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have been in having laid the foundation of scientific thought in the Franciscan theology and philosophy, which afterwards served to keep the balance straight between excess of mysticism or ascetical fervuur on the one hand, and too passionate an investigation into the mysteries of nature on the other, - dangers recurring from time to time in the course of the development of Franciscan thought.* There, too, as if that the first rays of the dawn of physical science, although the time for its full development had not yet come, should not be absent from this glorious period, is Roger Bacon, of whom it has been said that of all men he seemed to have been surprised, perhaps overwhelmed, by the mysteries of nature, with whose teeming inexhaustible life and productive powers he was ever seeking to come directly into contact, † and who, with all his faults, not only anticipated the principles of inductive philosophy, and beheld almost in dim outline very many of the glories of modern science, but to whom even the second Bacon may have been more largely indebted than is commonly supposed. I There also is the Irishman Duns Scotus, who shows us the scholastic side of Franciscan thought, with its strong Platonic tendency, just as S. Bonaventure represents its spiritual and mystical, and Roger Bacon its natural side, and who in two hundred distinct propositions becomes the champion of the Immaculate Conception of our Lady. S How magnificent is
see F. Vaughan's “Life of S. Thomas,” i. 422. That Alexander of Hales prepared the way for the Summa, see vol. ii. 826–30.
* For example, the Spirituals or the Fratricelli in the 14th century, whom Michael of Cesena, General of the Franciscans, and William Occam supported. Not that Dominican thought had not also its own especial dangers, but these were themselves rather of a scientific nature. However, Dominican thought had even a more solid foundation than Franciscan, resting as it did on the works of S. Thomas. + See Maurice's “Med. Phil.," p. 235.
See Foster's “Mahomedanism Unveiled," quoted by Hallam, “ Int. to Lit. of Eur.," vol. i. p. 117.
§ Maurice points out, and we think correctly, that although Scotus preserves the terminology respecting form and matter, which the schoolmen had chiefly borrowed from Aristotle, that terminology acquires a new meaning in his hands ; while in saying that the one efficient principle is the exemplar of all forms, Duns is Platonical. Hallam, as usual, has read nothing of Scotus, except some extracts in Turner, and these seem to him “very frivolous.”—“Europe during the Middle Ages," p. 684 (Murray's reprint). He adds: “ I have met with four living English writers who have read parts of Thomas Aquinas,Mr. Turner, Mr. Barrington, Mr. Coleridge, and the Edinburgh Reviewer
. Still, I cannot bring myself to believe that there are four more in the country who could say the same. Certain portions, however, of his writings are still read in the course of instruction of some Catholic universities"! It is difficult to see how Mr. Hallam could sit down to write about the Middle Ages at all, most of the works of the schoolnen being unknown to him, as he con
this spectacle of the intellectual, moral, spiritual, natural tendencies of science, while interpenetrating one another, all grouping themselves together in the persons of these great doctors round the centre of the Church's life, now solemnly enshrined on her great altar-throne in this central period of her history, and forming one vast synthesis of universal doctrine in its honour! Of a truth, Wisdom hath built herself a house, she hath hewn her out seven pillars; the opposition of science, falsely so called, although, as ever, active and restless, seems for a little while to have ceased to prevail, and even to the wise and prudent the Church has become the Seat of Wisdom.
If, however, the B. Sacrament receives in the Church's public worship at this memorable period a more open recognition as the very centre of her life, so by a parallel impulse of the Spirit of God, the worship of God's Mother receives a no less striking development. Our Lady, too, in her own measure, is the very life of these ages. “All the greatest men of this period appear as the faithful servants of that Queen of love. S. Francis takes her for the Charter of his Indulgences ; S. Dominic weaves her a chaplet of roses, to which every hand contributes a flower. To her S. Thomas Aquinas owed the gift of purity, the sister of genius. S. Bonaventure speaks her praises with the affection of a child for his mother, of an exile for his home. For her Alexander of Hales foregoes the glory of an illustrious name, the applause of the schools, the joys of science; and from her Albert the Great seeks the knowledge of the mysteries of nature."* The doctrine of her Immaculate Conception, the definition of which only our own age has seen, was ever on the lips of the subtlest doctor of the schools. If our Lord received a new increase of homage from Sums of theology composed in His honour, our Lady too was not without the Sums of her own spotless life, the “Marials,” which formed so distingnishing a feature of this period; while, as if to crown its close with a work of her special favour, we must ask our modern critics to forgive us,-she bade the Angels carry her own Holy House of Nazareth from the East to the West, and set it down among the laurel groves of Italy to be the joy of Christendom. Our Lady takes her place upon her Son's Throne, as the Queen of the whole earth. It was during this period, too, that devotion to S. Joseph began in the West, and he who had covered our Lord with his mantle, as he carried him into Egypt, came now to cast his mantle of protection over the Mystical Body of Christ, just as the doctrines relating to it were beginning to receive fresh development. The third aisle of God's great Mystical Temple rises up from its foundations under the patronage of the Foster-father of the Son of Mary.*
fesses, except in the pages of As if to make the matter still more ludicrous, he tells us that he could find no better guide than Brücker, who also confesses that he has not read the original writings of the schoolmen. Yet Mr. Hallam's works, we believe, are still considered text-books in England.
* Darras's “Hist. of Church," vol. iii. p. 427.
As with the sciences so with the arts. They, too, at this period began to gather round Christ's Sacramental throne, and offer their gifls with a beauty of holiness which has never been seen again. From faith alone they borrowed their inspiration, and for faith and in faith alone they worked. Some, like architecture and sculpture, realized even then the ideal of all perfection; others, like statuary and painting, took their rise then, and gradually blossomed into beauty. Those Christians of other days, if we may use a beautiful thought of Montalembert's for a somewhat different purpose, when in their thoughts they had taken in, so far as might be, the heavens and Him who dwells therein, and His Mother, and the Blessed Saints, turned their thoughts to earth, and tried to make a heaven there, or rather they tried to lift nature up to heaven. Revelation and Nature met together beneath the azure vault of the great cathedral, and kissed each other. The three-aisled nave, the triple doorway, spoke to the minds of men of the glorious Trinity; the whole building of nave and transepts was in like manner three in one ; but in unity it was a cross. pointed arch,” said de Lammenais, before he had yet closed his eyes to the only light in which the Divine and the Natural blend themselves into harmony; "the flying buttress and graceful spire springing into space; the upward tendency of every part and of the whole mass, speaks to the soul of the natural aspiration of the creature toward God, its beginning and its end. The temple has its vegetation too. Its walls are covered with flowers, twining themselves into garlands opening in the sunshine, creeping along the fretwork, clinging around the slender pinnacles, and shooting upward with them, while the delicate clustered shafts are crowned with flowers and foliage." It was in the thirteenth century, just at the very time that we have seen the master-works of mediæval science consecrated to God,-and the relationship between them, as F. Vaughan points out, is surely something more than accidental, -that the great architectural glories of Christendom arose.T Burgos and Toledo, Salisbury and York, the na
See “Devotion to S. Joseph,” already quoted. + “
“Life of S. Thomas," vol. i. p. 345, note.
of Durham, the choir of Ely, Cologne, Fribourg, and Strasburg, Chartres, Rheims, Amiens, Beauvais, the Sainte-Chapelle, and Saint Denis, the façade of Notre Dame, these were raised then, as has been happily said, by the faith that can move mountains, and they are standing now, to shame our modern degeneracy. Or if we cross the Alps, for we are more concerned with the spirit of architecture than with its styles, we shall find it culminating in the fourfold glories of Pisa, or in that fair belltower at Florence, which-Giotto himself, architect and painter, “has made a thing of beauty and a joy for ever.
Out of the architecture of this period Christian sculpture took its rise : the form of the Son of Man coming in His glory, or of the Virgin Mother, or of Angel or of Saint; or again, the sleeping form of Pope or Bishop, or king, or lord, or lady, until in the fourteenth century the great Christian sculptor, Nicolo Pisano, appeared, offering the first-fruits of his genius at the shrine of S. Dominic of Bologna. The rules and theories of Grecian art had been long forgotten, but now Grecian grace and ease came to life again, sanctified by Christian modesty, purity, and sentiment. Alas! too soon, as the spirit of the
, middle ages began to die away, and men's minds becoming
, absorbed in the study of pagan antiquity, the old pagan taint again broke out, and the exclusive worship of form opened the way to sensuality and meretriciousness in art. Sculpture no longer drew its inspirations from faith, but from the models of antiquity; the adornment of galleries and pleasure-gardens rather than of the shrines of the Saints, or the Chair of truth, or the baptisteries of noble churches, became the end for which it worked, man's enjoyment, not God's glory, its highest aim, until at a later period it sunk far below the grace and dignity, and even the purity, of pagan times.
It was in the same fruitful period that Christian painting sprang into new life and vigour. Unlike her sister art of sculpture, painting had ministered from the first, and all through her history, to the Church of God. It would hardly be too much to say that in the subjects chosen by painting for representation at different epochs we can alone read her whole history. The symbolic representations of the Catacombs, where, although during a time of martyrdom, everything speaks of the Resurrection, the martyrdoms, although martyrdoms had ceased, the last judgments, and the sufferings of hell, so common during the earliest part of the middle ages,
* Those who have seen Giotto's campanile, after having read Mr. Ruskin's works, will be better able to understand not only that great architect and painter, but the art-critic himself.
the more devotional and touching subjects of later times,* the very attitude of the Redeemer of the world, and the expression of His face, first as the gentle Saviour, then, when the kingdoms of the world had become the kingdoms of God and of his Christ, as the King of Glory; the mighty Mother standing with uplifted hands, or enthroned and holding the Holy Child -all these, whether roughly, or grandly, or sweetly painted, represent distinct phases of the Church's life on earth, as well as of the development of her doctrine and devotion.t But at the time of which we speak painting, whether of the ChristianRoman or the Byzantine type, or as the result of the intermingling of both types, rises with a noble vigour to the knowledge of its noblest functions, and strives to realize that happy harmony of nature and of art for God's glory, that blending together of the supernatural and the natural, the Divine and the human, which we have seen so marvellously mastered in the architecture of the same period; but all this in such a way that what is Divine and supernatural may reign supreme. Cimabue and Giotto arise, and as sculpture consecrated its first fruit at the shrine of S. Dominic, so too the double Church of S. Francis of Assisi,-of that marvellous saint, in whom the love of God and of nature met together in such perfect harmony, becomes the treasure-house of the first triumphs of Christian painting, in the golden hours of its glorious renewal. In the great Dominican order it rose a little later to a still higher level, and culminated in the mystic painting of Fra Angelico da Fiesole, before whose ecstatic gaze the heavens seemed to have rolled away, and revealed the secrets of the Holiest. Never before, never since, have the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, the beauty of holiness, the Godlike in the creature, been so marvellously shadowed forth before the eyes of men. Yet, as if to fasten the glory of this great renewal to this especial period, no sooner have its Christian traditions begun to be slighted and forgotten than painting, like sculpture, ceases to be distinctively Christian, and becomes too often the minister to men's passions, the incentive to impurity and lust; the divinity of the human countenance, the holiness of spiritual expression, is seen no more. I
* See Didron, “Manuel d'Iconographie," p. 182. + Durandus, “Rationale,” i. c. 3.
I See upon Christian architecture, sculpture, painting, Milman's "Latin Christianity,” vol. ix. b. xiv.ch. 8, 9, 10, where, however, the writer is evidently torn one way by his artistic, and another by his religionis feelings. The same may be said of Mr. Ruskin, with this difference, that the latter, from his more Catholic wind, is obliged, whenever he comes across the doctrines of the Catholic Church, to do greater violence to himself.