The old mode of benches, would be best. The purple which has been employed of late instead of it, looks very well in a strong light; but when the day is cloudy, or by lamp light, it cannot be distinguished from black, and reminds the spectator of clothing the Church in mourning.
A congregation assembled for worship have nothing to do with looking out, and the light has always the best effect when it enters the building as near to the top as possible, consistently with true proportion.
In front, is the chancel railing, in the centre of which is placed the font for baptism.
Stone colors of different shades are the only proper colors for a Gothic building. It is a thing plainly of Greek extraction. Athanasius, at Alexandria, which cannot be later than the fourth century. Wall paintings of the Romanesque churches were replaced by enormously gorgeous stained glass windows that allowed more light into the building, creating a sense of warmth and color to religious pilgrims and local congregations alike.
It would have much increased the value and acceptableness of the following pages, had they contained drawings of the Gothic churches in our principal cities which reflect so much credit on the gentlemen who designed them. The luxurious accommodations of particular pews produce another variety of the same evil; for even when strangers ace determined to meet the risk of being turned out of their places, it is by no means pleasant to use the silken couches, and tread the rich carpets, and open the splendid prayer books, prepared for the sons and daughters of opulence and fashion; when the intruder is conscious, that if the owners were present, they would probably give him the cold look of unwilling sufferance.
The old mode of benches, would be best.
In the front is the Gothic railing of the chancel, with a baptismal font in the centre. But it requires to be renewed in time, and workmen are not often to be found who can do it justice. These include the experiences of an ideal citizen. The Gothic, breaking the horizontal line, and leading the eye upwards till its pinnacles vanish in the sky, seems adapted, by an easy correspondence, to the offices of that blessed religion, which takes the heart from the contemplation of earth, and directs it to its heavenly inheritance.
About the latter part of the yearthe author entered upon his first ministerial charge, in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and the blessing granted to his humble labors soon excited his congregation to attempt the erection of a new church, which was designed to be in every respect superior to the building then occupied as their house of worship.
Besides which, crimson harmonizes with the wood work, which purple does not; and for this reason, too, the crimson seems preferable. Most unscriptural, therefore, would be the censure--most misplaced the affectation of regret, which should seek to dissuade the clergy from applying themselves to the art of erecting the earthly houses of God in a fitting and appropriate manner.
Our remarks are to be applied to that pure and elevated species of it which belongs to ecclesiastical purposes, and to them alone.
This structure represented an ideal of harmony within its confguration and contents. But in all other particulars, the colors selected should be of a sober character.
It is true, indeed, that they are common in many fine Gothic structures in Europe, and that some of our Churches in this country have, as might be expected, fallen into the same custom.
DAIS, the plat form or raised floor at the upper end of antient dining halls, where the high table stood. But of the extent of these primaeval acquisitions, we know nothing.
Hence we see Solomon executing two kinds of edifice of very different proportions and character the one, sacred; the other, secular; both corresponding with considerable exactness to the two great styles of architecture which we behold at the present day. This minute detail may appear trifling, but it must be remembered that I am not writing for architects, nor for men of taste and science in this branch of the arts, but for the clergy who may never have paid the attention of a moment to the subject, until, in some distant region of our extensive country, they are called upon to preside over the erection of a Church, with none but ordinary house carpenters around them.
For this northern people having been accustomed to worship the Deity in groves, when their new religion required covered edifices, they ingeniously projected to make them resemble groves,'--'and with what skill and success they executed the project by the assistance of Saracen architects, whose exotic style of building very luckily suited their purpose, appears from hence, that no attentive observer ever viewed a regular avenue of well grown trees intermingling their branches overhead, but it presently put him in mind of the long vista through the Gothic cathedral.
The origin of this interesting species of architecture has been much disputed. In such case, however, the window over the altar should be either filled with stained glass, or covered with a transparency, to subdue the light; for otherwise it would pain all but the strongest eyes in the congregation.
This principle would prevent all difficulty, since an honor which the clergy disclaimed for themselves, could not and would not be expected by their people. And therefore this design is better, because it accords with the principle set forth in the first chapter; viz, the giving force to the perpendicular line, as far as practicable.
But this is an exception strictly proper, not only because the light admitted through such a medium is in reality much softened and subdued, but also because the crimson and gold and blue, in the midst of which the light of nature--the sun in the firmament--is presented to the eye by the munificent hand of the Creator, seem to afford an analogy which justifies us in connecting the same hues with the light transmitted into the house of God.
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FOR CHURCHES: DESIGNED CHIEFLY FOR THE USE OF THE CLERGY. BY JOHN HENRY HOPKINS, D.D. Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Vermont.
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