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THE ARGUMENT FROM ANALOGY.
HAVING dealt with the argument à priori, we now proceed to shew that, from analogy, it is highly probable that the teaching of the Church, as in other things, so in Her material buildings, would be symbolical.
Firstly, let us look at other nations, and other religions. It need not be said that the Symbolism of the Jews was one of the most striking features of their religion. It would be unnecessary to go throngh their tabernacle and temple rites, their sacrificial observances, and their legal ceremonies. The Passover, the cleansing of the leper, the scape goat, the feast of tabernacles, the morning and evening sacrifice, the Sabbatical year, the jubilee, were all in the highest degree figurative. The very stones in the breast plate have each, according to the Rabbis, their mystical signification. And, as if still further to teach them the sacramentality, not only of things, but of events, it pleased God to make all their most famous ancestors, chiefs, and leaders, e. g. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, most remarkable types of the MESSIAH: nay, from the beginning the principal doctrines of Christianity were, in some form or other, set forth. Regeneration and the Church, in the Flood and the Ark: the Bread and Wine in the Manna, and the Stricken Rock: the two dispensations in Sarah and Hagar. Indeed the immense extent of symbolism in the old Testament was the mine of the Fathers. Every day they
brought to light some new wealthı; and, if we press the symbolism of the Church further than it was actually intended, we are only treading in the steps of Her Bishops and Doctors. For while, of course, in commenting on and explaining the sacrifice of Isaac, the covenant of circumcision, the captivity and exaltation of Joseph, they were only developing the real meaning which God seems to have intended should be set forth by those events, there are, —as we have already hinted,-many instances where their piety found an interpretation which was perhaps never intended. Thus, because Job, while all else that belonged to him was restored double, had only the same number of children which he had lost,—they have argued, that thus the separate existence of souls was represented, as the Patriarch could not be said to have lost those who were in another state of existence.
And if in the Old Testament we find authority for the principle of symbolism, much more do we in the New. We shall presently have occasion to allude to the rise and progress of the sacramentality of Baptism : we may now refer more particularly to the frequency with which S. Paul symbolizes the enactments of the law; as in the case of the ox forbidden, while treading out the corn, to be muzzled. So again, the Revelation is nothing but one continued symbolical poem. The parabolick teaching of our LORD we si:all presently notice.
To this we may add, the exoterick and esoterick signification of certain books, e. g., the Song of Solomon : the double interpretation of many of the prophecies, primarily of the earthly, principally of the heavenly Jerusalem : we may refer to the symbolical meaning attached, under the Christian dispensation, to certain previously established rites, as, for instance, Holy Matrimony. With symbolical writings, enactments, events, personages, observances,
buildings, vestments, for Her guides and models, how could the Church Catholick fail of following symbolism, as a principle and a passion ?
But not only is Christianity symbolical: every developement of religion is, and must necessarily be so. On the Grecian mythology, we shall have occasion to say something more presently. The symbolism of Plato, and still further developement by Proclus and the later philosophers of his school, will occur to every one. If it be asserted that the more it was touched and acted on by Christianity, the more symbolical did it become,—we only reply, So much the more to the purpose of our argument. But not only in Roman and Grecian Paganism is this the case. The Hindoo religion has much of symbolism ; and some of its most striking fables, derived from whatever source,-whether from unwritten tradition, or from contact with the Jews,-possess this character wonderfully. Take, for instance, the example of Krishna suffering, and Krishna triumphant; represented, in the one case, by the figure of a man enveloped in the coils of a serpent, which fastens its teeth in his heel ; in the other, by the same man setting bis foot on, and crushing the head of the monster. Now here, it is true, the doctrine symbolised has long been forgotten among those with whom the legend is sacred : we, on the contrary, have a very plain reference to the promise concerning the Seed of the Woman and the serpent's head. This is an instance of the fact, that Truth will live in a symbolical, long after it has perished in every other, form: and doubtless, when the time for the conversion of India shall have arrived, thousands will receive the truth the more willingly, in that they have had a representation of it, distorted it is true, but not destroyed, set, for so many centuries, before their eyes. Some truths, accidentally impressed on a symbolical observance, may still
live, that otherwise must have perished : just as the only memory of some of the beings that existed before the flood, is to be found in the petrified clay on which they accidentally happ ned to set their feet.
The Mahometan religion has also, though in an inferior degree, its symbolism; and the reason of its inferiority in this respect is plain,-be 'ai se, namely, it is a religion of sense. Now Catholicity, which teaches men constantly to live above their senses, to mortify their passions, and to deny themsil es ;- nay even Hindooism, which, so far as it approxi nati s to the truth, preaches the same doctrine, must constantly lead men by the seen to look on to the unseen. If everything material were not made sacramental of that which is immaterial, so, as it were, bearing its own corrective with its own temptation, nian could hardly fail of walking by sight, rather than by faith. But now, the Church, not content with warning us that we are in an enemy's country, boldly seizes on the enemy's goods, converting them to Her own use. Symbolism is thus the true Sign of the Cross, hallowing the unholy, and making safe the dangerous: the true salt which, being cast in, purified the unhealthy spring : the true meal which removel á ath from the Prophet's provision. Others may amuse themselves by asserting that the Church in all that She does and enacts, is not sy bolical :—we bless God for the knowledge that She is.
We need not dwell on the symbolism of here:icks, insomuch as we shall have occasion to refer to it in other parts of this Essay. We will rather notice, that those to whom we have been but now referring, Heathens and Mahomedans, have a way of discovering a subtle symbolism in things which in themselves were not intended to have any deeper meaning. We may mention the odes of Hafz,—the An.creon, or rather perhaps, the Stesichorus,
These poems, speaking to the casual reader of nothing but love, and wine, and garlands, and rose
ds, are seriously affirmed, by Persian criticks, to contain a deep esoterick reference to the communion of the soul with God; just as it has been wildly supposed, that under the name of Laura, Petrarch in fact only expressed that Immortal Beauty after which the soul of the Christian is constantly striving, and to which it is constantly advancing So, in Dante Beatrice is not only the poet's earthly love, but, as it has been well shewn by M. Ozanam, the representative of Catholick Theology.
To dwell on the symbolism of Nature would lead us too far from our point. But we must constantly bear in mind that Nature and the Church answer to each other as implicit and explicit revelations of God. Therefore, whatever system is seen to run through the one, in all probability runs through the other. Now, that the teaching of Nature is symbolical, none, we think, can deny. Shall we then wonder that the Catholick Church is in all Her art and splendour sacramental of the Blessed TRINITY, when Nature herself is so? Shall God have denied this symbolism to the latter, while He has bestowed it on the former? Shall there be a trinity of effect in every picture, a trinity of tone in every note, a trinity of power in every mind, a trinity of essence in every substance,-and shall not there be a trinity in the arrangements and details of Church art ? It were strange if the servant could teach, what the mistress must be silent upon: that Natural Religion should be endued with capabilities not granted to Revealed Truth.
Is not, again, the doctrine of the Resurrection wonderfully set forth by Nature? This symbolism is the more remarkable, in that to the ancients the rising of the sun