The History of Leith

March 21, 2012

THE MATERIAL EDIFICE A TYPE OF THE SPIRITUAL CHURCH. (Church Magazine 1910)

A Church (i.e., edifice) is a type of the spiritual
Church which God hath reared. A Church is built
not merely to accommodate the worshippers ; its form
and furnishings should have something to teach, some
religious truth to express. “Architecture,” said
Schelling, “is frozen music.” Church architecture,
we might say, is envisaged doctrine. This was so in
the Tabernacle and in the Temple of old. Everything
there had a meaning. Ruskin, in his Seven
Lamps of Architecture, says, “Better the rudest work
that tells a story or records a fact, than the richest
without meaning.” A Church is built not merely
to provide sitting accommodation, but to elevate the
devotions, to inform the minds of the Congregation, and
to attach the members to the spiritual Church, of which
the material edifice is the symbol. This was probably in
the mind of Wordsworth when he wrote :—
In my mind’s eye a Temple, like a cloud
Slowly surmounting some invidious hill.
Rose out of darkness : the bright work stood still;
And might of its own beauty have been proud,
But it was fashioned and to God was vowed
By virtues that diffused, in every part,
Spirit divine through forms of human art:
Faith had her arch^her arch, when winds blow loud,
Into the consciousness of safety thrilled ;
And Love her towers of dread foundations laid
Under the grave of things ; Hope had her spire
Star-high, and pointing still to something higher ;
Trembling I gazed, but heard a voice,—it said
‘ Hell-gates are powerless phantoms where we
build !”

source-South Leith Church

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