A Christ, by Raphael, that I saw the other night, brought Christianity more home to my heart, made me more long to be like Jesus, than ever did sermon. It is from one of the Vatican frescoes. The Deity,—a stern, strong, wise man, of about forty-five, in a square velvet cap, truly the Jewish God, inflexibly just, yet jealous and wrathful,—is at the top of the picture, looking with a gaze of almost frowning scrutiny down into his world. A step below is the Son. Stately angelic shapes kneel near him in dignified adoration,—brothers, but not peers. A cloud of more ecstatic seraphs floats behind the Father. At the feet of the Son is the Holy Ghost, the Heavenly Dove. In the description, by a connoisseur, of this picture, read to me while I was looking at it, it is spoken of as in Raphael's first manner, cold, hard, trammeled. But to me how did that face proclaim the Infinite Love! His head is bent back, as if seeking to behold the Father. His attitude expresses the need of adoring something higher, in order to keep him at his highest. What sweetness, what purity, in the eyes! I can never express it; but I felt, when looking at it, the beauty of reverence, of self-sacrifice, to a degree that stripped the Apollo of his beams.
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