The rector drove to Glaston in his dog-cart to read prayers. Helen went out into the park with her New Testament and George Herbert. Poor Juliet was left with Mrs. Bevis, who happily could not be duller than usual, although it was Sunday. By the time the rector returned, bringing his curate with him, she was bored almost beyond endurance. She had not yet such a love of wisdom as to be able to bear with folly. The foolish and weak are the most easily disgusted with folly and weakness which is not of their own sort, and are the last to make allowances for them. To spend also the evening with the softly smiling old woman, who would not go across the grass after such a rain the night before, was a thing not to be contemplated. Juliet borrowed a pair of galoshes, and insisted on going to the chapel. In vain the rector and his wife dissuaded her. Neither Helen nor her husband said a word.
The chapel in the park at Nestley, having as yet received no color, and having no organ or choir, was a cold, uninteresting little place. It was neat, but had small beauty, and no history. Yet even already had begun to gather in the hearts of two or three of the congregation a feeling of quiet sacredness about it: some soft airs of the spirit-wind had been wandering through their souls as they sat there and listened. And a gentle awe, from old associations with lay worship, stole like a soft twilight over Juliet as she entered. Even the antral dusk of an old reverence may help to form the fitting mood through which shall slide unhindered the still small voice that makes appeal to what of God is yet awake in the soul. There were present about a score of villagers, and the party from the house.
Clad in no vestments of office, but holding in his hand the New Testament, which was always held either there or in his pocket, Wingfold rose to speak. He read:
“Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be know.”
Then at once he began to show them, in the simplest interpretation, that the hypocrite was one who pretended to be what he was not; who tried or consented to look other and better than he was. That a man, from unwillingness to look at the truth concerning himself, might be but half-consciously assenting to the false appearance, would, he said, nowise serve to save him from whatever of doom was involved in this utterance of our Lord concerning the crime. These words of explanation and caution premised, he began at the practical beginning, and spoke a few forceful things on the necessity of absolute truth as to fact in every communication between man and man, telling them that, so far as he could understand His words recorded, our Lord’s objection to swearing lay chiefly in this, that it encouraged untruthfulness, tending