Images de page



every thing which is out of the dom against kingdom. But at common course of nature. This length these horrors ceased. And seems to have been the character when the agitations of the world of the age in which Christ ap- began to subside- when the tu- i peared, and it is a circumstance mults of battle were hushedworthy of profound meditation, as when peace began to diffuse itself it affords one of the niost con- over the earth—then, and not till vincing proofs of the authenticity then, “God sent forth his Son.” of our religion. It was not a time War presents innumerable and inwhen every idle tale of wonder surmountable barriers to the spread would be easily credited. The of religious truth; whereas in a account of the miracles which state of peace every facility is Christ performed would have to afforded to its circulation. And undergo the strictest scrutiny, and this no doubt was would be received only on evi- which induced the Saviour to apdence that was perfectly irresist-pear when he did, because at no able. Nothing but its truth can former period could his gospel account for the rapid extension of have been so successfully diffused. Christianity in such an age. There

H. were enemies ready to expose the imposition if it had been an im

HINTS ON PSALMODY. position; and it is remarkable that the most acute and zealous op- CHURCH-MUSIC, like other outponents of the christian religion ward circumstances relating to diin that age never ventured to deny vive worship, cannot be supposed the reality of the miracles which to possess any intrinsic sanctity; Christ performed; but if the mi- nor to be useful in any other reracles be admitted, the system is spect, than as a means of settling established

immoveable and soothing the mind, and inbasis. Had the Saviour appeared fusing devout affections. And it at a period when such accounts is not to be doubted, that the as those contained in the New Creator bestowed a sense of harTestament are easily credited, mony on man for this purpose, without due examination, the evi- among others, that it might assist dence of its truth would have him in the discharge of religious been greatly diminished.

duty, by making him take pleasure 4. Lastly, at that time the gospel in it, and also by enforcing upon could be nore easily and exten- him the sentiments of piety and sively circulated than at any former virtue, period. Universal peace reigned

That church-music may answer among the nations. The Romans, this end, it is not necessary that after having contended for the em- every Christian should join in it. pire of the world, had at last at- Musicians know, that the hearers tained the summit of their am- of a symphony or of a song, are bition. They beheld the surround- often more agreeably affected than ing kingdoms successively sub- the performer. There is something mitting to their authority, and unspeakably delightful in listening yielding implicit obedience to their to the voices of a choir, or to the dictates. The face of the earth chorus of a congregation; so that had long exhibited a fearful scene the best singer, though at the of anarchy and confusion. A con- same time a most devout person, tinued series of fierce and deso- will often, for his own sake, choose lating wars had been carried on to be silent while others sing, that for many centuries. Nation had the music may operate upon his risen up against nation and king- mind with the greater energy.




265 If this be allowed, and I think great number of both sexes, who no person who knows any thing of can sing no other part. The treble, music will denyit, I would earnestly or highest part, belongs to women entreat those who sing very ill, not and boys; for their voices are to to sing at all, at least in the church. the voice of a man, what the violin If they are silent, they may have is to the violoncello : the countertheir affections raised by tlie sing- tenor should be left to such men ing of others; but if they sing, as have a voice that is sweet and especially if they sing loud (which clear, and capable of rising to a bad singers seldom fail to do) they high pitch. Counter-tenor voices will not hear the congregation, and are not often met with; but two they must disturb every person in or three may be found in most the neighbourhood of their pew, churches; and two or three are sufwho has a musical ear. It is a ficient to complete the harmony in hard case, in performing an act of any well-tuned congregation. The devotion, to have one's senses con parts thus adjusted would have a founded, and one's thoughts dis- charming effect. But so little recomposed, by those unmerciful gard is paid to propriety in these bawlers, a few of whom are to be matters, that in one church I have met with in almost every large heard a multitude of boys emcongregation, and whose roarings ployed on the bass; and, in anare generally loud in proportion as other, a number of women singing they are untuneable.

the counter-tenor in so shrill a Let me also recommend it to tone, as to overpower all the other those who join in the public voices of the assembly. psalmody, to sing softly. This Different rules have been laid will give both mellowness and ex-down for ascertaining the time of actness to the music. For in most psalm-tunes. As I hold a distinct human voices, when much exerted, articulation of the words to be especially those of women and essential to good singing, I would buys, there is a tendency to fall say, that psalms should be sung in below the key:, which in a church such a manner, as that they who is frequently productive of into- are hearers may understand the lerable dissonance. But all psalms words pronounced by the singers. should not be sung with the same Were this rule observed, that exexertion. Repentance and sorrow cessive drawling would be avoided, are most emphatically expressed which tends rather to stupefy than in a low voice, and pious thanks to elevate the mind; and pious giving in a tone that is neither too sentiments and harmonious sounds low nor too loud; while psalms would mutually enliven and reof rejoicing and triumph demand commend each other. Yet some a bolder strain. Where they sing psalms would seem to require a in full chorus, the bass should be quicker, and some a slower movesounded more forcibly, and the ment. And here, in regard to treble more faintly, than the other quickness, I might repeat the rule parts; the counter-tenor, which which I formerly proposed in readds wonderful grace to the bar- gard to loudness; for the same mony, requires a sweet and deli- affections quicken the motion that, cate utterance, just loud enough elevate the voice. to be heard through the church, Every good performer employs and no louder. The tenor, or a variety of graces especially in church-part, as it is called, must slow music, for preparing and conbe sung by men and women in- necting his notes and giving them differently; because there will al- expression. But great knowledge ways be, in every congregation, a of the art, both in practice and in VOL. I.

2 M

[ocr errors]

theory, is necessary to qualify him congregation could not read. That for this; and it is better to give is not the case now; and therefore no graces at all, than to throw the practice should be disconthem in unskilfully. To be able tinuod. And I humbly think, that to apply them with address in the minister should always read singing, one must both understand over, in a distinct voice, that part music, and also have great flexi- of the psalm which is to be sung; bility of voice. But these are and if he were to explain any talents which can never become difficult phrase that may occur in universal among mankind; and it, I believe his people would think therefore, the common people themselves obliged to him. should be taught to sing the psalm-tunes as they are set, and

To the Editor of the New Evangelical without graces. They


Magazine. a little aukward in a single song, sir, but in a full chorus it is not so IN your number for April observable. At any rate, and at I observed some Queries on the all times, it will give less offence, subject of singing in public worthan graces and quaverings un- ship, and, as I understand them, skilfully introduced.

they imply a doubt whether sitting I wonder whence we have got be not an irreverent and indefensithe custom of sitting while the ble posture; a posture as improper praises of God are sung. In this for singing as for prayer. I feel posture one cannot sing freely, some surprise that in all this time or with the full command of one's no defence has appeared of so voice. The very act of rising up, prevailing a practice. Am I from in company with a great multi- this to conclude that the practice tude, gives an impulse to the soul, has obtained through indolence and prepares it for a new exertion. and example, rather than as being Besides, if there be any thing pe- the result of inquiry or consideraculiarly decent in sitting while wetion on the subject, and that conpraise God, I would fain know, sequently those who have fallen why the precentors or clerks are into it are unable to vindicate it obliged to stand.

by argument ? To myself indeed I wish they were also obliged to it has always appeared to be incaput on a serious air, while they pable of support either from scripare thus employed. Many of them ture or reason. But as opinions, or do so, and have a right sense of mere assertions, not substantiated those decorums that belong to an by argument, go but a little way act of worship. But some affect in establishing or defending a prothe appearance of total inatten- position, I proceed to offer some tion; and, while they sing, cast reasons for my assertion. their eyes to every corner of the When I look into that sacred church, and turn their head at volume which is our only rule of every opening of the door; as if faith and practice, I find that they meant to satisfy the audience when the saints of old were dethat they could keep the time with sirous of expressing their inward out once thinking of what they sentiments, they studied to do it were about.

not only by their words, but espeThe practice of reading each two cially by a corresponding external lines separate, and then singing deportment; so that in all their them, was introduced, as I have approaches to the Deity they were been told, when it was in some studious to manifest their reverence part necessary; that is, when a of his glorious majesty; they stood, great number of people in every | they kneeled, or they prostrated


267 themselves before the Lord. And | latter is no less an act of worship can we wonder that a worm of the than the former ?

Are not petiearth should, as it were, instinc- tions and the desires of our souls tively thus act? Surely a reulizing interwoven with our praises ? view of the majesty and presence Whence then is that unaccountof God ought to have a similar able practice of sitting to sing effect upon our religious assem- that which we should stand or blies. To what else but a want of kneel to say? It may probably reverence and suitable considera- | be replied that we have no comtion of the subject, can we possibly mand to stand. Be it so: yet it attribute the almost universal prac- should be remembered, that whentice of indolently and carelessly ever the bodily posture is mensitting while we are professedly tioned in Scripture as connected engaged in singing the praises of with singing, it is invariably in God? There is nothing more na- favour of standing, and until tural than for us to stand on ap- | better reasons are shewo for the proaching, or on being approached, contrary practice, I must think by a superior whom we respect. that scriptural example ought to It is the natural expression of our decide in favour of standing, and veneration; and surely the same should produce a reforination in principle should produce the same all our churches. effect when applied to our cor- I am, however, well aware that, respondence with the Divine Being. without being able to defend the I know not, Mr. Editor, whether practice of sitting, many will still the question under consideration consider it to be a matter of no be the proper subject of reason importance. But can any thing ing, otherwise I should request to be really unimportant that is conknow, why those persons kneel in nected with the worship of God? their closets, or why they stand The truth is, that we are compound during prayer, who sit to sing creatures, and that the mind not the praises of God in public wor- only produces corresponding outship? It is easy to reply, that ward deportment, but also receives outward forms are unimportant. in a measure suitable impressions I grant indeed that they are com- from a proper attitude of the body; paratively so; even as was the and hence external indifference napaying tythes of annise, mint, and turally produces indifference of the cummin, when compared with the mind: a thing most studiously to weightier matters of the law. But be avoided in the service of HIM do we forget who hath said, “This who is “ fearful in praises.” Singought ye to have done, and not ing, though a cheerful, is neverhave left the other undone ?Itheless a solemn exercise, and would farther ask such objectors, ought to be so conducted as that could they conscientiously sit with solemnity and spirituality should their legs crossed, their arms be promoted by it. And here I folded, and their bodies lolling on would just hint, that as it respects a sofa while engaged in prayer to the tunes, they ought to be such Gød, if able to appear in any as'shall not engross that attention other posture? and if not, out of which is due to the words; or their own mouths shall they be that should exclude plain persons judged; for the plain inference is, from joining with us in the worthat they do consider the posture ship of God; for that would be of the body to be of some account equal to "praying or prophesying in divine worship. But if so, why in an unknown tongue." not when applied to singing as

I cannot dismiss the subject well as to prayer? Surely the without remarking on the conduct


Now as

of those, who while convinced of from ignorance or inattention I the impropriety of sitting to sing, cannot say) always without any yet continue to do so because others deduction for the property tax. do! I think such persons have not The principal itself has been lately much to do with taking up the repaid, and now to my great surcross, and that they stand too prise, a demand is made upon me nearly allied to those characters for the property tax. described in Mark viii. 38. It is The sum is so considerable as true that those who stand to make it an object of inquiry somewhat singular, and some who whether I ought to pay it or not. notice them may mistake their mo- The interest of £5000 is £250 tives; but “it is a small thing to a-year; this for fourteen years is be judged of man's judgment.” £3500; the property tax on that Such as sit while conscious that sum is £350. I have consulted they ought to stand, should con- my Attorney, and he says he is sider that they are seen of him inclined to think, I am only liable " by whom actions are weighed,” to pay the last six years, which and who knows all the motives of would be only £150, and that the their conduct. And as his appro- remaining £200 is barred by what bation is infinitely superior to every he calls a statute of limitations. thing which may come in compe- This I do not well comprehend. tition with it, they should study to How a demand, if it is just and do that which shall be acceptable right, can be so barred (at least in in his sight, since, if we are the conscience) by such a statute, I disciples of Christ, we are not am at a loss to discover. our own, but bought with a price, I know lawyers are more accusand therefore bound to glorify God tomed to weigh matters in the bain our bodies and in our spirits, lances of the law than in the which are God's."

balances of the sanctuary, and as I am, Sir, yours, &c. it is my wish that all my conduct

M. J. should bear the scrutiny of the

latter, I have many uneasy moTo the Editor of the New Evangelical ments upon the subject, especially Magazine.

of a night when I lie upon my

pillow. A secret whisper suggests HAVING observed several to me, what if I should have got cases of conscience suggested in a wedge of Achan's gold, which he your Magazine, and a variety of hid in the earth, in the midst of satisfactory answers given to them, his tent, perhaps it may be a I am induced, having for some trouble to me as it was to him, time had a case upon my mind so long as it is retained. which troubles me much, to re- I have, in consequence of these quest your insertion of it in your doubts, advised with my Attorney valuable work, in the hope that a second time, and asked him, some of your intelligent corre- whether if the property-tax had spondents will be at the pains of been demanded half-yearly, I ought answering it, which will confer a

not and must not have paid it? lasting obligation on

He says, Yes. I then asked him, Yours, HONESTUS. if I ought to have paid it, and

know I have not done so, how I A CASE OF CASUISTRY.

can with a good conscience keep About fourteen years ago I lent it back? His answer,

I confess, the sum of £5000 upon mortgage, is not very intelligible or satisfacfor which I have regularly been tory. He says, if the law will paid the interest, but (whether protect me in so doing, how can


« PrécédentContinuer »