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legitimate area—to set sect against it is fearful to think of the letting sect, and all against the Established them loose upon each other. NeverChurch-street against street, and theless, there are the wildest schemes neighbour against neighbour; nay, to afloat. There are absurd religiocarry discord into every home. There political economists, with rationalism will be, where there is liberty, super- in their heads, and with hearts unocstitions many; let every one strive cupied by faith, who would amalgato keep them all within the rules of mate incongruities. It is a part of charity. We talk of superstition-or their politics that the one House of of the plural, superstitions, as dying Parliament is supreme, and should out, and of the age of reason as effect- be the sole maker of the religion of ing the change: it is said with little the country, acknowledging for it no thought. Where one dies, another, or other origin ; and they would have rather many more, spring up. Ra- the thing made a hotch-potch, from tionalism itself is only an arrogant which everyone should have the superstition, false in what it denies liberty of extracting and discarding and what it believes. The root of what his neighbour has thrown in; reason was corrupted at the Fall, or so that the residue shall be a caput all men would have a like ratiocina. mortuum-neither having nor giving tion. The mysterious union of the life. We fear many bave been drawn will and the understanding has sub- into this net, prepared against a church jected the latter to an erring agent. in any shape, under the present tempIf there be no other obliquity to per- tation of opposing Popery. But is vert the judgment, pride will be suffi- that a safe way to oppose it? Would cient. They speak very absurdly, not such a Parliament as they would who in this country, where civil and re- assemble, rather mete out its measure ligious liberty is an idol of worship, talk of indifference to all forms of religion, of smoothing down the established re- and, by non-interference, put Popery ligion to suit all consciences. The in a position to defend its own, and wider you open the doors, the fewer something more? But the real fact would enter-obstinacy would find a is, these experimentalists mean nopleasure, and make it a merit to ep thing less than that every religious out; and thus gratify pride — pride element should have a claim. Their which supplies food for envy, and first aim would be exclusion. All selects objects for its natural enmity. might deliberate upon the manufacIt is well remarked by Swift, “ Are ture of the new commodity, excepting party and faction rooted in men's those who might be really in earnest minds no deeper than phrases borrowed with regard to any religion. The refrom religion, or founded on no firmer modelling committee would be furprinciples ? And is our language so nished with lists of proscription; and poor that we cannot find other terms very much of their time would be to express them? Are envy, pride, taken up with discussing names of avarice, and ambition such ill nomen- persons and principles, known only clators that it cannot furnish appella- by conjecture and misrepresentation. tions for their owners ? "
We think of what Selden said of the In a complicated state of society Assembly of Divines. When Parliasuch as ours, with such diverse avoca- ment were making a question whether tions—such ever-shiftingengagements, they had best admit Bishop Usher to interests, and businesses- there must the Assembly, said Selden—" They of necessity be the largest field for the had as good inquire whether they had exercise of all the passions: there will best admit Inigo Jones, the king's consequently be infinite diversities of architect, to the company of mouseopinions, and from one social charac- trap makers." There is not much to ter these will necessarily form sects be said for that old Assembly of Diboth in religion and politics; and these vines. Theirs was the superstition will contain, more or less, dangerous of a rancorous bigotry—the superstisuperstitions and bigotries. This is tion of a new one would be an irrelithe bellua multorum capitum. We gious indifference. Remove national contemplate with amusement the distinctive religion, open our churches whole menagerie properly caged, but alike to all-which would be the end, if such parliamentary appeals had any think they are crushing Romanism. success — and, very shortly, unre- Having the strongest dislike to Postrained Popery would flourish; for pery-seeing what it does in every the propensity of a people educated country where it is really dominant, without a religious bias would be sure and its unlicensed infamy (and we to fasten upon superstitions, and cannot use too strong a word) in Irewould find too many of them cun- land—while we would, as far as we ningly devised, courting, tempting can legitimately act, protect even that their acceptance on every side. country from its aggression and mis
It is not wise to undervalue an chievous influence, we are persuaded enemy, whose well-organised camp it that it will never resume the position is not easy to break up, and who is it aims to recover amongst us; but ever ready to make aggressions when we are persuaded also that we have he yourselves disorganised. a more dangerous enemy to deal with, Throw as much ridicule as you will — undermining daily the foundations of and there is cause for a great deal - the people's faith, who would first upon their fables, their superstitions Germanise our Church, with the ulteinnumerable ; you may be sure they rior view of annihilating it. We proare not invented to catch you, but test against any alliance with theseothers. They have some appropriate “non defensoribus istis tempus eget.” to all characters, and will so put them We said, in the commencement of that every inquirer shall appear to be these remarks, that a classification of making a discreet choice. If you superstitions, according to their moral charge them with virtually setting effects, might be not without use. aside the atonement, they will dený In some degree it might be a gauge of it with a fervour not to be exceeded the truth that is in them. There may in any religionists; and they will be a moral, where there is seemingly and with truth, remind you that the the complete absence of a religious Church of England has not repudiated truth. We say, with a caution, seemthem-has not unchurched them- ingly, for we would not entirely sepaand that because of the essential doc- rate moral from religious truth-in trines which it is admitted they retain; some mysterious way or other they whereas the allied army in array are allied, be it by instinct or by fact against them is made up of believers —for moral good is the will and the and unbelievers, and have not those commandment of our Creator. Let essential doctrines in common which not the reader, then, be surprised if should be the strength of religious there is some beauty, some amelioratbodies. We are not without fear of ing virtue to be found in superstitions, being misunderstood, for we see which both reason and religious knowaround us bigotries and superstitions ledge reject. We are led to these as strong as any to be found in Ro- reflections by our purpose, which was manism, and all meeting in one inju- to review Mrs Jameson's Legends of dicious hostility. All will be ready the Madonna. We have already, in to cry out, “ There is an enemy in other numbers of Maga, noticed her the camp!” if a word be said upon the Poetry of Sacred and Legendary Art, exercise of charity and discretion. and her Monastic Orders. The “ LeOur fears are lest Romanism get gends of the Madonna" is a continuastrength from our weakness. Papists tion of the series. These subjects are astute-know when to lie by, and have their two phases; they present when to attack. Is not their present poetry, sentiment, and true devotion. caution very observable? They know In another point of view, there is their strong and their weak defenders, fable meriting all contempt, divine and keep them, each for their use, truths deteriorated, corrupted – in under orders to move when and fact, there is Popery. We have where they can best serve their cause. spoken freely as to both aspects, not But far different is it with us—there forgetting, at the same time, that the is no restriction; the weak and the real object of the authoress of these unwise rush to the platform and the treatises was art, not religious discustheatre, and, in their indiscriminate sion. In viewing what these various vehemence, injure religion when they legends have done for art, it would have been impossible to deny that too much to offend, and not unfregenius was under the influence of true quently to disgust, in early represenpiety—that Christianity shed a lustre tations of Christian subjects. The over art, more beautiful than that of legends, too, of the age, however wild boasted antiquity. We favourably and fabulous, took their colour from contrasted the best works of heathen the gloom of persecuting troublous times with those of the revival of art times. Wrong and injury, sorrow through Christianity. Ancient art and persecution, were a real history; was the idolatry, if it may be so and, from these, superstitions took called, of human beauty-the revival their cast, and were repulsive. When took in ideas of the real divine. The anchorites sought refuge in wilderone was of a material, a dying beauty Desses, they did but change the fears -the other, of a spiritualised mate of the world for the fears of demon rial, dying indeed, and yet immortal. persecutors. They were visited by The one gratified the pride of the eye distempered visions. Their asceti-the other engaged the affections, and cism awed all but themselves. The gave aspirations that looked heaven- ignorant believed them to be holy ward. As subjects of art, taking art men, and gifted with miraculous as nothing but as it improves and power. Their most fervid dreams touches the feelings, what were the were deemed realities ;-nor is this muses and the graces of the heathen to surprising, for the contact with felthe Faith, Hope, and Charity of the low-beings, and daily intercourse, can Christian world! The divine of Gre- alone satisfactorily separate the real cian art was but a grand repose, and the visionary. Legends were majestic man deified. Its loveliness multiplied, and, in their multiplicawas human. Life it had, and life it tion, changed their character with the was. It feared to approach the con- changes of times; and so were the fines which separate life and death. superstitions which they multiplied Even the sublime of mystery could also. When the institution of relinot tempt it into that night gloom. gion became more firmly established, If it touched suffering, it was to ex- the gloom of former times gave way. hibit but one human virtue—courage. Asceticism, though still lingering, was It knew not the fortitude, mixed with the exception, not the rule. The all tenderness, of faith—the divine monastic orders arose, whose piety patience of suffering—the exaltation, and earnestness included a sense of even above the masculine, of feminine the duties of benevolence. They revirtues. The whole Theogony of vived learning ; they cultivated art ; Hesiod embodied, could offer nothing invented or recovered what was most in grandeur to compare with angels needful for man. As work was with and archangels in their worship and them a religious duty, they taught by their ministration; nor, in the loveli- practice, improved agriculture, and ness of their best embodied attributes, made wastes a smiling and productive to the new loveliness and sublime land. The love of the beautiful-a humility. We have, indeed, endea- part of the love of the good—was revoured to show that the old art rose covered also, and became a part of from the manifold corruptions of a Christianity. It was first visible in creed once purer, and we know not architecture ; and how great, how how the revelations passed from na- sublime it was, we still have proofs tion to nation. Its corruption de- before us; though, as the authors scended, till it reached the deification worked for neither fame nor profit, of the human form. Christianity but the glory of God, they have not changed the object of art — human left us records of their names. Learnpride it repudiated; and it was long ing was advanced by them, and preere humility was raised to the dignity served as it is to this day. They of true sentiment; and even, when ameliorated the severities of the times intensity of feeling became the artist's by their charity and piety; and, in sole purpose-partly from neglect of the midst of a world of turbulence, art itself, and loss of its power, and begat, by the sanctity of their lives, partly from an overstrained contempt a reverence to themselves, and a saluof beauty merely human—there was tary awe for the religion which they taaght. The age of monachism was as they were first read, so they conan important era in human culture. tinued to be received. It is true, as They did everything-worked every- the religious fervour deteriorated, thing. The monks of the Benedictine if the symbolic character was reorders were the earliest artists of the tained, it was only slightly signifimiddle ages. The very colours came cant, and degenerated at length into from their laboratories. As it has the mere representation of beauty, been well observed by Mrs Jameson, and the subject was chiefly taken as " As architects, as glass-painters, as a means of showing artistic skill. mosaic-workers, as carvers in wood Welearn from Epiphanius, who died and metal, they were the precursors in 403, that among the heresies which of all that has since been achieved in he enumerates was one set up by Christian art.” There was no Popery women who offered cakes and honey in all this, nor was it in the hearts of and meal to the Virgin Mary, as to a these great yet unpresuming workers. divinity-being, in fact, a continuation Let us not, in a misdirected Protestant of the heathen worship of Ceres. The zeal, be guilty of a blind and unjust most ancient representations of the fanaticism; but, looking back upon Virgin in art are of the fourth ceutury. the page of history, and keeping in The Virgin with the Child did not apmind the visible culture of our own pear till after the condemnation of day, let us not be unthankful for be- Nestorius by the Council of Ephesus. nefits largely received, and show our. Nestorius maintained the two sepaselves steeped in the superstition of rate natures of our Saviour, and that self-pride. We know to some it will Mary was mother only of the man. be unpalatable to speak a just word “Every one who wished to prove his of these orders; they would have us hatred of the arch-heretic, exhibited uncharitably deny the real truth, and, the image of the maternal Virgin viewing only the crimes and corrup: holding in her arms the infant Godtions of other times, include all in one head, either in his house as a picture, unforgiving censure. Whatever was or embroidered on his garments, or the amount of their delinquencies, an on his furniture, or his personal ornaunjust fanaticism may awaken in us ments-in short, wherever it could as evil passions as any we condemn be introduced. It is worth remarkin them. We have no faith in what ing that Cyril, who was so influential may be called the liberal abandono in fixing the orthodox group, had ment of priestcraft, taken in its worst passed the greater part of bis life in
Priestcraft is but a means of Egypt, and must have been familiar superstition, which would be enlarged with the Egyptian type of Isis nursrather than eradicated by the forbid- ing Horus. Nor, as I conceive, is ding tyranny of modern rationalism. there any irreverence in supposing Were that dominant, and under as con- that a time-honoured intelligible symgenial circumstances, it would be as bol should be chosen to embody and exacting as was in other times our formalise a creed ; for it must be own violent and destructive Puritan- remembered that the group of the ism.
mother and child was not at first & The Legends of the Madonna now representation, but merely a theoloentice us to the consideration of Mrs gical symbol set up in the orthodox Jameson's recent volume. Lovers churches, and adopted by orthodox of art, for the most part ignorant Christians." After the Council of of the real intention in the pic- Ephesus, history mentions a "suptures of sacred subjects, which they posed authentic portrait" of the Viradmire on account of the artistic ex- gin. Such a picture was said to be in cellence, will do well to refer to the possession of the Empress Endocia, Mrs Jameson's Madonna, when parti- who obtained it in the Holy Land: calar subjects in which the Virgin is “It is certain that a picture, tradiprincipally represented come before tionarily said to be the same which them. They will often be surprised Eudocia had sent to Pulcheria (ber to find themselves pictorially instruct- sister-in-law), did exist at Constaned in a theological dogna. Such pic- tinople, and was so much venerated tures are in fact painted creeds, and by the people as to be regarded as a
sort of palladiam, and borne in a su- Iconoclast dynasty, have been preperb litter or car in the midst of the served." The Iconoclasts were conimperial host when the emperor led demned by the Second Council of the army in person. The fate of this Nice, yet the controversy did not relic is not certainly known.” The cease till 842. The widow of the perbistory of the next three hundred secutor Theophilus succeeded in giving years testifies to the triumph of or- the triumph to the orthodox party, thodoxy, the extension and popularity yet only for the reinstating pictures. of the worship of the Virgin, and the Sculptures were prohibited, and have consequent multiplication of her image not since been allowed in the Greek in every form and material through church. the whole of Christendom.
We know not if modern Romanists The schism, however, of the Ico- have considered the controversies carnoclasts, under Leo III. and bis im- ried on against their doctrines and mediate successors, if for more than a their aggressions for the last few years hundred years it destroyed innumer- in the nature of an iconoclastic perable specimens of antique art, yet, so secution, and have thought it a fit far from suppressing, greatly increased time to reassert by instances the mirathe veneration for these representa- culous power of pictures of the Virgin; tions. So great, indeed, was the effect but certain it is that they have at no of the reaction, that the first notice of period more advanced and insisted a miraculous picture is of this date. upon the divine power of the Virgin As we hear still of miraculous pic- Mary than at this particular time. It tures—and very much is made of them is common most strenuously to defend in the preaching of modern Roman- the weakest point. They may think, ists, amongst whom are conspicuous the greater difficulty, the less it will some recent converts—it may be as bear argument; the boldness of insistwell to offer the original legend. ing may take people by surprise and "Among those who most strongly prevent discussion ; and this great difdefended the use of sacred images in ficulty got over, certainly others will the churches was St John Damas- appear of minor consequence. cene, one of the great lights of the hear now not only of miraculously Oriental church. According to the bleeding pictures, but Pio Nono has Greek legend, he was condemned to chosen this time to promulgate his lose his right hand, which was ac- ordinance (dated from Gaeta, 1849) cordingly cut off. But he, full of respecting the “Immaculate Concepfaith, prostrating himself before a pic- tion of the Virgin.” We find the ture of the Virgin, stretched out the most extravagant notions are always bleeding stump, and with it touched advanced in times of controversy. It her lips, and immediately a new hand is ever the season for progression of sprung forth like a branch from a superstition. The wily enemy knows tree.' Hence, among the Greek effi- that the first step for defence is to adgies of the Virgin, there is one pe- vance. The fevered mind is naturally culiarly commemorative of this mi- the recipient of delusion; the longer racle, styled the Virgin with three this fevered condition can be kept up, bands. In the west of Europe, where the firmer becomes the establishment the abuses of image-worship had of error. It was in such times the never yet reached the wild supersti- superstitions of Rome took root, and tion of the Oriental Christians, the advantage was taken of the unreasonfury of the Iconoclasts excited horror ing period to advance the supremacy and consternation. The temperate and feed the avarice and ambition of and eloquent apology for sacred pic- Rome. But we must not forget we are tures_ addressed by Gregory II. to reviewing Mrs Jameson's Legends of the Emperor Leo, had the effect of the Madonna, a work which, professing mitigating the persecution in Italy, to treat the subject relatively to art, where the work of destruction could repudiates controversy. not be carried out to the same extent The Angelic Annunciation (the as in the Byzantine provinces. Hence “ Ave Maria"), as an addition to the it is in Italy only that any important Lord's Prayer, was introduced at the remains of sacred art, anterior to the end of the tenth century. The cru