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And, observe, there are not two kinds of beauty, but only one. Felicity in the performance of function is quite another thing. Beauty is universally that mark, indefinable, but felt in thrills of ravishing joy, which God puts upon the perfect, in stone, plant, animal, man. Felicity in the performance of function may afford an opportunity for the display of beauty ; or performance of function and exhibition of beauty may both attain their climacteric in the same moment; but the two are distinct. The admission of complexity here, where the truth is one, is the greatest defect in Mr. Ruskin's volume, in other respects of quite inestimable value, on ideas of beauty.
We see, therefore, why beauty is honoured by nature, why it is dear to her, as, to a monarch, the jewels of his crown. It is always the emblem of rejoicing life, while ugliness is ever the sign of approaching or of triumphant death.
Such is the law we proposed to read in the book of Nature, the Bible of God's world. It will carry us far—it will carry us the whole way we have at present to traverse—in inquiring into the place of the Beautiful in art and nature. We proceed to its application in human affairs.
In accordance with the first side of the two-fold fact or law discovered, we conclude that the development of the sense of beauty cannot form the whole, or indeed the fundamental part, of that by which man is, in the largest sense, educated. Beauty, and the influences derived from beauty, do not occupy a more important place in the life of man, in the general system of social and individual existence, than in nature. Art is not religion; beauty is not truth; and neither as a mortal nor as an immortal does man find his interest committed to the Beautiful. Nature, we saw, has place for iron, and coal, and rock, and does not steady her mountains upon beds of flowers. In man she has to contend with passions of gigantic power, passions which can rend the individual breast, and tear to pieces the frame-work of society. To quell these passions she has not depended on the gentle ministries of beauty. The lawless family of God on earth require, in all its plainness and directness, the same species of government which the earthly father applies to his children, a government in which fear and hope play their indispensable parts, fear of the anger of the Infinite Power,
roval of the Infinite Goodness. In the region of
of social life, there is a basis on which
arly distinguishable from any agency fa le is the type and form of
ce and happiness of the s of mutual affection or e robust, homely virtues,
industry, patience, temperance, fortitude, are the pillars of t hearth; and nature has added guardian terrors of a highly practii cast, and rewarding joys of an infinitely tender and precious not absolutely ideal character, to keep those virtues in their pla The practical result of putting taste for conscience is the substit tion of a veil of gauze for that mail of the soul which can res temptation, and of a refined malignity of selfishness for the fra brotherliness of a God-fearing man. This is, once for all, to accepted as irrefragably true; and all it implies is to be taken 1 granted as we proceed to the second side of our two-fold law.
We found beauty to be the sign of perfection and of beal throughout nature. It would follow that the entire absence of t Beautiful in any province of human life is a mark of evil, a sym tom of decay, å herald or an earnest of death ; and that, on t other hand, the presence of beauty is so far a pledge of full a healthful life. If the analogy holds good, this would be true individual, domestic, ecclesiastical, and national existence. A if this is a fact, we need hardly say that it is one of incalc able importance, which may lead us to a few conclusions of an er nently practical character. Let us glance at each of the provin of life which have been named, asking whether, in each, beat is not, so far as circumstances admit, an accompaniment and si of perfection.
In the individual there is no attribute of the soul's true 1 which is not attested on the countenance by some fine quality form or colour. Every one knows, though few of us have suffi ently reflected, that vice blunts and blackens the features. T criminal classes are distinguishable by their faces alone; and wl marks those faces is a rudeness, an ugliness, passing downwal from the human to the brutish. Mr. Carlyle's energetic, perha too energetic language, descriptive of the felons he saw in model prison, may recur to the reader.
“ Distorted blockheads, generality; ape-faces, imp-faces, angry dog.faces, heavy, sull ox-faces ;” and again, “ape, wolf, ox, imp, and other diabol animal specimens of humanity." On these Mr. Carlyle discern that the devil had “ visibly impressed his seal.”. Have we not of us marked how a "villain fancy fleeting by” has power darken a man's expression as with a spot of hell? And do we n feel that self-command, and temperance, and truthfulness, and ope ness, and charity, impart a fineness of curve, a delicacy and tend ness of edge, to features which were not cast originally in an exqı site mould? The effect here is strictly physical, and there can no doubt that the result of moral and intellectual nobleness, cor bined with circumstavces of physical well being, would in a fe successive generations be to enhance indefinitely the mere physic
beauty of the human face and form. The higher spiritual beauty, looking through the bodily frame, gradually renders it the more suitable to itself, the better fitted to transmit the heavenly light. "There is not any virtue," says Mr. Ruskin, " the exercise of which, even momentarily, will not impress a new fairness upon the features : neither on them only, but on the whole body, both the intelligence and the moral faculties have operation ; for even all the movements and gestures, however slight, are different in their modes according to the mind that governs them; and on the gentleness and decision of just feeling there follows a grace of action, and through continuance of this, a grace of form, which by no dissipline may be taught or attained." The natural association of beauty with perfection is traceable, therefore, in the individual man.
Ia domestic life the same law holds good. The peace of the konsehold is, we said, based upon the plain and rugged virtues ; but these, if alone, would not suffice to secure permanent and exalted happiness in the family circle, and would become far more liable to be driven away. By beauty in the domestic circle we mean a general look of orderliness and harmony, an aspect of gentle gaiety and brightness, a sunlight of smiles within, and, it may be, wreathing of honey-suckles and clustering of roses without. This is strictly speaking, beautiful; and no one will deny that the presence of this beauty in domestic life is the surest sign of happiies and perfection. Nor, if the conditions of labour are natural and just, is this beauty of domestic life beyond the reach of persons of very restricted means. The soul of it is the influence of woman, and if this influence is perverted it is lost. In point of fact, the sphere of man and the sphere of woman in the domestic circle correspond to and illustrate the entire dualism which we have
For contemplation he, and valour formed;
The woman ought, strictly speaking, to add the element of beauty to a home ; to be the brightener, the gladdener ; to soften the load of toil on the shoulders of her husband, and give the high and tender lights to the family picture. We proceed upon
We proceed upon the assumption that the woman ought not to be subject to oppressive labour ; and if we teem to cast the duty of tenderness too much upon her, it must be Teplied that herein lies the witchery of her power, the secret of her happiness
. We are wont to boast that in England we know more of this beauty, the reflex of felicity and virtue in domestic life, than any other people. It may be so. An English home of the middle class
, nay, a cottage home of peasant or workman, is often, as Tennyson calls it, a haunt of ancient peace, and this peace is intermixed with many fine elements of the Beautiful. But, for tens of thousands of our population, home is a mere name for squalor,
tum pestilential crowding, and all wretchedness. The very idea of bea in those stifling rooms would be inconceivable. And nowh is the character of ugliness, as nature's type of death phys and moral, exhibited in more ghastly forms than in ihe corr tion and misery of those dwellings. In this province also law holds good.
Does it maintain its validity in the ecclesiastical province ! beauty naturally, reasonably and scripturally, a concomitant worship? This question deserves a serious and deliberate answ ours is, without any hesitation, in the affirmative. Art, we repea not religion ; but art, which is to a large extent, man's attempt embody the Beautiful, has, in every age when religion was in 1 power, and when no circumstances intervened to sever the t allied itself with religion. The entire artistic genius of the Hebi people found employment in the ornamentation of their taberna and in the building of their temple. In the worship of God, that the nation could do in the way of music, apparently also modulated motion, was employed. In one word, there was, un the Hebrew dispensation, the clearest possible alliance between sense of beauty and the emotions of reverence and adoration, tween art and worship. The Christian Church had no sool emerged from the gloom of persecution, than the mightiest human instincts, the religious, called to its service the ministry beauty. The Church did not long preserve the faith in its purity, for twelve or thirteen hundred years the Latin religion was, thou impure, a living faith, and the art which became associated w it was thoroughly vital and thoroughly grand. The gothic arc tecture of the middle ages was perhaps the most sublime minist of beauty to religion—the most august enshrining of the religio emotions in sensible forms—that the world ever saw. The profou and mighty earnestness of religious men breathes in those majes structures reared for the worship of God. But, it will be aske was not the art of the Romish Church a Pagan substitution forn for spirit, and did not the Reformers do well in sweeping away? The Reformers did well in sweeping away the beauty th found associated with the Popery which they opposed. But th were right, not in that they swept away beauty, but in that th swept away Romanism and the distempered beauty still clinging Romanism. It has not, to our knowledge, been observed that tl beauty which the Reformers rejected, was a false beauty, a corps like beauty-a beauty which was not the glow of health in a livin Church, but death's hectic on the face of a church perishing of fatal malady. At the time of the Reforination, the art of Rom had become profoundly irreligious ; no alliance of the healthf and normal sort, between the Church and the cultivators of th
Beantiful was in existence. The artists, to whom the spirit in which Angelico had painted was no more conceivable, did what popes commissioned them to do—put Mistress or Madonna on the canvas with impartial perfection of technical skill—and were utterly indifferent to the controversies of the time. Had their religion been like that of the builders of the cathedrals, or even like that of Giotto and Angelico, the probability, coming as nearly to a certainty as the case can admit, is, that they would have fillowed the earnest men of the time into a purer faith. old artists their religion had been as faithfully believed and as kolemnly prized as the religion of his youth was by Luther; and had they heard of a proposed revolution in that religion, they could not possibly have looked on with the polite indifference of the painters and sculptors who talked refined Paganism round Leo. There being no Christian artists at the time that is, no artists sincerely though mistakenly Christian—there were none to join the Reformers; and these and their Protestant followers had more to do than to think of originating a Protestant art. The consequence, never to be sufficiently deplored, was a divorce between Christianity and art, dating from the Reformation ; a divorce which the Church of England refused to acknowledge, and which the Puritans insisted upon making complete and eternal. We cannot much blame the Puritans for this; nor are we of opinion that the doctrinal Protestantism of the Church of England has coalesced advantageously with the retained forms and ceremonies of the old Romish Church. But of this we are quite sure, that the Puritans, in so far as their pejection of Romish art and beauty meant a severance of religion from all art and beauty, were in profound and pernicious error. Deprived, in their religious exercises, of all means of manifesting bat exuberance of rejoicing in the God of their salvation, which formed so essential a part of the old Hebrew worship, and which bught to form a still larger part of Christian worship; and living under the depressing influence of persecution, they deepened the solemnity appropriate to religious worship into gloom, and they diffused this gloom, like a cloudy canopy, over the whole atmosphere of life. Words can never express the magnitude or the mischievousness of this error. It is a positive reversal of the law of nature. Gloom with her is a sign of sin and death, brightness a sign of life and purity. The opinion has no shadow of countenance in Scripture. The religious celebrations of the Hebrews were festivals; the Saviour expressly mentioned the symbols of appropriate gladness as "music and dancing ;” and Paul bids us " rejoice always.' ” The whole Protestant Church has suffered from proscription of art; but the Puritan Churches have suffered most, and to this day families in England of evangelical sentiments have a confused notion that brilliancy, gaiety," music and dancing,” are wrong,