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portionately limited by the supreme Intelligence, though of indefinite application to ours. It may therefore be that the specific character of Panther is a type bounded in the eye of Perfect Wisdom, and that though the boundary is unseen by us, there would, to those who can see it, and understand the reasons for it, be absurdity in supposing it ever passed.
Where, then, is Infinity? We must dismiss from our thoughts the 'arreupov, “the void and formless Infinite," of the ancients. All is determination, all definite measure and form in an universe created by Perfect Wisdom. There can be nothing boundless in such an universe. There may be, indeed, magnitudes and distances which we cannot measure, and “multitudes which no man can number, but yet those magnitudes and distances are definite in themselves, and the sum of those multitudes must ever be limited. And when lift
up our minds to the Being who can measure the one and sum up the other, we need not puzzle ourselves, as men have lately done, with the negations and contradictions which seem involved in the notion of Infinity. Infinity, as I have already said, is a term without meaning in the category of substance. If we use it of God, we must use it as Cudworth bids us, as a synonym of the Divine Perfection. And surely it is better to denote that perfection by the terms which God Himself has taught us, than by that of infinity which is continually suggesting the notion of boundless extension which is inadmissible, and contradictions which are insoluble,—by the title Almighty, by the name Jehovah, by the words “the High and the Lofty One that inhabiteth Eternity.” These teach us to believe in a Being, perfect, self-existent, eternal, absolute, conditioned only by His own holy Wisdom and Will, comprehending, not comprehended by, time and space, and to the exercise of whose attributes there can be no limits but such as He Himself sees fit to assign to them.
to produce pleasure or to promote morality. To the general question, the best answer is, “ both." But before we can discuss the subject at all, another question has to be answered, namely, what is the origin of art ?
Without attempting any exhaustive research, we may say, practically, that all the arts arise from a certain instinct, which impels man to make an appeal to the senses by expressing his thoughts and emotions in some external form. When his thoughts and emotions happen to be worthily directed towards great subjects, his art will have dignity; when, in addition to being happily and wisely selected, what he aims at is represented with fidelity and skill, his art will have æsthetic worth ; and when its general tendency is good, his art may be called moral. It is quite clear from this that morality is a quality which art may or may not possess; it does not, except in a very secondary sense, belong to its constitution.
The morality depends upon the artist, not upon the art. If a man is a good man the tendency of his work will probably be moral; and if a bad man, it will most likely be the reverse; but you may have a work of art at one and the same time ästhetically good and morally bad. Provided there be intelligent selection, and that fidelity and skill be brought to the execution of a conception, although the subject be presented in a
manner disastrous to morals, the art will be in a sense good. Even then we may say that its goodness depends upon the moral qualities of patience, industry, and truthfulness; but we cannot call it moral art, because these qualities have been used without regard to, or in defiance of, morality. Those who are content to value art merely for its power of representing the imaginations of a man's heart through the senses, are perfectly entitled to say that art need not aim at promoting morals; that it is in its nature an un moral thing, and of course it is so in the same sense in which a drug given one day as a poison and another day as a medicine is in itself perfectly un-moral. The morality lies in the administration, and comes from a quality which belongs not to the drug, but to the agent who administers it. In like manner the morality of an artist's work depends upon the good intention of the artist, as displayed in the general effect which the expression of his thoughts and emotions is calculated to produce.
Pleasure and Morality. There was a time when nobody cared to think of the arts as moral agents. The arts were then like young and happy children, linked hand in hand, and roving through an earthly paradise with songs and fleeting laughter and showers of transient tears in the summer time of the world. But the world has grown old, or if not old, at least thoughtful. The enormous importance of the distinction between right and wrong has been so branded by fire and stained in blood upon the page of history, that everything in modern life sinks into comparative insignificance by the side of morality and religion, and no art or science is allowed to pass the solemn sentinels of the nineteenth century without giving some answer to the momentous question, What in its own department is really right or really wrong? Thus while it is a great mistake to confuse the nature and constitution of art with its effects and possible tendencies by asking such inconsequent questions as whether it is ineant to produce pleasure or to promote morality, it seems to us a still graver mistake to ignore the fact that the region of art has everywhere points of contact with the region of morals, and that its dignity and helpfulness to man depend not only upon a propitious selection and happy execution, but also upon the aims and objects of the work itself.
Morality defined. But what do we mean by the region of morals? When a man is placed at the equator and told to travel north or south, his first question will be, which is the north pole and which is the south? and unless he makes up his mind on this preliminary question he cannot tell whether his steps are leading him right or wrong. And
before we begin to speculate about the good and evil tendencies of art, we must in like manner be able to point to the poles of Good and Evil themselves.
Of course people will dispute endlessly about the application of principles, just as people may select different roads to get to the north and south, but the poles and their general whereabouts must be assumied before any kind of certain progress can be made.
I must here ask the reader to give his assent to some general principles of right and wrong. I must induce him to admit, for instance, that moral health consists in a certain activity combined with the relative subordination of all his faculties,--in a self-control not checking development, but assisting it, enabling him at once to prevent any disastrous violence through the rebellion of the senses, whilst giving fair play to these too often pampered menials. And above all, we must ask him to condemn as immoral the deliberate cultivation of unbalanced emotions merely for the sake of producing pleasure. Our rough scheme of morals, or our general idea of right and
wrong, will moreover insist upon the healthful activity of each individual according to his special gifts and capacities, directed in such a way as to respect and promote the healthful activity of society in general.
This may be thought a sufficiently vague statement of morals, but it is quite definite enough for our present purpose, and will be found to cover most cases in point. I will venture to call special attention to the assertion that moral health is consistent with development according to special gifts and capacities.
It will not do to make moral health consist only in the equal development of all a man's faculties; he may be fitted to excel in some one direction; we must admit the principle of speciality in human nature, and if a man be born to excel in eloquence, we must, if necessary, let him off his arithmetic; or if he is to be a good engineer, we must excuse him his arts and literature, if needful. Will that be healthy development ? Well, it may be on the whole, considering the limits and imperfections of our present state, the best kind of development of which he is capable ; for it is morally more healthful to arrive at perfection in one department than to enjoy a puny mediocrity, or even an inferior excellence in several, and Nature herself guides us to this conclusion by signally endowing men with special faculties.
For this reason our notion of moral health should include a special development of the individual according to his gifts.
But as man is not an unit, but a member of society, his activity has to be judged, not only with a reference to himself, but also with reference to his fellows, and here the word healthful supplies us with
a key-note, for what is really morally healthful for the individual will be found as a general rule healthful to society at large. The man, for instance, whose art is chiefly devoted to the delineation of love under its most self-indulgent and least ennobling aspects must be called an immoral artist, not because he paints the soft side of love, which is legitimately entitled to have a soft side to it, but because he dwells exclusively and obtrusively, for the mere sake of producing pleasure, upon that side of love which, when unrestrained and exaggerated, is of all others most calculated to injure the moral health, both of the individual and of society at large. No doubt everything may be represented in art, and when once a subject has been chosen, nothing is gained by a timorous holding back of anything which adds to its power as a faithful representation of the artist's conception. But the morality of the work must depend upon the way in which the conception, as presented, is calculated to affect the moral health of society. Now in attempting to judge the ethical value of a work of art, we must, as I have said, have a general notion of what we mean by good and evil; then we shall have to look at the work itself, not with reference merely to the actual good and evil expressed by it, but to the proportions in which the two are mixed, and above all to the kind of sympathy with which they are intended to be viewed.
Morality applied. In some of the Gothic cathedrals we may have noticed strange figures hiding in nooks and corners, or obtrusively claiming attention as waterspouts. Some of them are revolting enough, but they are not to be severed from their connection with the whole building. That is the work of art--these are but the details, and only some of the details. How many
statues are there in all those niches ?—let us say a thousand. You shall find seventy pure virgins praying in long robes, and forty monks and apostles and bishops, and angels in choirs, and archangels standing high and alone upon lofty façade and pinnacle and tower; and round the corner of the roof shall be two devils prowling, or a hideous-looking villain in great pain, or (as in Chester Cathedral) there may be a proportion—a very small proportion—of obscene figures, hard, and true, and pitiless. “What scandalous subjects for church decoration !” some may exclaim; yet the whole impression produced is a profoundly moral one. The sculptor has given you the life he saw; but he has given it from a really high stand-point, and all is moral, because all is in healthy proportion. There is degradation, but there is also divine beauty; there is passionate and despairing sin, but there is also calmness and victory; there are devils, but they are infinitely outnumbered by angels; there lurks the blur of