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Divine Architecture.

Divine Architecture.

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Published by glennpease

" Ye are God's building:' I CoR. 3:9.

" Ye are God's building:' I CoR. 3:9.

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Published by: glennpease on Oct 07, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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DIVIE ARCHITECTURE.By C. J. BALDWI." Ye are God's building:' I CoR. 3:9.A architect's profession is one of peculiar prominenceand importance. The work of an artist, a sculptor,an author may be of a private character, known to only afew, or confined to a certain class of people and for atime. But an architect's productions are seen of all men — at least where they stand, — and they endure for long.The building which he designs and erects is the commonproperty of the public and may continue so forgenerations.As such his work has a general mission for good orill. An ill-planned, poorly executed structure offers an of-fense to every passer-by. We may not see the picture orthe statue which adorns some gallery, and we need notread the book which is offered for sale. But we cannotavoid the building which greets us every day ; nor can weescape from its influence on our feelings, perhaps our char-acter. You have observed edifices that were to you aperpetual affront and injury. They seemed like solidifiedvulgarity or materialized vanity, or embodied- hypocrisy.You were consciously the worse for looking at them. Atother times — ^how different ! Who has not felt the puri-fying, elevating effect of a graceful stately structure ? Itrises before the eye a psalm of praise, a prayer of aspira-tion. Or it stands grandly firm like Truth or Justice in222 Divine Architecture.terms of matter. Or in the appropriate forms of homeuse, it is an incarnation of domestic virtue. We are al-ways the better for looking at such things, whether we
know it or not. They line our streets with noble influ-ences. They are to the public eye preachers of righteous-ness whose ministry may not be recognized, and yet is realand good. And therefore we hold that the profession of an architect is one of peculiar importance. Few othervocations have such a scope of public utility and of per-manent influence. It is true that the thinker, the authorsometimes attains to an immortality which no one else canreach. But of all human productions how few will out-last the Pyramids or the Parthenon ! — how few have en- joyed the popularity of the Grecian pillar, the Romanarch, or the Gothic spire ?Let then this most useful and responsible office giveus a point of view from which to consider some of theworks of God. For He is the original and supreme Architect from whom all human art is derived. What is ou-science and philosophy but a thinking of the thoughts of God after him ? Let Art reverently recognize this andnever forget its debt to Him who laid the foundations of the earth with rocky firmness, and paved its surface withflowery mosaic ; reared its lofty columns of mountain linesfestooned with the blue draperies of distance, and archedover all the dome of space, frescoed with clouds and stars.So hath he built the world as a Temple for his worship,and filled it with his praise, from where the priestly morn-ing offers his red sacrifice upon the sea, to where fromminarets of western clouds the sunset calls to prayer.He that built all things is God ; but we are now con-cerned with a particular branch of the divine industry — Divine Architecture. 223"ye are God's building." It is to the Divine Architectureof life that we shall confine our attention. We maynotice certain general principles which are always observedby true art in its productions. All buildings which are
what they ought to be, will be found to be constructed inaccordance with the laws of utility, sincerity, stability andbeauty. These are four of the *' lamps of architect-ure " — Use, Truth, Strength, Beauty. Let us see howthey illuminate the building of God as well as of men.I. Utility is the starting point of all true construc-tion. The first question which an architect asks with re-gard to a proposed structure is — What is it for ? What endis it designed to serve ? It is taken for granted that everybuilding enterprise has an intelligent purpose to fulfill, andit is known that this purpose will determine all the ques-tions respecting the size, shape, material, appearance of the proposed edifice. The one true standard of judgmentis — adaptation to a proposed end. For this reason weshape our plans differently for various occasions. o onewould construct a home as he would a store, or plan abam like a workshop. or do we judge all things by anyone rule. What would be appropriate for a college, wouldbe unsightly in a factory. This is sometimes forgotten bycritics who do not stop to inquire for the reason back of the appearance, before deciding as to its merits. But amassive structure, severely plain, would be commendablein a prison , while a graceful attractive edifice would beutterly inartistic for such a purpose. Adaptation to use isthe first principle of true art.Church architecture has suffered greatly from a disre-gard of this. When the original reign of Puritanic sim-plicity, which our fathers brought to this country, had run224 Divine Architecture.its course, and Protestantism began to feel the influence of aestheticism, Christians seemed to go from one extreme toits opposite. As a reaction from the severe plainness of the old meeting house, there came to pass a lavish indul-gence in Grecian style; and the land saw those pillared

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