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CHAP. V.

COMPARATIVE VALUE OF THE VARIOUS STYLES OF

BEAUTY.

I.

WE have now enumerated the various styles of Beauty, and have designated the germinal principles of each.

II.

Perhaps the question may arise-But of these various styles, which, in truth, possesses the most Beauty? Which is best? Which is worst?

III.

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It can only be replied with truth, Neither is best, and neither is worst.

IV.

For all show forth some characteristic of the ever blessed GOD; all manifest some moral character to be reflected from those who bear His living image.

V.

Now everything in GOD is absolutely perfect.

VI.

There is in Him neither first nor last, greater nor less. He is that complete circle of perfection from the centre of which every ray is equal.

VII.

No one radius in the circle can be increased or diminished without destruction to the perfection of the whole figure.

VIII.

Each style of Beauty being then the representation of some moral attribute in the Divine character, is therefore complete and perfect in itself. Nothing can be added, nothing can be taken away.

IX.

Nor can excellence be compared in things which, issuing from the same source, are yet wholly dissimilar in their form and office; thus the bark, and the foliage, and the blossoms of a tree cannot be compared, though all be equally the offspring from one and the

same root.

X.

The various radii of a circle, though springing from one and the same centre, yet occupy in many instances opposing sides of that circle, and this, although they in truth all converge until they actually meet, and unite in one and the same point of junction and departure.

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So is it with the various styles of Beauty.

To man, placed in the circumferent circle of the material world, they are seen as always occupying distinct and frequently opposing positions.

XII.

For it is not given to the creature, however excellent, to reflect more than one small fragment of the Creator's perfections.

XIII.

To man's eye, then, these may often appear incompatible, as they really are incompatible in relation to his own limited heart and mind.

For how can that which is filled by a drop, receive and contain the whole expanse of the ocean?

XIV.

But whilst incapable of more than a fragmentary transcription either on the works of creation or on

the little tablet of the human heart, yet, as in truth all the various species of Beauty emanated originally from Him who is the source of life and of every good and perfect gift, so in their ceaseless undeviating flow do they unite, forming one perfect and harmonious whole in the mind of the great and Almighty Father, the Omnipotent and Universal Sovereign, the Healer and Refresher of all His creatures.

XV.

And, as material things can each receive or reflect only a part of Beauty, and as the power of expression in each is limited to its own part, so in the finite creature man, is each individual fitted more particularly to discern and appreciate some one particular beauty.

XVI.

And each man will prefer some one style above others; not because really in itself more excellent, but because he is individually so constituted, as to find that one the most adapted to his own heart and taste.

XVII.

Thus, as the bounding gazelle has not the choice of exhibiting the stately tread of the ponderous elephant; nor the lion that of assuming the gentleness of the dove; so neither can the man whose soul

*

has been thrilled by the death-fires of Teshoo Lomboo bear with the impertinent prettiness of a Moresque building. Nor can he who comes fresh from the spirit-stirring gaiety of the one, endure the overpowering and awful gloom of the other.

XVIII.

The consideration, then, of the various styles of Beauty has shown that they render the same testimony as every other knowledge.

And taste and science both alike proclaim how infinite is GOD, how circumscribed is man.

XIX.

How does every good and perfect gift come from above; and how small, how very small, a portion of each, whether in spiritual truth, in scientific knowledge, or in perceptions of beauty, can any one of the sons of men receive in the narrow limits of his spirit, his heart, or his mind.

XX.

GOD opens His bounteous hand, but how soon are His petty creatures more than replenished with good.

* See account of Funeral Rites in the capital of the Great Lama. -Turner's Embassy to Thibet.

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