The Voyage of Life

March 8, 2009

John 16:33; Psalm 88:3; Psalm 138:7; Ecclesiastes 12:1-7; Ephesians 6:12; John 14:1; 1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6-7

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In Cole’s third painting entitled, Manhood (we should probably call it “Adulthood”), the scene experiences the most stark changes as the landscape is now rugged and rocky – storm clouds fill the sky. Before the person in the boat, who is now a man, is a steep, swollen stream that, as Cole describes, “rushes furiously down a dark ravine.” The man is shown in a kneeling position, hands folded with a gaze up toward heaven, with a look of absolute desperation on his face. He is pleading to God for help and mercy in his time of need. The Guardian Spirit is now much further off – still watching over this voyager, but not nearly as close. There are also demonic faces formed in the clouds, looming over this frightened man. It is a scene of trouble, intensity, desperation and, finally, hope (for far off the ocean of eternity is finally within view).

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