As the last momentous words of the angel died away a jubilant 'Te Deum' burst from, organ and choir, and every member of the congregation exulted, often with sobs, in the great triumph which brought salvation to every Christian soul.
But as some of them were united into extended groups and as the interest of the congregation deepened, the churches began to seem too small and inconvenient, the excited audiences forgot the proper reverence, and the performances were transferred to the churchyard, and then, when the gravestones proved troublesome, to the market place, the village-green, or any convenient field.
These informal parlor meetings, admitting of questions or conversation, are often the means of interesting those not commonly found at church services so I repeat, if any member of the congregation
desires it and offers her hospitality, we will gladly stay and tell you more of the Lord's work."
It was a genuine relief to the whole congregation
when the ordeal was over and the benediction pronounced.
Each member of the congregation, the most innocent girl, and the man of hardened breast, felt as if the preacher had crept upon them, behind his awful veil, and discovered their hoarded iniquity of deed or thought.
Nearly all his parishioners, who were of mature age when he was settled, had been borne away by many a funeral: he had one congregation in the church, and a more crowded one in the churchyard; and having wrought so late into the evening, and done his work so well, it was now good Father Hooper's turn to rest.
The female members of the congregation
murmured among themselves at the inexcusable disregard of appearances implied in the bride's dress.
At the word, Goodman Brown stepped forth from the shadow of the trees and approached the congregation, with whom he felt a loathful brotherhood by the sympathy of all that was wicked in his heart.
On the Sabbath day, when the congregation were singing a holy psalm, he could not listen because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ear and drowned all the blessed strain.
Sometimes, when much excited with his subject, he had an odd way - compounded of John Bunyan, and Balfour of Burley - of taking his great quarto Bible under his arm and pacing up and down the pulpit with it; looking steadily down, meantime, into the midst of the congregation
. Thus, when he applied his text to the first assemblage of his hearers, and pictured the wonder of the church at their presumption in forming a congregation
among themselves, he stopped short with his Bible under his arm in the manner I have described, and pursued his discourse after this manner:
I am far from being sure that I might not have astonished our small congregation by resorting to this extreme measure, but for its being Christmas Day and no Sunday.
But he punished the Amens tremendously; and when he gave out the psalm - always giving the whole verse - he looked all round the congregation first, as much as to say, "You have heard my friend overhead; oblige me with your opinion of this style!"