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came to them for the first time in their lives. Gortre's words began to open up to them an entirely new train of thought. Their interest was profoundly quickened.
Very few clergymen of middle age are cognisant of the latest theological thought. Time, money, and lack of education alike prevent them. The slight mental endowment and very ordinary education which are all that is absolutely necessary for an ordination candidate, are not realised by the ordinary member of a church congregation. The mass of the English clergy to-day are content to leave such questions alone, to do their duty simply, to impose upon their flock the necessity of “faith," and to deny the right of individual judgment and speculation.
They do not realise that the world of their middle age is more educated, and so more intelligent, than the world of their youth, and that, if the public intellect is nurtured by the public, those whose duty it is to keep it within the fold of Christianity must provide it with a food suited to its development.
Gortre, in his sermon, had crystallised and boiled down into pregnant paragraphs, without circumlocution or obscurity, all the brilliant work of Lathom, Westcott, Professor Ramsay, and Homersham Cox. He quoted Renan's passage from Les Apôtres, dealing with the finding of the empty tomb, and showed the flaws and fallacies in that brilliant piece of antichristian suggestion.
As he began to bring his arguments to a close he was conscious that the people were with him. He could feel the brains around him thinking in unison; it was almost as if he heard the thoughts of the congregation. The dark, handsome woman stared straight up at him. Trouble was in her eyes, an awakened consciousness, and Gortre knew that the truth was dropping steadily into her mind, and that conviction was unwelcome and alarming. And he felt also the bitter antagonism which was alive and working behind the impassive face and halfclosed eyes of the millionaire below. It was a silent duel between them. He knew that his words were full of meaning, even of conviction, to the man, and yet he was subjectively conscious of some reserve of force, some hidden sense of fearful power, a desperate resolve which he could not overcome.
His soul wrestled in this dark, mysterious conflict as with a devil, but could not prevail.
He finished all his argument, the last of his proofs. There was a hushed silence in the church.
Then swiftly, with a voice which trembled with the power that was given him, he called them to repentance and a new life. If, he said, his words had carried conviction of the truth of Christ's resurrection, of His divinity, then, believing that, there was but one course open to them all. For to know the truth, and to believe it, and to continue in indifference, was to kill the soul.
It was over. Father Ripon had pronounced the blessing, the great organ was thundering out the requiem of another Sunday, and Sir Michael was shaking hands warmly with Basil in the vestry.
Gortre was tired and shaken by the long, nervous strain, but the evident pleasure of Father Ripon and Sir Michael, the knowledge that he had acquitted himself well, was comforting and sustaining.
He walked home, down quiet Holborn, curiously dead without the traffic of a week day and the lights of the shop fronts, and not reanimated by the strolling pedestrians, young people of the lower classes from the East End, who thronged it.
Lincoln's Inn was wonderfully soothing and quiet as his footsteps echoed in the old quadrangle. After a lonely, tranquil supper-Hands was at a dinner-party somewhere in Mayfair and Spence was at the office of The Daily Wire preparing for Monday's paper-he wheeled a small writing-desk up to the fireside and began a long letter of news and thankfulness to Helena.
He pictured the pleasant dining-room at Walktown, the Sunday night's supper,-an institution at the Vicarage after the labours of the busiest day in the week,with a guest or two perhaps.
He knew they would be thinking of him, as he of them, and pictured the love-light in his lady's sweet, CHAPTER XI
NEITHER DO I CONDEMN THEE
UTUMN came to London, a warm, lingering sea
There was a hint of the South in the at. mosphere of town. All business moved with languor; there was more enjoyment in life as people went and came through the streets under so ripe and genial a sun.
Gortre had settled down to steady, regular work. At no time before had a routine been so pleasant to him. His days were full of work, which, hard as it was, came to him with far more appeal than his duties at Walktown. Nothing ever stagnated here, at the very hub and centre of things.
The splendid energy and force of Father Ripon, the magnificent unconvention of his methods, animated his staff to constant and unflagging exertions.
Gortre felt that he was suddenly “grown up," that his life before had been spent in futile playtime compared to the present.
One central fact in St. Mary's parish held all the great organisation together. This was the daily services in the great church. Priests, deacons, sisters of mercy, school teachers, and lay helpers all drew their strength and inspiration from this source. The daily Eucharist, matins, evensong, were both a stimulus and stimulant of enormous power.
Church brought the mysteries in which they lived, moved, and had their being into intimate relation with every circumstance of daily life.
The extraordinary thing, which many of Father Ripon's staff were almost unable to understand, was that more people did not avail themselves of what they regarded-viewing the thing from a standpoint of personal experience-such helpful opportunities.
“They are always coming to me," Father Ripon had said on one occasion, “and complaining that they find such a tremendous difficulty in leading a holy life-say that the worldly surroundings and so forth kill their good impulses—and yet they won't come to church. People are such fools! My young men imagine that they can become good Christians by a sort of sudden magic-a low beast on Saturday night, the twentieth of August, and, after a nerve storm in church and a few tears in the vestry, a saint for evermore ! And then when they get drunk or do something beastly the next week, they rail against the Christian Faith because it is n't a sort of spiritual hand cuffs! And yet if you told them you could manage a bank after merely experience in a shipping office, they would see the absurdity of that at once. Donkeys !”
This with a genial smile of tenderness and compassion, for this Whirlwind in a Cassock loved his flock.
So from the very first Basil had found his life congenial. Privately he blessed his good fortune in living in Lincoln's Inn with Spence. On the nights when the journalist was free from the office, and not otherwise engaged, the two men sat late with pipes and coffee, enjoying that vigorous communion of two keen, young, and virile brains which is one of the truly stimulating pleasures of life.
Gortre admired Spence greatly for some of his qualities. His intellect was, of course, first class-his high position on the great daily paper guaranteed that. His reading and sympathies were wide. Moreover, the