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continually enlarging the boundaries of what is already secured. This can be done only by following the old rule,“ to keep what you have, and get what you can."

But it may be said that this state of mind is at least innocent, if it is not commendable. It may, perhaps, seem so to those who have not made it the subject of much reflection; but it is certain that they are mistaken. For surely no passion or affection of the mind which is not under the control of the Divine law, which wanders restlessly about, or stands idle in the market-place, waiting for some new gratification that can be obtained without the price of labor, — which is applied to no useful purpose, and produces no valuable results, — can be altogether innocent. But it is, in truth, worse than it at first seems. It is not merely negatively sinful, it is a positive evil, and produces unspeakable mischief in the Church and in the world. When the desire for perpetual change in religion has become the ruling passion, it places a man in a false relation to everything within and without. It gives a wrong direction and character to the thoughts. It hinders self-examination, self-knowledge, and self-culture. It interrupts the proper business of religion. It produces uncertainty and instability of moral character, and leaves the soul without strength or consolation amidst the contradictions of the world, the sudden changes of this stormy life, and the struggles of the last hour. It turns the church into a debating society; and makes the intercourse of those who should be of the same mind and judgment, painful and unedifying. It exerts a fatal

a influence upon personal piety, and upon all the relations of life. It fills the church and the state with idle, ignorant, gossipping, and noisy declaimers, who desire to be teachers of the law, while they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. Under the influence of such a principle, a man's religion can have no foundation nor symmetry, his graces no root, his hopes no sanotion, his professions no sincerity, his religious character no value. He loses the substance of truth in his vain pursuit of shadows. He profanes the temple of God by his unhallowed curiosity; and makes a Christian profession contemptible by his foolish inconsistency. What, then, is the moral character of a state of mind which produces all these dreadful results ?

May all our readers be delivered from this evil principle, this weakness, not of the flesh, but of the spirit, — this source of



failure in duty, of feebleness in the hour of trial, of cowardice and terror in death. And to fortify themselves against all temptations to cherish this spirit, let them remember, that although in art, in science, in practical life, new and important truths may be brought to light from day to day; yet in religion, everything of highest value to man is old, and that novelty is a presumptive evidence of falsehood. The Locrians entertained such a dread of change, that every one who proposed a new law was compelled to do so with a halter about his neck, that if his proposition were rejected, he might be immediately hung. If such a custom could enforced among us, there would be fewer novelties in the science of religion! What we want with respect to the Bible, which is the source of all our religious knowledge, is, as John Norton once said, not " new light, but new sight," -- not additional revelations, but a clearer and deeper knowledge of the written Werd,

not the learned speculations of uninspired men, but a better understanding of the testimony of the first witnesses, whom God sent forth with miraculous powers to spread his Word among the nations. How many old and salutary truths, beautiful as the stars, and enduring as eternity, invite our study and promise high intellectual, as well as spiritual, delight; while we go about with gaping curiosity, asking of all we meet: “Who will shew us any good ? ” It is one of the devil's masterpieces and chief deceiving tricks, says Luther, to draw us away from the Bible, and to make us think that there is anything of greater importance than the hearing, reading, and meditating upon God's Word, wherein all our welfare and salvation, both temporal and eternal, consist. This book contains a wisdom that no man is able fully to comprehend. We must ever remain learners here, for we cannot fathom a single word of God. We have only the first fruits ; and when we fancy that all is exhausted, we have scarcely mastered the simplest rudiments of the divine oracles.

Our first care, then, should be to understand as fully as possible the holy and venerable Book of Life ; and everything is an impertinence which renders us indifferent to its claims, or forgetful of its teachings. The speculations of learned men may have their value. The views which a high and advancing culture, with the aid of an untrammelled press, is continually spreading before us, may demand a passing notice; but should never be regarded as of sufficient importance to interrupt for a day, our diligent study of God's Word, or to awaken a doubt of the absolute sufficiency of its teaching, for all the moral and spiritual wants of mankind. The religion of the Bible, by which alone we can be rendered happy in this world, or prepared for the world to come, consists, not in new revelations, new doctrines, new theories, - not in ascending up into heaven to bring Christ down, nor in descending into the deep, to bring Christ up from the dead, nor in going across the sea to find something of which our philosophy has never dreamed ;— not in searching into those hidden things which God has kept in his own power, — but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; in meek and grateful obedience to the system of doctrine which we have heard from the beginning; in holy love to God, and in justice, faithfulness, and charity to man; in the steady and persevering discharge of the ever-recurring duties of our Christian calling; in patient hope, and in deep communion with the powers of the world to come ; in daily preparation for the hour which shall separate us from earth, and reveal the glories and the terrors of the future state. He that has the comforts and the excitements of such a religion, will feel no want of those poor novelties, by which the lovers of pleasure are cheated of truth and peace ; nor at last be compelled to exclaim in bitterness of soul: “How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, por inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!”


The Protestant Church dispenses wi h the fine arts in her worship, and even seems to despise them. She has no architecture, no sculpture, no painting. The Roman Church delights to establish this fact, and to expatiate on it; she even affects to be scandalized by it. We are aware, indeed, that she has her reasons for seeking, without the limits of her own community, occasions of scandal, and for searching after the mote which is in our eye. But a great number of Protestants make common cause with her upon the point in question, by maintaining the principle that worship ought not to be deprived of any magnificence which art can bestow upon it; and by seeking, in the circumstances of our history, the apologies for our artistic poverty ; thus refusing to attribute it to a permanent cause. No one appears to have admitted this to be a peculiar feature of Protestantism, nor to have accepted the challenge of our adversaries. Is it not time, then, that the subject be taken up ?

* Translated from “ La Reformation,” for the Observatory.

Among all men, and generally in proportion to their intellectual development, we find, besides the five senses which do not distinguish them from the animal races, other senses; or, to speak with more precision, a superior employment of these senses; other faculties, other wants, and particularly that of the beautiful, in several departments. However thick the veil of matter, there are those privileged beings to whom it is not completely impenetrable; and who know how to lift its folds, so far as to enable us to guess what may

be beneath. But that is what we mean by art; a manifestation of the spiritual world. In proportion as the sensuous arrangement more faithfully exhibits the outlines of the idea, in proportion as the execution shall more minutely set the thought in relief, so much the more will it approach the beautiful. This sensuous manifestation of the spiritual world will never be to man an adequate representation of its object; for even when the Creator, the Supreme Artist, presents it to us, it is only by meditating on what is disclosed to the eye from a dull mirror, that wo discover in his works, his invisible perfections, his eternal power and godhead. Yet this creation has had its existence, in order that we might, in some measure, contemplate God. It is by tho study of nature, that the Saviour often guides us, he who knew more perfectly than any other, the work of the Father. The spiritual world has, then, a point of contact with the senses; a side by which it may be seized, and fixed in the world of the visible. God has manifested himself, — God who is spirit; the Word has become flesh, and by this means we have been enabled to contemplate his glory; the fulness of the godhead has dwelt bodily in Jesus Christ.

After having ascended to the contemplation of our adorable and beloved Saviour, may we return, without any transition, to the idea of art? We do so without hesitation, for, in fact, our train of thought is not interrupted by this contemplation; it rather reposes in it, and comes forth from it sanctified. It is from the


Christian point of view that we contemplate Art. The manifestation of eternal beauty, we have said, is very imperfect for imperfect men, being exhibited here only in the finite; it will become complete only to glorified man, when he shall know as he is known, - when, out of the flesh, he shall see God as he is. Still, it is, in man's present state, the link which unites the sensible to the spiritual world.

God has revealed himself by language, in the Word; by means of form, in Jesus Christ; and by mechanism, in creation. He has reflected himself, then, in the Word, from eternity; but from the beginning to the end of time, he manifests himself by means of form. To this twofold revelation unite themselves, more or less legitimately, the two great branches of art, the one spiritual, the other formal or material; the first embracing eloquence, poetry, and music; the second including architecture, sculpture, and painting; the members of these two series respectively corresponding to each other. The radical distinction between these two branches is essential to the understanding of Art; and the confounding them is the source of all the current errors on this subject. The first derives its inspirations from a region which lies beyond the sensible world, which controls it, and transcends all its limits ; for it to copy, would be to deny itself. The other on the contrary, must confine itself to imitation. As soon as its ideal passes over the boundaries of the sensible world, it lands in deformity and absurdity.

Eloquence, poetry, and music, directly and immediately exalt the thoughts. They are always adapted to Christian worship.

Architecture, sculpture, and painting, arrest and retain the thoughts in the sensible world. They are strangers to Christian worship, for which they furnish no fulcrum, but, on the contrary, a mass to be itself lifted up.

Let us compare in the light of this distinction, music and painting, for example. In music, the execution may be well adapted to the thought, and transmit it in its fulness. In painting, the execution remains always infinitely below the conception ; mediocrity alone would dispute this fact, which is the despair of all the great masters. The principle of this difference, is, that in painting we are reduced to imitating. And what do we imitate ? A world fallen and corruptible, in which the breath of God alone can preserve life and majesty. Music, on the contrary, does not VOL. III.


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