Admiration for the Outward Form Rather than for the Spiritual Meaning
Luke 21:5-6
And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,…

Is there any one Christian, however austere, who, on entering the body of our cathedral not for the first time but the twentieth, and allowing his eye to wander along its avenue of columns, or into the depth at once so mysterious and so impressive, of the distant choir; or towards those arches, at once light and bold, which, like a vigorous vegetation on each pilaster, throw out and intertwine their stems at the centre — is there any one who has not said to himself, How beautiful this is! what harmony! what unison among all these stones! what music in this architecture! what poetry in this edifice! Those who reared it are dead, but though dead they still speak to us; and their conception, full of adoration, their conception, a species of prayer, is so united to their work, that we think we feel it and breathe it as we advance within these walls which carry us over a vista of ages. Such is our feeling; and if we are not alone, we can scarcely help giving it utterance. Thus, doing: what the disciples did when they exclaimed, What stones! what buildings! might we not hater ourselves addressed by our Lord in words of reproof, "Is it this you are looking at?" And why should we not be reproved if our soul goes no farther than our eye, if it stops where our eye is obliged to stop; if symbols, appearances, visible things, hold it captive; ii the splendours of art chain down our heart to the earth instead of raising it to heaven? This is the censure which Jesus Christ passes on His disciples. He had looked into their souls, and there detected that lust of the flesh, that lust of the eye, and that pride of life, which are the three connecting chains by which the enemy of God links us closely to outer darkness. The man and the Jew were equally revealed in that involuntary exclamation; man, dazzled by whatever is seen, and filled with contempt for what is not seen; the Jew, proud of the exterior pomp of a worship, the deep meaning and internal idea of which had long escaped him, and attaching himself obstinately to the law — in other words, a shadow, at the very moment when this law was more than ever a shadow. Is it this you are looking at? What! these few grains of dust, which are large only because you are little? What! these gifts extorted by fear, vanity, and custom, from individuals who refused to begin by giving themselves to God? What! the gorgeous falsehood of these marbles and gildings, of all those ornaments, the pious import of which has long since been forgotten? Is it this you are looking at?

(A. Vinet, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,

WEB: As some were talking about the temple and how it was decorated with beautiful stones and gifts, he said,

Worth in the Estimate of Wisdom
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