Imágenes de páginas

bear inspection. The notion of seeking after truth carries a front of austere impartiality, serene candour, and enlarged vision. The mind wants truth, and nothing else; not what it likes, or has fancied, or has conjectured, or pictured; but what is true; what is, as distinct from what is not. On that account, and on that account only, not as being amiable or fair, or bright, but as being truth, she seeks it. The pure, colourless appetency of the philosophical mind simply reaches towards its object — the essential intelligence proceeds towards' its goal. Truth, simple, glorious, denuded, attracts by the one fact of itself; and the devotion of candid inquiry addresses itself to that one fact.

Such is the simply intellectual passion for truth. The cold, unlovely material, however, throws the whole interest and charm connected with it into the search, rather than into the discovery. • If God offered me with one hand truth, and in the other search after truth, I would choose the latter,' says a German philosopher. The sentiment is bold and complete, and is just what many unconsciously feel. It cannot but be so. This whole philosophy of search does tend essentially to make truth nothing, the search everything. Truth is a tenuity, an exsiccation, a misty vacuum in the distance, while the human engine is working with all its powers, and mind occupies the universal field, and is truth’s investigator-truth and all

. Nothing appears but mind. The world of truth ceases to be objective, and is brought within the mind itself, and subjected to it.

Here is the point. The fact is, that the love of truth in fallen man is a corrupted affection, just as natural love is. It betrays the selfish element. His mind annexes truth to itself, and not itself to truth. It considers truth as a kind of property; it wants the pride of making it its own; it treats it as an article of mental success; it does not reverence truth as an object, but appropriates it as a thing; it loves it as its own creation, and as the reflexion of itself and its labours. The merchant sees himself in his capital—the parent in his child: every one has the image of himself in the shape of some issue from himself; and there is a philosophy which sees such an issue in truth, and makes it, in its sphere, the very embodiment of that of which truth divine is the extinction—the principle of self.

Not as the function of his own activities, the triumph of his own penetration, the offspring of his mind; not in the subterranean regions, where nature's fallen machinery and emulous exertion is at work, and the begrimed intellect labours in its own smoke, and exults in its difficulties-does the disciple of Christ search for truth. He searches and he penetrates, but not

Truth penetrates into him, rather than he into

in this way.

Truth; Truth finds him out, and not he It. He looks out for Its approach, waits for It, prepares himself for Its reception. He knows the signs of Its approach, and can tell Its features through the distance; he is alive to the slightest stir of the air, to a whisper, to a breath. But he looks on It all the while as something without himself, as something to advance and act upon him. The tender wax expects its impress, the air its motion. Upon all his activities sits an awful passiveness; and the mind adores with pure devotion an Object above itself. From the invisible realm above us a Form comes, too vast for our eyes' comprehension ; majestically slow the heavenly clouded weight descends, and bears an impress with it. The soul awaits in stillness the awful contact and embrace; and while, with meekest pliableness and unresisting faith and trust, she commits herself to it, the fears it too. Safe and unformidable an idol truth may be ; not so Truth living and divine. Ah! who can guess at all beforehand the power of that clasp, its subtlety, its penetration; may it not do anything, do everything, we think; and we shrink from the unknown. Change is awful ; Truth changes us. It is not a mere discovery, and then over, and done with, a goal reached, a prize won; but a power that reacts and operates upon ourselves. It is a new visitant that we are introduced to— we know it not at first-we get to know it, after we have become acquainted with it. It is a new world that we are admitted into; what is in it we see not before we enter, but then we see. It is a new state of being, a higher life, into which a transition, a metempsychosis, and death conducts us. This is an awful aspect which Christian Truth has, and which mere intellectual truth has not. Let those who make it a dead thing, and a philosophical reflection, deal with it lightly, and let them be not afraid of it; let them repose with calm and pleased security on an intellectual success and ultimatum: he who really deifies Truth cannot. He sees in it no plaything, no invention, no curiosity of science, no mineral from the mine, but a living Omnipotent and Heavenly Form. All nature sobers at Its faintest step; the very skirt of Its robe turns all things cold; the distant hills look iron; the horizon hardens, and repels the gaze; nature is treacherous, her colour fades; this blue concave is but a sepulchre; the earth mourneth and • languisheth, the world languisheth and fadeth away, all the 'merry-hearted do sigh, the mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of * them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth.' The mighty form of Truth that the heavens just dimly disclose, is spectral to our earthly eye; and a veil must be pierced through before we get within İts genial home and sanctuary. Sad and sepulchral in Its omnipotence, weak helpless nature fears Truth while she invokes it; and as the mountain moves, and the overshadowing form bends over, and the arch of heaven closes in upon the human soul, she breathes, not without a touch of mortal tremour, her mute prayer :-Oh! Image Omnipotent, Eternal Pattern, fain would I love while I secretly dread Thee. Thou art that Mould that makest Thy slow irresistible course through the world that Thou hast formed. Thou didst work at the beginning, and Thou workest hitherto. To Thee all souls, all reasons bow; the world is clay before Thy path; man awaits his fashioning from Thee, his change, his renovation: Thou informest, and fashionest all minds that love Thee. Through earth's rebellion, through the disorder of human wills, Thou marchest on, and dost all that Thou wilt, and formest Thy spiritual world. Come down upon me, and be my living Mould. Yet not without some tender condescension, some mercy and unutterable love, impress Thy awful stamp upon my poor and trembling being. I am weak, and Thou art mighty; I am small, and Thou art Infinite. Crush me not by Thy force, Thy magnitude divine, but come in gentleness, in pity. For Thou art kind to man, steadfast, sure, free from care, having all power, overseeing all things, and going through all pure spirits-holy, one, only, manifold, subtle, lively, clear, undefiled. Thou being 'but One canst do all things, and remaining in Thyself, makest • all things new; and in all ages Thou enterest into holy souls, • and makest them friends of God. Thou hast appeared upon earth, and man has seen Thee in visible form; and we know that Thou art the Way, the Truth and the Life; the Door and the Shepherd; Thy sheep hear Thy voice, and Thou gently leadest them, and carriest them in Thine arms. Thou didst suffer for them; and now, being made higher than the heavens, intercedest for them; an High Priest that art touched with the feeling of our infirmities, Jesus Christ our Lord.



1. Cambridge Camden Society. Account of the Sixth Annicersary

Meeting, &c. 1845. 2. A Letter to a Non-Resident Member of the Cambridge Camden

Society on the present position of that Body. C. A. S. Pri

vately printed. 1845. 3. A Statement of Particulars connected with the Restoration of the

Round Church. By the CHAIRMAN OF THE RESTORATION COMMITTEE. Cambridge: Deightons, Stevenson, and Walters, &c.

1845. It will be not more satisfactory to all who have at heart the real practical working of the Church in a very important department of its duties and services, than it is to ourselves to understand that the Cambridge Camden Society is still, and likely to be, at work. The way to understand the value of this Association is to look only at facts: let us compare what churches were twelve or fifteen years ago and what they are now. Ignorance the most deplorable in those who practised the architectural profession; cheapness, vulgarity, pretence, unreality then ruled : where any knowledge existed, it was only for book-making purposes, like the well-husbanded resources of Mr. Britton, or for mere antiquarianism, like that of Carter and Stothard. But now the whole aspect of Church building and restoration is changed: it is looked at as religion: it has become a work. And this those whose hearts are in their work find to be attributable mainly to the existence of the Cambridge Camden Society: it is a nucleus, a stiff, stern, unyielding, knot of principle which has gathered and attracted to itself all the knowledge and details which, supposing them to exist, would otherwise have been, if not altogether unserviceable, still very unavailable. For acquiring and imparting information which can be quoted and acted upon there must be a responsible body-a Society-something which has tangible form and identity. This is what people apply to, and what they have confidence in. The country Clergy-those interested in the colonies--men who have money to spend, and who desire to spend it properly, always go to the authoritative Architectural Societies: they know that they will get the best advice and assistance, given withoût fear or partiality— acquired painfully, but dispensed liberally. To judge then of the use of such a society, there is but one question to

put: Has it the confidence of those who have anything to to do, who have a meaning in their new churches, or their restored churches, or their new seats, or plate, or what not? who spend their money for the glory of God, and the honour of His sanctuary? These are the people, and these alone, whose opinion is worth attending to. Others whose vocation is only to preach or to talk and write against good works, and who think or pretend that it argues great spirituality to let their churches fall down, and who ask others to give their money to fancy-fairs, of course must feel a great spite against the Camden Society. It is a practical, living, earnest, active enemy of them, and of all that they do and say. Its function is to work ;--theirs to talk, to write, to preach, perhaps, but to do anything but produce facts.. This is, therefore, one element of the rage which has been excited against it. And if we bear in mind the professional vanities and pretensions cut down, and the individual neglects and sacrileges exposed, often perhaps unpleasantly, we can quite account for the mass of ill-will which the Society had silently treasured up against itself.

And under such circumstances the storm was sure to come affronts like these will always find some way of revenging themselves: the Society was too influential, too much of a positive agent to be openly patronized; it was just the thing to be encouraged and thought well of in private upon the understanding that it was to be thrown over as soon as the popular elements had set in strongly against it. And precisely because the Society was concerned with visible material things, it has come to pass that its particular history is, in some measure, an epitome of more important and more general oppositions to, and struggles for, the truth. Its fate becomes, therefore, an interesting, however painful speculation, apart from its own deserts and usefulness. Considerable satisfaction we cannot but feel that its labours are likely to be continued ; and that it has suffered diminution in point of numbers is rather a matter of congratulation than of regret. A word, however, on the opposition to which it has been subjected. Never were objections so palpably absurd: the seceders (Letter to a Non-resident, &c.) admit that few but the present members of the Committee are competent to carry on the business of the Society.-P. 14. They allow that their views of the importance of what they call the original objects of the Society remain unchanged: and when challenged to propose any definite plan for its continuance on any principles, or to suggest a new Committee who should be able to do its work--not a word. They can destroy, object, criticize, impede, grumble; but not a step forward will they take. If Church architecture without Church principles - if

« AnteriorContinuar »