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He submits calmly that Thomas should do it-should satisfy himself—but yet he is exceedingly sorrowful.
There is no surprise in his countenance; he knows human frailty; he is not astonished at unbelief or hardness of heart; but it seems, at the same time, as if his own heart were broken at the spectacle. There is not the slightest rebuke in his beautiful countenance; but such a union of indulgence and sorrow, as one might well pray for, at that altar-to be awakened in his mind when he stands by the evil and erring.
A Walk in St. Peter's is something by itself—a thing not to be had, nor any thing like it, anywhere else in the world. The immensity of the place ; its immense, unequaled magnificence; the charming temperature of the air, preserved the same the year round, by the vastness of the mass of masonry;
the incensebreathing walls — for there is literally an odor of sanctity always here, from the daily burning of incense; the rich, beautiful, variegated marble columns; the altars, the tombs on every side, the statues, the paintings, the fine medallions in marble, of the heads of saints and fathers of the church, which are set into the sides of the columns in great numbers; then the arches on arches that present themselves to the view in every direction; and, if the walk be towards evening — the music of the vesper hymn, now swelling in full chorus upon the ear, and then dying away, as the music changes, or the walk leads you near the chapel whence it proceeds, or farther from it; all this, with the gathering shadows of approaching etening — the shadows slowly gathering in arch and dome ---makes a walk in St. Peter's like nothing else!
Among the most beautiful things in Rome are its fountains, and among the most striking things are its obelisks.
The fountains in front of St. Peter's especially, are really glorious. They rise thirty or forty feet into the air, and come down in a shower. The quantity of water thrown up is so great, and the streams, as they spring out from the basin, are made so to diverge, that they present the appearance of two trees, one on each side of the piazza. The fountains are partly resolved into drops and mist, and a rainbow may always be seen in the direction opposite the sun. Every time one sees them, they seem a new mystery and beauty; and when the sky is so fair, so glorious a thing, that you feel almost (as you do some days) as if you could kneel down and worship it, they appear like a cloud of incense - pure, bright, resplendent - offered up to that supernal splendor and purity.
As to these Egyptian obelisks, of polished granite, pointing up to the sky from almost every square and open space in Rome, and with that handwriting of mysterious and yet unexplained characters upon their sides—what could be more striking ? The antiquities of Rome are young, by their side. Some of them were built by Sesostris, by, Rameses, between three and four thousand years ago. They saw ages of empire and glory before Rome had a being.
They are also in the most perfect preservation. So beautifully polished, and entirely free from stain, untouched by the storms of thirty-five centuries, it seems as if they had not lost one of their particles, since they came from the quarries of Egypt. That very
surface, we know, has been gazed upon by the eyes of a hundred successive generations. Speak, dread monitors! as ye point upward to Heaven — speak, dark hieroglyphic symbols ! and tell us - are ye not yet conscious, when conscious lise has been flowing around you for three thousand years ? Methinks it were enough to penetrate the bosom of granite with emotion, to have witnessed what ye have witnessed. Methinks that the stern and inexorable mystery, graven upon your mighty shafts, must break silence, to tell that which it hath known of weal and wo, of change, disaster, blood, and crime !
CULTIVATION OF TASTE FOR BEAUTY.
In looking at our nature, we discover among its admirable endowments, the sense or perception of Beauty. We see the germ of this in every human being, and there is no power which admits greater cultivation; and why should it not be cherished in all? It deserves remark, that the provision for this principle is infinite in the universe. There is but a very minute portion of the creation which we can turn into food and clothes, or gratification for the body; but the whole creation may be used to minister to the sense of beauty.
Beauty is an all pervading presence. It unfolds in
the numberless flowers of the spring. It waves in the branches of the trees and
blades of grass. It haunts the depths of the earth and sea, and gleams out in the hues of the shell and the precious stone. And not only these minute objects, but the ocean, the mountains, the clouds, the heavens, the stars, the rising and setting sun, all overflow with beauty. The universe is its temple; and those men who are alive to it cannot lift their eyes without feeling themselves encompassed with it on every side.
Now this beauty is so precious, the enjoyments it gives are so refined and pure, so congenial with our tenderest and noblest feelings, and so akin to worship, that it is painful to think of the multitude of men as living in the midst of it, and living almost as blind to it, as if, instead of this fair earth and glorious sky, they were tenants of a dungeon. An infinite joy is lost to the world by the want of culture of this spiritual endowment.
Suppose that I were to visit a cottage, and to see its walls lined with the choicest pictures of Raphael, and every spare nook filled with statues of the most exquisite workmanship, and that I were to learn, that neither
man, woman nor child ever cast an eye at these miracles of art, how should I feel their privation; how should I want to open their eyes, and to help them to comprehend and feel the loveliness and grandeur which in vain courted their notice. But every husbandman is living in sight of the works of a diviner artist; and how much would his existence be elevated, could he see the glory which shines forth in their forms, hues, proportions and moral expression!
I have spoken only of the beauty of nature, but how much of this mysterious charm is found in the elegant arts, and especially in literature?' The best books have most beauty. The greatest truths are wronged if not linked with beauty, and they win their way most surely and deeply into the soul when arrayed in this their natural and fit attire. Now no man receives the true culture of a man, in whom the sensibility to the beautiful is not cherished; and I know of no condition in life from which it should be excluded. Of all luxuries this is the cheapest and most at band.
What beauty is, is a question which the most penetrating minds have not satisfaetorily answered; nor, were I able, is this the place for discussing it. But one thing I would say; the beauty of the outward creation is intimately related to the lovely, grand, interesting attributes of the soul.
There is another power, which each man should cultivate according to his ability, but which is very much neglected in the mass of the people, and that is the power of Utterance. A man was not made to shut up his mind in itself; but to give it voice and to exchange it for other minds. Speech is one of our grand distinctions from the brute. Our power over others lies not so much in the amount of thought within us, as in the power of bringing it out. A man of more than ordinary intellectual vigor, may, for want of expression, be a cypher, without significance in society. And not only does a man influence others, but he greatly aids his own intellect, by giving distinct and forcible utterance to his thoughts. We understand ourselves better, our conceptions grow clearer, by the