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England,” Karin replied, gravely arranging the black kerchief on her head. But perhaps those cold stone stairs were,
after all, the pleasantest part of my Swedish Easter-even recollections.
What a scene I witnessed after ascending them! Pell-mell
these stairs rushed a rude crowd of the lowest people, mingled with a few of a decent and respectable aspect.
Their conduct was the most striking illustration I could have had of the truth of an idea I had previously formed, namely, that the Swedes have no respect for any religion but their own; and that they insist on having it respected, not because it is Biblical, or Catholic, or Protestant, or Lutheran—but because it is Swedish. If any disrespect is shown to their Church or religion, it is a great offence a contempt of God—but the religion that acknowledges the same God and Saviour is regarded as matter of amusement and curiosity. The Roman Catholic Chapel on Good Friday, when the Queen was present, painfully exemplified this.
Some riotous conduct on this night certainly arose from drunken, disorderly persons, whom the decenter Swedes seemed ashamed of, and anxiously whispered to me that they were Germans; and
much fault might be found with the attendants of the church or chapel, who took no precautionary measures, but always opposed rudeness with rudeness-a rudeness indiscriminating also, since they shoved and pushed, and drove about the quiet as well as the boisterous.
In the midst of this rude scene, an apparition was beheld. A band of elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen, all in evening costume, glided in; a Russian Countess, with a small cloak of light blue satin just covering her shoulders, her head beautifully adorned, was 'prominent among them; and now the white gloves, the ball room dresses, the air of elegance and of festive joy that one side of the Chapel, or large room, presented, contrasted almost ludicrously, undoubtedly painfully, with the rude, uncultured, dark, disorderly mass, huddled into uneasy compression nearly in its centre, intercepting between the brighter region and the gorgeously dressed choristers, who were chanting the responses at the further side.
The altar at the upper end of the room was separated by a screen formed of painted pasteboard, something like the scenes of a theatre; within it a priest of the Russian or Greek Church
of Russia, performed that striking, and, underother circumstances, perhaps impressive service, which heralds and celebrates the act of the Resurrection.
In the Church of Russia this act appears to be dramatised in a manner rather uncongenial to our feelings. The tomb is visible, the resurrection seen. Before the time when the cry-Christ is risen ! was to be heard, an attendant brought a tray of long candles, and presented one to each member of the church-that is to say, to the elegant line ranged at the opposite side from the rude mass;-these were chiefly persons attached to the Embassy; they held the unlighted candles for some time, and when lighted, they were, I suppose, to represent the light of the Church—the light of the world—the light that lighteneth every man that cometh into the world :-for then came the moment when the hour of the wicked, and the powers of darkness, were vanquished, lost in the brightness of the uprising sun of righteousness when the taunt-He saved thers, Himself He cannot save !
-was both verified and contradicted for He who could not save Himself when He.would save others, having purchased the salvation of His Church, burst the bands of death, and in Himself, and by union
with Himself, became the author of salvation to all them that believe ;-the risen, ascended, but ever-present head of His mystical body, the Church ;-in whom its members live; in whom they die; in whom they rise again.
I know not if this idea is shadowed forth in the lighting of these long candles in the Russian Church. I know only it was the idea of my own mind, by which, in my ignorance, I endeavoured to explain to myself their use, and would fain, by my own mental explanation, having taken a spiritual benefit from an observance I did not practise. But there were not more than a dozen, or at most a dozen and half, of those elegant and fashionable worshippers present, while there were some hundreds of spectators, who certainly did not appear to make any attempt to spiritualise for their own benefit the mode of worship which was foreign to their senses. For my part, being unable to derive spiritual good, and being subjected to much bodily harm from the pressure of the crowd, and still more from 'the too energetic rudeness of the Russian servitors of the chapel, in repelling that
pressure, I was sincerely glad to see the honest face of
ту lantern substitute, Linquist, and holding up my hand to him with an imploring
gesture, he pushed forward to me; I caught his arm, only able to articulate the words, “Take me out,” and to the despair of little Karin, who assured me they would preach all night, and that I had never seen the same on Easter-eve in England, I left the chapel of the Russian Embassy at a little after two o'clock in the morning, without having seen much of the actual ceremonies. Had I been aware of it in time, I could have got a ticket from the Embassy, or gone with some of the body; but I acted on Karin's suggestion alone.
And at four o'clock on the Easter-morn, Karin and Beata came home, just as I was trying to realise, in the faintest degree, that crowning event of our soul's history,--the Resurrection from the dead, the Resurrection of Christ and his members.
Russia-is Russia so much greater and more powerful a nation, or kingdom, or empire, than Great Britain ? Yes; it must be, and so must be some lesser states than Russia also: for here, in Stockholm, as elsewhere, we see the Church as well as the State of the country represented ; we see the embassy have its chapel and its priest.
Is Russia a more religious power than muchboasting England, who sends her missionaries and