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this solemnity of mind, and eleva that real devotion, in some cases, tion of feeling to be attributed ? is produced by a class of means, To spiritual quickening, or nervous which the Almighty in the second excitement ? to the thrill of imagi. commandment seems to forbid; I nation, or the aspirations of piety? put it to the conscience of every to the artificial devotion, which the serious Christian, whether he can pealing organ, the sumptuous altar, consent to buy the luxury of prithe splendid vestments, and the vate feeling, at the price of such fragrant incense of the Romish profanation of those Sacred Scripchurch instil into her worshippers ; tures, which he daily beseeches or the pure and simple homage God, by the teaching of the Holy of the soul of those who worship Spirit, to inscribe upon his heart. “ in spirit and in truth?” But
I am, Sir, yours, &c. even though it should be conceded,
ON THE APPROACHING ANNIVERSARIES.
SIR— The season of our public meetings is again fast approaching; permit me therefore to address, through the medium of your publication, a few hints to our Christian friends. Every person I think must have felt that the proceedings of late years have been attended with some painful circumstances. There has not been in all cases that decidedly Christian, holy, and united spirit which ought to rule in assemblies collected for religious objects. How may this be avoided for the future? Perhaps the following suggestions may not be altogether in vain.
1. I would say to those who have the selection of the speakers--Let not your choice fall too much upon young men. Let us be addressed by more of the well-tried pillars, men of solidity, sound and mature judgment, and experienced wisdom. Again-do not pay court to popularity: regard no man's rank or reputation, but bring forward only those who, you believe, will speak in Christian love, to edification, and the glory of God. And let us not have the same or nearly the same round of speakers at every meeting. It is a heavy tax upon their energies, and it tends too much to exalt the men.
2. To the speaker, I would say,
avoid display-keep yourselves in the back ground - look to the cause, and to the God you profess to honour. Avoid controverted topics : you come not to make the platform the arena of dispute, but to spread the gospel. Let this be really your object, with singleness and pureness of intention. Be short, and endeavour not so much to occupy a certain portion of time, as to speak to the purpose.
3. To the audience. Hear all that address you with patience. They are Christian brethren, and have a right to expect at the hands of a Christian audience, to say the least, forbearance and brotherly love. Abolish that custom of clapping, &c. which befits rather the wrangling members of a debating club, than the meek and gentle followers of the holy Jesus. Let this leaven of the world be utterly purged away. Show your approbation, not by noise and clamour, but by enlarged and reiterated exertions in the cause of God.
Lastly, let all zealously persevere in prayer, that the Spirit of the Lord may be abundantly shed forth into the hearts of men. Then shall their assembling themselves together be good, and their labour of love, in due time, be largely and evidently blessed.
Q. X. Z.;
ON PAROCHIAL PSALMODY.
SIR– I have read with much inter- portance, and mostly take care to est the Letters which have appeared reveal it to others; and when not in the Guardian, on the subject of unrestrained by Christian motives, Parochial Psalmody. From its quarrel perpetually among themreal importance, and its practical selves. A few discordant notes defects, among ourselves, it cer- may disperse the whole body, tainly demands the utmost regard. Where a sense of religion does • It is worth while therefore to not prevail in the work, they nainquire,
.“. turally consult mere musical taste Ist. From what the present state and unseemly display. They seldom of our Parochial Psalmody may be wish to be leaders of the congres supposed to arise.
gation; and the tunes they prefer 2nd. How it may be best remedied are seldom adapted to the words, and imprcred.
and usually such as render it imThe Singing in our Churches is possible for the people to follow:. - generally dependent on a choir, or while the selection of tunes by the set of singers, and too often it is minister is always obnoxious, if confined to that body. Now if at all tolerated ; nor is bis choice choirs were established, as it is of the words submitted to with a said, to lead and promote congre- good grace: and as the singers gational singing, it seems strange advance in skill they become prothat any good should have been portionately importunate for a anticipated from such means ; and substitution of anthems, and pieces still more strange that years of in wbich the people cannot be complete failure have not suggested expected to join. attempts of another kind. I say Now, can we expect the divine nothing of the probabilities against blessing to rest on such means as success, when mercenaries are these ? Nay, what can we look for employed instead of volunteers. but God's righteous displeasure ? My objections apply, whether the I think this state of things could singers be remunerated by money, hardly have been introduced or or in any other way, or not remu endured had a right spirit animated nerated at all.
the body of the people. : The more accomplished the choir, The real spirit of the lovers of the more objectionable will it be sacred music, so called, is too found ; from the nature of services painfully marked to be mistaken which it will be most disposed to for one moment in a desire to render, and from the babits of its please the ear, regardless of the members; each of whom, in his glory of God. Musical festivals sphere, is almost sure to be led are held in places where the in. into society unfavourable, or deg. troduction of religion amounts to tructive to religion and morals. profaneness ; or else, where any • Practice meetings, although sanc. ihing not religious would be worse. tioned by the clergyman's presence, Now, can any Christian, who are seldom unattended by serious thinks at all about it, imagine that evils. Fines, the very need of which words such as these, implies an absence of right prin '"GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST," ciple, lead to convivial meetings, can be innocently used, but to worfrom which, in their turn, the most ship God; can be innocently serious consequences follow.
listened to, with a mere itching ear Singers, especially where they for the melodious strains in which are not hired, know their own im- they are clothed ?
The use of such words, separate worse than nothing. It is like the from an act of duty to God, direct use of images by the Papists. As or indirect, is á vain and guilty use helps to sense they are too near. of his sacred name. Sever from As means between us and heaven, the expression of them all but the they are not near enough. pleasure of sense, and it is a daring But what means are more likely invasion of the command which to effect that, which from means forbids the utterance of God's name, we may expect ? såve as an act of worship, positive Far be it from me to dictate to or implied.
others. I have been fifteen years But the same spirit, as to the in the ministry, and any opinions same things, may be naturally on this head, the result of painful expected in one place as well as experience, have been slowly and another. That which makes the reluctantly formed. It has always words proper to be used in the been with me an important object worship of God, makes them im- to obtain congregational singing, proper for any thing else. And it and responses. With this view I is the same spirit which seeks have employed the means which pleasure where it ought only. to were ready, without due consideraseek God, and God only where it tion of their fitness to accomplish can find pleasure. .
the end. I speak now of the sing· Men can only act indeed under ing. I hoped, and I laboured for the influence of those principles success, through a strong and a well which reign in the heart. We see organized choir. Repeated failures, this in the State as well as in the continued embarrassments, neverChurch, at the present momentous ceasing discord, and a variety of crisis.
. evils, frustrated my efforts, and, as And what but indifference could I think, eventually opened my eyes. have tolerated this delegation of a Three years ago, on coming positive duty to others? What here, I was delighted to find the beyond the gratification of sepse, best country choir I had ever could be desired, or found in such heard. : Some trivial reforms were means, employed for a spiritual end ? introduced, especially in the chauntWater cannot rise above its own ing; the book sanctioned by the level; and nothing but the Spirit Archbishop of York was substituted of God can elevate the soul, as it for the old version of Psalms; and were, into His présence. If vital anthems, after a gentle struggle, godliness decline, every thing es were abolished. I did not perceive; sential to it falls away. Men, ceas. nor do I know of any serious dising to sing to the praise of God, content on these grounds. We had, then begin to sing for their own and have still all the old tunes, and pleasure. The weariness which fol probably, therefore, all the best; lows every sensual delight, calls but certainly the most popular tunes for a fresh stimulus; and means, in use. But not a yoice out of the conducive at once to personal congregation was ever raised. They ease, conciliating the master-spirit, were all ear; not a lip, not a naturally arise.
heart, I fear, was moved. I wanted, It is immaterial how well a choir as usual, to hear the people performs its part. The better it sing; but I told them so from does this the greater the peril ; for the pulpit, as well as privately, in there is hardly a step between vain.. I have no idea of a church neglect of our own duty, and satis without congregational singing: faction if it be done by others. As The church in heaven sing's; and a meře leader, then, a choir does singing, therefore, constitutes part too much ; and beyond that it does of their happiness as well as em:
ployment. Religion makes its as dispersion of this congregational possessors happy; and singing is nuisance might appear; but I would the delightful expression of an avail myself of the very first that exulting and grateful spirit. St. occurred to extinguish a serious Paul seems to conclude that the evil. And if there inust be a set cheerfulness of a mind at peace with of singers, instead of collecting God must break forth into “ Psalms, them into one conspicuous place, I and Hymns, and spiritual Songs.” would distribute them among the
The ordinary routine of practice people, to sing as parts of the body. was pursued; and at last a dis But, where a choir has volunturbance arose. The cause of it tarily disbanded itself, I would act I vever inquired, and I do not as follows: know it at this moment. I took no 1. Procure one person to lead, part in it, thankful that I had no as a minimum of help; and employ share in its occurrence. Where him to lead the Sunday school it might end could not be fore- scholars as he would the congreseen; but past experience taught gation. me to fear the excitation of a choir. 2. As a maximum, I would not I could only make it matter of have more than four, and those prayer; and I hoped that God, in males, who ought not to sit toHis Providence, would out of evil gether. They should meet once bring forth good; although I could a-week for practice; and if they see in the distance, nothing but a were godly men their attention total cessation of the praises of would be more constant, their God within the walls of my church, manner more sober, and the effect The leader and two others re altogether better. mained; I met them as usual on 3. The most popular tunes should the night set apart for practice. be chosen ; and these are always My small Sunday school and parish the most simple. Good taste is presented little opportunity to raise simple in its nature as in its another choir, had it been desirable expression. or practicable at the time; and I 4. The same tunes, as much as determined, therefore, to look for the may be, should be put to the same remedy in my congregation at large, psalms and hymns. This was evi. out of whose hands the singing dently the ancient custom, for the ought never to have been removed. best and oldest tunes have no name The remnant of the choir were but the number of the psalm to dismissed each to his own seat; and which they have been always the leader, on whose ear and self- attached. possession I could depend, was To these means the increasing instructed to start the tunes, and piety of a congregation will give do as he might. The people took additional effect. It will insure up the work, and, in three Sundays, the domestic cultivation of psalmI had congregational singing, for ody; for the inward peace of religion, the first time, when I looked for where no natural obstacle exists, nothing less.
struggles to be thus expressed. Wherever I might now be placed, Selections, such as ' A Country I would adopt this principle as to the Curate' desires, may be needful, but singing-complete independence as of this I say nothing: the remedy to a choir, and an employment of of wbich I speak is at hand, and means barely adequate to insure would be wanted if a book were union of the people in the work. authoritatively enjoined. It is the people's proper business,
I am, Sir, and to the people would I look. I
Yours faithfully, would not seek a schism, desirable
ON ISAIAH XXIV, 5, 6.
The earth is defiled under the inha.
bitants thereof, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant; therefore the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate.
When I look around me, and consider the state of the world in which I dwell, what scenes of mis ery do I behold! One overwhelmed with calamity, another pining in want; this wasted with sickness, and that drooping with sorrow; all eager in the pursuit of happiness, which, phantom-like, eludes them; all seeking rest and satisfaction with out finding it; and all, the rich and the poor, the serious and the gay, yes, the children of God themselves, as well as his enemies, are bastening to that common receptacle of mortality, the tomb. What is the cause of this? Why does God suffer the work of his own bands to be thus defaced ; and man originally created in his Ma. ker's image, to die? Sin entered into the world, and death by sin. The disobedience of man provoked the wrath of the Most High ; and ever since the fall, the earth has groaned under the sinfulness of its inhabitants. Man is in rebellion against God; and therefore the curse, the withering and consuming curse of Jehovah devoureth the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate. The sins of his crea tures have provoked the Creator to blast his fair creation : and man's inheritance of sorrow, suffering, and death, is the bitter fruit of his transgressions. I would not, o Lord, contemplate this inournful scene with the speculative eye of an unconcerned spectator. I would feel its melancholy truth; and be humbled for the share which I have had in occasioning this universal desolation. By nature and by practice I am a sinner; my trans
gressions have increased the general provocation of thy guilty creatures ; the earth is defiled under the pollution of my iniquities in common with those of my fellowsinners. I am a dying sinner; exposed most justly to the dreadful effects of sin, to sorrow and suffering, to death and hell. I own thy justice in the infliction of the curse, and acknowledge that I deserve to experience the extremities of thy wrath. But, is there no hope, no remedy, no safety when the flood of thine indignation shall overflow the earth, and sweep away every refuge of lies ? Thy word, O God, like the refreshing shower on a thirsty land, revives my desponding soul. “ God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” “ It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Here is a remedy commensurate with, and sufficient for all the evils which sin has brought into the world. Let this be the ark of my refuge: this the sure and stedfast anchor of my soul. Bebold, I go the way of all flesh-I die ; but when this poor mortal tenement is taken down, I have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Jesus! my Saviour, thou hast paid my debt, and borne my punishment; thou hast broken the barriers of the grave, and ascended into beaven as the forerunner of thy believing people ; and “ because thou livest I shall live also.” “I know in whom I have believed." Thy grace shall be sufficient for me. In this life thou wilt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to eternal glory. Therefore, Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is now thy victory?