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perfective we are rements to be seu be so muchents in holis

world, shall never die. If, then, the soul passes on from the present to the future life, the two may be regarded as but parts of the same whole. And the attainments in holiness which are secured here, will be so much gained in regard to the attainments to be secured hereafter. When, therefore, we are exhorted by our Saviour to seek for perfection, we suppose him to be speaking to the spirit of man, not merely as an inhabitant of earth, but as immortal in its nature. We can, with these views, exhort men to seek for perfection in holiness. Are we asked, if this attainment be within the limits of possibility ? We answer, that the attainment of perfection in holiness is within the reach of the spiritual nature of man. Are we asked, if it be attainable in this life? We answer, that it is no more important to settle that question, than to determine whether the attainment could be secured at a particular age, the age of forty years, for example. The individual may live on beyond that period. All progress made in holiness before that age, will be so much gain in regard to what is to be made after passing that period. So men will live on after death, and all that is secured before death, will be so much gain in regard to the progress to be made in the spiritual world. Believing, then, that, as spiritual beings, we may reach, and are required to reach, perfection in holiness, we can feel ourselves under obligation to strive strenuously and perseveringly for its attainment; we can put forth volitions to secure it, even though we may be indifferent to the question, whether the object of our efforts will be secured this week or next, this year or next, in this life or in the life that is to come. Still, although by our belief in regard to the connection between this life and the next we are freed from the difficulties which have driven the Oberlin Perfectionists to their peculiar position, we must confess that a perusal of their writings has deepened in our hearts a sense of the importance of constantly aiming at high attainments in holiness.

But the greatest good to be accomplished by the class of Christians of which we are speaking, will be among those with whom they have been, and, we believe, still are connected in their denominational relations. And it will be the result of the entire change, which will be produced in the whole theory of the purpose of Christ's mission on

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earth, the nature of all religious influence, and the object of all religious effort. Professor Cowles, in his little work on holiness, gravely discusses the following question:" What was God's design in the plan of salvation ? Was it merely or chiefly to save men from hell, or to save them from sin ? Did his heart rest chiefly upon some means of pardon, so that he might raise them to heaven, or did it rather rest upon “redeeming them from all iniquity,' restoring his own effaced image in their souls, and making them fit for the purity and the songs of the upper temple? The latter most clearly.” This position he proceeds to maintain by able arguments. Among those for whom Professor Cowles especially writes, there was need of a grave and full discussion of this question. Long have views of the atonement been held and advocated and urged upon the attention of the Christian community, which imply, and leave upon the minds of the people the impression, that the purpose of Christ's mission was to save men from the punishment of sin hereafter, rather than to make them holy here. And what a vast change will be wrought in the Christian community, when it is believed and felt, that Christ's purpose, and God's design, was to make men holy – pure, virtuous, upright and affectionate here, as the appropriate preparation for happiness hereafter; — when it is believed and felt, that the great object of all religious effort is, to remove all sin, all social and moral evil from the world, and produce a heavenly state of society on earth, as preparatory to a state of still higher spiritual attainments and spiritual joys above. We hope, yea, we joyfully believe, that the period is approaching, when these views of the purpose of Christ's mission will pervade the Christian world, when the efforts of all Christians, how widely soever they may be separated in speculative opinion, will be directed to the purification of their own hearts and lives from all unholiness, and to the removal of all wrong-doing from the earth, with a unity of purpose and an energy of will never before known.

J. W.

1846.)

Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper.

411

Art. VII. — LEONARDO DA VINCI'S PAINTING OF THE

LAST SUPPER.

be expectend skill to: ho has been distinguishedoks at large

hardlyas been om Moportunity

This subject is suggested to us by an excellent engraving of the painting, which has lately appeared, executed by an American engraver, Dick. It is esteemed by connoisseurs the best engraving that has been produced on this side of the Atlantic. It is not indeed taken from the original, which in its present state an American artist would hardly be expected to have at once the opportunity and the learning and skill to copy, but from Morghen's celebrated engraving of it, which has been so faithfully reproduced that the two are hardly to be distinguished from each other at the distance at which one generally looks at large pictures. When more nearly scrutinized, there is considerable inferiority in the expression of several of the countenances ; as in the mouth of John there is missed a certain mingling of simplicity and sensibility, which we find in the Italian plate, and in more than one of the stronger faces something theatrical has stolen in.

In this country we have so little opportunity to enjoy the fine arts, we are so much shut out from that world of beauty in which not a few of the best minds on the other side of the water have their chief, and a very sweet and beautiful existence, that we cannot but think it a happy circumstance, whenever any of the finished works of the great geniuses of that sphere are brought within our reach, either by excellent copies or by faithful engravings. This painting of Da Vinci's is well known by a multitude of miserable representations, has furnished a wretched frontispiece to many biblical publications, and has been sold in caricatures of many sizes and qualities. The one good engraving of it by Raphael Morghen was so very expensive, as to be beyond the reach of common people. And now this copy of Morghen by Dick is so cheap, that almost anybody may have it. It has already gone up upon many walls, and we feel no little satisfaction in seeing it there. As one of the most beautiful and perfect of all the conceptions of art, it is, even as here engraved, ever valuable; nay, to minds educated to a susceptibility for such things, invaluable and unspeakably interesting, as a thing of beauty, a representation of life, a combination of genius and the production of a perfectly accomplished talent. But it is also valuable in a religious way, as a very affecting representation of the scene so prominent in the Christian imagination, and symbolical of so much in the Christian world. It preaches more persuasively than a sermon, it comments on the characters of the Apostles more distinctly and graphically than the annotator, and by fixing permanently that great event in a definite form before the eye, it wins the imagination to linger on it, corrects our narrow ideas by the truer and larger conceptions of genius, and becomes the suggestor and the nucleus of a multitude of sacred affections of our own. The introduction of such a work as this into a house is of more importance to those that live in it, than all the ornaments of mechanic art, and might be well purchased with the sacrifice of a convenience.

The room becomes somewhat sacred where it is; a certain moral illumination is spread, and the tempers and occupations of the family are guarded and presided over, as it were by a household angel. At a small price one gets what is much more to him than tapestries and carpets and mirrors. By the magic of art and the multiplication of mechanic contrivance, the poor man ornaments his apartment with the image, which in the happy moments of a sacred age visited and adorned the quiet recesses of a great, a pure and a consummately instructed soul. Thanks to this power of man, with which Heaven has endowed him as if to efface the boundaries of the material world, the chance wanderers from heaven, once seduced into the retreats of earthly genius, are fixed and spell-bound, and made, though covered over indeed with a veil of time, the possession of the race. The material hinders, obscures, decays; but the conception makes itself known, its representation is copied, repeated, — the vision becomes a permanent part of the imagination of civilized men.

Now that this engraving has attracted the attention of some of our readers, it may not be uninteresting to hear something again of a very old subject, the original painting at Milan. It is no wonder that it is so prominent among pictures and has excited such a distant interest ; for the subject is the greatest of all the fine subjects for the Christian pencil; the painter was certainly one of the most

1846.]
The Artist.

413 distinguished geniuses of his class; and this was the masterpiece even among his works. And still more, it is singled out as the subject of an interest of a very melancholy kind, inasmuch as by a deplorable fortune it has been peculiarly the victim of calamity and decay.

Leonardo da Vinci lived at the time when modern art was arising as part of a newly awakened civilization, and the Church, and the finer imagination of men, to which the Church gave so many subjects and supplied so large a part of its imagery, wanted such an organ as only that could afford; at a time when the pencil supplied, for the mass of the people, the place of the pen and the press, and when the ability to excite and correct and determine the religious imagination made one a leader and former of his generation. He was contemporaneous with the founders of the other schools, with Michael Angelo, Raphael, and Titian. It was in the middle of the fifteenth century, that he was born of an unknown mother at the chateau of Vinci, in the valley of the Arno, where the traveller may still see the ruins of the castellated edifice, in the midst of the little village which it once protected. He was unusually endowed with the qualities which fitted him for the life of a knightly gentleman, bodily strength and dexterity and grace and courtesy of manners; but his governing characteristic being observed to be a passion and faculty for art, he was put by his father under the instruction of a painter and sculptor of no small merit, one Verocchio, under whom he acquired such proficiency that it is said the master in vexation abandoned the art, where he saw such unpractised hands taking from him the palm.

It has been well said,* that the state of the art at that time was such that great genius could display itself with peculiar advantage. “It had been for two centuries emancipated from the stiffness and leanness of the Byzantine school, and it had started on a new course through the imitation of nature and the delineation of the noble traits of character. The artist felt a new impulse, and was successful to that point to which his feelings drove him, and where the instinct of genius was sufficient; but he did not understand his own work, could not give account to him

* Goethe, Abendmahl von Leonardo da Vinci; in his works, vol. 39. Cotta. 1830.

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