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CHARLES G. ADDISON, ESQ. The history of the Knights Templars, Temple Church, and the Temple

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CHARLES G. ADDISON, ESQ.
The history of the Knights Templars, Temple Church, and the Temple
page 303



chief ecclesiastical edifice of the Knights Templars in Britain, and the most beautiful and perfect relic of the order now in existence, restored to the simple majesty it possessed near seven hundred years ago; to see it once again presenting the appearance which it wore when the patriarch of Jerusalem exercised his sacred functions within its walls, and when the mailed knights of the most holy order of the Temple of Solomon, the sworn champions of the christian faith, unfolded the red-cross banner amid " the long-drawn aisles," and offered their swords upon the altar to be blessed by the ministers of religion. From the period of the reign of Charles the First down to our own times, the Temple Church has remained sadly disfigured by incongruous innovations and modern embellishments, which entirely changed the antient character and appearance of the building, and clouded and obscured its elegance and beauty. Shortly after the Reformation,the Protestant lawyers, from an over-anxious desire to efface all the emblems of the popish faith, covered the gorgeously-painted ceiling of this venerable structure with an uniform coating of simple whitewash ; they buried the antique tes6elatcd pavement under hundreds of cart-loads of earth and rubbish, on the surface of which, two feet above the level of the antient floor, they placed another pavement, formed of old grave-stones. They, moreover, disfigured all the magnificent marble columns with a thick coating of plaster and paint, and destroyed the beauty of the elaborately-wrought mouldings of the arches, and the exquisitely-carved marble ornaments with thick incrustations of whitewash, clothing the whole edifice in one uniform garb of plain white, in accordance with the puritanical ideas of those times. Subsequently, in the reign of Charles the Second, the fine open area of the body of the church was filled with long rows of stiff and forma] pews, which concealed the bases of the columns, while


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