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Beacon Lights of History, Volume 06
Renaissance and Reformation

written by "Lord, John, 1810-1894" and Milan and Westminster. It impresses us like a wonder of nature rather than as the work of man,--a great work of engineering as well as a marvel of majesty and beauty. We are surprised to see so vast a structure, covering nearly five acres, so elaborately finished, nothing neglected; the lofty walls covered with precious marbles, the side chapels filled with statues and monuments, the altars ornamented with pictures,--and those pictures not painted in oil, but copied in mosaic, so that they will neither decay nor fade, but last till destroyed by violence. What feelings overpower the poetic mind when the glories of that interior first blaze upon the brain; what a world of brightness, softness, and richness; what grandeur, solidity, and strength; what unnumbered treasures around the altars; what grand mosaics relieve the height of the wondrous dome,--larger than the Pantheon, rising two hundred feet from the intersection of those lofty and massive piers which divide transept from choir and nave; what effect of magnitude after the eye gets accustomed to the vast proportions! Oh, what silence reigns around! How difficult, even for the sonorous chants of choristers and priests to disturb that silence,--to be more than echoes of a distant music which seems to come from the very courts of heaven itself: to some a holy sanctuary, where one may meditate among crowds and feel alone; where one breathes an atmosphere which changes not with heat or cold; and where the ever-burning lamps and clouds of incense diffusing the fragrance of the East, and the rich dresses of the mitred priests, and the unnumbered symbols, suggest the ritualism of that imposing worship when Solomon dedicated to Jehovah the grandest temple of antiquity! Truly was St. Peter's Church the last great achievement of the popes, the crowning demonstration of their temporal dominion; suggestive of their wealth and power, a marble history of pride and pomp, a fitting emblem of...

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