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with others of that class; you attend more to the concord of voices, than to the melody of the heart. I think you would sympathise with the Italian musician, who, as he was passing one of those Scotch Kirks during the psalm, exclaimed, " If these good people must go to heaven, I hope they will not be allowed to sing there." It is an old saying, that every one is pleased with his own song. Nemini injucundum quod cantat ipse. Your man, with the great bellows and his hundred pipes, however, would soon remedy that, and drown all their concords and disa cords together, and then with a voluntary, send them off, as the poet has it, “with a jig to heaven."
T. This cannot be the case, when he is under proper direction, or where there is a sufficient choir; for the organ should only accompany the voices, give them strength, body, and union, and regulate the time and melody. Perhaps, it should hardly be heard distinctly above the choir or congregation.
A. This is a vain expectation; for when an organ is admitted, the taste of the performer or the audience is continually suggesting something new, till the people are silenced, and worship by the proxy of a choir. Even anthems and songs from Oratorios, are not sufficient to display the powers of the instrument, or the execution of the artist; and then preludes, symphonies, voluntaries, and I know not what, must be called in. These are the pieces in which musical proficients delight, for whose entertainment, indeed, they are provided, and who soon grow weary of metrical psalmody. But is it not manifest, that these can make no part of religious worship? Are they not in direct opposition to the Apostle's injunction, that “all things be done to edifying?” Are they not obnoxious to his condemnation, of speaking in an unknown tongue, and every other practice that conveys no meaning to the congregation. Things," says he, “ without life, giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sound," or are accompanied by audible and intelligible words,” how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
T. True. But we persuade ourselves, and feel, that even these inarticulate sounds do convey, if not words, something better-devout sentiments and emotions, which could not be excited by articulate psalmody.
4. In this, however, there is reason to fear, that you deceive yourselves, and that they produce no effect beyond the gratification of the ear; for the most impious and dissolute blasphemer will derive, from the same performance, the very same kind of pleasure, and often in a much more exquisite degree. Besides, refined music tends to bring both preaching and prayer into neglect. When Christians desert plain psalmody, they cannot tell where they will stop; for they will gradually wander into that theatrical service, which is so much disapproved of by many, who are obliged to join in it.
T. Though I delight in the richness and variety of a grand organ, I confess that it does not harmonize altogether with the simplicity of Christian worship. It is rather calculated to produce grand emotions, of which the multitude are incapable. Those who are, it elevates ( above this visible diurnal sphere." To describe its influence on myself, I am inclined to adopt the words of St. Paul, “ Whether in the body or out of the body, I know not; but I seem to be caught up into Paradise, and to hear unspeakable sounds," or those of Pope:
“ While the full organ joins the tuneful quire,
The immortal powers incline their ear:
While solemn airs improve the sacred fire." A. Very bad. I am sure, he was not inspired, when he hammered out these miserable rhymes. 'I am glad, however, that you have conceded so much to us, who cannot boast of such seraphic feelings. For my own part, I never wish for more than two leading voices, sweet and strong; one pitched an octave above the other, that the men and women may each have a guide in unison with themselves. Counterpoint and tunes that require execution, are entirely misplaced in an ordinary place of worship. Keep them and organs, for Oratorios. But then I would have psalmody made a regular part of education. The ancient Church was content with the plain chant. It was long before the Pope admitted an organ into his private chapel; and Pius VI. ordered it to be discontinued. Even the Miserere has no instrumental accompaniment.
Notwithstanding your contempt for Presbyterian psalmody, the singing in many Dissenting congregations, may gratify the most fastidious ears; and, to my taste, the unison of a numerous body of people, strong enough to overpower individual discords, is the most sublime expression of devotion. Besides, the rustic psalmody of a
country congregation should hardly be considered as music, or subjected to the laws of harmony. It is a kind of recitative, in which all, old and young, male and female, may bear a part. It is a speaking music scarcely amounting to singing, but yet different from speech. It may probably partake of the character of the old Ambrosian or Gregorian chant, or plain song. It is necessary that the people should take a part in public worship. In the Romish and English churches, their attention is kept up by change of posture; in the Scotcb, by joining in the psalm.
T. I can only say, that you have been more fortunate than I, if you have met with good music in congregational psalmody; bụt you know, de gustibus non est disputandum. I feel great confidence, however, in my own taste, when I find it sanctioned by the austere and sublime Milton:
“ There let the pealing organ blow
To the full-voiced choir below,
And bring all heaven before mine eyes.” A. His austerity seems to have yielded to his sublimity in this instance; yet, though it may appear preposterous and even ludicrous to say it, there is, to my mind, more real sublimity in the simple psalm of the persecuted Covenanters:
“ When, leaning on his spear,
Caught doubtfully, at times, the breeze-borne note.”
“ But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloister's pale,
Casting a dim, religious light.' A. All mere theatrical frippery, in comparison; who would compare the gilded organ, the vicar's choral and singing boys, with their surplices and music-books, to the
loud acclaim of praise from three thousand zealous, persecuted Christians, on a wild and rugged mountain; or " the verger tripping before the Dean," with the plover soaring and wheeling above their heads, catching the sound as it rose mid-way on its ascent to heaven. Instead of the “ liart veteran, leaning on his spear,” with his cap of steel, you have the beadle with his staff and gold-laced hat; and what have you in lieu of the “watchman,” stationed on a height, to give warning of the approach of Claverhouse's and Dalzell's hell-hounds, thirsting for their blood, while they
“ Dauntlessly would meet, in some lone dell,
By rocks o'er-canopied, to hear the voice,
And words of comfort spake."
A. In Grahame's Sabbath, where you may see more in the same strain. The finest performers in the world, could never produce such a sublime and pathetic effect as the six thousand children who annually assemble in St. Paul's.
Here are a few lines of a different stamp, containing more truth than poetry.
6 In times of old, when God was to be praised,
Our humble ancestors their voices raised;
(To be Concluded in our next.)
REVIEW. " The Library of Entertaining Knowledge," Vol. I. Part I.
Great are the exertions which are now making for the enlightenment of the people, arising, in no inconsiderable degree, from the influence and example of that eloquent orator and profound scholar, Mr. Brougham. For years, indeed, exertions have been making; but they were not of the right sort-good as far as they went, they stopped short at a point when they were about to have an influence of inestimable value. It is not merely the ability to
read and write, that the people want. Such qualifications, it is true, cannot fail to elevate the character; and may, under favourable circumstances, lead to the most desirable results. But if they are to derive from education its proper advantages, they must be led beyond the mere portal of the temple of knowledge. They must be introduced to an acquaintance with those branches of education which teach men their duties, disclose to them the wonders of their Creator's works, and make them acquainted with their own faculties and destiny. Up to the present day, however, little bas been done to secure to the poor the blessings which must accrue from knowledge of this description. The favourable circumstances of which we have before spoken, did not exist; and the people could advance but little beyond the merest elements of information. The directors of the enlightenment of the mass of society, seem to have set too great a value on the mechan. ical attainments of reading and writing. They are useful and necessary, we grant; but little can they contribute towards the cultivation of the mind, for they consist in learning either to recognize or to trace the forms of letters, that is, the representatives of sounds. But many have felt a disinclination to the communication of any thing beyond the most trifling information to the people, from selfish considerations—apprehending, that the security with which they hold their stations might be endangered, if the means of a fair and equal competition were put in the hands of the working classes. Others, too, would have the people taught nothing but the Bible. What a manifest absurdity! Nothing could be more injurious to the sacred cause of religion. It was an absurdity, because it could not be realized; for when once you have begun to educate the people, you must go on. The only way to prevent their knowing this or that, is never to begin to instruct them. It was an absurdity, because it implied that the Bible was in danger from the spread of knowledge. For ourselves, we hold no compromise with error: we say, if it is in danger, let it meet and encounter the danger; if false, the sooner we are rid of it the better; if true, increase of knowledge will illustrate its excellence, and establish its claims. Unfortunately, however, a prejudice has been created against it in the minds of many, by the very measures which were taken for its support. Men have reasoned, and with a show of propriety, that a