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wisdom in the Lutheran retention of the crucifix than in the Calvinist abolition thereof.

Southey's reflection on the use of the cross is not yet obsolete: "The cross by the wayside is a memento which, often as it is passed with indifference, must often excite a salutary thought; and he who condemns it as a superstitious memorial would do well to examine whether there is not in his own frame of mind more of sectarianism than of Christianity."

We find the value of the crucifix attested in very various schools of religious thought, sometimes in places where we hardly looked for it.

Dr. Arnold's reflections after a visit to one of the great cathedrals of France are still worth repeating:

"The open churches, the varied services, the beautiful solemnities, the processions, the Calvaries, the crucifixes, the appeals to the eye and ear through which the heart is reached most effectively, have no natural connection with superstition. People forget that Christian worship is in its essence spiritual (that is, it depends for its efficiency on no circumstances of time or place or form), but that Christianity itself has given us the best helps towards making our worship spiritual to us, that is, sincere and lively, by the visible images and signs which it has given us of God and of heavenly things, namely, the Person of the Man Christ Jesus and the Sacraments."

It is difficult to refrain from quoting the often-quoted words in which Arnold commended outward reverence to the Crucified Figure:

"Now for Bourges a little more. In the crypt is a Calvary, and figures as large as life representing the burying of our Lord. The woman who showed us the crypt had her little girl with her, and she lifted up the child, about three years old, to kiss the feet of our Lord. Is this idolatry? Nay, verily, it may be so, but it need not be, and assuredly is in itself right and natural. I confess I rather envied the child."

This great schoolmaster's thoughts frequently reverted to this theme. Writing on the Second Commandment and its prohibition of representations of the object of our worship, Arnold

taught that they violate this command who dare to image in any bodily form the invisible Father of all things.

"But most assuredly they do not violate it who represent Him, who think of Him, who worship Him, under an image which He has sanctioned: the human form of the Man Christ Jesus. For this similitude of God we have God's warrant. He showed no likeness of Himself when he spake in Horeb out of the midst of the fire; but He has shown one of the Christian Church, when the express image of His Person took upon Him the nature of man, in order visibly to declare Him who, in His own essence, is invisible. And therefore to object to this warranted similitude of God, and to deny ourselves the benefits which it was graciously intended to furnish; to turn from the image of Christ crucified which God Himself has given us, because we may not make images of our own devices, seems to me an instance of the great mischief of applying to ourselves, directly, what was commanded to men under different circumstances, and with special relation to that difference."

Arnold explained his meaning about the image of Christ crucified further by saying:

"Nor do I deny that where the New Testament is kept out of the people's hands, and their knowledge of Christianity is corrupted with many superstitions, the crucifix may be often an object of superstitious worship; so that, very possibly, the English Reformers were right at that time in doing away with the use of it. But I cannot conceive it otherwise than useful, where the Scriptures are generally circulated, and where Christianity is truly known; and as it may be most dangerous where men are most attached to it, so I think it is most wanted where the feeling against it would be the strongest, as in England at this moment, and still more in Scotland."

This was published in 1831:

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Nothing in this world," says the German writer Paulsen, "so moves the heart of man, nothing has aroused greater reverence and has given greater consolation to humanity, than the picture of the Crucified One."

Paulsen stood as a critic outside the orthodox faith. But his spirit was intensely moral, and his influence must have been very greatly for good. He writes here as a psychological analyst. He compares the religious forces of the world. He sets the Figure of the Crucified as chief. And when he did that we may surely venture to think he was not far from the Kingdom of God.

Let us borrow a page from modern romance in which the power of the carved figure of the Crucified is keenly appreciated. Lucas Malet, in "The Far Horizon," describes the effect on her hero of a carved oak panel set in an ebony frame.

"From his earliest childhood he remembered it, for it had hung in his mother's bedchamber; and in those far-away years

she had kneeled before it when engaged in her devotions. Waking at night (when as a baby-child, during his father's long absences, he slept in her room), Dominic had often seen the delicate, kneeling figure, the hands outstretched in supplication. Even then, in the first push of conscious intelligence, the carven picture had spoken to him as something masterful, for all its rigidity and sadness, and very strong to help. It had given him a sense of protection and security, so that his little soul was satisfied; and he could go to sleep again in peace, sure that his mother was in safe keeping while (as he said) she 'talked to it.' In the long interval which had elapsed since then he had lost touch with the spirit of it, though preserving it as amongst the most cherished of his family relics. His appreciation of it had become æsthetic rather than religious. But now, as it hung on the dimly white wall above his writing-table on the window side of the fireplace, the dreary, London afternoon light took the surface of it, bringing all the details of the scene into prominence. Suddenly, unexpectedly, the old power declared itself. The picture came alive as to the intention and meaning of it. It spoke to him once again, and that with no uncertain voice.

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"Three tall crosses uplifted against a cloudless sky wherein lay the corpse of a man in the very flower of his age, of heroic proportions, spare

yet muscular, long and finely angular of limb, the articulations notably slender, the head borne proudly though bent, the features severely beautiful, the whole virile, indomitable, even in the physical abjection of death.

"In this Spanish presentment of the closing act of the Divine tragedy the sensuous pagan element, which mars too many otherwise admirable works of religious art, was absent. Its appeal was to the intellect rather than to the emotions, inculcating effort rather than inviting any sentimental passion of pity. Its message was that of conquest, of iron self-mastery and selfrestraint. This was bravery and courage, begetting even when viewed from the exclusively artistic standpoint. But now not merely the presentment of the event held Dominick's attention, but the event presented the thing in itself. His heart and intellegence grasped the meaning of it, not only as a matter of supreme historic interest in view of its astonishing influence upon human development during the last two thousand years, but as an ever-present reality, as an exposition of the Absolute, of that which everlastingly has been, and everlastingly will be, and hence of incalculable and immediate importance to himself. It spoke to him of no vague and general truth, but of a truth intimate and individual, coming to him as the call to enter upon a personal inheritance.


Dazzled, enchanted, confounded, alike by the magnitude and the simplicity of his discovery, he remained gazing at the carven panel; gazing through and beyond it to that of which it was the medium and symbol; gazing, clear-eyed and fearlessly, away to the far horizon, radiant with the surpassing glory of the Uncreated Light."

How effectively the crucifix can be used in a modern artist's hands to convey deep moral truth, and illuminate with constraining power the Christian obligation to forgive, is strikingly shown in the popular painting by Burne-Jones of the legend of the Merciful Knight. The story is that a young knight in fully armed array once met his unarmed enemy, and was tempted to take advantage of the man's defencelessness. But as he lifted up his sword to slay he saw a wayside crucifix. High on a bleak

platform, scaffold-like, was raised the image of the Crucified. Facing that utter contrast, the young knight's vengeful spirit ceased. He let his enemy escape. Then, kneeling before the crucifix, he did homage to the power that enables to forgive. And lo, while he knelt in worship, the Sacred Figure bends down towards him from the cross to imprint on his brow the kiss of peace. The fineness of the thought is undeniable. So is also the dignity of its presentation. And while the artist's skill is used this way he shows to the modern world that the crucifix is the embodiment of an ideal which we need not less than any of the generations that has breathed.


It has appeared to some within the English Church that the ordinary form of the crucifix is irreverent, that it is not right to represent the Form distorted and agonized over which the sun itself was darkened. It has been suggested that if Nature, or, rather, the Heavenly Father, veiled our Lord's last hours from sight, it is not for us to draw that veil aside. The earlier Christian centuries, with greater insight and depth, represented Christ as reigning from the Tree. He was no naked, distorted Figure, but robed and crowned in calm and dignity. Influence was therefore brought to bear on artists and on priests to set the crucifix in church in this transfigured shape. At the same time, advocates of this opinion do not appear to demand the invariable exclusion of the crucifix in its ordinary form. They express a decided preference for the glorified Figure. But they do not say that an artist should refuse to draw our Lord otherwise.

This opinion commands respect, owing to the distinction of the men who have maintained it. There are certainly types of the crucifix which are horrible and revolting. But that was the individual artist's extravagance, or the ultra-realism of a degenerating school. It is not too strong to apply to them the epithet irreverent." But it is no argument against the ordinary crucifix as such. To call the ordinary crucifix irreverent is a criticism which we cannot understand. Probably this is


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