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316   THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO

"At the beginning there were long intervals between regular services, and during these intervals the people met together, in the home of one or other of the neighbours, to read the scriptures and sing psalms. Regular services drew congregations from the whole country for miles around, the people walking bare-footed, in order to save their shoes, until within a short distance of the place of assemblage, and then stopping to put on their footwear that they might enter the sanctuary decently shod.

"Frequently service was held in the open woods. On such occasions the men gathered on Saturday to clear out the underbrush and pre-pare rude seats for the congregation. Never have been witnessed more impressive services than those that came with the succeeding Sabbath. No cathedral could boast pillars equal to those formed by the giants of the forest; no vaulted arch fashioned by man so impressive as the leafy canopy above, while the rude altar was glorified by shafts of gold as the rays of the afternoon sun shot athwart the trees. The gentle breeze that stirred the pine tops created a melody deeper and sweeter than that produced in response to the touch of the player, and as the voices of the great congregation rose in ever-swelling volume, the earth and all that lived therein seemed to join in the song of praise. It was no formal service then; the declaration that `The Lord is my Shepherd' expressed a living belief in an over-ruling Providence, and eyes were lifted unto the hills around in expectation of seeing the ever-present help in time of need."


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