Some people who went up to the temple.
An elegant temple it was, this modern one of which I write—modern in all its appointments. Carpets, cushions, gas fixtures, organ, pulpit furnishings, everything everywhere betokened the presence of wealth and taste. Even the vases that adorned the marble-topped flower-stands on either side of the pulpit wore a foreign air, and in design and workmanship were unique. The subdued light that stole softly in through the stained-glass windows produced the requisite number of tints and shades on the hair and whiskers and noses of the worshippers. The choir was perched high above common humanity, and praised God for the congregation in wonderful voices, four in number, the soprano of which cost more than a preacher’s salary, and soared half an octave higher than any other voice in the city. To be sure she was often fatigued, for she frequently danced late of a Saturday night. And occasionally the grand tenor was disabled from appearing at all for morning service by reason of the remarkably late hour and unusual dissipation of the night before. But then he was all right by evening, and, while these little episodes were unfortunate, they had to be borne with meekness and patience; for was he not the envy of three rival churches, any one of which would have increased his salary if they could have gotten him?
The soft, pure tones of the organ were filling this beautiful church on a certain beautiful morning, and the worshippers were treading the aisles, keeping step to its melody as they made their way to their respective pews, the heavy carpeting giving back no sound of footfall, and the carefully prepared inner doors pushing softly back into place, making no jar on the solemnities of the occasion—everything was being done “decently and in order”—not only decently, but exquisitely.
A strange breaking in upon all this propriety and dignity was the sermon that morning. Even the text had a harsh sound, almost startling to ears which had been lifted to the third heaven of rapture by the wonderful music that floated down to them.
“Take heed what ye do; let the fear of the Lord be upon you.” What a harsh text!—Wasn’t it almost rough? Why speak of fear in the midst of such melody of sight and sound? Why not hear of the beauties of heaven, the glories of the upper temple, the music of the heavenly choir—something that should lift the thoughts away from earth and doing and fear? This was the unspoken greeting that the text received. And the sermon that followed! What had gotten possession of the preacher! He did not observe the proprieties in the least! He dragged stores, and warehouses, and common workshops, even the meat markets and vegetable stalls, into that sermon! Nay, he penetrated to the very inner