Obrázky na stránke

the effects of, and penalties for, which remain to this day in full operation in the whole of Western Christendom. Secondly, the Decorated style may be indeed the finest developement of Christian architecture which the world has yet seen; but it does not follow that it is the greatest perfection which shall ever be arrived at. No: we too look forward, if it may be, to the time when even a new style of Church architecture shall be given us, so glorious and beautiful and true, that Cologne will sink into a fine example of a Transitional period, when the zeal and faith and love of the reunited Church shall find their just expression in the sacramental forms of Catholick art.

But besides the above objection to Mr. Lewis's theory we may mention the arbitrary way in which he determines on things which are to be symbolized, and then violently endeavours to find their expected types. This is quite at variance with the practice of any sober symbolist; and more especially (as we shall hereafter have occasion to point out) with that of Durandus. This forced sort of symbolism naturally leads to a disregard of precedent and authority : and accordingly we remember to have heard of a design by this gentleman for the arrangement of a Chancel which professed to symbolize certain facts and doctrines; but which, whatever might be the ingenuity of the symbolism, was no less opposed to the constant rule of arrangement in ancient churches, than it was practically absurd and inconvenient for the purpose which it was meant to answer. Indeed, while Mr. Lewis insists strongly on the symbolizing of facts, he does not succeed in grasping any general principle, any more than he sees the difficulty there is in the way of our receiving his supposition of an intention to symbolize from the first. No architect ever sat down with an analyzed scheme of doctrines which he resolved to embody in his future building : in this, as in any other department of poesy, the result is harmonious, significant, and complete, and may be resolved into its elements, though these elements might never have been laid by the poet as the foundation upon which to raise his superstructure. That were like De La Harpe's theory that an epick poet should first determine on his moral, and then draw out such a plan for his poem as may enable him to illustrate that moral.*

The writers of the Cambridge Camden Society have carried out the system more fully and consistently than any others. It has evidently grown upon them, during the process of their enquiries : yet in their earliest publications, we trace, though more obscurely, the same thing. Their Fer Words to Church Builders acknowledged the principle to a far greater length; and the Ecclesiologist has always acted upon it, even when not expressly referring to it. As a necessary consequence, they were the first who dwelt on the absolute necessity of a distinct and spacious Chancel; the first who recommended, and where they could, insisted on, the re-introduction of the Rood-screen; and the first to condemn the use of western triplets. The position and shape of the Font, the necessity of orientation, and some few details, they have, but only in common with others, urged.

* It is with pain that we have spoken of Mr. Lewis at all, because every Ecclesiologist owes him a debt for his great boldness in turning the publick attention to the subject of symbolism. Yet we believe that a prejudice has been excited by him against that subject which it will be hard to get over: for we are constrained to say, that greater absurdities were never printed than some which have appeared in his book. His explanations of the West end of Kilpeck church,-his cool assumption when any bracket appears more puzzling than usual that it is of later work, and therefore not explainable,-his random perversions of Scripture-his puerile conceits about the door,-deserve this criticism. This same south door he extols as a perfect mine of Ecclesiastical information, while he confesses himself unable to explain the symbols wrought on the two orders of the arch,—that is, about two thirds of the whole! It is strange too, that in his restoration of the church, he should have forgotten all about the bells,—and have violated a fundamental canon of symbolism, by terminating his western gable in a plain Cross.

The Oxford Architectural Society have never recognised any given principles: and in consequence Littlemore is proposed by them as a model,-a church either without, or else all, Chancel; and either way a solecism.

As might have been expected from a separatist Rickman, in his treatise, gives not a single line to the principle for which we contend. Mr. Bloxam, in his excellent little work, though often referring to it,-more especially in the later editions which have appeared since the labours of the Cambridge Camden Society,—yet hardly gives it that prominence which we might have expected from one,

who possesses so just an idea of mediæval arrangements and art.

Among the chief opposers of the system we may mention Mr. Coddington of Ware, who sees perfection in the clumsiness of Basilican arrangements, and schism in the developed art of the middle ages. This writer, as it has been observed in the Ecclesiologist, contends for two things:-1. That one great object of Romanism was to abolish the distinction between the clergy and laity : 2. That another great object of the same Church, acting by its monks, (or, as he calls them, schismatical communities,) was to exalt the clergy unduly above the laity. The former assertion he does not attempt to prove: the latter he supports by pointing to the arrangement of the Rood-screen, which, therefore, like the French Ambonoclasts, he wishes to pull down both in Cathedrals and churches.

This brief review of the principal writers who have treated on the Symbolism of Churches and Church Ornaments, concludes our first chapter. In it we have endeavoured to point out an acknowledged desideratum; to shew what suppositions have been advanced on the subject; to set forth wherein, and for what reason, they fail of being satisfactory; to enunciate the principle of Sacramentality as essential for the full appreciation and successful imitation of ancient Church architecture; and finally, in referring to the works of some later symbolists, to shew why their hypotheses are incomplete or untenable. We have also brought under review the glaring contrasts between the methods of life of an ancient and modern architect; and, if we may so say, between the machinery of designing and the habit of mind in the two cases. We shall now proceed to examine those arguments which may lead us to suspect that some such principle as Sacramentality really exists.



It will first be proper to consider whether, regarding the subject a priori, that is, looking at the habits and manners of those among whom the symbolical system originated, if it originated anywhere, we have reason to think them at all likely to induce that system. Now, as matter of fact, we know that the train of thought, the every day observances, above all, the religious rites of the early Christians, were in the highest degree figurative. The rite of Baptism gave the most forcible of all sanctions to such a system ; and while it sanctioned, it also suggested, some of the earliest specimens of Christian symbolism. Hence, when that rite was found to be, so to speak, connected with the word formed by the initial letters of our Blessed Saviour's name and titles, arose the Mystick Fish: hence, as we shall see, the octagonal Baptistery and Font. Indeed, almost every great doctrine had been symbolized at a very early period of Christianity. The Resurrection was set forth in the Phønix, rising immortal from its ashes: the meritorious Passion of our SAVIOUR, by the Pelican, feeding its young with its own blood : the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, by grapes and wheatears, or again by the blood flowing from the heart and feet of the Wounded Lamb into a chalice beneath : the Christian's renewal of strength thereby in the Eagle, which descending grey and aged into the ocean, rises thence with renewed strength and vigour: the Church, by

« PredošláPokračovať »