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Another Victorian poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, was more forthright in his beliefs. Biblical typology was a signature to his poetry, and his poems often included biblical phrasings and in the case of "The Barnfloor and Winepress," even a passage from a scripture as an epigraph. Hopkins addresses the sinning Christians and even unbelievers, and reveals to them the various gifts that Christ has rewarded them with, as a result of the ultimate sacrifice. 'And on a thousand alters laid, Christ our sacrifice is made'. He offers hope through belief, and cites historical examples in his writings reminding the reader that God is their only hope in adversity (giving the example of the people of Samaria who were besieged by the Syrians). In his poems, he also opines that God must bruise and test the human being, in order to create good, as he deals with this issue in "The loss of the Eurydice," where many innocents perish, but according to Landow (2004), Hopkins paints this picture keeping in view the omnipresence of God, and the fact that He was neither absent, nor indifferent to the woes of those in distress.2 Hopkins also employs imagery that evokes certain biblical verses and scenes, as in "God's Grandeur." His religious devotion is also signified by the use of metaphors and allusions in describing the beauty of the Christ, as in 'Windhover' where the reader is fascinated as Hopkins depicts the beauty of the Christ through his comparison with the falcon's gliding and its plunge towards the earth. The above arguments make it crystal clear that Hopkins' heart was in the 'right' place and if anything, the ideological tide against religion and the church had only served to strengthen his faith and spirit, and had kindled in him the resolve to spread this enlightenment, and to prevent obscurantism.
Although it can be said with certainty that Hopkins was a significant icon upholding the tenets of Christian faith and morality, it is also important to state that he was not the only one. Another significant contributor to the debate of religion was Huskin, one of the greatest writers of his period. His case can be considered to be a classis internal struggle for the attainment of truth. A keen observer of Art and a lover of nature and its beauty, Huskin was also a great preacher of humanitarianism in the 19th century. It would not be misplaced to state that it would be impossible to understand Ruskin's writings and philosophy if the element of religion were to be taken away. It was at this point in time that the so-called Victorian crisis of faith struck, and moved Ruskin to question the faith that he had held so dear. Caught in the dilemma between the greatness of Christianity and its failings, Ruskin went through what he called a de-conversion in 1858. He even poured scorn on the Evangelicals and proceeded to criticize religion as 'arrogant'. His writings in youth labeled God's service as 'disagreeable', and His book as 'not entertaining'. As Ruskin delved deeper into the scriptures, his doubts only increased and his faith wavered. According to Matterson (2002), whatever remained of his traditional religious beliefs was more or less wiped out with the onset of Darwin's theory.3 but his ponderings were often based on religious pursuits and thus, he returned to Christianity later in life (albeit a different form). He came up with the philosophy that artistic pursuits played a part in personal salvation, and he even went onto relate the decline in the aesthetic sense of Venetians to their decaying moral values, in 'The Stones of Venice'; thus, proposing an inseparability of art and religion.
Thus, it can be said with certainty that although the Victorians found themselves face-to-face with a dilemma, and their religious beliefs were challenged like never before, and many were forced to rethink religion as it were, but at the end of the day, barring exceptions, the whole episode served to steel their resolve in religion and led to a revival of sorts.
Glenn Everett, 2006, "Browning's Religious Views," the Victorian Web
George P. Landow, 2004, "Paradigm, Point-of-View, and Narrative Distance in Verbal and Visual Arts," Victorian Web
John Matterson, 2002, "Constructing ethics and the ethics of construction: John Ruskin…[continue]
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