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weapons, when in a difficulty, but usually frank and fearless. His dexterity as a debater, I have never seen surpassed, whether in defending his own weak points or attacking those of his adversary- his eloquence, during our Synodical discussions, was frequently commanding, and would have been always attractive, had it not been so often blurred with slang and buffoonery-the skill with which he played on all the chords of the popular heart was quite perfect-and had his cause been as good as his powers were distinguished, he would have been altogether irresistible. Upon his mistakes and faults as a public man, I must necessarily comment, in reviewing the transactions in which, for many years, he occupied a position so prominent; but I rejoice to believe that, in private life, he has no superior. Genial and cheerful always, instructive and amusing by turns, no man contributes more largely to the rational enjoyments of the friendly circle, or to the happiness of scenes still holier and more dear.
Having now “made a clean breast of it,” I proceed with the determined popular leader to the Synod, at Colerain, in the year 1825, where, as, Moderator, he preached for two hours, a furious orthodox Sermon, and hurled all manner of scorn and defiance against his opponents. He subsequently attacked the Belfast Institution; and, amidst the applause of an excited multitude, carried, by a large majority, a series of Resolutions, calculated to wound the reputation, impair the usefulness, and trench upon the independence of that Seminary. Thus did he exercise summary vengeance upon the Directors and Professors, who had been honest and bold enough to impugn his testimony before Parliament: and, although some calm judging men looked upon those insolent Resolutions as rather an ungrateful return to the Proprietors of the Institution for taxing themselves to support Presbyterian education, and refusing an ample Parliamentary Grant on the ground of fidelity to their compact with the Synod, the multitude applauded the ungenerous act as a triumph of religious principle. A similar system of assault was followed up at the Synod of 1826, which met in Ballymena ; and those debates concerning the Belfast Institution had been gradually inflaming the public mind, on the subject of disputed Doctrines, and preparing the way for the coming of that storm which burst upon the Synod at the ensuing annual meeting, in Strabane, and finally resulted in the disruption of the church,
( To be continued.)
HINTS ON CONGREGATIONAL PSALMODY.
“The highest forms of the beautiful and sublime in Music as in Poetry owe their origin and power over human feelings and affections to their union with the spirit of Religion, and the heart of man beats most truly and proudly, in unison with the harmony of fine art, when that harmony is the most faithful reflection of the image in which man was originally created."
TO THE EDITOR OF THE UNITARIAN MAGAZINE.
SIR,— It is now a considerable time since I drew the attention of the readers of your Periodical to the very imperfect condition of that portion of the devotional services in most churches ; in which alone all can audibly join-the “Congregational Psalmody" -in hopes that some one more competent to do justice to so important a subject, would have taken it up and pointed out the best means for accomplishing its inprovement. In this I have been disappointed, and lest the subject should be entirely dropped, I venture again to offer a few observations suggested by conversations on the subject, and by a consideration of the important principles connected with music ; concluding with an extract from a Periodical, pointing out the origin of “ Metrical Psalmody.” I am much gratified to know that some improvement has been made in several places, but this improvement appears chiefly among those who are engaged to perform the service; or those who voluntarily discharge it.
From the many complaints to be heard of imperfection, we would be led to expect some great effort for reformation ; but we, as yet, find many who express themselves on this matter quite apathetically, and are apparently so little interested as to be often absent, during the morning service. It is admitted by all that it is the duty of every one who has a voice ; to sing to the praise of God; but the duty of haring the rising generation taught to sing from childhood up is not so generally admitted. Until this is carried out by parents and others making a suitable provision for having the children and young people taught to sing in every church and in every Sunday school, no great improvement can be anticipated.
For the purpose of producing universally a suitable feeling of the importance of psalmody both individually and as a congregational service, I would suggest that a sermon should be preached in every church twice every year on the duty of cultivating and practising it.
I would next allude to a practice in some of the Scotch churches, which gives an interest in congregational psalmody to which we are quite unaccustomed.
Before commencing to sing the psalm, or hymn, which has been read by the minister; the name of the tune about to be sung is exhibited on a conspicuous place of the music seat in large printed characters, and as there is a music book in almost every pew the whole assembly know the tunes to be sung, and very soon sing correctly in unison ; and thus a taste for correct singing is generally diffused.
When we consider that it is admitted by every one who has paid any attention to the matter, that the standing posture is best suited to a full developemeat of the voice in singing, we will perceive the great propriety of adopting that posture in all churches as is done in every Episcopal and Methodist place of worship. We will also discover the reason for the minister, in the former denomination of worshippers prefacing the singing with some such expression as the following: "let us stand up and join together in singing to the praise of God."
I find my observations getting so long that I must confine myself to a few gene
ral remarks on the “principles connected with music,” to draw public attention to the subject. The precepts, the doctrines, and the history of the Christian religion are associated with music to give them additional importance, influence and power, over the human mind. Thus the “principle" is indicated that the interests of religion, and your country require that the education and general attainments of musical men should be on a scale wbich would give dignity and moral value to their calling, placing them among the highest, as the lights, directors and improvers of the age, guarding the public against the thousand bad purposes to which music has been turned, elevating it as the spirit of moral harmony, associating it with the spirit of universal peace and brotherhood, hence proving its suitable conjunction with religion-with time and eternity. Music thus being properly used must always be associated with words which morality and religion would at once sanc.. tion, and we might hope to break down entirely that false association between music and intoxicating drinks, to which many at present appear to be pledged, thereby surrounding the poison with delusive social charms which have been fatal to thousands.
Should these observations find acceptance with your readers, I may trouble you again, but in the mean time must leave room for the “Origin of Metrical Psalmody.”
“ The leading feature of the Reformation was the rendering the expressions of devotion in a language the people could understand. Luther, who was enthusiastically fond of sacred music, and who composed both hymns and tunes appears to have entertained the notion of a metrical translation of the psalms into the common language of his countrymen. The credit, however, of taking the first decided step in introducing metrical psalmody belongs to a widely different character.
“ About the year 1540, Clement Marot, who held a state situation under Francis I. and was the favourite poet of France, tired of the vanities of profane or secular poetry, and probably privately tinctured with Lutheranism, attempted a version of David's Psalms into French rhymes. He appeared to have no design of obtruding his translation into public worship; and even the ecclesiastical censors, so little suspected what followed, that they readily sanctioned the work as containing nothing contrary to sound doctrine.
Marot thus encouraged, dedicated his Psalms to his Royal Master, and to the ladies of France. After a sort of apology to the latter for the surprise he was prepared to expect they would evince; on receiving the “ Sacred Songs," from one who had heretofore, delighted them with “ Love Songs” and sonnets, the poet adds in fluent verse,
" that the golden age would now be restored, when we would see the peasant at his plough, the carman in the streets, and the mechanic in his shop, solacing the toils with psalms and canticles : and the shepherd and shepherdess, reposing in the shade, and teaching the rocks to echo the name of the Creator.
“ There was much more prophecy in these lines of Marot than he probably intended-certainly much more, than those who first read them anticipated. In short Marot's psalms soon eclipsed the popularity of his madrigals and sonnets.— Not suspecting how prejudicial the predominant fashion of psalm-singing might prove to the ancient religion of Europe, all denominations adopted these sacred songs as serious ballads ; and a a rational species of domestic entertainment. They were in such demand, that the printers could scarcely supply copies fast enough. In the festive and splendid fourt of Francis: of a sudden nothing was heard but the psalms of Clement Marot; and with a characteristic liveliness of fancy, by each of the royal family, and the principal nobility of the court, a psalm was chosen, and sung to whatever tune they liked best.
“ Meanwhile Luther was proceeding in Germany with his opposition to the discipline and doctrines of Rome; and Calvin was laying at Geneva, the foundation of a system of church polity more rigid and unadorned even than that contemplated by his illustrious fellow-reformer. Both appear to have been disposed to supercede the old Catholic hymns which were not understood by the people; with some kind of singing, which the congregation could understand, and in which they could bear a part.
“ The publication of Marot's hymns taking place at the precise juncture when Calvin contemplated the associating of his new hymns with plain melodies, which would be easily learned by the common people, the Reformer forthwith adopted the French psalm-book in his congregation at Geneva; a very popular step, on account of the French language being generally spoken in the Canton.-Being set to simple music they were easily mastered, and the singing of them was presently established as a popular branch of the reformed worship. Nor were they only sung in the Genevan congregations. They exhilarated the convivial assemblies of the Calvinists, were commonly heard in the streets, and accompanied the labours of the artificer. The weavers and woollen manufacturers of Flanders, many of whom left the loom and entered into the ministry, are said to have been the capital performers of this science. Thus was the poetical prediction of Clement Marot relative to the popularity of his psalms, literally realized.
“At length the use or rejection of Marot's psalms became a sort of test between Reformers and Anti-Reformers, so that those who used them were considered heretics; those who rejected them were esteemed faithful."
Yours, &c. &c.
CILI PSAL M. Attune, my soul, thy inmost thoughts, God sees the wrongs of the oppressed, God's holy name to praise ;
And makes their cause his own : Let all thy energies combined
Full oft to Jacob's ancient race One grateful anthem raise.
His righteous ways were shown.
Ask favours from my kind,
Or own a servile creed !
Great source of thought forbid !
And grant me strength to find
Blest Truth, wherever hid,
To arm my fearless mind.
With singlenes sof heart,
Regardless who take part,
Or who as foes combine.
THE ANNIVERSARY WEEK.
BY REV. E. S. GANNETT, D.D.
assemblies. But over them both religi
on appeared as holding a more marked The week of our late anniversary solem- control of men's thoughts It was not nities seems to us to offer encouragement trade, nor politics, nor military display which we shall be unwise not to accept that gave à character to the week, but There was nothing very special in the religion, Christianity. It was the week character of the exercises that filled the of the anniversaries, and these anniversuccessive hours and days devoted to re- saries were celebrated by institutions proligious celebration of one kind or anoth- fessedly Christian, and avowedly seeking
The number of persons in attend to increase the spread and influence of ance on the meetings was certainly not Christianity. The people were invited smaller, nor very much larger than on to show their interest in Christian objects other years. The interest expressed or and in obedience to this call they came awakened in the various services was less together with gladness, and Slled the fervid than on some previous anniversa- churches, and pressed into the halls where ries. Yet on the whole a calon survey consultation was held, and looked in one of the experience through which we another's faces with a sympathy that grew were led as we followed the order of en- out of their common faith, and declared gagements marked out for us by the in a language more unequivocal than custom of the week may present grounds words that they were “fellow-labourers of satisfaction and encouragement. in the Gospel of Christ.” For three
First of all we notice the fact, that days the sound of a religious manifestaChristianity has such an establishment tion went up to heaven from the midst among us, and such a hold upon the re- of this city, more distinct and emphatic gards of the people that it could, through than all the hum and cry of worldliness; the multiplied institutions which it has like the wind which at times sweeps thro' called into existence, in a manner ap- the trees and subdues all other sounds propriate the week to itself. Not that beneath its pervading breath. This is ihe usual business of the city was sus- worthy of notice ; it is a fact to be overpended. Traffic and pleasure still open- looked neither by the Christian nor the ed their crowded marts and thronged man of the world, that in a community,