• The book has been proof-read and corrected for spelling and grammatical errors • All our books with improved formatting and links to chapters • Includes notes with links Excerpt: Only one tawdry note could be detected in this beautiful church. The pictures which hung on the walls round the aisles, and represented the stations of the cross, were ill-drawn, and stiff in colour and design. These pictures, which were said by the ignorant and unimaginative to be idolatrous, or at ...
• The book has been proof-read and corrected for spelling and grammatical errors
• All our books with improved formatting and links to chapters
• Includes notes with links
Only one tawdry note could be detected in this beautiful church. The pictures which hung on the walls round the aisles, and represented the stations of the cross, were ill-drawn, and stiff in colour and design. These pictures, which were said by the ignorant and unimaginative to be idolatrous, or at least "Roman"—a little understood but very efficacious term of reproach in the parish—were sufficiently like the hideous stained-glass figures in the Evangelical Church of St. Luke hard by to have satisfied the most pious lover of ugliness. But those folk, who so vehemently preferred the medallion portraits of their respectable ancestors on the walls of a church to any other form of symbol or decoration, did not see this. They spoke bitterly of the pictures as being "high," suggesting to outsiders unfamiliar with the parrot cry of the partisan that they had been kept too long in a warm place.
Since Father Blantyre had been appointed vicar of St. Elwyn's, the congregation had increased until few of the rush-bottomed chairs were empty, and on days of great festivals, people would be found kneeling in the aisles. The opposition party in the parish frequently commented on this custom, which was thought to savour of heathenism or worse. One or two people who had spent holidays in continental towns, and had made excursions into foreign cathedrals in much the same spirit as they went into the chamber of horrors in the wax-work exhibition, had brought back news that this habit was in vogue among "the Catholics." It was felt that real salvation could only be found in a pew, with one's name legibly written on an ivory tablet at the end and the vestry-clerk calling for the rent once a quarter in the decent old-fashioned way. Any one who knelt on the uncushioned stone showed an anxiety to worship and a superstitious abasement quite unworthy of a bluff, honest, British Christian; and his doings must be displeasing to a Deity who, the objectors were persuaded, was—though they did not say so in actual words—a great English God.
The single bell that summoned the people to Mass—that word which church-people are becoming less afraid to use in this century—had ceased. The server was lighting the Eucharistic candles with a long taper.
As the people came in, it was noticeable that they proceeded to their places without side-looks at each other, or muttered social greetings. They went to their seats, young and old, men and women, and began to kneel and pray.
No one, apparently, had come there to be seen by his fellows.
Since the Catholic Revival in the English Church, no fact has been more obvious and easily determined than this. It is one which the bitterest opponent of churchmanship has never been able to deny and has never attempted to deny. The most prejudiced observer paying an alternate visit to a church where the Faith is taught and to another which is confessedly "Protestant" cannot fail to observe the difference. At the celebration of the Eucharist in a church of the former type, there is an absolute stillness and reverence. The congregation kneels, it worships.