Church Symbolism: An Explanation of the More Important Symbols of the Old and New Testament, the Primitive, the Mediaeval and the Modern Church

Church Symbolism: An Explanation of the More Important Symbols of the Old and New Testament, the Primitive, the Mediaeval and the Modern Church

Church Symbolism: An Explanation of the More Important Symbols of the Old and New Testament, the Primitive, the Mediaeval and the Modern Church

Church Symbolism: An Explanation of the More Important Symbols of the Old and New Testament, the Primitive, the Mediaeval and the Modern Church

Excerpt

Philosophers tell us that the Absolute, the ultimate Truth that lies behind the show of things, can only be apprehended or expressed through the symbol. Man touches and sees only the outer fringes, the deceptive phenoma of Reality, for by his very nature, the limitations of his quality and sensible powers, he is forever (within the limits of earthly life) debarred from laying hold of substantial Verity. Yet this final Truth is there, underlying and sustaining and motivating all things, and dim intimations thereof are always darkly revealing themselves in dream and vision, for "God has never left himself without a witness", and it is by these vague revelations that we live.

Absolute Truth is not for us here on earth, for its flame would not vitalize but destroy. As in the classical fable, the mirrored reflection alone is harmless; and the mirror is dim and clouded, sometimes even the agency of distortion. So also when the effort is made sensibly to show forth in visible form the partial revelation of the reflective glass, it must be by means of these similes familiar to us in life; the partial approximation, the creative and stimulating analogy; the Symbol.

That is why we have art in all its varied forms, for in its highest aspect and function art is the symbolical expression of otherwise unexpressible ideas. No other faculty or . . .

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