The general idea of the use of a church porch at the present time is apparently that it is a useful place for wet umbrellas, and, while no word can be raised against so admirable a purpose, it was not the object for which it was originally designed. The uses of a porch were manifold, and we shall follow the development of the structure and the various purposes for which it was erected. As the porch is the approach to, and actually part of, the entrance to the material fabric of the church, so the font is the structure for the outward circumstances of the baptismal rite, whereby one enters into the spiritual life of the Church. Only those who fully understand the Christian's standpoint can grasp its real purpose, and many nominal Churchmen fail to see any use in the structure more than that which any small vessel would supply. In the corporeal and spiritual access to the Church is found the harmony of this dual subject.. In the second part of this volume we shall see how the font came to be placed immediately within the principal entrance of a parish church; and we shall endeavour to trace its material development according to the art of the period; and we shall see how it retained the principal feature of its earlier form until after the Reformation, unaffected by the change of method in the rite from that practised in the rest of Western Christendom.
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