Much of this book deals with our perceptions of ourselves, or what we wish others to see. For example, the rather pompous rector is described here:
Indeed, the entire effect--including his own hat and the coachman's--gave to the observer that aspect of indifference to show, which, by the suggestion of nodding acquaintance with poverty, gave it the right clerical air of being "not of this world".
How often do we (I) do that...put on a mask of spirituality and humility before putting myself out in public?
Here is another quote from the book, dealing with the rector's heart-issues, and where his focus lay:How indignant he would have been at the mere suggestion that he was, after all, only an idolater, worshipping The Church instead of the Lord Christ. But he was a very good sort of idolater, and some of the Christian graces had filtered through the roofs of the temple upon him--especially those of hospitality and general kindness toward humanity.
This sums up the book for me, and was the quote that pierced my heart. It is a great warning to me of how often it is easy to appear godly, while my heart may be far from the Lord.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying its power.