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the Psalter, "I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times." He had considered them as a refuge from the turmoil and distress of the times in which he lived. They were to him, and they may be to us, as a cool shade, a calm haven, a sweet repose. The study of them links the child to the man-" the days of nations each to each by natural piety." And yet more, it opens to us a new world; it enlarges our acquaintance; it makes us feel that we do not stand alone on the earth, but that we are what we are, under God, because of the deeds and thoughts of those who have lived before us, and to whom we thus owe a debt which we have constantly to repay to our posterity. And when we consider how, beyond all former example, this insight into the past is increased in our own age, we ought to be thankful for the merciful provision of God which, by creating this new gift within us, compensates to us, as it were, for the continually receding distance of ancient times. Through this increased insight, whole epochs and races of mankind have been manifested to us, as they never have been manifested since they were actually beheld upon earth. Not only Greeks and Romans, but Egyptians and Assyrians, are familiar to the nineteenth century, as they have not been to any age since the fall of Nineveh, and the overthrow of the Pharaohs. And much more as we reach our own country, king, and prelate, and statesman, with all their individual peculiarities physical and mental, rise before us through the magic touch of scientific and antiquarian research. "This only is the witchcraft we have used;" and
through it we see those venerable figures "ascending as gods from the earth." They are ours almost for the first time-ours not merely as dead phantoms, but in their living flesh and blood, "all the kings of the nations, every one in his own house." What a grasp of the ages that are dead and gone has God in His mercy given us by these new powers! But what a pledge also of the power that may yet be developed within us, as our race advances-as our mortality puts on immortality!
2. And this leads me to the importance of these studies in unfolding those rarest of God's gifts to man-a love of truth and a love of justice, the will and the power to see things as they really are, and in their just proportion to each other. If some antiquarians have been childishly enslaved to the forms of other days, it is certain that the more profound investigators have been distinguished by their boldness in asserting the principles of justice, freedom, and progress. Such were the two who lie within these wallsCamden and Spelman. Such were and are some of their most distinguished successors.
To trace the successive stages through which taste, and custom, and belief have passed-to know the contempt which each age has lavished on that immediately preceding-to track to their homely origin the forms of buildings or of ritual which have since been, in the eyes of the less instructed, invested with an exclusive sacredness-this, which is the special duty and delight of the modern antiquarian, is also the best check to exaggerated and partial veneration. To appre
ciate the truly grand and the truly beautiful in art or in sentiment-to condense within the same view the beginning and end of great institutions and edifices has an effect not narrowing or depressing, but widening and elevating in a high degree. A reverent admiration for religious art is far more reasonable, far less superstitious, than an undiscriminating iconoclasm, whether Byzantine or Puritan. A conscientious search for truth and for truth only, such as the revival of archæology in our times specially encourages, is the very duty which we most need to have impressed upon us in all things. How many is the fable which the honest explorer of past ages has banished from the earth! how many is the illusion which he has cleared away!-how many the false judgments of characters and events which have been rectified by the discovery of a lost letter, or an ancient coin, or a forgotten manuscript! Truly in this sense, according to the great philosophic poet,
"The world's whole history is its judgment day."
The antiquarian hardly knows how much he may do to retrieve the errors and injustice of the past. Those who are dead and gone may be indebted, they will never know how much, to the faithful, careful labours of the self-denying painstaking antiquarian.
3. The more thoroughly ancient forms are understood, the more eagerly ancient buildings are restored and beautified, so much the better is the framework prepared for the reception of new thoughts and new ideas.
It has been sometimes said that the great
periods of building and of admiration for the past have been the precursors of the fall of the religions or the nations which they represented. The burst of splendid architecture of which I spoke, under the Herods, immediately preceded, it is said, the fall of Judaism. The like display under the Antonines preceded the fall of Paganism. The like display at the beginning of the sixteenth century preceded the fall of the Church of the Middle Ages.
There is truth in this-the same truth at which I have already glanced. There is a tendency in an expiring system to develop itself in outward form when its inward spirit has died away. But this is not the whole truth-and the higher truth is something quite different, namely, that these magnificent displays of art, these profound investigations of the past, in the Herodian, the Antonine, and the Tudor era, formed part of the new throes of the human mind and heart, which accompanied the birth of the new and better religion which in each case succeeded. Those vast Herodian and Augustan buildings suggested to the Apostles half the imagery by which they expressed the most sublime and spiritual truths. The chief "corner-stone" -the "stones joined and compacted together"—" the pillars that never should be moved "—the whole idea of "edification," that most expressive word, the architecture, so to speak, of the Christian soul-all these were drawn straight from the superb edifices which everywhere rose before St. Paul's eyes. And so in the last great efflorescence of medieval architecture, Religion, instead of dying out with that effort, awoke
to a new life throughout Europe; and the very increase of knowledge and devotion, thus engendered, has been the means of enabling us in our age to understand better than ever before, all that there is of great and noble in the buildings and the events of those earlier times.
Therefore it is with no doubting heart that we may still say with the disciples, " See what manner of stones and what buildings are here!" if only we take care to "see" them truly-to "see" them without exaggeration, without distortion-to "see" through them into the spirit behind and within them. To try to bring back the present to the past, or to revive the past exactly as it was-this would be to fight against God, this would be to invoke the ruin which would not leave one stone standing on another. But to learn what the past was-to put new meanings into old words to make the forms of the past a framework for the spirit of the present and the future -this is to work with the will of God, and for the good of man. "Stand upon the old paths," so let us take Lord Bacon's paraphrase of the words of Jeremiah, "Stand upon the old paths, and then look about us and discover what is the straight and right way, and so to walk in it." That is the true combination. The desire and the power to gather up the fragments that remain to us from former times-to appreciate, understand, admire them-this, as I have said, has been God's peculiar gift to the nineteenth century. But the use of this power for the purpose of enshrining and promoting new truths-for strengthening the