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any exact idea of size or of parts. It is a whole;
it makes its impression as a whole; and you can
no more receive that impression from the succes.
sive sentences of a description, than you could re-
ceive it from contemplating, in succession, the dif.
ferent parts of the structure itself.
There is a sanctity and venerableness about
many of the English churches, and even those of
the humblest order, which nothing but time indeed
can give to the churches of our country, but which
time will never give to them, unless we learn to
build them with more durable materials than wood
or brick. There is something in these churches
which leads you instinctively to take off your hat
when you enter them—a duty, by-the-by, of which
your attendant is sure to admonish you, if you sail
of it——and I would that the practice were more
common than it is among us. The sentiment of
reverence for holy places, is certainly gaining
ground upon the old Puritan and Presbyterian pre-
judice on this head, and it must grow with the in-
creasing refinement of the people. But still, there
are too many churches, especially in our country
towns, which are in a state of shameful disrepair,
and of abominable filthiness; and which are con-
stantly trampled under the feet of the multitude, at
every election. Indeed, the condition and use,

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CHURCHES, 81

and, I may add, the architecture of a church, can-
not fail to have a direct effect upon the sentiment
of religious veneration; and I trust the time is to
come, when (with reference to this last point) the
construction of churches among us will be given
into the hands of competent architects, and not left
to the crude and ambitious devices of parish com-
mittees. It costs no more to build in good propor-
tions, than in bad; and the trifling expense of ob-
taining a plan from an able architect (not a mere
carpenter) is unworthy to have any weight in a
matter of such permanent importance to a whole
community. The churches of a country are a part
of its religious literature. They speak to the peo-
ple; they convey ideas; they make impressions.
The Catholics understand this, and are erecting, I
believe, more fine churches in America, in propor-
tion to their numbers, than any other denomination
among us.
I confess that if I could build a church in all re-
spects to suit my own taste, I would build it in the
solemn and beautiful style of the churches of Eng-
land, the Gothic style; and I would build it in en-
during stone, that it might gather successive gen-
erations within its holy walls, that passing centu-
ries might shed their hallowing charm around it,
that the children might worship where their fathers

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had worshipped from age to age, and feel as if the

spirits of their fathers still mingled in their holy rites. Nay, more do I say, and further would I go—I am not speaking, of course, as proposing anything, but only as individually preferring it— but I say for myself that I would place altars in that church, where prayers might be said daily, where daily resort might be had by all whose inclination prompted; so that whosoever passed by might have liberty, at any hour of the day, to turn aside from his business, his occupation, his care, or his leisurely walk—in his sorrow, or his joy, or his anxiety, or his fear, or his desire, and want, and trouble, and temptation, so often besetting the steps of every mortal life--to turn aside, I say, and bow down amid the awful stillness of the sanctuary, Let it not be said, as detracting from the import. ance of the religious architecture of a country, Or as an apology for neglect or irreverence towards churches, that all places are holy—that the universe is the temple of God. It is true, indeed, that the whole frame of nature is a temple for worship, but is it a mean or an unadorned temple? Nay, what a structure is it ! and what a glorious adorning is put upon it, to touch the springs of imagination and feeling, and to excite the principle of devotion! What painted or gilded dome is like that arch of

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CHURCHES. 83

blue, “that swells above us?” What blaze of clustered lamps, or even burning tapers, is like the lamp of day hung in the heavens, or the silent and mysterious lights that burn for ever in the far off depths

to of the evening sky? And what are the splendid curtains with which the churches of Rome are clothed for festal occasions, to the gorgeous clouds that float around the pavilion of morning,

or the tabernacle of the setting sun? And what

to mighty pavement of tesselated marble can come pare with the green valleys, the enamelled plains, so the whole variegated, broad, and boundless pavement of this world's surface, on which the mighty a congregation of the children of men are standing? What, too, are altars reared by human hands, compared with the everlasting mountains—those , altars in the temple of nature; and what incense o ever arose from human altars, like the bright and beautiful mountain mists that float around those eternal heights, and then rise above them and

are dissolved into the pure and transparent ether— o like the last fading shadows of human imperfection, a losing themselves in the splendours of heaven? And what voice ever spoke from human altar, like the voice of the thunder from its cloudy tabernacle on those sublime heights of the creation, when

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“Not from one lone cloud,
But every mountain height hath found a tongue,
And Jura answers from her misty shroud,
Back to the joyous Alps who call to her aloud!”

And, in fine, what anthem or pean ever rolled from
organ or orchestra, or from the voice of a count.
less multitude, like the dread and deafening roar
of ocean, with all its swelling multitude of waves!
Yes, the temple of nature is full of inspiration, full
of objects that inspire devotion, and so, as far as
may be, should our temples of prayer and thanks-
giving be made. A
To say, as if to detract from the sanctity of re-
ligious edifices, that here, after all, is only so much
wood, and stone, and mortar, which are nothing
but the same mass of materials in any other form,
or devoted to any other purpose—why we talk not
so of our homes—we talk not so of nature—we
talk so of nothing else. It is by mixing up intellec-
tual and spiritual associations with things, and only
so, that they have any interest or importance to
our minds. Things are nothing but what the mind
makes them to be—nothing but by an infusion into
them of the intellectual principle of our own nature.
The tuft that is shorn from the warrior's plume by
the scythe of death, is nothing else, if one pleases
so to consider it, but the plumage of a bird. The

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