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assume an exclusive right, which belongs not to them but to the congregation at large; and they often make a very indiscreet use of their liberty; neglecting the best old Psalmody, till the people forget it, and introducing new tunes, which the people cannot learn; some of them without science, without simplicity, without solemnity; causing the serious to frown, and the inconsiderate to laugh. I have frequently heard such wild airs as were not fit to be brought into the church; through the ignorance of the composers, who were not of skill to distinguish what kind of melody is proper for the church, and what for the theatre, and what for neither. Anthems are admitted during the time of divine service, country choristers should confine themselves to choral harmony, in which they may do very well; and our church abounds with full Anthems by the best masters. *. No solos should ever be introduced without an instrument to support them; and besides, these require a superior degree of expression to make them tolerable. The Psalmodists of country choirs may with care and practice sing well in time and tune; and in choral music, or music of several parts, the want of due expression is compensated by
* We labour under one inconvenience in respect to our Psalmody, which might be removed. Our Psalm tunes have undergone so many experiments, that there is great diversity in copies and editions, some of them very faise and bad ;" whence it happens too often, that the organist plays one way, while the congregation sings another, and
a confusion arises which should always be avoided. 1 have known even the 100th Psalm tune, common as it is, materially affected by the blunders of incompetent editors. An eminent master (the late Dr. Boyce) furnished our cathedrals with a correct and valuable copy of the best Services and Anthems from the Reformation to the be. ginning of the present century. It is to be wished that all the Psalm-tunes of the first merit and authority were published in the like compleat form by as faithful an editor. An original edition by Ravenscroft, himself the greatset author of our ancient Psalmody, was published in four parts, but is rarely to be met with, and, in its present forin, is not very intelligible to common singers. To render the old Psalm tunes more generally useful in con. gregations, a learned friend of mine hath published a very good collection of them in three parts very lately, under the title of, Select Portions of the Psalms of David, for the use of Parish Churches: and though I am precluded from saying any thing in praise of this edition, I shall venture to recommend it as the most correct and convenient work of the kind. I am witness also, how rapidly it hath advanced the just performance of Psalmody in a parish of my own,
the fullness of the harmony: but they can never attain to the speaking of music without being taught. There is an utterance in singing, as in preaching or praying, which must be learned from the judgment of those who excel in it. A man can no more sing a solo for the church without a musical education, than a clown can speak upon learned audience in a theatre.
When we consider the performance of sacred music as a duty, much is to be learned from it. If music is a gift of God to us for our good, it ought to be used as such, for the improvement of the understanding, and the advancement of devotion. Services, Anthems, and Psalms should be understood as lessons of purity iu life and manners. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous, saith the Psalmist, for it becometh well the just to be thankful. What! shall we praise God with our lips, while we blaspheme him with our lives? Praise, saith the son of Sirach, is not seemly in the mouth of a sinner, for it was not sent him of the Lord. Praise to the Lord is proper to those only who derive blessings from the Lord; it is impertinent and false wben it comes from those who are never the better for him. O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy : but let not them say so, who have given themselves up to a state of captivity under sin and folly. Some there are, who are very loud and forward in singing, while they are insensible of the greatness and the value of those subjects which our music celebrates : like the sounding brass of a trumpet, which makes a great noise, but feels nothing. Others there are, who are not chargeable with this error: loose, irreligious people, who have an absolute dislike and contempt for divine music: and they are right; for it would carry them out of their element. But God forbid that we should be where they are: no; let us keep our music, and amend our lives. It must be our own fault, if our music doth not contribute to our reformation, and we may have it to answer for in common with the other means of improvement which we have abused. All our church music tends to keep up our acquaintance with the Psalms, those divine compositions, of which none can feel the sense, as music makes them feel it, without being edified. The sacred harp of Daviď will still have the effcct it once had upon Saul; it will quiet the disorders of the mind, and drive away the enemies of our peace.
Another excellent use of music, is for the increase of charity; and this in more senses than one. When Christians unite their voices in the praises of God, their hearts become more united to one another. Harmony and Charity never do better than when they meet together; they are of the same heavenly original; they illustrate and promote each other. For as different voices join together in the same harmony, and are all necessary to render it complete ; so are all Christians necessary to one another. The high and the low all meet together in the church of Christ, and form one body. As those who perform their different parts in a piece of music, do all conspire to the same effect; so are we all members one of another; and as such, are to be unanimous in the performance of our several duties to the praise and glory of God. And as a greater heat arises from a collection of a greater number of rays from the sun, so more Christians, united in charity and harmony, are happier than fewer. The most critical judges of music must deny their own feelings, if they do not allow that the effect of music is wonderfully increased by the multiplication