Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/602

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

mansion to the tent, and just a century later one of Talleyrand's countrymen, M. Pierre Leroy-Beaulieu, traveling in the reverse direction, from "the bush" to Coolgardie, witnessed the gradual transformation of the tent into the two-storied hotel. A great part of the history of the race in the matter of habitations is thus museumed in the space of a few miles.

If the temple rises out of the tomb, is modeled on that, and remains to the last pre-eminently a place of sacrifice, the church is an enlarged dwelling house. It is the house of the god, as the fetichist called it—the house of God, as we still reverently call it; and in Romanist countries to this day it is in a manner the abode of two divine personages, who figure as dizened and painted dolls that are named respectively God and the Mother of God! Both lines of development are rapidly recapitulated in colonies. The temple appears as the cathedral, which has modest beginnings, but gradually assumes the architecture and proportions of Gothic cathedrals, losing relation to the primary wants of the worshipers—comfort and audibility—ministering mainly to their higher needs, and if used for preaching at all, reserved for such occasional and sensational pulpit oratory a? that of Dominican monks like Lacordaire at Notre Dame in Paris, or of a Protestant Dominican like the late Canon Liddon at St. Paul's in London. The church, chapel, or meeting house may be found in colonial villages in its most rudimentary form, scarcely distinguishable in style from a dwelling house. According to the sect it belongs to, it develops in one of two opposite directions. The age of cathedrals is past, even in Roman Catholic countries, but the tendency of Anglican and allied churches is to simulate the old cathedral; high ritualistic sections mimic the gorgeous Madeleine. The more liberal denominations, on the other hand, develop downward; the colonial Baptist tabernacle is on the lines of Spurgeon's great building at Newington, but the ancient pulpit is widened into a platform and the seats slope upward as in a concert hall; it is a mere auditorium, in which the preacher is all. The development in this direction finds its extreme in the secularist hall, which is a mere concert room, with a piano in place of an organ. The ceremonial development is on the same lines—toward the gradual adoption of ancient rites by the older churches, toward more freedom in the younger sects. Many a colonial clergyman has wrecked himself or his congregation through too much ritualism; a few have injured themselves through an excess of liberalism.

A parallel evolution takes place in church government. Where an organized settlement is made on political principles, congregations carry their minister with them, or rather the ministers carry their congregations. Where the colony is normally founded and grows up