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ST. SOPHIA, AT CONSTANTINOPLE. ST. SOPHIA at Constantinople is one of the most magnificent structures in the world. For more than a thousand years Christian worship was celebrated upon this spot. but since the taking of the city by the Turks, A. D. 1453, it has been desecrated as a Turkish mosque. It is said to be capable of containing 100,000 persons, and it is held in the highest veneration by the Turks, so that the Sultan goes to it every Friday, the Sabbath of the Mohammedans.
Constantine the Great built two churches at Constantinople, one of which he named IRENE, and the other he called THE APOSTLES'. Socrates, a Greek historian of the fifth century, says, "The emperor (Constantine) built the Great Church, which is now called SOPHIA. It was joined to that church called Irene, which, being before a little one, the emperor's father (Constantine) had very much beautified and enlarged. And both of them are to be seen at this present time, encompassed within one and the same wall, and called by the name of one church."
St. Sophia was twice burnt down, but the present edifice was erected by Justinian: the description of which, we shall give in the words of Gibbon: "The VOL. II.
principal church, which was dedicated by the founder of Constantinople to St. Sophia, or the Eternal Wisdom. had been twice destroyed by fire; after the exile of John Chrysostom, and during the Nika of the blue and green factions. No sooner did the tumult subside, than the Christian populace deplored their sacrilegious rashness; but they might have rejoiced in the calamity, had they foreseen the glory of the new temple, which, at the end of forty days, was strenuously undertaken by the piety of Justinian The ruins were cleared away, a more spacious plan was described, and as it required the consent of some proprietors of ground, they obtained the most exorbitant terms from the eager desires and timorous conscience of the monarch. Anthemius formed the design, and his genius directed the hands of ten thousand workmen, whose payment in pieces of fine silver was never delayed beyond the evening. The emperor himself, clad in a linen tunic, surveyed each day their rapid progress, and encouraged their diligence by his familiarity, his zeal, and his rewards. The new cathedral of St. Sophia was consecrated by the patriarch, five years eleven months and ten days from the first foundation; and in the midst of the solemn festival, Justinian exclaimed, with devout vanity, "Glory be to God, who hath thought me 2 N
worthy to accomplish so great a work! I have vanquished thee, O Solomon!" But the pride of the Roman Solomon, before twenty years had elapsed, was humbled by an earthquake, which overthrew the eastern part of the dome. Its splendour was again restored by the perseverance of the same prince; and in the thirty-sixth year of his reign, Justinian celebrated the second dedication of a temple, which remains, after twelve centuries, a stately monument of his fame.
"The architecture of St. Sophia, which is now converted into the principal mosch, has been imitated by the Turkish Sultans; and that venerable pile continues to excite the fond admiration of the Greeks, and the more rational curiosity of European travellers. The eye of the spectator is disappointed by an irregular prospect of half domes and shelving roofs; the western front, the principal approach, is destitute of simplicity and magnificence; and the scale of dimensions has been much surpassed by several of the Latin cathedrals. But the architect, who first erected an aerial cupola, is entitled to the praise of bold design and skilful execution. The dome of St. Sophia, illuminated by four-and-twenty windows, is formed with so small a curve, that the depth is equal to only one-sixth of its diameter: the measure of that diameter is one hundred and fifteen feet, and the lofty centre, where a crescent has supplanted the cross, rises to the perpendicular height of one hundred and eighty feet above the pavement. The circle, which encompasses the dome, lightly reposes on four strong arches, and their weight is firmly supported by four massy piles, whose strength is assisted on the northern and southern sides by four columns of Egyptian granite. A Greek cross, inscribed in a quadrangle, represents the form of the edifice; the exact breadth is two hundred und forty-three feet; and two hundred and sixty-nine may be assigned for the extreme length, from the sanctuary in the east, to the nine western doors which open in the vestibule, and from thence into the narthex, or exterior portico. That portico was the humble station of the penitents. The nave or body of the church was filled by the congregation of the faithful; but the two sexes were prudently distinguished, and the upper and lower galleries were allotted for the more private devotion of the women. Beyond the northern and southern piles, a balustrade, terminated on either side by the thrones of the emperor and the patriarch, divided the nave from the choir: and the space, as far as the steps of the altar, was occupied by the clergy and singers. The altar itself was placed in the eastern recess, artificially built in the form of a demi-cylinder; and this sanctuary communicated by several doors with the sacristry, the vestry, the baptistry, and the contiguous buildings, subservient either to the pomp of worship, or the private use of the ecclesiastical ministers. The memory of past calamities inspired Justinian with a wise resolution, that no wood, except for the doors, should be admitted into the new edifice; and the choice of the materials was applied to the strength, the lightness, or the splendour of the respective parts. The solid piles, which sustained the cupola, were composed of huge blocks of freestone, hewn into squares and triangles, fortified by circles of iron, and firmly cemented by the infusion of lead and quick lime; but the weight of the cupola was diminished by the levity of its substance, which consists either of pumice-stone, that floats in the water, or of bricks from the isle of Rhodes, five time less ponderous than the ordinary sort. The whole frame of the edifice was constructed of brick; but those materials were concealed by a crust of marble; and the inside of St. Sophia, the cupola, the two larger, and the six smaller semi-domes, the walls, the hundred columns, and the pavement, delight even the eyes of barbarians
with a rich and variegated picture. A poet, who beheld the primitive lustre of St. Sophia, enumerates the colours, the shades, and the spots of ten or twelve marbles, jaspers, and porphyries, which nature had profusely diversified, and which were blended and contrasted, as it were, by a skilful painter. The triumph of Christ was adorned with the last spoils of paganism; but the greater part of these costly stones was extracted from the quarries of Asia Minor, the isles and continent of Greece, Egypt, Africa, and Gaul. Eight columns of porphyry, which Aurelian had placed in the temple of the sun, were offered by the piety of a Roman matron; eight others of green marble were presented by the ambitious zeal of the magistrates of Ephesus; both are admirable by their size and beauty; but every order of architecture disclaims their fantastic capitals. A variety of ornaments and figures was curiously expressed in mosaic; and the images of Christ, of the Virgin, of saints, and of angels, which have been defaced by Turkish fanaticism, were dangerously exposed to the superstition of the Greeks. According to the sanctity of each object, the precious metals were distributed in their leaves or in solid masses. The balustrade of the choir, the capitals of the pillars, the ornaments of the doors and galleries, were of gilt bronze; the spectator was dazzled by the glittering aspect of the cupola; the sanctuary contained 40,000 pounds weight of silver; and the holy vases and vestments of the altar were of the purest gold, enriched with inestimable gems. Before the structure of the church had risen two cubits above the ground, 45,2001. were already consumed; and the whole expense amounted to 320,000.; each reader, according to the measure of his belief, may estimate their value either in gold or silver; but the sum of 1,000,000/. sterling is the result of the lowest computation. A magnificent temple is a laudable monument of national taste and religion, and the enthusiast who entered the dome of St. Sophia, might be tempted to suppose that it was the residence or even the workmanship of the Deity. Yet how dull is the artifice, how insignificant is the labour, if it be compared with the formation of the vilest insect that crawls upon the surface of the temple !"
In Constantinople alone, and the adjacent suburbs, Justinian dedicated no less than twenty-five churches to the honour of Christ, the Virgin, and the saints; most of which were decorated with marble and gold; and their various situations were skilfully chosen in a populous square, or a pleasant grove; on the margin of the sea-shore, or on some lofty eminence which overlooked the continents of Europe and Asia. From these statements it will appear how generally Christi anity was professed in the sixth century. But few of the ministers of these and other splendid buildings were distinguished by their evangelical purity of doctrine and apostolic zeal. John Chrysostom was by far the most eminent; but of that eloquent, pious, and zealous father we cannot here speak; we must reserve a place for his memoirs in our ECCLESIASTICAL BIO
WISDOM AND COURAGE.
THE difference between men of wisdom and heroes, is generally that between wisdom and courage. Wisdom prevents evil, courage removes it. The benefits of wisdom, though superior and more extensive, are often unperceived and without applause; while those of courage are palpable, and attended with glory, in proportion to the evils which the folly of that courage may perhaps have given birth to.
ON THE DIVINE ATTRIBUTES.
No. VI. THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD.
SELF-DENIAL, though painful and difficult, is a duty which the Christian is called upon to put in practice every day. The history of the church, from its first ages, is the history of those who have been content to forego the enjoyments of sense and the pleasures which this world spreads invitingly before them, for the purpose of pleasing an Invisible Being, who has declared that such a course of conduct shall be rewarded in a future state of existence. When the Almighty revealed himself to Abraham, and informed him of the glorious inheritance which he had prepared for him, we find that self-denial stood prominent in the conditions required; insomuch that it could not have been his portion to enter the promised land, and become the father of the faithful, had he refused to forsake the land of his nativity, where his wealth had been amassed and his life spent, and become a wanderer on the earth, at that time of life when rest is needed and expected. How could Moses have been fit to hold the important station of ruler of the Jewish people, had he listened to the invitations of the Egyptian princess, and consented to be called her son, and the probable heir to the throne of Egypt? He willingly undertook to bear the reproach of God's people, and endure the privations and sorrows under which they were groaning, rather than purchase a glittering but specious happiness at the price of his integrity, and in violation of the duty which he owed to God and his people.
And as we advance nearer to our own times, and call to mind the doings of those holy men, who were commissioned by the Saviour to spread the knowledge of salvation, can we refuse to confess that they gave up all prospects of wealth, power, ease, or affluence in this world, and underwent sufferings and sorrows which beggar description and surpass imagination, that they might perform the commandment of their once despised but now glorified though unseen Master, by spreading the knowledge of his salvation through the benighted kingdoms of this earth? Neither was there less selfdenial manifested in those pious men, who by God's help diffused the true light of revelation over our own land, having dispersed the gloomy clouds of a cruel and bigoted superstition, through whose influence darkness covered the land and gross darkness the people. They marched to the stake-they shrunk not from the firethey retracted not their sayings, and proclaimed with their dying breath the truth of the doctrines for which they suffered.
And does not the very word faith imply self-denial? Does it not require those who march under its banner to lead a life of expectation? —to forego much that is beauteous and gay? to endure many a smile and many a sneer, that they may enjoy a more glorious world, where the things long hoped for on earth, and sought after and prayed for, shall have become substance, and where the triumphant shout of the redeemed of the Lord shall fully prove that they did right in depending on the evidence of faith as to these once unseen but now present glories? And what is the motive which is strong enough to induce men to endure all these things? I think it is quite clear that nothing could occasion such a course of conduct, but a firm conviction that He that has promised is faithful, and also able to do it. According to the admonition of our Saviour, they are disposed to care but little for the puny threats and oppositions of him whose utmost force and violence cannot reach beyond this frail tenement of clay, while all fear and all honour are rendered to Him, who when the passing scenes of time shall be closed up for ever,
will exert a power and influence over the soul, which the growing ages of eternity can neither weaken nor impair.
Having said thus much by way of introduction, it will be well, before I proceed further, to define the Scripture meaning of the Faithfulness of God. It consists in that infinite perfection of his nature, whereby he infallibly fulfils all his wise designs, according to the promises and declarations contained in his revealed word. There are two remarks concerning the Faithfulness of God, which may tend to illustrate it more fully.
1. He never changes his purpose. The grand object, as it seems to me, which the Almighty has ever had in view, is to punish wickedness and reward holiness. Who can read the chilling denouncements of the Mosaic law without perceiving, that while honour and happiness were promised to obedience, misery and wretchedness were to be the portion of disobedience? And therefore whenever the creatures of earth set at defiance the will of their Maker, he fails not to inflict on them the threatened chastisement. We shall find, I think, that all the plans of the Deity keep this one object in view; which is in fact what might have been expected from a moral Governor of the world, whose chief design must be to encourage obedience and suppress rebellion. A little consideration will show, that this view of the case affords a key to the comprehension of many things otherwise hard to be understood. God is sometimes said "to repent," "to turn again;" and the words seem to imply some change in the purposes of the Deity, or his mode of dispensation. If however we keep in view what has been just asserted, it will be quite manifest, that since the objects of threatened vengeance have changed their behaviour, the conduct of the Almighty towards them must also change, while at the same time he does but fulfil his original intention of frowning on sinfulness and smiling on virtue. The curse which went forth over Nineveh, and doomed its crowded population to sudden and dreadful destruction, was denounced against sinful Nineveh: but Nineveh repented, and therefore it was that the curse could not be inflicted, because the object of Divine displeasure had taken shelter under the promises of mercy held forth to the returning penitent. Now let us extend these remarks to ourselves; and how soon shall we put to flight all those vain and unfounded excuses, whereby we endeavour to defer the day of repentance, in consequence of some supposed or expected unknown decree of the Almighty, which we imagine will in due time force us to repent. Oh! away with a thought so unscriptural and so unnatural; and rest satisfied of this, that the Deity cannot be concerned in keeping you in sia, and that the sooner you return and repent, the more pleasing it will be in his sight. He has declared that mercy shall flow to the penitent; and though the bright luminary which affords light and heat to many a world were to be extinguished, and all that vast multitude of stars which adorn the arch of the skies were to fall from their spheres, and though darkness drear and interminable should shroud the once brilliant canopy of heaven, yet shall that promise of mercy be sure and unshaken.
2. He is quite independent of man. Ridicule and scorn are but idle weapons, when they are directed against the Deity; and all the machinations of mankind weak and unfounded when they are intended to overthrow the plans of the Omnipotent. There is a great degree of force in the words, "though hand join in hand, yet shall not the wicked be unpunished." They seem to treat with contempt all the impious efforts of the scorner, and shake to the ground his refuge of lies. The establishment of this point is one of no little noment. Men are apt to view things under the delusive
aspect of present appearances; and because the smile of joy lights up the countenance of the ungodly, and prosperity attends his every project, are inclined to believe that God is unmindful of his people, or unable to overthrow his enemies. No sudden destruction seems to follow the sinner. His course through life appears calm and tranquil: and the conclusion but too frequently follows, that his passage to eternity will be marked with the same features of composure. Some such speculation as this was foreseen in apostolic days, and called forth the prophetic spirit of St. Peter. Scoffers, he predicted, should arise in the latter days, who, seeing that the face of nature wore the same lovely aspect that it did when first framed by the Almighty, and being unable to discern about it any marks of change or alteration, would rashly conclude that the conflagration so awfully predicted the roaring of the sea and the darkening of the sun-were events not at all likely to come about. And some such a spirit of disbelief abounds in our own days. We should therefore be cautious lest we err in our decisions. What God has threatened, must come to pass; and however appearances may seem to oppose such a conclusion, the Christian is bound to receive it. Let us not, therefore, limit the Almighty to any time that we shall fix let us not presume to suppose ourselves competent to decide under what circumstances it would be right for him to fulfil his long-expected threatenings. Be it rather ours humbly to acknowledge, that "He is faithful that hath promised."
(To be continued.)
THE BEAUTIES OF CHRISTIANITY.
(Continued from p. 267.)
It is impossible to form a correct estimate of the excellence of objects which live, as it were, with us, unless we measure them by a standard of other times and
Most of the ancient philosophers have marked the distinction between vices and virtues, but how far superior, in this respect, is the wisdom of religion to the wisdom of men! And what were the virtues so highly recommended by the sages of Greece? Fortitude, temperance, and prudence. None but Christ could teach the world that faith, hope, and charity, are the virtues alike adapted to the ignorance and the wants of man. Stupendous wisdom pointed out to us faith as the source of all the virtues: there is no power but in conviction; if a train of reasoning is strong, it is because we are convinced of its truth. Friendship, patriotism, love, all the generous sentiments, are likewise a species of faith. Shall we mention the martyrs, who, to use the words of St. Ambrose, "without armies, vanquished tyrants, tamed lions, took from the fire its vehemence, and from the sword its edge?" Considered in this point of view, faith is so formidable an instrument that it would convulse the world, were it applied to bad purposes: there is nothing that a man who is under the influence of a profound conviction is not capable of performing. This proves that the most eminent virtues, when separated from God, closely border on the greatest vices. Virtues are not virtues, unless they flow back towards their source. From faith, springs all the virtues of society; since it is the unanimous acknowledgment of all wise men, that the doctrine which commands the belief in a God who will reward and punish, is the main pillar both of morals and politics. Finally, if you employ faith for its genuine purpose, if you make it the in
tellectual eye, by which you discover the Creator and the wonders of spiritual existence, you will admit that the Scriptures have not too highly extolled this virtue, when speaking of the wonders it can perform.
Hope, the second theological virtue, is almost as powerful as faith. Desire is the parent of power.
Seek," says Jesus, "and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you;" in the same sense, Pythagoras, an ancient philosopher, observed, "Power dwelleth with necessity." Hope possesses that energy which produces, and that thirst which is never appeased. There is, however, an essential difference between faith and hope. Faith has its focus out of ourselves, it arises from an external object: hope, on the contrary, springs within us. The former is instilled into us; the latter is produced by our own desire; the one is obedience, the other love. But hope exhibits a peculiar characteristic in its connection with our sorrows. That religion which made a virtue of hope, was assuredly revealed by Heaven. This nurse of the unfortunate watches by his solitary pillow, and refreshes him with a beverage which soothes all his woes. Hope is a virtue rigorously required of the Christian; nay, more, he shall be rewarded for having hoped; or, in other words, for having made himself happy. The believer, whose life is a continual warfare, is treated by religion, in his defeat, like the vanquished Roman generals, who, notwithstanding their misfortunes, were received in triumph, because they had not despaired of the safety of the Commonwealth; and if the ancients ascribed something marvellous to the man who never despaired, what would they have thought of the Christian who talks of the practice of hope?
With respect to charity, it may be said, that religion, with a view to reform the human heart, has invented a new passion. In order to express it, she has not employed the word love, which is not grave enough; or friendship, which ceases at the tomb; or pity, which is too much akin to pride; but the word charity, which embraces all the three, and at the same time is allied to something celestial. By means of this, our inclinations are purified and directed towards heaven. By this we are taught the stupendous truth, that we should love one another. But if charity is a completely Christian virtue, it is also in close alliance with nature. It is in this continual harmony between heaven and earth, that we discover the character of true religion. The moral and political institutions of antiquity, are often in contradiction to the sentiments of the soul: Christianity, on the contrary, enjoins not solitary virtues, but such as are derived from our wants, and useful to mankind. Charity is an abundant fountain in the deserts of life: "it suffereth long and is kind, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."
(To be continued.)
Letters to a Mother, upon Education. LETTER XXXVI.
On the Acquisition of Living Languages.
UPON the acquisition of Greek, Latin, arithmetic, and mathematics, I need not attempt to offer to you any directions. I have informed you where they may be acquired by the best mode and in the highest perfection. Still, however, you will perhaps do me the favour to accept some observations upon the acquisition of what are called the living languages, or the languages spoken at the present day by the different nations of the earth.
Of these, the languages spoken on the continent, and especially the French language, come most usually under the denomination.
It is generally deemed an indispensable portion of education that a child should know something of the latter. There is however more of fashion than of utility in this recommendation: yet utility ought surely to be the rule of conduct to any reasonable being. The plain question therefore is, of what use is it that your child should be taught the French language? No one will urge as a reason, merely that he may be able to use and to understand the few French words which have become current in our language. If he is to become a tradesman, such words as ennui, au desespoir, degagée, &c. &c. &c. will be perfectly ridiculous in his conversation; and if he is to become a scholar, he will not condescend to use them.
The most legitimate reason for desiring to understand French is, to become acquainted with the ideas comprised in the most celebrated writers of the French nation. The books, however, of French literature really worth reading have chiefly been translated. If your son is to be a tradesman, these will be quite sufficient for his use. With regard to those which it is desirable to the scholar to peruse in the original language, such as the mathematicians, &c. they may be read and understood by a person not able to pronounce French; and the question of attempting to learn the pronunciation, supposing some knowledge of the language to be needed, is what I have now chiefly in view. You will not urge the possibility that in one or other capacity your son may be called upon to travel. The business of education does not provide for such remote and faint possibilities. Besides, should he ever travel, he will find that there is not a town in Flanders, or in France, and perhaps Germany and Switzerland, in which the waiter of the hotel does not understand English. If he is to travel as a scholar, he will find that the waiter's English will be enough so far, and that the literati of France understand Latin and speak it with fluency; and that with the exception of the French pronunciation of Latin, which he may learn in half an hour, he already possesses a mode of communication with these persons, better than such a knowledge of the vernacular language as falls to the lot of most Englishmen could have supplied.
If, however, in consequence of remaining in France for any length of time, it may ever be needful to your son to study the language, he will there have the best opportunity. He will find in every part of the continent a well-educated Frenchman, who teaches his native language. By him, he will be directed as to the quantity of grammar it is needful for him to study; and by the aid of actual conversation with his preceptor and with the natives, he will acquire a greater knowledge of the language, than by whole years spent in the study of it under an Englishman, or even a Frenchman in England.
We know how imperfectly the foreigner, who has learned English under every advantage, is acquainted with our language: what then must be the imperfection of French learnt from an Englishman? Yet boys and girls at school are perpetually learning French by this method. If indeed some native of France is the teacher, yet how rarely is he a Parisian; and if not, since we know that there is as much difference in the pronunciation of French between the different provinces of France as there is between the English in London and English in Lancashire and Cornwall, what security have you that the French of the native teacher could be intelligible to Parisians; especially when to his own provincialisms of accent and pronunciation, there be added the native intractability of English organs to pronounce the French language, on the part of the pupil? Yet time and money are wasted as a matter of fashion upon this useless acquisition. I say useless, for when an Englishman instructed by these means sets his foot in France, he of course tries to turn his acquired stores of information to some account. Soon however he finds something indescribably different in a Parisian pronunciation even of the same words. He has been accustomed to hear the words pronounced slowly and distinctly by his French instructor; now he finds them pronounced with a freedom of the native organs, which gives the conversation of Frenchmen the appearauce of peculiar rapidity. He is as much at a loss, nearly, as if he had never heard or seen a word of French in all his life. He then tries English, and finds that the waiter and the landlord of the inn speak better English than he can speak French. He then confesses, that the difference is little between the man who knows not one word of the language before coming to France, and the man who has thought that he had known something about it; that difference being on the side of the man who was clearly ignorant, in proportion as mere ignorance is better than ill habits and perversion. The case of the one is a sheet of white paper, upon which any thing may be written; that of the other a sheet preoccupied with stains and scrawls. The time and the money, then, paid for learning French may well be spared. In the case of the young tradesman, he will have more time to learn what will really be useful; and in the case of the boy who is intended for a learned profession, he will be able to pay, what is so valuable, an undivided attention to the studies of his school. Under the guidance of these principles, you must never be ashamed to confess that your son knows nothing of French; and instruct him, by precept and example, to be ready to make the same acknowledgment. Let him be acquainted with all the knowledge essential to his business or profession; and if to these he adds a knowledge of his religion, I have the high authority of Lord Bacon for saying that no man ought to be required to know more.
I am, dear Madam, yours, &c.
"That the soul be without knowledge is not good." THE influence of literature on the destiny of man is of unquestionable importance. Books are the best, the noblest monuments of all nations; and ages cannot transmit to ages any inheritance so valuable as the thoughts and productions of men of talent.
Knowledge is that which, next to virtue, truly and essentially raises one man above another: it finishes one half of the human soul: it makes existence pleasant to us, and administers a perpetual series of gratification. It gives ease to solitude, and grace to retire