht Durer, which were produced before the appearance of Brunfels’ herbal, during the first thirty years of the sixteenth century. In his work, the artistic interest predominates over the botanical to a greater extent than is the case with D Durer’s drawings.
The art of naturalistic plant drawing had arrived independently at what was perhaps its high-water mark of excellence, but it is in Brunfels’ great work that we find it, for the first time, applied to the illustration of a botanical book. This characteristic is best appreciated on comparing Brunfels’ figures with those of his predecessors.
Many of Brunfels’ wood-cuts were done from imperfect specimens, in which, for example, the leaves had withered or had been damaged by insects. A careful examination of these wood-engravings leads, how-ever, to the conclusion that practically all the chief figures in Egenolph’s book have been copied from those of Brunfels, but on a smaller scale, and reversed.
87) which fills the rectangular space almost in the manner of an all-over ” wall-paper pattern.
Both black-and-white and color reproduction reached a standard that has never since been surpassed, largely owing to the skills developed by artists, engravers and printers, in response to the demands of the botanists. While allowing for great accuracy, the aesthetic appeal of the manual printmaking processes (woodcut, wood-engraving, intaglio engraving, and lithography) is lacking in these process prints. On the contrary, among the earliest extant drawings, of a definitely botanical intention, we meet with wonderfully good figures, free from such features as would be now generally regarded as archaic.
During the seventeenth century, metal-engravings and wood-cuts existed side by side, but wood-engraving gradually declined, and was in great measure superseded by engraving on metal.
Probably no original wood-cuts of this school were produced after the close of the fifteenth century.
The origin of wood-engraving is closely connected with the early history of playing-card manufacture.
It is to be regretted that, in modern botanical drawings, the recognition of the paramount importance of the flower and fruit in classification has led to a comparative neglect of the organs of vegetation, especially those which exist underground. The single plant drawing, which illustrates it, is probably not of such great antiquity, however, as those of the ` Her-barium,' for its appearance suggests that it was probably executed from nature for this book, and not copied and recopied from one manuscript to another before it was engraved. The figures are much better than those of the ` Herbarium' of Apuleius, but at the same time they are, as a rule, formal and conventional, and often quite unrecognisable. Dr Payne considered some of them comparable to those of Brunfels in fidelity of drawing, though very inferior in wood-cutting.
That the conventional figures of the period did not satisfy the botanist is shown by some interesting remarks by Hieronymus at the conclusion of his work. But, in 1530, an entirely new era was inaugurated with the appearance of Brunfels' great work, the ` Herbarum viv? eicones,' in which a number of plants native to Germany, or commonly cultivated there, were drawn with a beauty and fidelity which have rarely been surpassed (Text-figs.


This impetus seems to have been due to the fact that many of the best artists, above all Albrecht Durer, began at that period to draw for wood-engraving, whereas in the fifteenth century the ablest men had shown a tendency to despise the craft and to hold aloof from it. In each of his coloured drawings of sods of turf, known as das grosse Rasenstuck, and das kleine Rasenstuck, a tangled group of growing plants is portrayed exactly as it occurred in nature, with a marvellous combination of artistic charm and scientific accuracy. It is strange to think that numerous editions of the ' Ortus Sanitatis' and similar books, with their crude and primitive wood-cuts, should have been published while such an artist as Leonardo da Vinci was at the zenith of his powers.
It is true that the style of engraving is different, and that, as Hatton has pointed out, Egenolph's flowing, easy, almost brush-like line is very distinct from that of Weiditz. Nevertheless, at least in the opinion of the present writer, the illustrations to Fuchs' herbals (` De historia stirpium,' 1542, and ` New Kreziterbuch,' 1543) represent the high-water mark of that type of botanical drawing which seeks to express the . 30, 31, 32, 58, 69, 70, 86, 87, 88) do not give an entirely just idea of their beauty, since the line employed in the original is so thin that it is ill-adapted to the reduction necessary here. It must not be forgotten, when discussing wood-cuts, that the artist, who drew upon the block for the engraver, was working under peculiar conditions. 30) is realised in a way that brings home to us the intrinsic beauty of this somewhat prosaic subject. He employed two draughtsmen, Heinrich Fullmaurer, who drew the plants from nature, and Albrecht Meyer, who copied the drawings on to the wood, and also an engraver, Veit Rudolf Speckle, who actually cut the blocks.
Fantin-Latour is a striking modern instance, and one has but to glance at the studies of Leonardo da Vinci (e.g. Vitus Rudolphus Specklin, by far the best engraver of Strasburg, has admirably copied the wonderful industry of the draughtsmen, and has with such excellent craft expressed in his engraving the features of each drawing, that he seems to have contended with the draughtsman for glory and victory. 55, Hieronymus Bock [or Tragus] undoubtedly made use of them in the second edition of his `Kreuter Buch' (1546) which was the next important, illustrated botanical work to appear after Fuchs' herbal.
Details such as the veins and hairs of the leaves are often elaborately worked out, while shading is much used, a considerable mastery of parallel lines being shown. Daydon Jackson has pointed out that the wood-cut of the Clematis, which first appeared in Dodoens' ` Pemptades' of 1583, reappears, either in identical form, or more or less accurately copied, in works by de l'Obel, de l'Ecluse, Gerard, Parkinson, Jean Bauhin, Chabr?us and Petiver.
92, Gesner's drawings were not published during his lifetime, but some of them were eventually produced by Camerarius, with the addition of figures of his own, to illustrate his ` Epitome Matthioli' of 1586 (Text-figs. 109 and i 1o, and the Glasswort, one of the best wood-cuts among the latter, is reproduced in Text-fig. They are poor in quality, and the innovation of representing a number of species in one large wood-cut is not very successful. In the majority of such cases, the source of the figures has already been indicated in Chapter IV. The wood-blocks of the two botanists last mentioned cannot be considered apart from one another ; from the scientific point of view they show a marked advance, in the introduction of enlarged sketches of the flowers and fruit, in addition to the habit drawings.
Plate X I X is a characteristic example, but only part of the original picture is here re-produced.
The stanza at the beginning of the last section seems to show some anxiety on the part of the author, lest the reader should have begun to weary over the lengthy occupation of colouring the plates. Paolo Boccone's Icones et Descriptiones' of 1674 was illustrated with copper-plates, some of which were remarkably subtle and delicate, while others were rather carelessly executed. As a result, there is a harmony about a book illustrated with wood-cuts which cannot, in the nature of things, be attained, when such different processes as printing from raised type, and from incised metal, are brought together in the same volume. The single plant drawing, which illustrates it, is probably not of such great antiquity, however, as those of the ` Her-barium,’ for its appearance suggests that it was probably executed from nature for this book, and not copied and recopied from one manuscript to another before it was engraved.
The figures are much better than those of the ` Herbarium’ of Apuleius, but at the same time they are, as a rule, formal and conventional, and often quite unrecognisable. 8o), for instance, is lamentably inferior to that in the `Herbarius zu Teutsch’ (Text-fig. It is true that the style of engraving is different, and that, as Hatton has pointed out, Egenolph’s flowing, easy, almost brush-like line is very distinct from that of Weiditz. The development of lithography in the early 1800s allowed many botanical artists to produce their own plates, which played no small role in this artistic burgeoning. With every print in a collection there is the pleasure of establishing the name and origin of the plant, the artist and printmaker, the type of printing technique and the purpose of the publication. The finest period of plant illustration was during the sixteenth century, when wood-engraving was at its zenith. In the second phase, on the other hand, which culminated, artistically, if not scientifically, in the sixteenth century, we find a renaissance of the art, due to a more direct study of nature. Playing-cards were at first coloured by means of stencil plates, and the same method, very naturally, came to be employed in connection with the wood-blocks used for book illustration. Brown appears to have been used for the animals, roots and flowers, and green for the leaves. In this figure the cross-hatching of white lines on black—the simplest possible device from the point of view of the wood-engraveris employed with good effect.
The illustration in question is a full-page wood-cut, showing a number of plants, growing in situ (Plate III). 65) is remarkable for its rhizome, on which the scars of the leaf bases are faithfully represented.
They are distinctly more realistic than even those of the Venetian edition of the Latin ` Herbarius,' to which we have just referred. He tells the reader that he must attend to the text rather than the figures, for the figures are nothing more than a feast for the eyes, and for the information of those who cannot read or write.
If internal evidence alone were available, it might plausibly be maintained that the engravings in the ' Ortus Sanitatis' and the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci were centuries apart. 66), for example, contrasts notably with that of the same subject from the Venetian ` Herbarius' (Text-fig. Regarded from the point of view of decorative book illustration, the beautiful drawings of the period under consideration sometimes failed to reach the standard set by earlier work.
If the drawings have any fault, it is perhaps to be found in the somewhat blank and unfinished look, occasionally produced when unshaded outline drawings are used on so large a scale.
It was impossible for him to be unmindful of the boundaries of the block, when these took the form, as it were, of miniature precipices under his hand.
Fuchs evidently delighted to honour his colleagues, for at the end of the book there are portraits of all three at work (Text-fig. An examination of the wood-cuts in Bock's herbal seems, however, to show that his illustrations have more claim to originality than is often supposed. The figures in earlier works, such as the ` Ortus Sanitatis,' are recalled in Kandel's dis-regard of the proportion between the size of the tree, and that of the leaves and fruits. 41, 42, 93, 94), but in some later editions, notably that which appeared at Venice in 1565, there are large illustrations which are reproduced on a reduced scale in Text-figs.
After this, Plantin took over the publication of Dodoens' books, and in his final collected works (` Stirpium historie pemptades sex,' 1583) the majority of the illustrations were original, and were carried out under the author's eye (Text-figs.
The actual blocks themselves appear to have been used for the last time when Johnson's edition of Gerard's herbal made its final appearance in London in 1636. Treviranus pointed out that one of their great merits lay in the selection of good, typical specimens as models. 51, appears also in the illustrations of a book on Simples, by Joannes Mesua, published in Venice in 1581. Plantin's set included those blocks which were engraved for the herbals of de I'Obel, de l'Ecluse, and the later works of Dodoens. In 1611 Paul Renaulme's 'Specimen Historia Plantarum' was published in Paris, but though this work was illustrated with good copper-plates, the effect was somewhat spoilt by the transparency of the paper. The soil on which the plants grow is often shown, and the horizon is placed very low, so that they stand up against the sky. Among slightly later works, we may refer to a quaint little Dutch herbal by Stephen Blankaart, and to the ' Paradisus Batavus' of Paul Hermann, both of which belong to the last decade of the century. As showing the complete revolution in the style of plant illustration in two hundred years, it is interesting to compare this drawing with that of the same subject in the German 'Herbarius' of 1485 (Text-fig. They are distinctly more realistic than even those of the Venetian edition of the Latin ` Herbarius,’ to which we have just referred. 66), for example, contrasts notably with that of the same subject from the Venetian ` Herbarius’ (Text-fig. I ATTENDED WALLACE, RIVERSIDE, AND WILSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS.AS WELL, GAVITT AND EDISON MIDDLE SCHOOLS. Practically every print will have a fascinating story attached to it, and the pleasure is of course in discovering these stories, while admiring the beauty of the object. They show no sign of having been drawn directly from nature, but look as if they were founded on previous work. Sometimes the essential character of the plant is seized, but the way in which it is expressed is curiously lacking in a sense of proportion, as in the case of Dracontea (Plate X V I), one of the Arum family.
3), in which the leaves are represented as if they had no organic continuity with the stem. These drawings are more ambitious than those in the original German issue, and, on the whole, the results are more naturalistic.
There is often a tendency, in the later work, to make the figures occupy the space in a more decorative fashion ; for instance, where the stalk in the original drawing is simply cut across obliquely at the base, we find in the ` Ortus Sanitatis' that its pointed end is continued into a conventional flourish (cf. In some cases there seems to have been an attempt at the convention, used so successfully by the Japanese, of darkening the underside of the leaf, but, sometimes, in the same figure, certain leaves are treated in this way, and others not. It is interesting to recall that the date 1530 is often taken, in the study of other arts (e.g. Killermann has been at pains to identify the genus and species of almost every plant represented, and has described the drawings as das erste Denkmal der Pflanzenukologie.
The artist's ambition was evidently limited to representing the specimen he had before him, whether it was typical or not. The very strong, black, velvety line of many of the fifteenth century wood-engravings, and the occasional use of solid black backgrounds (cf.
88) the fruit and a dissection of the inflorescence are represented, so that, botanically, the drawing reaches a high level. Plate XVII) to feel that the finest plant drawings can only be produced by a master hand, capable of achieving success on more ambitious lines.
Some of the drawings suggest that they may have been done from dried plants, and in others the treatment is over-crowded.
These figures are very much more botanical than those of any previous author ; in fact—as Hatton has pointed out in ` The Craftsman's Plant-Book '—they are beginning to become too botanical for the artist ! In certain other wood-cuts in d'Alechamps' herbal, solid black is used in an effective fashion.
55 shows a twig of Barberry, which is but a single item in one of these large illustrations. The details of the flowers and fruit are often shown separately, the figures, in this respect, being comparable with those of Gesner and Camerarius, though, owing to their small size, they do not convey so much botanical information. Two years later appeared the `Hortus Eystettensis,' by Basil Besler, an apothecary of Nuremberg. This convention seems to have been characteristic, not only of the plant drawings of the Dutch artists, but also of their landscapes. The latter, which is an Elzevir with very good copper-plates, was published after the author's death, and dedicated, by his widow, to Henry Compton, Bishop of London. The artist’s ambition was evidently limited to representing the specimen he had before him, whether it was typical or not. I GRADUATED FROM HAMMOND HIGH SCHOOL, IN THE CLASS OF 1981, AND FURTHER ATTENDED INDIANA UNIVERSITY (AT BLOOMINGTON) FROM AUGUST 1981 THRU DECEMBER 1984.
It dates back to the end of the fifth, or the beginning of the sixth century of the Christian era. They have a decorative rather than a naturalistic appearance ; it seems, indeed, as if the principle of decorative symmetry controlled the artist almost against his will. For instance, in the first cut labelled Vettonia, each of the lanceolate leaves is outlined continuously on the one side, but with a broken line on the other.
Ranunculus acris, the Meadow Buttercup, Viola odorata, the Sweet Violet, and Convallaria majalis, the Lily-of-the-Valley) are distinctly recognisable.
Some of the figures are wonderfully charming, and in their decorative effect recall the plant designs so often used in the Middle Ages to enrich the borders of illuminated manuscripts. The fern called Capillus Veneris, which is probably in-tended for the Maidenhair, is represented hanging from rocks over water, just as it does in Devonshire caves to-day (Text-fig. In some of the genre pictures, Noah's Ark trees are introduced, with crowns consisting entirely of parallel horizontal lines, decreasing in length from below upwards, so as to give a triangular form. In 1526, Durer carried out a beautiful series of plant drawings, among the most famous of which are those of the Columbine, and the Greater Celandine. In the former the artist has caught the exact look of the leaves and stalks, buoyed up by the water.
The notion had not then been grasped that the ideal botanical drawing avoids the peculiarities of any individual specimen, and seeks to portray the characters really typical of the species. It may be that Fuchs had in mind the possibility that the purchaser might wish to colour the work, and to fill in a certain amount of detail for himself.
It is not surprising, under these circumstances, that the artist who drew upon the block should often seem to have been obsessed by its rectangularity, and should have accommodated his drawing to its form in a way that was unnecessary and far from realistic, though sometimes very decorative. Fuchs' wood-cuts are nearly all original, but that of the White Waterlily appears to have been founded upon Brunfels' figure.
But, in spite of these defects, they form a markedly individual contribution, which is of great importance in the history of botanical illustration.
These wood-cuts resemble the smaller ones in character, but are more decorative in effect, and often remarkably fine.
A few (namely those marked in the Pemptades, Ex Codice Caesareo ) are copied from Juliana Anicia's manuscript of Dioscorides to which we have more than once referred. Camerarius often gives detailed analyses of the flowers and fruit on an enlarged scale (Text-fig.
In a later book of Colonna's, the ` Ekphrasis,' analyses of the floral parts are given in even greater detail than in the `Phytobasanos.' Colonna expressly mentions that he used wild plants as models wherever possible, because cultivation is apt to produce alterations in the form. In the paintings of Cuyp and Paul Potter, the sky-line is sometimes so low that it is seen between the legs of the cows and horses. It must be confessed that the fifteenth-century wood-cut, though far less detailed and painstaking, seizes the general character of the plant in a way that the seventeenth-century copper-plate somewhat misses. In some of the genre pictures, Noah’s Ark trees are introduced, with crowns consisting entirely of parallel horizontal lines, decreasing in length from below upwards, so as to give a triangular form. UPON LEAVING COLLEGE, I RELOCATED TO OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA WHERE I WORKED FOR HERTZ DATA CENTER CORPORATION AND LIBERTY NATIONAL. It is illustrated with brush drawings on a large scale, which in many cases are notably naturalistic, and often quite modern in appearance (Plates I, II, XV). These drawings are somewhat of the nature of diagrams by a draughtsman who generalized his know-ledge of the object. It has been suggested that the illustrations in the ` Herbarium' are possibly not wood-engravings, but rude cuts in metal, excavated after the manner of a wood-block. It is noticeable that, in two cases in which a rosette of radical leaves is represented, the centre of the rosette is filled in in black, upon which the leaf-stalks appear in white. We may, I think, safely conclude that the draughtsman knew quite well that he was not representing the plant as it was, and that he intentionally gave a conventional rendering, which did not profess to be more than an indication of certain distinctive features of the plant. The former is reproduced on a small scale in Plate XVI I ; it is scarcely possible to imagine a more perfect habit drawing of a plant. Throughout the work, the drawing seems to be of a slightly higher quality than the actual engraving; the lines are, to use the technical term, occasion-ally somewhat rotten or even broken. 81) give a great sense of richness, especially in combination with the black letter type, with which they harmonise so admirably.
The existing copies of this and other old herbals often have the figures painted, generally in a distressingly crude and heavy fashion. This is exemplified in the figure of the Earth-nut Pea, to which we have just referred and also in Text-figs.
Whereas in the work of Brunfels and Fuchs, the beautiful line of a single stalk is often the key-note of the whole drawing, in the work of Mattioli, the eye most frequently finds its satisfaction in the rich massing of foliage, fruit and flowers, suggestive of southern luxuriance. Some are also borrowed from the works of de l'Ecluse and de l'Obel, since Plantin was publisher to all three botanists, and the wood-blocks engraved for them were regarded as, to some extent, forming a common stock.
Trew published a collection of Gesner's drawings, many of which had never been seen before ; but even then, it proved impossible to separate the work of the two botanists with any completeness, since Gesner's drawings and blocks had passed through the hands of Camerarius, who had incorporated his own with them. 1o1, which is also interesting since two of the leaves bear the initials M and H, which were possibly those of the artist.
The decorative border, surrounding each of the figures reproduced, was not printed from the copper. In the succeeding year, 1614, a book was published which has been described, probably with justice, as containing some of the best copper-plate figures of plants ever produced.
This treatment was no doubt suggested by life in a flat country, but it was carried to such an extreme that the artist's eye-level must have been almost on the ground !
It has been suggested that the illustrations in the ` Herbarium’ are possibly not wood-engravings, but rude cuts in metal, excavated after the manner of a wood-block.
IN THE SPRING OF 1990, I RELOCATED TO BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA WHERE I WAS GAINFULLY EMPLOYED WITH UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, AT&T CORPORATION, AND THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE. The general habit of the plant is admirably expressed, and occasionally, as in the case of the Bean (Plate XV), the characters of the flowers and seed-vessels are well indicated.
In Dr Payne's own words, Such figures, passing through the hands of a hundred copyists, became more and more conventional, till they reached their last and most degraded form in the rude cuts of the Roman Herbarium, which represent not the infancy, but the old age of art.
Another delightful wood-cut, almost in the Japanese style, is that of an Iris growing at the margin of a stream, from which a graceful bird is drinking.
This attitude of the artist to his work, which is so different from that of the scientific draughtsman of the present day, is seen with great clearness in many of the drawings in medi?val manuscripts. Among the original figures many, as we have already indicated, represent purely mythical subjects.
A page bearing such illustrations is often more satisfying to the eye than one in which the desire to express the subtleties of plant form, in realistic fashion, has led to the use of a more delicate line. 89) show that the talents of the artists whom he employed were not confined to plant drawing, but were also strong in the direction of vigorous and able portraiture. 27), here reproduced, are markedly different from those of Fuchs, although, in the case of the first, Fuchs' wood-cut may have been used to some extent.
Many of his figures would require little modification to form the basis of a tapestry pattern.
In fact it is often difficult to decide to which author any given figure originally belonged.
A few wood-cuts however, which appeared as an appendix to Simler's Life of Gesner, are undoubtedly Gesner's own work. This was the ` Hortus Floridus' of Crispian de Passe, a member of a famous family of engravers.
BEFORE CONTRACTING HIV IN 1987 (AT JUST 24-YEARS OF AGE), MY LIFE WAS TOTALLY DIFFERENT AND NOT NECESSARILY IN A GOOD WAY.
Uncouth as they are, we may regard them with some respect, both as being the images of flowers that bloomed many centuries ago, and also as the last ripple of the receding tide of Classical Art.
For instance, a plant such as the Houseleek may be represented growing on the roof of a house—the plant being about three times the size of the building.
However, the primary object of the herbal illustrations was, after all, a scientific and not a decorative one, and, from this point of view, the gain in realism more than compensates for the loss in the harmonious balance of black and white. In the octavo edition of Fuchs' herbal published in 1545, small versions of the large wood-cuts appeared.
The writer has been told by an artist accustomed, in former years, to draw upon the wood for the engraver, that to avoid a rectangular effect required a distinct effort of will. The artist employed by Bock, as he himself tells us, was David Kandel, a young lad, the son of a burgher of Strasburg. This difficulty is enhanced by the fact that some were actually made for one and then used for another, before the work for which they had been originally destined was published. 100) in which the seedling of the Rose of Jericho is drawn side by side with the mature plant, and another (Text-fig. Like Parkinson's 'Paradisus Terrestris,' into which some of the figures are copied, it is more of the nature of a garden book than a herbal.
In the octavo edition of Fuchs’ herbal published in 1545, small versions of the large wood-cuts appeared. I WAS PARALYZED BY FEARS THAT WERE IMBIBED INTO MY SUBCONSCIOUS FROM GROWING UP AS A BLACK KID IN A DARK AMERICA.
No one would imagine that the artist was under the delusion that these proportions held good in nature.
I t is perhaps invidious to draw distinctions between the work of Fuchs and that of Brunfels, since they are both of such exquisite quality.


At the present day, when photographic methods of reproduction are almost exclusively used, the artist is no longer oppressively conscious of the exact outline of the space which his figure will occupy. INDEED, I HELD CERTAIN TRUTHS THAT WERE IMPOSED UPON ME, OR OTHERWISECATEGORICALLY ASSIGNED, BY VIRTUE OF MYLIFE-STYLE AND SEXUAL BEHAVIOR, TO BE SELF-EVIDENT. The little house was merely introduced in order to convey graphic information as to the habitat of the plant concerned, and the scale on which it was depicted was simply a matter of convenience. However, merely as an expression of personal opinion, the present writer must confess to feeling that there is a finer sense of power and freedom of handling about the illustrations in Fuchs' herbal than those of Brunfels.
For instance, the picture of an Oak tree includes, appropriately enough, a swine-herd with his swine, the Chestnut tree gives occasion for a hedgehog (Text-fig. However, merely as an expression of personal opinion, the present writer must confess to feeling that there is a finer sense of power and freedom of handling about the illustrations in Fuchs’ herbal than those of Brunfels. PRIDE AND POVERTY WERE MY SOLE INHERITANCE AND, TO BE SURE,MY PRIDE TESTIFIED AGAINST ME.I WAS SURELY VAIN ANDVOID OF CHARACTER AS MY EXISTENCE WAS OVERSHADOWED BY TRAUMA AND PAIN. 92) and, in another case, a monkey and several rabbits are introduced, one of the latter holding a shield bearing the artist's initials. CONSEQUENTLY, I ENGAGED IN BEHAVIORS THATCOULD ONLY BE EXPLAINED IN THE DARK OF NIGHT: RECKLESS DRINKING AND UNPROTECTED SEX WITH MEN. It would be as absurd to quarrel with the illustrations we have just described, on account of their lack of proportion, as to condemn grand opera because, in real life, men and women do not converse in song. MOREOVER, WHAT I CONSIDEREDRIGHT FOR ME DURING THAT TIME WAS NOT OPEN FORDISCUSSION OR JUSTIFICATION. The idea of naturalistic drawings, in which the size of the parts should be shown in their true relations, was of comparatively late growth. 29), is a highly imaginative production which clearly shows that neither the artist nor the author had ever seen the plant in question. IN ADAMANT DISREGARD, IF I COULD NOT BE SHOWN A BETTER WAY TO LIVE I DEMANDED TO BE LEFT ALONE: I AM WHAT I AM ! ULTIMATELY, MY MAXIM WOULD PROVE TO BE BLAMEWORTHY FOR I BROKE THAT VOW, NAY, MANY OTHERS WHILE LIVING A DOUBLE LIFE: PROFESSING TO BE ONE THING (STRAIGHT)DURING THE DAY AND ENGAGING IN THE OPPOSITE (GAY) DURING THE NIGHT. TO BE SURE, THERE WERE NO TALK SHOWS OR SUPPORT GROUPS(LIKE THE MANYTHAT ARE IN EXISTENCE TODAY) TO HELPPEOPLE DEAL WITH SUCHMATURE SUBJECT MATERIAL.CULTURALLY AND SOCIALLY, IT WASN'T COMMONPLACE TO AIRONE'S DIRTY LAUNDRY WITHIN THE SECULAR OR RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES.
THUS, I WAS RELEGATED TO KEEPING UP APPEARANCES AND PUSHING DOWN SECRETS WHICH WAS THE PROSCRIPTION DU JURE. MY PARENTS DIVORCED WHEN I WAS AROUND FOUR OR FIVE YEARS OLD AND, CONSEQUENTLY, THAT WAS THE DAY WHEN SIN ENTERED MY HOME.
NO LONGER DID I HAVE THE EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL SECURITY THAT WAS DEVOTED AND COMMITTED UNTO ME BY MY PARENTS.INDEED, THAT WAS THE END OFINNOCENCEFOR ME. NO LONGER DID I SEE MY FATHER DURING BEDTIMEAND AGAIN AT THE BREAKFAST TABLE EVERY MORNING; NORWOULD IEVER GET THE CHANCE TO INTERRUPT MY BROTHER'S HOMEWORK SESSIONS WITH MY PARENTS EVERYEVENINGBY INCESSANTLY TRYING TO ARRANGE MEANINGLESS CHARACTERS ONA PIECE OF PAPERDESPERATELY HOPING,JUST ONCE, I WOULD BE TOLD THAT I ACTUALLY COMPOSED A REAL WORD.
I WAS NO LONGER A CHILDWITHIN A NUCLEAR FAMILY AND I FOUND MY LIFE TO BE DIFFICULT AND FRUSTRATING.
CONSEQUENTLY, MY IDENTITY WITHIN THE STRUCTURE OFOUR BROKEN FAMILYWAS FOREVER CHANGED AND, SUDDENLY, THINGS WENT FROMBAD TO WORSE ECONOMICALLY AND STRUCTURALLY. THERE WERE MANY MORNINGS AND NIGHTS (MORE THAN I WOULD LIKE TO REMEMBER)I HADTO GO TO SCHOOL HUNGRY AND GO TO BED IN THE SAME FASHION.MOM DID THE BEST SHE COULD BUT THERE WAS NO WAY IN HELL SHE COULD SUPPORT THREE GROWING BOYSON HEROWN. I HAD ALWAYSLOOKED FORWARD TO GOING AWAY TOCOLLEGE BUTNOT FOR THERIGHT REASONS; MY PASSIONS HAD THE BETTER OF ME AND I SIMPLY COULD NOT MAKE SENSE OF THEM. IN RETROSPECT, I'MCERTAIN I WOULD HAVE FARED MUCH BETTER, ACADEMICALLY, AT AMUCH SMALLER UNIVERSITY HADI TAKEN THE FULL SCHOLARSHIP I WAS OFFERED AT ST. JOSEPH'S COLLEGE IN RENSSELAER, INDIANA UPON GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL.I CAN VIVIDLY REMEMBER DREAMING THROUGHOUT MY ADOLESCENCE FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO ATTEND INDIANA UNIVERSITY AT BLOOMINGTON. MY DUBIOUS PLAN WAS TO, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, LIVE MY OWN LIFE BY DOINGWHATEVER AND BECOMING WHOMEVER I CHOSE, WITHOUT FEAR OF RETRIBUTION. HOWEVER, THE LATTER WOULD PROVE TO BECOME MUCH MORE EXACTING THAN I COULD HAVE EVER IMAGINED.
BUT FOR MY GOOD LOOKS AND SENSE OF HUMOR, I WOULD HAVE HAD A MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TIME ATMAKING FRIENDS, AND LOVERS.
WITH THAT BEING UNDERSTOOD, I REALIZED VERY QUICKLY THAT EVEN AMONG A SOCIETY OF YOUTHFULLY ABANDONED TEENS, I LACKED THE MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT NECESSARY TO OVERCOME MY HAUNTINGLY, ACUTE DISPOSITION. EVEN MORE PETRIFYING, THE MORE I PRACTICED THE ART OF SOCIAL INTERCOURSE , BECOMING THE SOCIAL BUTTERFLY WAS NOT AN EASY UNDERTAKING. IN ADDITION TO ATTENDING COLLEGE WITH SEVERAL OF MY CLASSMATES FROM HAMMOND HIGH, I MANAGED TO ATTEND MANY INTEGRITY MEETINGS AND LAMBDA PARTIES OFF CAMPUS,AFTER HOURS. I CAME TOIDENTIFY AND BECOME ACCEPTEDAMONG THE PREPPY INDIVIDUALS THE MOST; PURELY FORAESTHETICAL REASONS.
HOWEVER, AFTER A FEW YEARS, EVEN ON A CAMPUS OF MORE THAN 40,000 STUDENTS, MY WORLDSBEGAN TO OVERLAP, AND ULTIMATELY COLLIDE: I WAS ABOUT TO BE OUTED ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. BEFORE THIS TIME, I FOUND MYSELF TO BE VERY HAPPY AND CONTENT AND, SUDDENLY, THAT HAPPINESS TURNED INTO FEAR AGAIN. I CAN REMEMBER ONE SUMMER DAY I WAS WORKING AT THE COLLEGE MALL, FOR SEARS PARTS AND SERVICE, AND ONE OF MY FRIENDS SHOWED UP ON MY JOB WITH A DOZEN ROSES IN RECOGNITION OF MY BIRTHDAY.
I COMPLETELY CAVED IN AND PANICKED UNDER THE PRESSUREDUE TO THE DISCOMFORT I FELT EMOTIONALLY AND MENTALLY.
I WOULDN'T HAVE KNOWN HOW TO HANDLE SUCH A BENEVOLENT GESTURE IN PRIVATE LET ALONE ASTORE FULL OF ONLOOKERS. I CAN ONLY EXPLAIN MY SEGREGATED SOCIAL INTERCOURSE AS SUCH: I SAW A PART OF MYSELF IN EVERY GROUP I ENCOUNTERED AND I GENUINELY GREW TO LOVE EACH ANDEVERY ONE THEM ON A PRIMITIVE LEVEL, AT BEST. BUT CLEARLY, NO EXPERIENCE WAS STRONG ENOUGH TO SATISFY MY INSATIABLE DESIRE FOR SALVATION.
OVER TIME, I WAS BEGINNING TO FORM OPINIONS ABOUT WHAT WORKED FOR OTHER PEOPLE AS I HAD LISTENED TOTHE GENESIS OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT FROM EVERY MALE AND FEMALE I ENCOUNTERED, SOCIALLY AND SEXUALLY, BUTINEEDED A PANACEAFOR MYMENTAL, EMOTIONAL, ANDSOCIAL DISABILITY.I WONDERED WHY SO MUCH ATTENTION AND CLASSIFICATION WAS GIVENTO A PERSON'S SEXUALITY? MANY INFLUENCES AND OBSERVANCES (MORAL AND IMMORAL) WILL HAVE A DIRECT IMPACT ON WHOM OR WHAT WE CHOOSE OR WILLINGLY DEFINE TO BEOUR CUSTOM, NORM, OR BELIEF SYSTEM.
FURTHER, WE MAY CHOOSE TO EXPRESS,CONSUMMATEOR AFFIRM THAT STYLE OF LIVINGOR BELIEF SYSTEM IN THE VARIOUS AND DIVERSE TYPES OF SOCIAL, POLITICAL, ECONOMICAL,AND SEXUALAFFILIATIONS WE ASSOCIATE OR DISASSOCIATE WITH THROUGHOUT THE EXISTENCE OFOUR LIVING YEARS ON EARTH. INDEED, IN TIMES OF TROUBLE AND DESPAIR, DREAMS ARE, INEVITABLY,NOTHING MORE THAN A PROLONGED NIGHTMARE. WELL, BECAUSE ITWAS OBVIOUS TO ME, EVEN AT THAT YOUNG AGE, THAT IT MADE THEM HAPPY, NAY,IT MADE ME FEELGOOD INSIDE KNOWING THATI DID SOMETHING THAT MADE THEM PROUD. WITH THAT BEING SAID, I WOULD LIKE TO DRAW ATTENTION TO ANOTHER REALM OF THOUGHT: OUR EARTHLY PLEASURES. THEY ARE APART OF LIFE, APART OF GROWING UP; GROWING INTO YOUR OWN PERSON OR COMING OF AGE MENTALLY, EMOTIONALLY, AND SEXUALLY.
WHAT I'VE DESCRIBED BEFORE YOU ISAN EXAMPLE FORM OF AMORAL DILEMMA:TWO SITUATIONS, EQUALLY IMPORTANT IN VALUE, BUT ONLY ONE CHOICE WILLSUFFICE. HISTORICALLY, IT IS NO SECRET THATOUT OF ALL THE IMMIGRANTSTHAT SET FOOT UPON AMERICAN SOILIN THE LAST FOUR CENTURIES, NONE HAVEBEEN CRUCIFIED AND DISINTEGRATED LIKE THEAFRICAN-AMERICANDESCENDANT AND HIS ANCESTOR: THE AFRICAN-NEGRO SLAVE. TO BE CERTAIN, THE NEGROES WERE THE HUMAN CHATTEL, PROPERTY, AND SUBJUGATED POPULOUSTHAT AMASSED THE FORTUNES AND WEALTH OF MANY KINGDOMS. THE GENESIS OF AMERICAN HISTORY CANNOT BEGIN WITHOUT THE RECITAL OF HOW THE NEGROES COLOR WAS THEIR BADGE OF SERVITUDE TO BE USED, BURNED,LYNCHED, AND RECYCLEDAT THE WILL OF THE ENGLISH IMPERIALISTSAND THE AMERICAN COLONIALISTS. THE HUMILIATION AND DEGRADATION OF THE NEGROE RACE WAS, TO BE SURE,THE EPITOME OF LOCAL AND NATIONAL NEWS (NORTH, EAST, WEST, AND SOUTH).HOW DOES THIS RELATE TOTHEMODERN-DAY CIVIL, SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, AND POLITICAL STRUGGLE OF THE RENAISSANCE AFRICAN-AMERICAN? TO HELP ANSWER THAT QUESTION, ONE WOULD ONLY NEED TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE POLITICAL CLIMATE THAT IS STILL PREVALENT AND PERMEATES THROUGHOUT AND WITHIN AMERICAN REPUBLICANSOCIETY: THE PATERNAL ORDER OF INDIVIDUALISM AND ENTITLEMENTS BY VIRTUE OF A SEPARATIST MENTALITY WITH REGARD TO THE UNEQUALDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH AND CAPITAL. DU BOIS, WHOM I CONSIDER TO BE THE GREATEST PROLIFIC BLACK SCHOLAR IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY, "FOR GENERATIONS THE POWERS THAT BE HAVE BEEN REARED AND TRAINED UNDER THE INDIVIDUALISTIC PHILOSPHY OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE AND THE LAISSEZ-FAIRE PHILOSOPHY OF ADAM SMITH AND, WHAT'S MORE, THEY ARE LOATH TO SEE AND LOATH TO ACKNOWLEDGE THIS PATENT FACT OF HUMAN HISTORY." INDEED, ONE WOULD ONLY NEED TO LOOK AT THE MANY CONGLOMERATIVE PRIVATE FINANCIAL INVESTORS AND INVESTMENTS THAT ARE COMMERCIALLYENACTED UNDER THE GUISE OF CORPORATIONS AND VARIOUSOTHER BUREAUCRATIC STRUCTURES OF SOCIAL INEQUALITY. TO BE SURE, IS IT NOT TRUE THAT PRIVATE INVESTORS AND CORPORATIONS ARE MORE WILLING TO RISK THEIR MONEY TO CAPTIVATENEGROES IN PRISONS AS OPPOSED TOLIBERATING THEM IN AN IVY LEAGUE SCHOOL?OR PERHAPS COMPROMISING THEIRPRIME-REAL ESTATE TODEVELOPMENT ADEQUATE HOUSING ANDWHOLE FOOD MARKETS RATHER THAN LIQUOR STORES ANDADULT SEX SHOPS. MOREOVER,IS IT NOT ALSO TRUE THAT OUR REPUBLICAN AND CONSERVATIVELAWMAKERS WOULD RATHER PAY FOR A NEGRO TO HAVE KIDNEY DIALYSIS THREE TO FOUR TIMES A WEEK AS OPPOSED TO ADEQUATE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE TO PREVENT SUCH DISEASE AND FINANCIAL BURDEN? IT IS ALSO NO SECRET THAT HYPERTENSION, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, AND DIABETES ARE EASILY PREVENTABLE DISEASES BROUGHT UPONBYA MARKED LACK OF ADEQUATE, AFFORDABLE AND ROUTINE HEALTH-CARE.
FURTHER, IS IT NOT ALSO TRUETHEIR ISADISPROPORTIONATE LACK OF NUTRITION COUNSELING AND OTHER MUCH NEEDEDSOCIAL AND REHABILITATIVE RESOURCES AVAILABLE FORMINORITIES PERPETUALLYSUBSISTING ON MEAGER ECONOMIC AND SOCIALRESOURCES?IS IT NOT ALSO TRUE THAT THERE ARE CERTAIN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES GIVEN TO CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS BY VIRTUE OF BIRTH, CLASS, AND WEALTH AND, CONVERSELY, THE SAME PRIVILEGES ARE DENIED TO THOSEWHOSELIVES ARE MARKED BY HARDSHIP, POVERTY, AND IGNORANCE? TO BE SURE, THE STRENGTH OF SUCHREPUBLICAN IDEALS ANDPATERNAL PHILOSOPHIES AREREFLECTIVE OF THE AFRICAN SLAVE-TRADE AND THELAISSEZ FAIRE LAWS THAT SUPPORTED IT. IN OTHER WORDS, THE VERYCAPITALIST SYSTEM THAT ISSERVING AS THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE OF THE U.S.
CONSTITUTION TODAY ISTHEDESCENDANTOF A RUTHLESS ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL THEOLOGY WHOSESOLE IDENTITY RESTS UPON AN ALL TOO FAMILIAR FOOTSTOOL: THE NEGRO. TO BE CERTAIN, WHAT MAKES ONE RACE BETTER THAN THE OTHER BUT ONE'S PERCEPTION OF THEMSELVES OR THE OTHER.
SUCHEDUCATIONAL POLICY WAS PREMEDITATED BY THE POWERS-THAT-BE ANDSUCHA CRIME IS ETERNALLY INJURIOUS TOA NEGRO'S SELF-ESTEEM,IDENTITY, ANDNATIONAL HERITAGE.
ARE WE TO BELIEVE THAT OUR RACE HAS NOTHING BETTER TO OFFER THAN THE ATTRIBUTES OF AN ENGLISHMAN OR CAUCASOID?
EUROPE HASN'T PRODUCED ANYTHING, WITH REGARD TO HUMAN ACCOMPLISHMENTS OR ENDEAVORS, THAT ASIA OR AFRICA HASN'T PRODUCED MORE PROFICIENTLY. TO BE CERTAIN, IN THE WORDS OF DU BOIS, " RUN THE GAMUT IF YOU WILL, AND LET US HAVE THE EUROPEANS WHO IN SOBER TRUTH OVER-MATCHNEFERTARI, MOHAMMED, RAMESES, AND ASKIA, CONFUCIUS, BUDDHA, AND JESUS CHRIST. IF WE COULD SCAN THE CALENDAR OF THOUSANDS OF LESSER MEN , IN LIKE COMPARISON, THE RESULT WOULD BE THE SAME; BUT WE CANNOT DO THIS BECAUSE OF THE DELIBERATELY EDUCATED IGNORANCE OF WHITE SCHOOLS BY WHICH THEY REMEMBER NAPOLEON AND SONNI ALI. THERE ARE NO POSSIBILITIES OF MAINTAININGBOTH YOUR SOUL AND THAT WHICH YOU DESIRE MOST IN LIFE: FAME, FORTUNE, SEX, WOMEN, MEN, IDOLS, MONEY, CARS, DRUGS, ETC.
AND IF YOUHAD COME UP TO ME AND ASKEDME IF I THOUGHT I WOULD GO TO HEAVENIF I WERE TO DIE I WOULD HAVE SAID YES!
MAINLY, BECAUSE IFELT I WAS A GOOD PERSONWITH A GOOD HEART AND ALSO I CONSIDERED MYSELF TO BEA KIND PERSON, FOR THE MOST PART. MOREOVER, IREFUSED TO BELIEVE THAT GOD WOULD ONLY PERMIT ONE WAY TO HEAVEN FORSUCH DOGMA SEEMED IRRATIONALAND UNSEEMLYAND THUS, I CONSIDERED SUCH DOCTRINE TANTAMOUNT TO THAT WHICH DEFIES EVERYLAW IN THE UNIVERSE:IT JUST DIDN'T ADD UP!
NOW IF YOU ARE LIKE ME WHEN I WAS COMING OF AGE, YOU PROBABLY FEEL THAT, IN LIGHT OF YOURCIRCUMSTANCES,GOD DOESN'T WANT YOU TO SUFFER ALL OF YOUR LIFE AND ESPECIALLY NOT AS A RESULT OF THE WAY YOU WERE BORN. FURTHER, IF GOD DIDN'T APPROVE OF YOUR LIFESTYLE THEN HE WOULDN'T HAVE MADE YOU THE WAY YOU ARE. I MEAN, EVERYRATIONAL HUMAN BEING KNOWS, FOOL OR OTHERWISE, THAT GOD DOES NOT MAKE ANYTHING WITHOUT A PURPOSE. WITH THAT BEING SAID, WE MUST CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING: TO WHAT END DOES THAT PURPOSE BELONG? I MEAN, IS IT FOR THE LIFE WE ARE LIVING NOW OR THE ONE THAT IS TO COME (YOU KNOW, THE ONE THATWE HAVE BEEN FOREWARNED ABOUT IN THE BIBLE )? GOD REVEALS THROUGH HIS HOLY WORD IN THE BOOK OF MATTHEW 25:31-46 (KJV) THATALL NATIONSWILL STAND BEFORE HIM ON JUDGEMENT DAY. SUCHA PROCLAMATION SHOULD GIVE ALL OF GOD'S CREATION REASON TO PAUSE AND REFLECT AS TOITS MANNER OF INTENT. FORIT IS A GIVEN THAT ALLHUMANS ARE CREATED AS RATIONAL BEINGSAND THUS, ABLE TO USE REASON AND UNDERSTANDING AS METHODS OF INSTRUCTION.THEREFORE, WE ARE ABLE TO DECIDE BETWEEN WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS WRONG GIVEN THE APPROPRIATE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION OR KNOWLEDGE TO HELP US MAKE A RATIONAL DECISION OR, IN OTHER WORDS, A DECISION THAT IS AGREEABLE TO REASON, OR ONE THAT MAKES SENSE.
FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU WERE BORN DURING AN ERA WHEN IT WASN'T COOL TO BE BLACK, GAY, OR EVEN A WOMEN THENIT WOULD BE PERFECTLY LOGICALTO SAY THAT SUCH A LIFE WOULD NOT BE GOVERNEDBY OR ACCORDING TO REASON. AND IT ISMY ESTIMATION THAT THE REASON THERE EXISTS SO MUCH INJUSTICE AND INEQUALITY IN THESE UNITED STATES, AND THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, IS BECAUSE OF LAWS AND GOVERNANCE THAT ARE CONTRARY TO GOD'S REASON OR LAWS OFLIBERTY AND JUSTICE.YOU SEE, DESPITE WHAT MANY OF US ARE TOLD OR LED TO BELIEVE, MANY OF THE POLICIES AND LAWS ENACTED IN THESE UNITED STATES AND, MOREOVER, THROUGHOUT THE REST OF THE WORLD ARE CONTRARY TOGOD'S LAW. I AM HAPPY TO SHARE WITH YOU THAT GOD DOES NOT WANT YOU TO PERISH FOR SOMETHING YOU DO NOTKNOW! HE LITERALLY WANTS TO REDEEM YOUR LIFE FROM DESTRUCTION (DEATH AND ETERNAL DAMNATION) AND, ON TOP OF THAT, CROWN YOU WITH LOVING KINDNESS AND TENDER MERCIES. GOD LOVES EVERYONE AND NOTHING PLEASES HIM MORE THAN TO RESCUE US FROM OUR DESPAIR AND DELIVER US INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT OF REVELATION.
IN THESECOND CHAPTER OF GENESIS, ADAM (THE FIRST MAN GOD CREATED WITH A LIVING SOUL) WAS GIVEN A PURPOSE BY GOD THAT WAS CLEARLY DEFINED: TO DRESS AND TEND TO THE GARDEN OF EDEN. HE HAD POWER AND AUTONOMY OVER EVERY BEAST OF THE FIELD AND FOWL OF THE AIR THAT GOD BROUGHT BEFORE HIM. IF WE ARE TO BE HONEST, BY COMPARISON, NOT MUCH HAS CHANGED TODAY WITH REGARD TO THE PLETHORA OF AFFLICTIONS THAT PLAGUE EVERY NATION GREAT OR SMALL, CIVILIZED OR UNCIVILIZED, DEVELOPED OR UNDEVELOPED. I'D LIKE TO REFERONCE AGAIN TOTHE SECOND CHAPTER OF GENESIS, BEFORELIFE AND DEATH WERE CONSUMMATED.
THEREFORE, WE CAN ASCERTAIN THAT GOD GAVE ADAM NECESSARY PROVISIONS TO ENDURE THAT WHICH COULD HARM HIM OR UTTERLY DESTROY LIFE AS HE KNEW IT.ADAM HAD PURPOSE, AFFIRMATION, KNOWLEDGE, POWER,AND AUTHORITY OVEREVERYTHING GOD CREATED BEFORE HIM.
HOWEVER, WHEN ADAM AND EVE WERE INTRODUCED TO DEATH, WHICHCAME BY WAY OF SEDUCTION EMPLOYED BY THE SERPENT, THEY NO LONGER HAD THE POWER TO ENDUREAN ENTITY THAT WAS DETERMINED TO KILL, STEAL, AND DESTROY: SATAN, THE DEVIL. IT IS THIS SAME AFFLICTED STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS THAT ALL OF HUMANITY (INCLUDING YOU AND I)ARE BORN INTO AND THAT IS BASICALLY WHAT IS DESCRIBED AS BEING BORN IN SIN.THEREFORE, WE AREBORN INTO A PHYSICAL STATE OF EXISTENCE THAT IS CONTRARY TO WHAT WEWERE CREATED FOR. NOW,I REALIZE HOW ARBITRARY THAT MAY SOUND AND I DON'T MEAN FOR THIS TEXT TO COME ACROSSAS SUCH WHICH IS WHY I AM SOWILLING TO USE MY LIFE AND LIFEEXPERIENCES AS LIVING TESTIMONY AND PROOF THAT GOD CAN BE TRUSTED AND HE IS NOT SOMEONE TO RUN FROM, RATHER HE IS THE VERYSOURCE WE ALL SHOULD RUN TO.AN ASTUTE OBSERVER MAY ASK AT THIS POINT, HOW DO I BEGIN TO APPROACH GOD? HOWEVER, BEFORE I BROACH THAT SUBJECT, I THINK IT IS EVEN MORE IMPRESSIVETO REVEAL HOW GOD MADE IT POSSIBLE AGAINFOR US TO BE ABLE TO APPROACH HIM. FURTHER, I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU CONSIDER THE CONCEPT THAT EVERY HUMANVESSEL HAS THREEPARTS:SPIRIT , SOUL, AND BODY.
5:23) BECAUSE IF YOU CANNOT CONCEDE OR COME TO TERMS WITH THE FACTTHAT YOUR BODY CONTAINS A SPIRIT AND A SOULTHENTHE LIKELIHOOD OF YOU UNDERSTANDING THE FOLLOWING DEMONSTRATION IS IMPROBABLE. AS WELL, I WOULD LIKE TOREFLECT, FOR A MOMENT, ON THE POSSIBILITY OF WHAT LIFE WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE FOR ADAM, EVE, AND THEIR OFFSPRING HAD THEY NOT BEEN DEBAUCHED.WE KNOW FROM THE THIRD CHAPTERINTHE BOOK OF GENESIS THAT THEY WERE NO LONGER ALLOWED TO EAT OFTHE SPIRITUAL FOOD PROVIDEDIN THE GARDEN OF EDEN. CLEARLY, THERE WERE CERTAIN FOODS BLESSED BY GOD AND CERTAIN FOODS THAT WERE NOTIN THEIR BEST INTERESTAND THUS, NOT BLESSED BY GOD.THEREFORE, WE CAN SURMIZE THAT THE FOOD THAT GOD PROVIDED FOR THEM TO EAT PROTECTED THEIR HEALTH.
IN THE SAME VEIN, WE CAN ALSO DETERMINE THAT BECAUSE THEY HAD NO NEED FOR CLOTHES THEY WERE NOT SUBJECTED TO ANY ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS SUCH AS TORNADOES, EARTHQUAKES, FLOODS,STORMS, ETC. CONTRARILY,THEIR OFFSPRING, CAIN ANDABEL, WOULD NEVER HAVE THE CHANCE OF BEING BORN WITHOUT SIN AS DEMONSTRATEDWHEN ONE BROTHERSPITEFULLYKILLS THE OTHER AS A RESULT OF THEIR PARENT'S SPIRITUAL SEPARATION (OR DEATH) AND PUNISHMENT FROM GOD. TO BE CLEAR, WE CAN AGREE THAT LIFE WOULD SEEM MOST UNNATURAL TO US TODAY IF THERE WERE NO SORROW, DEATH, ORDISEASEIN THE WORLD BECAUSE THAT'S ALL WE HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO SINCEBIRTH. I MEAN,SUCHMALEVOLENCE IS NOT RESPECTIVE OF ANY ONE GROUP OR CLASS OF INDIVIDUALS, WOULDN'T YOU AGREE?
CONTRARILY, FOR THE PAST TWO- THOUSAND YEARS GOD'S GRACE HAS NOT BEEN RESPECTIVE OF ANY ONE GROUP OR CLASS OF PEOPLE EITHER AND THAT'S WHAT MAKES HIS LOVE FOR USSO MAGNIFICENT. NOW I KNOW THAT MANY OF YOU MAY HAVE A HARD TIME UNDERSTANDING THE HOLY TRINITY: GOD THE FATHER, JESUS THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRITY. GOD IS UNIVERSALLY PROFESSED IN EVERY FORM OF CIVILIZATION THROUGH SOME TYPE OF RITUAL OR BELIEF SYSTEM. I MEAN PEOPLE WILL DO PRACTICALLY ANYTHING IN THE NAME OF GOD WHETHER IT'S COMMITTING ACTS OF MURDER OR STANDING UP FOR WHAT THEIR RIGHTS AND BELIEFS (BIRTH CONTROL, SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, AND HOMOSEXUALITY).
AND AS I HAVE DISCLOSED MANY TIMES BEFORE, I SPEAK FOR MYSELF FIRST, WHEN I SAY THAT I USED GOD TO DEFEND MY LIFESTYLE AND MY SEXUALPROCLIVITIES. CONVERSELY, THERE ARE MANY ORGANIZATIONS, FAITHS, AND CULTURES WHO PROCLAIM TO BE COMMISSIONED BY GOD TO COMMIT ACTS OF VIOLENCE. NONETHELESS, I'D LIKE TO EXPLORE SUCH AN ANOMALY,BRIEFLY, AS AN ATTEMPTTO FURTHER REVEAL THE SEVERITY OF GOD'S PLAN AND PURPOSE FOR REDEEMING MANKIND TO HIMSELF ONCE AGAIN.YOU SEE, JUST LIKE IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN, GOD HAS MADE IT POSSIBLE TODAYFOR EVERYONE (AND NOT JUST SOME)TO COMMUNICATE WITH HIM WITHOUT FEAR OF RETRIBUTION.
SIMPLY PUT, WHAT WAS CONSIDERED THE NORM IN THE OLD TESTAMENT NO LONGER APPLIES TO US TODAY AND, IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T BEEN TOLD, IT'S BEEN THAT WAY FOR THE PAST TWO-THOUSAND YEARS!
HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF THE EXPRESSION "IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DONE RIGHT YOU HAVE TO DO IT YOURSELF?" WELL, GOD DID JUST THAT.
HE SACRIFICED HIS ONE AND ONLY SON (FROM HEAVEN) SO THAT YOU AND I COULD INHERIT ETERNAL LIFE. HE COULD NOT USE ADAM AS AN APPROPRIATE PROPITIATION BECAUSE ADAM WAS NO LONGER PURE AND WITHOUT GUILE.
AS WE HAVE EXAMINED IN THE AFOREMENTIONED TEXT, DEATH HAD ALREADY CONQUEREDIN THE GARDEN OF EDEN AND, CONSEQUENTLY, FORCED MAN TO BE CAST AWAY FROM THE PROTECTION AND PRESENCE OF GOD.
THEREFORE, GODDEVISED A PLAN TOCONQUER DEATH AND,INDOING SO, RECONCILE ALL OFMANKINDTO HIMSELF.IN THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS GOD MAKES IT VERY CLEAR THAT MAN WAS CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GODAND INHIS IMAGE ALONE.
THIS IS WHY IT IS SO VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU UNDERSTAND WHY SALVATION IS SO CRITICAL, AND VERY PERSONAL. IT IS A ONE-ON-ONE RELATIONSHIP THAT IS INTIMATE AND TRANSFORMATIVE AND IT'S TOTALLY BETWEEN YOU AND GOD. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT SOMEONE ELSE SAYS ABOUT YOU, GOD DOES NOT FEEL THAT WAY AND HE HAS NEVER FELT THAT WAY. HE LOVES YOU AND HE WANTS WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU AND THE PLANS THAT HE IS WAITING TO REVEAL TO YOU ARE NOT TO HARM YOU AT ALL. REMEMBER, IT WAS NOT GOD WHO HARMED ADAM AND EVE BUT SATAN, DISGUISED AS A SERPENT, WHO SEDUCED THEM WITHOUT THEM EVEN KNOWING THEY WERE BEING TAKEN TO THE CLEANERS. AND WHILE MANY OF US MAY KNOW HOW MUCH GOD LOVEDAND PROTECTED THE ISRAELITES THROUGHOUT HISTORY, NOT MANY OF US SEEM TO KNOW THAT HE HAS MADE A NEW COVENANT WITH ALL MANKIND, THROUGH HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST.THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD AND, FURTHER, MANY MORE WHO DEFINITELY CONSIDER THE CRUCIFIXION OF THE CHRIST AS JUST ANOTHER FABLE.
I ADMIT THAT I USED TO BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE AND IF IT HADNOT BEEN FOR THEINCORRUPTIBLE,UNDENIABLEWORD OF GOD, I WOULD HAVE DIED AS ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE; UNSAVED AND THUS, RESIGNED TO HELL FOR ALL ETERNITY. THERE AREN'T EXACTLY AN OVERFLOW OF HIV POSITIVE EVANGELISTS, PREACHERS, TEACHERS, PASTORS, AND PROPHETS SPREADING THE "GOOD NEWS" GOSPEL.
MOREOVER, IT HAS BEEN MY EXPERIENCE THAT THERE AREN'T ENOUGH SINNERS SAVED BY GRACE WHO ARE FORTHRIGHT AND WILLING TO NOT BE ASHAMED TO STAND UP AND TELL SINNERS HOW THEY CAME TO RECEIVE GOD'S GRACE. THIS IS WHY IT IS MY FERVENT PRAYERTHAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THISOPPORTUNITY TO LEARN OF GOD'S GOODNESS AND HIS GRACE, MERCY, AND THEREDEMPTIVE BLOOD OF HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST, THAT WAS SHED FOR SOMEONE LIKE YOU TOO!
CONTRARY TO POPULAR OPINION,THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST IS GOING TO HAPPEN AND THE ONLY REASON IT HAS NOT THUS FAR IS BECAUSE THE GOSPEL HAS NOT BEENTOTALLY PREACHEDIN EVERY CORNER OF THEWORLD.CONSIDER THIS:HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHY, ALL OVER THE WORLD, IT IS SOEASY TO ACQUIRE A GUN OR MAKE A BOMB AND HOW EASY IT IS TO USE THEM BOTH AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION? WHILE,ON THE OTHER HAND, DID YOU KNOW THERE ARE ANTI-CHRISTIAN LAWS( AND COUNTRIES) THATCONTRIBUTE TO THE HARASSMENT, GENOCIDE, KILLINGS, AND IMPRISONMENT OF CHRISTIANS; PRECLUDING THEIR LIBERTIES ANDRIGHTS TO HAVE BIBLES OR ANY CHRISTIAN LITERATUREAT ALL? SOUNDS LIKE THERE'S ALOT MORE POWER IN THE BIBLE THANCOULD EVER BE CONTAINED INSIDE OF A FIREARM, EXPLOSIVE DEVICE, ORANUCLEARBOMB.
BY SWEARING,AND LYING, AND KILLING, AND STEALING, AND COMMITTING ADULTERY, THEY BREAKOUT, AND BLOOD TOUCHETH BLOOD." IT WAS A PERILOUS TIME IN THE LAND AS MAYHEM AND FOOLISHNESS WAS RUNNING AMUCK:FOR EXAMPLE, ISREAL FAILED TO OBEY, THE NATIONAL LEADERS FAILED TO TEACH GOD'S LAW TO THE PEOPLE, AND MANY OF GOD'S CHOSEN PEOPLE BEGAN SELLING THEIR BODIES IN PROSTITUTION!
UNFORTUNATELY, I ALSO KNOW THAT MANY OF YOU HAVE TRIED TO TAKE YOUR OWN LIVES AS A RESULT OF THE GUILT, SHAME, AND TURMOIL YOUR SEXUALITY OR HIV STATUS MAY HAVE CAUSED YOU. BUT I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG !GOD CARES FOR YOU AND HE IS GENUINELY CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH!
WELL, IT'S TRUE AND I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE THAT WHAT HE'S DONE FOR ME HE IS WAITING TO DO FOR YOU.
NOW AS I'VE STATED EARLIER, I AM GOING TO HELP DEMONSTRATE THE PROCESS OFBECOMING A CHRISTIAN:(1)HOW TO APPROACH GOD? OF COURSE, NOT EVERY ONE IS MEANT TO RECEIVE EVERYTHING AT THE SAME TIME SO, IF YOU DO NOT GRASP SOMETHING AT FIRST GLANCE, DO NOT WORRY THERE WILL BE PLENTY OF ROOM FOR REVIEW. TO BE CLEAR, TO BE CHRISTIAN MEANS TO BE A SINNER SAVED BY THE GRACE OF GOD AND NONE OTHER. WHAT I AM TRYING TO GET YOU TO SEE IS THAT WE ARE ALL BORN INTO SIN AND SIN IS NO RESPECTOR OF PERSON, WEALTH, STATUS, SEXUALITY,GENDER, ETC. IF YOU HAVE NOT CONFESSED JESUS AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR, THEN YOU ARE A SINNER.THUS, YOU ARE NOT A SINNER BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU'VE DONE OR WHO YOU ARE NOW, YOU ARE A SINNER BECAUSE THAT'S HOW YOU ANDIWERE BORN! WITH THAT SAID, I AM VERY GRATEFUL TO KNOW THAT MYSELF,MY PARENTS,AND MY SISTER HAVE A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST.
AND I HAVE FAITH THATMY BROTHER ANDOTHERS IN THE FAMILY, THAT ARE NOT SAVED YET, WILL COME AROUND BECAUSE GOD IS PATIENT AND HE IS KIND.
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO IS RIGHT AND WHO ISWRONG, WE ARE ALL BORN INTO SIN AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, WE ARE ALL REDEEMABLE IN GOD'S EYES, THROUGH HIS SON THE CHRIST. BELIEVE ME, EVEN SATANKNOWS WHAT IS COMING AND IF YOU ARE NOT SAVED, SATAN'S GLORY IS IN THE FACT THATYOU DO NOT KNOWTHE WRATH THAT IS COMING!
TAKE MY YOKE UPON YOU, AND LEARN OF ME,FOR I AM MEEK AND LOWLY IN HEART: ANDYE SHALL FIND REST UNTO YOUR SOULS. WELL, BECAUSE NOT EVERYONE WOULD BE RICH ENOUGH,PERFECT ENOUGH, MASCULINE ENOUGH, BUTCH ENOUGH, CLEAN ENOUGH, DESERVING ENOUGH, BEAUTIFUL ENOUGH, SMART ENOUGH, POWERFUL ENOUGH, INFLUENTIAL ENOUGH, SEXY ENOUGH, WHITE ENOUGH, BLACK ENOUGH, ETC.
IN RETROSPECT, I'MCERTAIN I WOULD HAVE FARED MUCH BETTER, ACADEMICALLY, AT AMUCH SMALLER UNIVERSITY HADI TAKEN THE FULL SCHOLARSHIP I WAS OFFERED AT ST. I WOULDN'T HAVE KNOWN HOW TO HANDLE SUCH A BENEVOLENT GESTURE IN PRIVATE LET ALONE ASTORE FULL OF ONLOOKERS.
OVER TIME, I WAS BEGINNING TO FORM OPINIONS ABOUT WHAT WORKED FOR OTHER PEOPLE AS I HAD LISTENED TOTHE GENESIS OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT FROM EVERY MALE AND FEMALE I ENCOUNTERED, SOCIALLY AND SEXUALLY, BUTINEEDED A PANACEAFOR MYMENTAL, EMOTIONAL, ANDSOCIAL DISABILITY.I WONDERED WHY SO MUCH ATTENTION AND CLASSIFICATION WAS GIVENTO A PERSON'S SEXUALITY?



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