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found sufficient, noise and extravagance are added. Now what is the character of that music which Milton describes
“ Able to create a soul Even under the ribs of death ?”
Is it the cry of the fireman, or the bawl of the huckster? No, no.
“ A soft and solemn breathing sound”
-a description of music that strikingly corresponds to the productions of the grand masters of song. Whether transported with joy and gladness, or overwhelmed with sorrow, the soul ought nevertheless to repose free and happy in the outpourings of its melody. Such is the nature of all the best sacred music. Such is the melodious expression of Palestrina, Durante, Lotti, Pergolese, Gluck, Haydn and Mozart. The serene calm of the soul is never disturbed in the compositions of these great masters.
But it will be asked, are not a rapid and loud utterance the natural expression of feeling? Our reply is, yes, feeling of a certain kind, but what we want in music is not mere bursts of feeling, but those things that cause feeling. Here is a principle equally important to the composer and the orator,-a principle generally disregarded by both ; and . for this reason, perhaps, that the common people, who can never be made to comprehend it, would not set a proper value on their productions, were they to study in the light of it. The most pathetic orators have always been calm and tearless themselves. They know that the logic of the heart never jumps to its conclusions; they know that it is by slow and quiet processes that the fountains of feeling are fed from the deep reservoirs of the soul. In the most ancient music of the Church, in the Crucifixus, for example, the pathos does not consist in the metrical and musical utterance of the grief which the contemplation of the Passion inspires, but in profound thoughts awakened concerning our Lord betrayed, arrested, condemned, crucified and laid in the tomb. The power is laid in the calm meditations which are unrolled in the course of the harmony and the melody,
To understand this principle, we have but to reflect that the woe felt by our Lord's first disciples, when they saw him crucified, could not have been what it was, without prepa , ration. Their hearing his sweet discourses, their beholding the miracles he had wrought for their benefit, the enjoying of his presence and his friendship on the dusty road, in the field, on the mountain, in the cottage, and on the sea; the knowledge he had imparted, the hopes he had inspired these and a thousand other circumstances made up the ingredients in their cup of sorrow. So it is the proper work of the composer, the poet and the orator who would be pathetic, to ripen and mellow the hearts of others, rather than to demonstrate to them that, as their own hearts are already ripe and mellow, so should those of their audience be in the same state.
A third cause of the moral impotency of modern choir music, is the neglect of articulation. We refer now more especially to the distinct rendering of the words of the psalm or hymn. One principal reason why the rude music of antiquity wrought such wonders is, that it was married to verse, and that its chief aim was to give every syllable and word a just and worthy expression. It is probable that the power of all music is principally owing to the poetic suggestions it starts, or to its awakening the recollection of the verses with which its strains are somehow associated in the mind. We are, it is true, told of music that has exercised lordship over savage beasts. In such instances it certainly was not the poetry that charmed. But it is one thing for music to subdue beasts, and quite another for it to charm
To master a reasonable being by music, it is necessary that it should either give utterance to some poetic sentiment, or excite to the origination of poetic sentiment. We have seen that the reformers sacrificed choir, organ, and all melody and harmony to the distinct and accurate expression of every word of the psalm or hymn. They had more faith in the power of inspired verse, than in all the witcheries of melodious sounds. Did they lose aught of edification by this sacrifice ? Not they. Too well were they versed in all gracious experiences, and too familiar were
they with all the influences that becloud or brighten them. The temptation is strong to disregard the text when it is expressed ever so well, but it is stronger when a painful attention is necessary to catch the words. Augustine, who had often heard the Ambrosian chant in its primeval purity, says: “When the music affects me more than the subject of the song, I confess that I sin grievously, and then I wish not to hear the singer.” Who does not know, that sometimes the mere reading of psalms and hymns to a congregation has roused deep religious feeling, and kindled the flame of holy and earnest devotion ? Now shall all this spiritual power be lost for the sake of catering to the taste of a few dilettanti ?
It is, we know, a maxim received by all composers, that nothing is so melodious as nonsense. Hence it is that thought is so sparsely sprinkled over modern song, and that all hymns are too harsh and stubborn to be articulated by the choirs of these times. How grievously are the best hymns tortured and mangled, as if to murder sacred poetry were the consummation of fine art. To describe the process were to tell again the old story of Orpheus torn in pieces by the Thracian, women, under the rage and excitement of their Bacchanalian orgies. A general return to congregational singing would, we humbly conceive, correct this great and growing abuse.
As the proper language of the religious emotions, singing should be practiced by all who are not physically discapacitated for this part of Divine worship. If we neglect the musical utterance of devout feeling, we abandon it to sure and deplorable decay. Whence is the general lamentation of lukewarmness? May it not spring, partially at least, from the habitual neglect of the duty of singing the praises of the Lord. As an exercise for the holy passions, there is no other part of worship that can supply the place of this sacred music.
The influences of congregational music are the most fitting symbol of those of the Divine Spirit. mysterious, enrapturing and resistless, and both are often so blended, that it is not easy to regard them apart.
They bear some resemblance to the same Divine Being in his spiritual substance, for they seem to enter into the very soul, and diffuse satisfaction and delight over all its faculties.
As a means of grace, congregational music is both common and effectual. How often has the Divine Spirit restored the harp of the soul to holy symphony, while He was striking its discordant strings in the services of the sanctuary. We recollect having seen at Rome a painting by one of the Bassani, the subject of which was the angels appearing to the shepherds of Bethlehem. Some of the shepherds were roused from their slumbers by the celestial glory that shone upon them, others by the anthem of the heavenly host. This last idea was to us as poetic as it was truthful. We know that some are spiritually awakened by the light of the gospel, while others who have a more sensitive frame, are startled by its music. That Being who delights to glorify His almightiness by vanquishing the greatest by the help of the smallest, has often bidden a mere song be stronger than the strong man armed.
ARTICLE V-QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE LORD'S
Terms of Communion, with a particular view to the case of
the Baptists and Pedobaptists. By Rev. ROBERT HALL,
A.M. (Published in 1815.) Communion: the Distinction between Christian and Church
Fellowship, and between Communion and its Symbols, &c., &c. By T. F. CURTIS, A.M., Professor of Theology, Howard College, Ala. Philadelphia : American Baptist
Publication Society. 1850. Open Communion; or, the Principles of Restrictive Commun
ion Examined and proved to be Unscriptural and False, dc., &c. By S. W. WHITNEY, A.M., late Pastor of the Baptist Church, Westport, N. Y. M. W. Dodd. 1853.
BETWEEN Baptists and Pedobaptists there is strictly no difference as to what is called Close Communion ; since the latter, as much as the former, close the door to the Lord's table against all whom they regard as unbaptized. Between them, then, the whole controversy turns upon the question, “ What is baptism?” Accordingly, with intelligent and strict Pedobaptists, the argumentum ad hominem, which assumes that baptism is a prerequisite to the Supper, is alwilys sufficient to silence objection to Baptist practice with reference to Communion, and throw the discussion back, where it properly belongs to the Baptismal question.*
* We propose, for the sake of completeness, to sustain, by quotations from various eminent Pedobaptists, as well as from several denominational creeds, our statement as to the position occupied by the Pedobaptist world on this subject. Many of these quotations are furnished ready te our use in the works of Howell and Taylor. And, first, we may simply refor to a number of accredited writers, representing every age, from that immediately succeeding the apostolic, to the present time.
“ Justin Martyr wrote about A. D. 150, not more than fifty years after the death of the Apostle John. Cn the subject before us Apol. 2, p. 162, apud Suicerus—he says: “This food is called by us the Èucharist, of which it is not lawful for any to partake, but such as believe the things that are taught by us to be true, and have been baptized.”