Six Months at the White House/II

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Six Months at the White House by Francis Bicknell Carpenter
II.
II.

That Art should aim to embody and express the spirit and best thought of its own age seems self-evident. If it fails to do this, whatever else it may accomplish, it falls short of its highest object. It cannot dwell always among classic forms, nor clothe its conceptions in the imagery of an old and worn-out world. It must move on, if it is to keep pace with that "increasing purpose which through the ages runs," and its ideals must be wrought out of the strife of a living humanity.

It has been well said by a recent writer: "The record of the human family to the advent of CHRIST, was the preparation of the photographic plate for its image. All subsequent history is the bringing out of the divine ideal of true manhood." Slowly, but surely, through the centuries, is this purpose being accomplished. Human slavery has been the material type or expression of spiritual bondage. On the lowest or physical plane, it has symbolized the captivity and degradation of our higher nature; with the breaking in of new light, and the inspiration of a deeper life, it is inevitably doomed. That man, to attain the full development of the faculties implanted in him, must be in spiritual and physical freedom, is a principle which lies at the foundation of all government; and the enfranchisement of a race to-day thus becomes the assertion and promise of a true and coming Emancipation for all men.