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The Devil’s Chapel

December 15, 2009

Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe) is actually not my favorite. We had to read him in our 18th century prose class. Or at least we were supposed to read him, but since he did not write about the love problems of adolescent females — my collegiate experience in a nutshell — I wasn’t that interested in him. But now that I am older, I appreciate his cynicism:
“Wherever God erects a house of prayer
the Devil always builds a chapel there;
And ‘t will be found, upon examination,
the latter has the largest congregation.”
— Defoe’s The True-Born Englishman, 1701

Maybe this is just holiday sullenness on my part, but I have met more devilish congregants than I would like and, for that matter, I suppose I am one myself.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Ruth permalink
    December 15, 2009 10:05 am

    How perfect. Sometimes it is in church that I feel the least Christian.

  2. December 15, 2009 10:04 pm

    I suppose were I to attend a church I would be lost in the masses. Better I feel safe where I am planted.

  3. December 16, 2009 11:36 am

    Charlotte, thanks for finding and posting this! Another reason why many of us are happily roaming around in the fields and woods outside the chapels…

  4. December 16, 2009 2:37 pm

    Thanks, Susan — I am glad you liked it, too

  5. Heather (Greening) Hanes permalink
    December 17, 2009 2:16 pm

    It’s a great quote, and I think it corresponds with what far too many people experience in their respective houses of worship.

    I had the complete opposite experience in high school, but ever since I came home from college the church seems to hold nothing for me. I outgrew the fit I once had, and it’s past time to find one of my own.

  6. December 18, 2009 2:38 pm

    Heather, I remember how you felt about that church. I am sad it is no longer a fit, but I know that this will send you on a journey to find a new home. It is great to hear from you. And, yes, he is twelve. I can’t believe you are now a grown up! I remember those days in the theater with great fondness. What are you doing with yourself these days?

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