In His Steps eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 238 pages of information about In His Steps.

At the First Church, Mr. Maxwell, bearing on his face marks of the scene he had been through, confronted an immense congregation, and spoke to it with a passion and a power that came so naturally out of the profound experiences of the day before that his people felt for him something of the old feeling of pride they once had in his dramatic delivery.  Only this was with a different attitude.  And all through his impassioned appeal this morning, there was a note of sadness and rebuke and stern condemnation that made many of the members pale with self-accusation or with inward anger.

For Raymond had awakened that morning to the fact that the city had gone for license after all.  The rumor at the Rectangle that the second and third wards had gone no-license proved to be false.  It was true that the victory was won by a very meager majority.  But the result was the same as if it had been overwhelming.  Raymond had voted to continue for another year the saloon.  The Christians of Raymond stood condemned by the result.  More than a hundred professing Christian disciples had failed to go to the polls, and many more than that number had voted with the whiskey men.  If all the church members of Raymond had voted against the saloon, it would today be outlawed instead of crowned king of the municipality.  For that had been the fact in Raymond for years.  The saloon ruled.  No one denied that.  What would Jesus do?  And this woman who had been brutally struck down by the very hand that had assisted so eagerly to work her earthly ruin what of her?  Was it anything more than the logical sequence of the whole horrible system of license, that for another year the very saloon that received her so often and compassed her degradation, from whose very spot the weapon had been hurled that struck her dead, would, by the law which the Christian people of Raymond voted to support, perhaps open its doors tomorrow and damn a hundred Loreens before the year had drawn to its bloody close?

All this, with a voice that rang and trembled and broke in sobs of anguish for the result, did Henry Maxwell pour out upon his people that Sunday morning.  And men and women wept as he spoke.  President Marsh sat there, his usual erect, handsome, firm, bright self-confident bearing all gone; his head bowed upon his breast, the great tears rolling down his cheeks, unmindful of the fact that never before had he shown outward emotion in a public service.  Edward Norman near by sat with his clear-cut, keen face erect, but his lip trembled and he clutched the end of the pew with a feeling of emotion that struck deep into his knowledge of the truth as Maxwell spoke it.  No man had given or suffered more to influence public opinion that week than Norman.  The thought that the Christian conscience had been aroused too late or too feebly, lay with a weight of accusation upon the heart of the editor.  What if he had begun to do as Jesus would have done, long ago?  Who could tell what might have been accomplished by this time!  And up in the choir, Rachel Winslow, with her face bowed on the railing of the oak screen, gave way to a feeling which she had not allowed yet to master her, but it so unfitted her for her part that when Mr. Maxwell finished and she tried to sing the closing solo after the prayer, her voice broke, and for the first time in her life she was obliged to sit down, sobbing, and unable to go on.

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In His Steps from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.