After the magistrates in their shining armor and burnished swords passed and are afforded the respect of a community and "distinguished by a ponderous sobriety," the procession of the "divine" follows.
...never since the clergyman set foot on New England shore, he exhibited such energy as was seen in the gait and air with which he kept his pace in the procession. There was no feebleness of step as at other times; his frame was not bent, nor did his hand rest omniously upon his heart. Yet, if the clergyman were rightly viewed, his strength seemed not of the body....There was his body moving onward and unaccustomed force.
Dimmesdale appears invigorated by a spiritual force or idea. When he speaks to the community, he is inspired by "a preternatural force." Thus, he sees nothing, hears nothing, but is propelled by the spiritual force of his mind and its own thoughts. Hawthorne remarks,
Men of uncommon intellect, who have grown morbid, possess this occasional power of mighty effort into which they throw the life of many days, and then are lifeless for as many more.
In this passage, Hawthorne presages the makedly moving sermon of the Reverend Dimmesdale, the spiritual realm into which the minister is elevated, a realm into which Hester and Pearl cannot enter. Hester's hopes for their escape to England are dashed when she perceives her paramour as the man "she hardly knew" now. The etheral Arthur Dimmesdale is taken to the spiritual realm which she cannot enter. Again Hester Prynne is the object of stares from the crowd; she senses the great gulf between her and Reverend Dimmesdale, and she realizes that she is further alienated as the crowd surrounds the inspired minister.