Cathedrals: With Seventy-Four Illustrations by Photographic Reproduction and Seventy-Four Drawings

Cathedrals: With Seventy-Four Illustrations by Photographic Reproduction and Seventy-Four Drawings

Cathedrals: With Seventy-Four Illustrations by Photographic Reproduction and Seventy-Four Drawings

Cathedrals: With Seventy-Four Illustrations by Photographic Reproduction and Seventy-Four Drawings

Excerpt

St. Paul's may rightly claim to be the Imperial Cathedral of the British nation. True, Westminster Abbey is more in the minds of men as "the State church," for within its walls kings and queens have been crowned since Harold, and since Sebert many monarchs and their consorts have there found their last resting-place. But throughout the ages it is to St. Paul's that men's minds have turned instinctively in any great time of crisis or rejoicing in the life of the Nation. It is the official church of the Empire "in a way that belongs to no other Cathedral"; it is, as it were, a spiritual centre firmly fixed in "the hub of the Universe," from which pulsates the religious life-blood, not only of the denizens of Great Britain, but of our kinsmen overseas. Like our ancestors, we have become accustomed to look to St. Paul's for the inspiration and suggestion which comes from our Faith. If an example were wanted of this, we need only recall those services during the Great War. No one then present could have failed to grasp what St. Paul's stands for to the British people. In a Cathedral sermon preached at that time, Canon Alexander rightly described it as "the Parish Church of the British Empire." As a prominent Church dignitary once said, "It has come to be considered the most fitting place for the expression of the religious emotions of the Nation."

Of the first church on this site we know little. Some authorities have it that at least four churches have crowned this mound--the highest ground in the City of London. The Rev. Lewis Gilbertson, M.A., in the authorised guide to St. Paul's Cathedral, opens with the definite statement that "the St. Paul's which we see to-day is the third cathedral which has been built, de novo on the site it now occupies." This fact is certain, that the history of St. Paul's is as old as that of our nation.

In the distant ages a Temple of Diana is supposed to have stood upon the site. Wren, who rejected this theory, was however of opinion, owing to certain discoveries made when excavations were in progress for his great work, that in the Roman period the Christians built a church there which was afterwards demolished by the Pagan Saxons. Stow, in his Survey of London, records that when the foundations were being prepared for a chapel on the south side of St. Paul's in 1316 "more than a hundred scalps of oxen or kine" were found; "which thing confirms greatly the opinion of those which have reported that of old times there had been a temple of Jupiter, and that there was daily sacrifice of beasts." Roman remains, including a bronze image of Diana, have been found at intervals near St. Paul's, and, as recently as 1830, a stone altar bearing a carved figure of the goddess was unearthed on the site of the present Goldsmiths' Hall in Foster Lane .

There is, however, evidence that Christianity was rooted in London in . . .

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