Sunday, January 27, 2013

Anna Karenina: Part I, Chapter 10

Recently I was skimming through the first part of Anna Karenina while researching another topic and I came upon a couple of great quotes for this series which I had underlined during my first read. Somehow I forgot to include them in my list of Bible references.

As Anna Karenina opens we find that Stephan Arkadyevich has committed adultery. His wife, Dolly, has just found out about it. As to be expected, Dolly is crushed. The future of Stephan and Dolly's marriage hangs in the balance as Dolly grieves.

While pondering his dilemma, Stephan has a discussion with his old friend Konstantin Levin:

". . . you've not many sins on your conscience." [said Stephan].
"Alas! all the same," said Levin, 'when with loathing I go over my life, I shudder and curse and bitterly complain . . .' Yes." 
"What can one do? The world's made like that," said Stephan Arkadyevich. 
"The one comfort is like that prayer which I have always liked'Forgive me not according to my unworthiness, but according to Thy loving kindness.That's the only way she can forgive me."

 'Forgive me not according to my unworthiness, but according to Thy loving kindness.' 

This is taken from Psalm 51, which is a penitential psalm. It is used frequently in various liturgical traditions. Lady Jane Grey recited it before she was beheaded in 1554 at the Tower of London.

The introductory text to it is as follows:
 A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

When King David committed adultery with Bathsheba she conceived a child. To cover his tracks, David arranged to have Bathsheba's husband, Uriah, sent to fight on the front lines, where he was soon killed in battle. Later, the prophet Nathan rebuked David for his actions and foretold the consequence of David's sins. David repented and said, "I have sinned against the Lord."

Psalm 51

51 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

The story of Nathan's visit to King David in found in II Samuel 12.

*All Scripture quotes are from the King James Version unless otherwise stated.

(Source: BibleGateway. Image Source: WikiPaintings)

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