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poor and the suffering. The singing of the psalms and hymns and spiritual songs by the beds of the sick and suffering elevates their minds; it soothes their souls. Yes ! yes! Scripture, necessity, humanity, all combine in inviting the loving work of loving sisters on behalf of the sick and afflicted in the Church of Christ, to be carried on in accordance with the wishes and directions of the minister of the parish. Let me ask you, then, my sisters, whom I address to-day, to try and do something in your own house, family, and parish for Christ. I agree with the Lord Bishop of Oxford
a woman's work is especially at home," but it does not end there, and the sick of your own parish have the first claim on your attention. Come forward, then. Call on your clergyman, offer your services, if you have not done so before. Work, oh, work for Christ, and you shall have your reward even here in the happy consciousness, " She hath done what she could.” But oh ! some one may say,
I fear I can do nothing.” Well, if so, remember, “They serve who stand and wait" in patience, faith, and prayer. But I think you can do at least what the woman of Samaria did; for you can listen to Christ and then say to your neighbours, Come, see which told me all that ever I did, is not this the Christ?" And many may believe through the simple word of your testimony, and led on to the study of the Bible, he Church and its Services, may say to you as to her of old, “Now we believe not because of thy saying, for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the World."
The Right Rev. the PRESIDENT. A GREAT deal has been said on all these different subjects with which I sympathise deeply, and I venture to say to the Bishop that the experiences which he spoke of in regard to his own diocese have been repeated here. The Girls' Friendly Society has been doing a work of the greatest possible value in this diocese. I remember that some years ago the ladies were willing to trust me in the same way as they trusted the Bishop of Carlisle lately, and I can testify to the very great value of the work done by the Society in this diocese. I should not like to discuss the question between the working of that Society and the Young Women's Help Society, but I am sure it is of the utmost consequence to try and raise the moral tone of everybody, and especially of young girls and women, to try and keep them free from corruption, and not merely recover those who are lost. The Bishop of Oxford, in his very able address, seemed to distinguish between deaconesses in this diocese and sisters in the diocese of Oxford. I would remark that we have the work of sisters in this diocese, and a very important work they are doing, especially in penitentiaries, most of all at St. Thomas's Home at Basingstoke. I wish, however, myself to ask your special attention to the work of deaconesses. I do not think half enough has been said about them to-day. I suppose that some of you have seen the leaflets about the Deaconesses Home at Portsmouth which have been circulated, and I would invite everybody who has any doubt on the subject to go and look at the work which is being done there. One speaker remarked that no one seems to know what the work of a deaconess is. I hardly know what the work of a deaconess is not. The deaconess is Scriptural, is Primitive, is Catholic, is Anglican. In every possible way, therefore, the deaconess commends herself to us; and I say that she can do almost all the work which the deacons or even priests can do, except the work in church; and I believe, she can do it better in many ways than even priest or deacon. She is better than a district visitor, incomparably better than an untrained visitor, and she is capable of heading the district visitors and guiding and teaching them. Every clergyman who has had experience of district visitors knows how very much they want training and guiding ; and they are very often very unmanageable, because they are not headed and trained and guided. The deaconess is not only the best district visitor, but there is no one who makes so good a nurse as she, and she is admirable also at rescue work. I claim especially for the deaconesses of this diocese that they have done a work that is incomparable in its value in the Homes for little children, rescuing them at a very tender age from the ruin and misery which would otherwise have been their lot. Í do not know what work there is of which deaconesses are not capable. The only thing we want in this diocese to make our deaconesses the most perfect machinery possible for working parishes, especially among women and children, is more of them, and more money for them. I once more commend these deaconesses to you, and I once more ask you, if you take an interest in their work, to go and see for yourselves something of what is done at the Deaconesses' Home here.
The Very Rev. the DEAN OF WELLS, Chairman.
RELIGION AND ART-THEIR INFLUENCE ON
J. D. SEDDING, Esq. What is Religion to man? Religion is the sum of human aspiration; the motive of benevolent energy; the source of enthusiasm ; and the spring of comfort. Without religion, life would be intolerable, and the world a school of despair. Religion is the motive and force of righteousness in the world ; it supplies the creed by which a man shapes his conduct ; it opens out the spiritual world; it sweetens even the saddest lise, and forms the saints.
What is art to man? Art is the embodiment and the communication of man's thought about Man, Nature, and God. It is man's way of decorating his existence, of declaring the glory of God to men and angels, and of ministering to human delight. Art is, in brief, both the need of man's nature and its highest product.
Look through the world's history, and you find that man has ever been an artist or a promoter of Art. Even in savage tribes the artistic instinct reveals itself in the adornment of things that are regarded with love, or fear, or veneration. Art thus becomes the voice for the imaginative qualities of a race—and a voice so definite in its typal manifestations, that the expert need not be told the origin of a piece of Art brought to his notice. Even if it be of remote antiquity there is a certain mark about it-a type of form--a pattern that recals dead symbols—a trick of handicraft, perhaps—by which its source is traced home.
And the art of a race is not only its imaginative voice, but, by the force of some subtle law, it becomes the key to the dominant traits, and to the conditions and sentiments of the people. For instance, the history of the terrible empires of the ancient East is told in concrete form in their gruesome art. The weird faith, the boundless conceits, the cruel might and majesty of grinding Pharaohs, are all fitly told in the colossal imagery of Egyptian Art. It is of the elemental, gigantesque sort. Our soul
down in its grisly presence. So, too, the fair Greek temples, built upon a sunny height, like the Acropolis of Athens or Corinth, and enriched with sculptures descriptive of the brilliant myths of Nature, indicate the free life and vigorous, joyous temper of the race. So, too, the buildings of Old Rome, that seem like vast mountains haunted with mighty shadows,
remind us at once of the masterful grip and proud sway of the “Ruler of the nations."
But art, like a diamond, has many facets. It is also the outward sign of all the interpretative and apprehensive power of man in his contact with material things. It has to illustrate and interpret Nature as well as national history and human character. And this work goes forward by the very effort of man to convey his thoughts and emotions to others; for he uses the familiar sights and sounds of Nature as a language they cannot fail to understand. Hence architecture, music and painting, are all based upon natural phenomena ; and even poetry employs picturesque natural images to express heightened thought. But, while Nature is the mine of art, the artist puts his own superscription upon the coinage he makes out of Nature's wealth, and does not simply imitate her.
The underlying imitation of Nature in art is seen in the Art of Music, which is allied to the music that is everywhere in the world-in the waves of the sea, the rustling leaves, the songs of birds, and the murmur of happy, living things. You see it in architecture, whose primal suggestion is the cliffs and the groves, and the homes of animals. You have it in sculpture and painting, whose motifs are the graceful forms and aspects of natural things. In these ways art leagues itself with Nature. Yet the artist is no mere copyist. He creates ane:v ; he idealises; he transcribes the natural music, but in the process transposes it into a key lovelier than any nature knows. He never feels alone and unacknowledged when in the presence of natural phenomena-the flowers, the water, the hills, the sky—all speak to him and beget emotions. And the record of these emotions, in which he imbeds his sense of the secret bond between the external and the spiritual worlds“the sense of tears in mortal things," as Mr. Arnold puts it-calls up that selecting, harmonising genius in man which makes that thing we call “ art."
You know that God makes the artist. In common parlance he is born, not made. He gets his credentials straight from heaven. Hence his special gifts. For his eye can see deeper ; his ear hear more ; his heart is sooner thrilled ; his speech is sweeter ; his imagination is more alive ; his sympathies in better tune ; his mind is calculated to receive physical impressions more exquisitely, and he apprehends in “ hours of insight” more truly than other men the beauty and meaning of visible things. This is why we hail the artist as God's mediator between Nature and man. This is why we proclaim him priest in God's universe by the grace of God, and see around his head the auriole of a Divine. commission.
By his Divine craft the Priest of Harmony can draw such celestial sweetness, and such spiritual store out of a succession of musical tones that our hearts fill with devotion and our eyes with tears. “I have but to play Schubert's ' Ave Maria' or Beethoven's ‘Adelaide'-said Hector Berlioz— to draw every heart to myself and to make each one hold his breath.'
By his Divine craft the Priest of Form can fold in one the magic in Nature and in art—he can steal Nature's seal and print it upon his work-he can put the glamour of the woods into his roofs and aisleshe can bring the might of the tall cliffs into his walls, and can entice the
soul of the tangled thicket into the mazes of his carved and hammered work, and can dispose God's house with such profound religiousness of surroundings that you get a strange thrill of expectancy as you enter, and say involuntarily, “Surely the Lord is in this place!
By his Divine craft the Priest of line, or colour, or expression, (the sculptor, painter, poet) can call hidden marvel out of familiar things; can draw pathos out of each human face-aye, out of each bird and brute's face ; and can preach attractive sermons on the mystery of Life, Nature, and the Infinite. “What,” exclaims dear William Blake"What, it will be questioned when the sun rises, do you not see a round disc of fire somewhat like a guinea! Oh no, no! I see an innumerable company of the heavenly host crying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty!'”
See then the influence Religion and Art have on each other! To speak of one is to include the other. They run like warp and woof in the woven fabric of human history. If Art is an instinct in man, so is Religion. Man has an instinct for worship, a thirst for revelation. And where revelation is withheld, man sees the apparition of God in Nature-in the balanced clouds, the storm, the mystery of being in living things. By their alluring beauty and their witness to God's care and majesty, these details of Nature proclaim God. And here art comes in, for the thinking men of old must clothe their thoughts and emotions about the Almighty in tokens and symbols suggested by the wonders of Creation.
We Christians call classic art "profane”—and a good deal of scorn is wrapped up in the phrase--and the art-philosopher looks at Greek art as but the ideal of the est brains of a sensuous race. Yet his art is the vesture of the Greek's faith. It expresses the omens of his gods. The beautiful imagery is more than it seems, for between its lines you read the Pagan's confused thought of the Infinite, and you hear his cry in the dark for the complete light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ.
But I must pass on. The old oracle said, “ All things have two handles. Beware of the wrong one !”
Now, when St. Paul preached on Mars' Hill the Parthenon was in full view. There--crowning the Acropolis-shining in all the lustre of meilowed white marble against a blue sky-stands the building which was at once a treasure-house of Religion and of Art—a building that was eloquent of the piety, the culture, the splendour of Athens in her best days. There-encircled by fair temples and gods
“ Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks
In Vallombrosa”stands Christ's ambassador, to say that God dwells not in toil-wrought temples, but in the eternal temples of His own creation. Pointing, as he spoke, to Phidias' matchless bas-reliefs, and to the gods around, he declares that there is a Saviour, and that these images could not be semblances of Him and could not be worshipped.
The question we have here is, then, not so much the extent of allowable relation between the Christian Religion and Art, but the propriety of any relation between them whatsoever. Are we to understand that the Christian is not to record any incident in Christ's life by graven
imagery? Is art to have no place in the Christian dispensation ? Is the Christian religion to be taught only from the pulpit and not from the walls ? Is the preacher to greedily monopolise the deliverance of Christ's gospel? Is the Christian to be all ears and no eyes in the House of Prayer? Is the tragedy of the Cross to find no place in a Christian church? Must we not picture the Son of Man on Blessed Mary's breast, or in Joseph's workshop, or in the haunts of men, or treading the way of sorrows ? Is there then no tenderness, no condescension in the system of Christian teaching? Is there to be no pictured array of heavenly lookers on, to cheer fainting, wayworn humanity as it treads its Via Dolorosa ? Is no pictured assurance of angelic tendance, of a bright home beyond the stars, and of Jesus' everlasting love for little children to be allowed ?
I do not so read St. Paul's words.
It was not that Christianity discouraged art, but that she denounced idolatry and vice. It was not that the art of Phidias-either for its mythical meaning, or for its ideal handling of that most lovely of all material objects—the human form—was condemned. Far from it. “All great art is praise,” says Mr. Ruskin. It was not that Pagan imagery, so far as it gave utterance to pious faith, displeased the God “whose delights are with the sons of men.' For, just as the Holy Spirit took the imagery of Phoenicia and Assyria at the heathen hands of Hiram of Tyre for use in Solomon's temple, so did He let the early Christian use Pagan imagery, and showed them prophetic meaning in it.
It was not that temples made with men's hands were wrong. Our Lord has taught us to be jealous for the honour of God's House. Nay, was not the Parthenon itself dedicated to the Blessed Virgin in the fifth or sixth century; and did not the Pantheon of Rome (where Raphael was buried) become in the seventh century the Church of All Saints ? It was not that images were wrong, so long as the graving of Art and of man's genius did not rob God of the worship of His creatures. Lise was serious enough in all conscience to the early Christians, yet they habitually practised Art to clothe their faith ; and the symbols they used, turned in their hands into flowers that could brighten their lot, and sweeten even the blood-stained recesses of the catacombs. And so, from the dawn of the Faith, and right onwards, , Religion finds Art her most powerful auxiliary, and imagery is everywhere freely pressed into her service.
But, again, let us '“ beware of the wrong handle" of the subject. Two cases, subsequent to this alluded to, show Religion and Art in collision. First, when, on account of a superstitious use of images, Leo the Isaurian and a council of bishops decreed that all images should be placed at such a height in churches that they might be seen, but not be accessible to the ignorant people. The second is the outbreak of Puritanism which in England cost us all the goodly imagery of our churches.
The second commandment forbids the worship of likenesses of God, and the making of the likeness of any mortal thing for worship. But it is not images, but their worship that the Council of Frankfort and the English Church forbids. Jesus Christ became man that we might read God in His face, His words, and acts. He took filesh that we might look into His face and read His character. And,