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CHAP. II.

TWO CLASSES OF BEAUTY: PERFECT OR DIRECT; IMPERFECT OR REFLEX.

I.

As Beauty consists in the reflection of the Divine character to the heart of man from the material creation, so we may expect to find as many distinct styles of Beauty, as there are distinct species of perfection in GOD, susceptible of external manifestation through the medium of material expression.

II.

But GOD is infinite, and His creation finite. In His spiritual creation, none even among His brightest saints can worthily reflect a part, and still less can any reflect the whole, of His august image. But yet every true child in that vast family called after Him, in heaven and earth, exhibits some one feature which renders his high paternity discernible, and dimly yet really reflects some portion of His glory.

So it is in the material world, wherein there is no work of His bountiful and sovereign hand which

does not exhibit the impress of His stamp-royal. Yet to the prerogative is also affixed the limit circumscribing it, a circumvallation which severs the finite from the infinite, the creature from the Creator. And thus, whilst every material substance is susceptible of showing forth some portion of the Divine glory, there is yet not one of which it may not be declared, that it bears but a fragmentary portion, dimly reflected, of the transcript image of its sovereign Creator's ineffable moral portraiture.

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And the various classes of Beauty are resolvable into the various classes of the Divine characteristics, which are susceptible of being manifested under material conditions.

IV.

Now these may, again, be resolved into two grand or primary classes.

V.

The first will in these pages be termed the Class of Perfect or Direct Beauty.

VI.

Beauties which belong to this class are addressed to the heart and affections. They eminently call forth emotions of pleasure and delight.

VII.

The second class may be termed that of Imperfect or Reflex Beauty. It consists in those expressions of the Divine attributes in material objects which are principally addressed to the judgment and sense of fitness, and are only indirectly, through the medium of intelligence, addressed to the sentiments. It eminently calls forth the calm and pleasurable sentiment of satisfaction.

VIII.

It might almost be said, that the Perfect styles are the exhibition of the Divine heart or moral character, which immediately find a response in the heart of man. The Imperfect are an exhibition of the Divine intelligence or wisdom, in the adaptation of means to carry out some blessed end, and are addressed to the heart of man, but through the media of conscience and judgment.

IX.

The sea, the starry heavens, the glancing of diamond lights on a sportive stream, a glorious sunset or calm moonlight, are examples of the first class, or that of Direct Beauty.

X.

As specimens of the second or Indirect species of Beauty, let us recall the exquisite beauty of cor

respondence between the fanged roots, the gnarled limbs, the rugged bark, and rough foliage of the oak ; the beautiful adaptation of the slim and lofty stem of the palm to its graceful head; and the two exactly corresponding sides in a human figure, or in a pyramid, or obelisk.

CHAP. III.

DIRECT BEAUTY: THE SUBLIME (ACTIVE AND PASSIVE); THE BEAUTIFUL (PROPER); THE VIVID OR SPRIGHTLY.

I.

Now the first style of Direct Beauty may be denominated the Sublime. It manifests the sovereign power, the supreme majesty, the illimitable vastness, the inscrutable mystery, of the great Creator, the Almighty Father of spirits, the Artificer of that wide universe, every part of which is stamped with His imperial signature.

II.

The Sublime style, like the illimitable energy and repose of Him whom it dimly represents, exhibits two principles, manifesting themselves under two distinct, yet often closely connected, aspects.

III.

The first or Active Sublime has, for its germinal principle, sovereign energising vitality and resistless force.

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