« PreviousContinue »
A CHURCH ORGAN.
THE structure of this instrument is not un. like that of my bodily fraine, with its different powers and faculties—the marvellous work of God, who buildeth all things. The materials of which it is composed were taken from the earth; when the work was complete, it left the world and was brought hither to be dedicated as long as it lasts to the service of God. And here it remains abstracted from all earthly concerns, and inclosed within the walls of this sacred building; it keeps company with none but those who come to worship God, together with the departed, who in the days of their flesh did the same, and never refuses to join in the sound of his praise, either by day or night. But yet of itself it is a machine dead and silent, incapable of acting, till it be first acted
upon, for it hath no voice, unless the air sup. plies it with breath, of which men hear the sound, but see not whence it cometh, or whither it goeth. Such, oh my Soul, is every one that is born of the Spirit. "God hath taken thee out of the world, and given thee a place in his holy Catholic Church ; the Temple of Jerusalem, whose walls are called Salvation, and his gates Praise. This organ by its situation is become Christian; it might have been appropriated like many others to a profane use; it might have been fixed in some garden of pleasure, to bear its part in nightly songs of praise to the God of this world--and it might have been thy lot, but for God's grace, to have stood in the way of sinners, devoted to the pleasures of this world, the paradise of fools, where thou wouldst have yielded all thy members servants of iniquity; and nought but filthy communication would have proceeded out of thy mouth.-There is not a pipe of this organ that spends its breath in boasting of its privileges; it came not hither of itself, neither doth the organ sanctify the Temple, but the Temple sanctifieth that. Do thou practise the like humility ; for it is no honour to the Church of Christ, that thou hast taken up a place in it;
thou camest not hither of thyself, it was the grace of God that brought thee to this place and state of salvation, and all the honour thou hast is borrowed from the Lord's mystical body, whereof thou art a member : in this station, be not useless to him who hath chosen thee as an instrument fitted for his service.—The pattern thou seest here before thee is always prepared to answer when the master touches it.-Oh, mayst thou be as ready to join at all times with the great congregation in uttering the voice of Blessing and Honour, and Glory, and Power unto the Lamb that hath redeemed thee from the world by his own blood. When thy Master calls upon thee, be it in the evening, in the morning, at noon-day, or at midnight, do thou answer, “ Oh God my heart is ready, my heart " is ready, I will sing and give praise with the “ best member that I have. Awake up my “ glory, awake lute and harp ; I myself will s6 áwake right early.”—But the organ sounds not, till the wind cominunicates a voice to it “ Every thing that hath breath may praise the " Lord”-nothing that is without breath can do it.—Yet such is the organ of man's body.-An instrument dumb and lifeless, till God that formed it breathes into it the breath of life.
Look down, therefore, O Lord, with compassion upon the emptiness of my nature.
Come Holy Ghost, eternal God
May sound in every place. Thus prepared, assisted, and fixed in the Church of the living God, O my soul, it is good for thee to be here ; and mayst thou go out no more for any profane purposes. The way to keep thy place is to preserve thy use, to be serviceable in returning to God the praises he put into thy mouth, and leading others forward to do the same. Thou must be content to do this by intervals, with the church below, till thy voice shall sound in that other congregation, where they rest not day or night.
It is but too notorious, that in many (not to say most) congregations, the time of the voluntary is a time of trifling chat and dissipation. It is to be wished that organists would always play such short and solemn pieces of inusic as might gain some attention. But where this is
not the case (and where persons have not much taste for music) perhaps it might tend to kindle some serious reflections in the mind, if these few thoughts were transcribed upon a blank leaf in our Common Prayer Book ; and so subjected to our sight and consideration during the time that the organ is playing, which surely is most unseemly to employ in idle conversation.
" What! have ye not houses to eat and to « drink in”--to talk of your politics and your news_" that ye thus profane the temple of the “ living God.” The least share of reflection would be sufficient to remedy this evil, while we desire it to be observed, that indecent and irreverent behaviour in the house of the Lord is always a sign of a deficiency in good sense, good breeding, and religion.