The Devil’s Chapel
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.