The Significance of Silence and other sermons by Leslie D. Weatherhead
London : The Epworth Press, 1946. Second impression. Hardcover. 298 pages ; 19 cm. Missing dust jacket. Lightly scattered foxing to the page top edges. Light stain to the side page edge. No markings to pages. Binding is firm.
I HAVE written rather a lengthy Preface in order that those who read this volume of sermons may have, if they so desire, the back¬ground of the work of which preaching is only a part, and a picture of the people to whom these messages were proclaimed*
In the spring of 1941 the City Temple was set on fire by incendiary bombs dropped from German aeroplanes, and, except for the fa$ade, the tower, and the lower part of the walls, totally destroyed* The famous marble pulpit, gift to my predecessor, Joseph Parker, from the City of London, was an unrecognizable heap of stones* Not one of the stained-glass windows remained* The great organ vanished in a night. The vast auditorium, seating over two thousand people, was a jumble of burnt beams, twisted girders, and broken rubble. A score of firemen lived on the premises from the outbreak of war, but, unfortunately, the first fireman on the roof fell and was injured. By the time he was carried to safety the roof was alight in three places. Pieces of burning roof fell on to the wooden pews and in a few minutes the place was a roaring inferno.
I was on the spot before the fire was wholly extinguished and, led by Captain F. W. Ashard, M.C., our gallant verger, I crawled in through a back way, but a pile of red-hot rubble and still-burning material blocked our advance. With some difficulty and circumvention, we got right through to the front entrance. The gates opening on to Holborn Viaduct were closed. I saw a slim figure standing on the pavement looking through the great iron gates. She did not see me. For a few seconds I watched her. She would account herself a person of no importance, standing there in the rain. But it was not the rain that made her face wet. She was crying—not hysterically or convulsively. Just crying quietly there in the rain over the ruins of the church she loved: the church where she had met God. I pushed one of the great gates open and brought her in. We surveyed the destruction in silence and then