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may not, we dare not, deviate from our views of the divine and inspired model.

We are confirmed in this conviction by the fact, which observation fully establishes, that a departure from this model invariably leads to immediate wrong. Let the principle of the congregational system be violated, either by composing religious societies of irreligious persons, or by establishing over them or within them any human authority, and we affirm that there immediately exists something essentially wrong and anti-scriptural. Such methods are not merely unauthorised by the word of God, but are positively contrary to it; they are not, therefore, among things which may be chosen, if thought good, but among things prohibited, and, under all circumstances, to be let alone.

We have deemed it important, in the first instance, to exhibit the congregational system of religious association in its rectitude and its obligation, because, if these points could not have been established, it would have been of little use to discuss its alleged advantages or disadvantages. Although we have no fear of entering upon this ground, and shall indeed almost immediately proceed to it, yet we must maintain that questions of church constitution and government are not to be disposed of on the ground of expediency alone. Under the plea of expediency were introduced all the mummeries of popery; nor is there any effectual method of ridding the church of these and kindred evils, but by insisting upon an appeal to the law and the testimony. The stress of the argument lies here: Is the congregational system scriptural, and therefore obligatory? If it be not, we offer not a word in its defence upon any ground of supposed advantage. If it be, we bring forward nothing more in its support. It stands firm, and needs no auxiliary appendages. Whatever

may be said of its beneficial tendency will add nothing to its rectitude; neither will the most aggravated view of contingent evils diminish anything from its obligation.-Library of Ecclesiastical Knowledge.


WORSHIP. It has become of late years a very common opinion that the most effectual means of securing good music in public worship is the introduction of an organ.

That instrumental music was used in worship by the Jews, with divine sanction, is undeniable; but it must at the same time be admitted, that as the whole economy of the New Testament Church is throughout more spiritual than was the Jewish, so its worship in particular is distinguished by its having in it far less to please the senses and far more to employ the mind. God was always a “Spirit" and he always required spiritual worship, but he not only now requires it still more explicitly, but has so constructed the New Testament Church as to ensure a greater degree of spirituality in the worshippers.

I will not contend that instrumental music in public worship is unlawful: I content myself with feeling assured that it is unnecessary and injurious. That a good organ well played (two conditions, however, the union of which constitutes the exception rather than the rule in places where organs are used,) produces a grand and imposing effect, is admitted; but how far does that effect partake of a religious and legitimate character ? To me it appears that the feeling usually produced by instrumental music is akin to that which is created by Gothic arches, “long-drawn aisles,” crucifixes, paintings, painted windows, and the “dim religious light” which those windows transmit. No one needs to admire these things as matters of taste more than we do, but their introduction into religious services is another and more serious affair. Profane swearers, drunkards, adulterers, swindlers, and wicked men of all sorts, are susceptible of the religious feelings which such sights and sounds produce, and yet continue to be wicked men still. This sentimental religion is not only inefficient for good; it is productive of positive evil. It becomes an opiate for the soul. It lulls the conscience asleep. The man who is affected sometimes to tears by all this ecclesiastic grandeur flatters himself that there must be something good in his heart, although all the while he is living in neglect of God's gospel and in violation of God's law.

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With regard even to sound, much as I admire good instrumental music, I confess my decided preference for the music of the human voice; nor am I singular in this preference. A modern writer on music, whose books have been widely circulated and eminently useful, thus speaks : “ The human voice is the finest instrument in the world. All voices are not indeed equally good, but four even indifferent voices heard in correct harmony will produce a more powerful effect than any equal number of instruments played upon by skilful performers. A party of German peasants, singing together in a cabin, will often make better music than the whole band of the Italian Opera."

Some of the best psalmody ever heard in this country is heard at the anniversaries of our religious and benevolent institutions ; a considerable number of the attendants at which sing both with heart and voice. A foreigner who was present in Exeter Hall, at the Anniversary of the Sunday School Union in May, 1840, was struck with admiration at the manner in which a Doxology was sung by three thousand voices, and rejoiced that the organ did not attempt either to overpower or to assist these voices with its thunder, as he felt assured that the interference of that instrument would have been decidedly injurious. But it is, I conceive, on the score of sympathy that the superiority of vocal over instrumental music principally appears ; and it is on this account especially, that I prefer it in religious worship. Let the pipes of an organ emit sounds ever so grand, I cannot but know that those pipes, though inflated by one human being and regulated by another, are mere matter, wholly devoid of feeling and of reason ; in addition to which it may be remarked that no instrument can be made properly to articulate words. But let the tones of a human voice reach my ear, in articulate words which convey affecting ideas to my mind, and my heart is touched while my ear is pleased. Feelings similar to those which originated the voice are at once stirred up within me.

Another objection which I feel against the use of instrumental music in public worship is, that it favours idleness with regard both to singing and learning to sing. The organist, especially if aided by a band of singers, makes a sufficiency of sound, so that although the melancholy fact may be that not six people out of six hundred, besides the choir, are personally engaged in

praising God, the deficiency is not felt. On the contrary, the people congratulate one another on the excellent music of their place of worship. Thus, the general neglect of the duty and privilege of praising God is perpetuated from year to year, no attempt at reformation being made, because, in fact, the need of reformation is not perceived ; whereas, if a religious assembly in which is neither a powerful instrument, nor a powerful band of singers, be either unable or unwilling to praise God in an edifying manner, the evil is felt and lamented, as it should be, and measures are more likely to be adopted for supplying the deficiency.

The most plausible argument in favour of instrumental music in public worship, arises out of the fact that, in some cases, without this support, the tune sinks below the proper pitch; but musical knowledge and skill tend greatly to prevent this evil, and if at any time the tune should fall inconveniently low, why may not the precentor restore it to its proper key ?

A better method of improving the psalmody of a congregation than either the introduction of instrumental music or the procuring of a powerful band, is certainly within reach; namely, the simple method of teaching every person, and especially every young person in the congregation, to sing. The human voice is not universally preferred to instrumental music merely because it is seldom heard in perfection. Almost every person, if taught sufficiently early, may sing; the majority of people may learn to sing well, and a very considerable number of persons require nothing but knowledge and practice to enable them to sing most sweetly. Till lately this subject, in England, has been lamentably overlooked, and while most of our people have learned to read, not one in a hundred has learned to sing. Pastors and other officers of christian churches are now beginning to be aware of their negligence in not furnishing the means of instruction in the science and art of singing to all the young people

among them.

But let it never be forgotten that the most essential requisite for good psalmody is piety. How can it be otherwise, when psalmody is neither more nor less than the vocal expression of piety? A larger number of persons in our congregations would sing if a larger number of them were real christians, and among our real christians, a larger number would sing audibly and heartily and expressively, if a larger number were happier and more thankful. Highly instructive is the record which President Edwards has written respecting the effect of a remarkable revival of religion, in his time, on the psalmody of the people. The people had previously been taught to sing and could sing in parts. Thus the singing-master had given them the requisite skill, and when the Spirit of God was poured on them in his vivifying influences, they at once had “a mind' to sing. Thus the power and the will happily meeting in them, their psalmody, the president gives us to understand, was sweet, expressive, harmonious, and affecting, beyond anything previously heard.

The following are the president's words :-" The goings of God were then seen in his sanctuary; God's day was a delight and his tabernacles were amiable. Our public assemblies were then beautiful; the congregation was alive in God's service. Our public praises were then greatly enlivened. God was then served in our psalmody, in some measure “in the beauty of holiness. It has been observable that there has been scarce any part of divine worship wherein good men amongst us have had grace so drawn forth, and their hearts so lifted up in the ways of God, as in singing his praises. Our congregation excelled all that ever I knew in the external part of the duty before, the men generally carrying regularly and well three parts of music, and the women a part by themselves; but now they were wont to sing with unusual elevation of heart and voice, which made the duty pleasant indeed.”

Two things only are wanted for good psalmody-vocal skill, and inward piety.

HallelujahEssay on Psalmody by J. Burder, M.A.


[Acts xvi. 13, 14, 15, 40.) In these four verses the readers of the Independent Magazine have all that is recorded concerning Lydia and her family before them. Of what, then, was Lydia's family composed ?

Not of men-servants, certainly. Had there been men in the place “where prayer was wont to be made,” it would not have been written "we sat down, and spake unto the women which

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