Sunday, 10 July 2016

"Come and reason" with Godfrey Blount by Edwin Herrin, Part 2

The July 1937 newspaper appreciation (Part 1 is here) continues:

Godfrey Blount, 3rd from left, a family snapshot
from Haslemere Educational Museum's press cuttings,
July 1937

"Nothing paved the way to his respect and sympathy so infallibly as the honesty and sincerity of the truth-seeker and an enquiring mind was the one qualification for admission to his heart.

"There is more faith in honest doubt,
Believe me, than in half the creeds"

"was with him no mere aphorism, to be framed in gilt, and forgotten.  He knew no distinctions of class or status.

from Arbor Vitae, Blount, Godfrey, A.C. Fifield, 1910

"Spiritual difficulties were as real in the humbler walks of life as in the ranks of the more sophisticated, and, accordingly, postman, gardener and railway servant as often resorted to his aid in the solution of difficulties, and were as sure of sympathy and understanding and "the warm touch of the mediator's hand to interpret for them the mysteries of existence," as visitors of greater distinction who had also discovered the road to Saint Cross.

"On the day of his last fight with mortality (a fight of which I was quite ignorant) I was reading from "Science and Symbols" (perhaps the most irresistibly simple and convincing of his many literary efforts in that direction) the chapter on "Life, Light and Love."  I venture to claim that in this chapter he succeeds in achieving the very acme and apex of elevation of thought and clarity of statement.

"May I quote one paragraph with is an expansion of the saying of Jesus.  "I am the Light of the World," and in which the Founder of the Christian Faith is represented as saying: "This glistening pearl: the leaven in those loaves set to rise; this tree ready to shoot out new leaves; the wine in that cup you will drink; this mustard seed, smallest of things, are divine in their natural use: does not God shine in them as well as through them?  These clouds, do they not close this day as well as foretell the last of all?  This corn, does it not prove the truth of sacrifice, as well as prophesy my own, because, like me, it must be bruised for your food, since I am it and it is I?  This bread, sown, grown, reaped, thrashed, ground, mixed, baked: this is I, my body; eating it, you eat me.  This wine, crushed from the grape with the sun in it, fermented, inspiring, refreshing, is my blood: drink it and you drink Me.  I am the way, the road you walk along: walk it then with a purpose.  I am the field you work in; work while it is day.  I am the door, the gate you pass, the home you enter, the fire you stir.  I am, your Father, your Mother, your Friend.  I am the Shepherd that cares for his sheep; the Ploughman, the Carpenter, the Mason.  I am the Cripple, the Prisoner, the Beggar, the Leper, the Child: see Me in these, the Man of infinite sorrow and infinite joy; of infinite power and hope."

from Arbor Vitae, Blount, Godfrey, A.C. Fifield, 1910

"Paganism?  Possibly, but surely paganism touched with divinity.  And I venture to think that this paragraph serves best to illustrate the scope and purity of his thought and the brightness of his vision.

Branksome Dene Hotel,
July, 1937."

Sunday, 3 July 2016

"Come and reason" with Godfrey Blount by Edwin Herrin, Part 1

The Haslemere Educational Museum holds a number of press cuttings about the Peasant Arts movement.  One is this 'appreciation' published in July 1937 by Edwin Herrin, but it is not clear what newspaper the article was published in.  I am not sure who Edwin Herrin was.

from Haslemere Educational Museum's press cuttings,
July 1937

"In the passing of Godfrey Blount, Haslemere loses one of her choicest spirits and one of her most gifted citizens.

from Arbor Vitae,
Blount Godfrey,  A.C.Fifeld,
"Godfrey Blount was essentially an artist, an unsatisfactory term no doubt, but no other describes so comprehensible the scope and nature of his faculties.  I do not know any other person to whom the term more aptly applies since, in his case, art, in the widest meaning of the word, was not an end in itself: it was entirely a means to an end.

from Arbor Vitae,
Blount Godfrey,  A.C.Fifeld, 1910
"Why was that end?  The answer to that question would, perhaps, afford the clue to his whole life and character.  Whether as painter of pictures, designer and maker of toys, designer of fabrics, or writer of books, he was always the artist, employing the particular medium of colour, line or words for the one purpose - the purpose of interpretation.

"It would be trite to say (none the less I will say it) that, had he so designed, it lay easily within his power to achieve fame and wealth, whether in the role of painter of pictures or in that of a literary craftsman.

"Why, then, did he turn his back on both?  Why did he, of set choice, refuse to work for money or renown, neither of them contemptuous, neither ignoble, neither such as men are called on to renounce as a condition of moral or spiritual achievement?  Here is another question, the answer to which would throw a flood of light upon a character of singular gentleness and charm, of rare elevation of spirit and simplicity of life (a simplicity bordering on poverty deliberately espoused) and allied to those intellectual and artistic endowments to which I have already referred.

from Arbor Vitae,
Blount Godfrey,  A.C.Fifeld,
"It would be out of place in me to attempt here an answer to these questions.  Those who knew him will have no difficulty in supplying the answers for themselves.  In the brief space which I feel justified in taking up, I prefer to emphasise those qualities which have endeared him most, which will keep his memory green and, for those who were so fortunate as to enjoy his friendship, serve as an inspiration for the remainder of life's span.

"It was, I would venture to say, as the apostle of "sweet reasonableness" that he was most beloved.  "Come, let us reason together" was his method, and in the unfailing zest with which, to the very end, he pursued his task of attempting the reconciliation of reason and faith, this was - to use a modern but unattractive term - his technique: "Come and reason - come and reason".

from Arbor Vitae,
Blount Godfrey,  A.C.Fifeld,
"In this task all his varied gifts and powers were mobilised and subordinated.  Though ranking the transcendental first, no man yielded homage more whole heartedly and unstintingly to the force and value of reason.  In the hierarchy of the faculties imagination may be supreme, but divine reason occupies a scarcely less exalted throne.  And in Godfrey Blount's invitations to "come and reason" no tickets were issued: none was preferred and none was excluded: a convinced sceptic was more welcome than unthinking believer.  In the pursuit of truth, enquiry and intelligence must no more be subject to affront than intuition and faith; each is equally the gift of heaven.  And "Come, let us reason" was extended to cynic and saint alike, to agnostic and converted, to the scientist, and the free-thinker, as well as the devout; in fact, the term "free-thinker" in his estimation enjoyed a distinction - a distinction which was in precisely inverse ratio to the reception accorded to the term when I was a youngster, when all respectable folk were expected to re-act from the word with inexpressible horror."
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...