The Method of the Divine Government
Physical and Moral
By James McCosh
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2009
Online Publication Date:August 2010
Original Publication Year:1850
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511693892.004
Subjects: History of Ideas and Intellectual History
SECT. I.—INSTRUCTIVE VIEWS OF GOD PRESENTED BY HIS GOVERNMENT.
An inhabitant of a distant part of our world or of another world, let us suppose, visits Europe, and inspects some of our finer cathedrals, such as that of York or Cologne. Admiring the buildings, he is led to inquire narrowly into their architecture, and he observes how stone is fitted to stone, and buttress to that which it supports, and how all the parts are in beautiful adaptation one to another. Does he know all about these cathedrals, when he has completed this class of observations? In one sense, he knows every thing; he knows that the building material of the one is a species of limestone, and of the other, basalt; every stone and pillar and window has been examined by him, and he has admired the beautiful proportions of the whole fabric. But if he has gone no farther in his inquiries, he has but a meagre idea after all of these temples. There are higher questions, What is the use of this chapter-house; of this crypt; of this lovely chapel or chancel? The stranger has no proper idea of the cathedrals, till rising beyond the minute inspection of stones, and columns, and aisles, he contemplates the grand results and uses, and observes, how this part was for the burial of the distinguished dead—this other part for the kneeling of the worshippers—this third part for the convocation of the priests—this fourth part for the dispensation of the holiest rite of the Christian Church—and the whole for the worship of God.