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closely. He wonld find an Altar raised conspicuously above the surrounding level ; and for this he might discover a practical reason : but why in so many cases (so many as well nigh to make a rule) are the steps either three or some multiple of three? Surely the fundamental doctrine of the HOLY TRINITY would, if explained to him, sufficiently account for this all but universal arrangement. Why, again, in every case does a screen separate one part of the church from the other? When our inquirer learns the principle of the separation of laity and clergy, this arrangement also will be at once intelligible and figurative. How unreasonable would the position of the Font by the door appear to him, till he learnt the symbolical reason for its being placed there! And we may here remark that the practice of the last generation in removing old Fonts, or using basins for substitutes, or in placing new Fonts, near the Altar, shews clearly enough that convenience and utility would have pointed out a very different place for the Font from what is assigned by the Canon, on symbolical grounds; grounds adduced in this case, as it would seem, to give weight to a decision so clearly opposed to all merely practical and obvious reasons. Again, the marked deviation of the orientation of the Chancel from that of the Nave, would be quite inexplicable till the beautiful and affecting symbolism of the arrangement were pointed out.
Again, it has not been left merely to the meditative Ecclesiologist to observe that Christian architecture has as decided a characteristick of verticality, as Pagan architecture had of horizontalism. A mere artist could not fail of marking the contrast between Beauvais and the temples of Pæstum. The contrast must then be admitted : but how must we explain it? Surely no accident could have developed the grovelling Pagan into the aspiring Gothick. What mechanical reasons could produce Westminster from
even the Parthenon? But is not the phenomenon explained when we see in towering pier, spire, and pinnacle, the symbolical exhibition of that religion which alone aspires to things above, nay more, the figurative commemoration of that Resurrection itself, which alone originates, and only justifies, the same heavenward tendency. But if this bc true; if these acknowledged peculiarities in Christian architecture be utterly unintelligible on any other supposition than this of a symbolical meaning, surely it is not unreasonable to receive so ready a solution of the difficulty: and, the principle admitted, why may not reasons of the same figurative nature be assigned for other arrangements, in themselves on any other interpretation not only meaningless but obviously useless or absurd ?
THE INDUCTIVE ARGUMENT.
We have next to show, by a process of induction, that some principles of symbolism have always been observed in designing churches: that is to say, that without any actual acquaintance with the plan, details or arrangement of existing churches, we might gather from other sources, not only the probability, but the fact, that there was some reason (not merely mechanical or accidental) for the selection and universal observation of particular forms and ornaments, and peculiar rules of distribution.
First, we shall refer to the celebrated passage of S. Clement of Rome,* about performing the Divine Offices decently and in order, as to time, and place, and circumstance. “Where and by whom God willeth these to be performed He hath Himself defined by His most supreme will.” But where', says Mede,+ (discussing the passage with the view of establishing a particular point namely, Bowing towards the Altar)' hath the LORD defined these things, unless He hath left us to the analogy of the Old Testament? This indeed is obviously S. Clement's meaning: and not to go at any length into the consideration of all the particular forms or ceremonies of the Old Dispensation which were perpetuated in the New—as the three-fold Ministry deduced by S. Jerome, from the High Priest, Priests, and Levites; the Canonical Hours; the Gospel anciently laid on the Altar, answering to the Two Tables, and the like-it will be sufficient to refer once more to the remarkable parallel between a Christian church and the Jewish Temple.* There can be little doubt that Mede proved his point of the propriety of genuflexion towards the Altar. We are contending for a much simpler thing: for no more indeed than the concession of a probability that in the earliest Christian churches there was at least this resemblance to the Temple; that there should be in both a Holy of Holies and an outer-court. Supposing this distinction to have been only made by a curtain, our point is nevertheless gained : and we would rest here on this one particular of resemblance only, (though others might be insisted on); because, any one designed parallel being granted, the inference for others
* S. Clem. Rom., ad Corinth. i., 40. + Mede, in Epist. lviii. Folio, Lib. iv.
And here it will be enough to observe that the almost constant practice in ancient writers of applying to some one part of a Christian church a name or names derived directly from the Holy of Holies is a strong argument in our favour: though the passages are often too incidental to be adduced as evidence of an intended symbolism.t But, we repeat, the fact that a particular part of a church,-(if we were now arguing for Rood screens, we should shew that any such distinction of parts made a screen of some sort necessary, even if we did not know what sort of screens really existed)—the fact that a particular part of a church was distinguished by names directly carrying us back to the exactly corresponding particular part in the Temple, shews that in the arrangement
* See this carried out by Durandus. Appendix A. p. 211. + Compare, amongst others, S. Cyprian, Ep. 55; Euseb. x, 4. το άγιον αγίων θυσιαστήριον; Ιd. vii., 18. το αγίασμα (the word used in the lxx. for the Sanctuary): S. Dionys. Areop., Ep. 8, ad Demoph.; $. Athanas., Edit. Commel. Tom. ii., p. 255 ; Theod. H. E. iv., 17, V., 18; Concil. Tours. (A.D. 557), can. 4; S. Germ. Constant. In Theor. rer. Eccles. ; Card. Bona. Rer. Liturg. i., xxv., 11; Dionys. Hierarch. cap. 2; S. Chrysost. Lib vi., De Sacerdotio.
ment at least, if not in the building, of the earliest churches there was, at least in this one point, an intention to produce an antitype to the typical Tabernacle. It is observed in a note to Neander's history* that if the interpretation of Michaelis be received there is evidence of a Christian church being built at Edessa, A.D. 202, with three parts, expressly after the model of the Temple.
Whatever may be the authority allowed to the Apostolical Constitutions, the fact that they touch at some length upon the form of churches is enough for our purpose. “The church,'t they say, 'must be oblong in form, and pointing to the East.' The oblong form was meant to symbolize a ship, the ark which was to save us from the stormy world. It would be perfectly unnecessary to support this obvious piece of symbolism by citations. The orientation is an equally valuable example of intended symbolism. We gain an additional testimony to this from the well known passage of Tertullian,g (A.D., 200,) about “The house of our Dove.” Whether this corrupt extract be interpreted with Mede or Bingham, there can be no doubt that its in lucem means that the church should face the East or dayspring. The praying towards the East was the almost invariable custom in the Early Churches, and as symbolical as their standing in prayer upon the Festivals of the
* Rose's Neander, i., 246.
† Apost. Const. 2, 57, (61.) See also what is said on this point by Buscemi, in his Notizie della Basilica di San Pietro. ch. iii., p. 7. The church of S.S. Vincenzo and Anastatio at Rome, near S. Paolo alle Tre Fontane, built by Honorius I., (A.D. 630,) has its wall curved like the ribs of a ship. The constitution itself refers to the resemblance of this oblong form to a ship. See also S. Clem. Alex., Paedag, iii., 246.
§ Tertull. advers. Valent., cap. 2.