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then can be said against it, and every thing may be said for it.
That which is commonly affirmed of nature (whatever is meant by the word) may with truth and propriety be affirmed of the God of nature, that he "doth nothing in vain." To the element of air he has given the power of producing sounds; to the ear the capacity of receiving them; and to the affections of the mind an aptness to be moved by them when transmitted through the organs of the body. The philosophy of the thing is too deep and wonderful for us; we cannot attain unto it! But such is the fact with that we are concerned, and that is enough for us to know. The end and design of so curious an apparatus are most evident. Sound was intended to be the vehicle of sentiment, and should be employed in the conveyance of such sentiments as may instruct, improve, purify, and exalt the mind; such as, when received and retained, may inspire resolutions, and produce actions, tending to the glory of God and the good of mankind. How can this purpose be more effectually answered, than it is, when the most beautiful and sublime passages of holy writ, set to the finest music, are heard outwardly with our ears, and ingrafted inwardly in our hearts? What can we have-what can we desire more, upon earth?
The power of music is but too well known, by fatal experience, when it is misapplied-applied to cherish and call forth the evil that lies concealed in the corrupt heart of fallen man; to recommend and excite in him all the follies of levity and dissipation,
What are we to
of intemperance and wantonness. do in this case? Are we to renounce and disclaim music? No; let us employ music against music. If the Philistines sing a chorus in honour of their idol, let Israelites sing one louder to the glory of Jehovah. In the heathen mythology we are told, that when the Sirens warbled the soft seducing strains, to allure heedless mortals into the paths of unlawful pleasure, two different methods were made use of to escape the snare. Some rendered themselves incapable of hearing, while others overpowered their songs by chanting divine hymns. The story is fabulous, but the moral just, and apposite to the subject in hand. For there is no doubt but that the heart may be weaned from every thing base and mean, and elevated to every thing that is excellent and praise-worthy, by sacred music. The evil spirit may still be dispossessed, and the good spirit invited and obtained, by the harp of the son of Jesse.
Talk we of LIFE, and JOY, and PLEASURE? "Thou, O Lord, shall show us the path of LIFE; "in thy presence is the fulness of JOY, and at thy 66 right hand is PLEASURE for evermore "."
Are we at any time heavy and sluggish? Does religion seem dull, prayer a task, and thanksgiving a burden? "Awake up, my glory; awake, lute and "harp!-I will praise thee, O Lord, among the peo
ple; I will sing unto thee among the nations.
"This is done in the Oratorio of Samson.
n Psal. xvi. 11. Set full by Goldwin, and a charming duet by Dr. Blake.
"For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy "truth unto the clouds. Set up thyself, O God, "above the heavens, and thy glory above all the "earth "."
Have we a turn to ingratitude? Are we disposed to forget the mercies we have received?" I am "well pleased that the Lord hath heard the voice of my prayer; that he hath inclined his ear unto me; "therefore will I call upon him as long as I live P.
Is the strong man tempted to glory in his strength, the great man in his power, the rich man in his possessions, or the fair woman in the beauty and gracefulness of her person?" As for man, his days are "as grass: as a flower of the field so he flourisheth. "For the wind passeth over it-it is gone-and the
place thereof shall know it no more 1."
Are we captivated by any thing we see or hear below, and induced to esteem it GREAT?" I was "in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Hallelujah! Salvation, and glory, and honour, and
power, unto the Lord our God; for true and "righteous are his judgements. And again they said, “Hallelujah. And the four-and-twenty elders, and "the four living creatures fell down, and worshipped "God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen, Hallelujah. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye
• Psal. lvii. 8, &c. Set by Wise.
P Psal. cxvi. 1.
9 Psal. ciii. 15.
Set by Dean Aldrich, from Carissimi,
Set by Clark.
"that fear him both small and great. And I heard
as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as "the voice of many waters, and as the voice of "mighty thunderings, saying, Hallelujah, for the "Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad, "and rejoice, and give honour to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made "herself ready"."
Before such a scene and such a band, every human performance must shrink and fade away in the comparison. A performance, however, has lately been exhibited, and, to our honour, has been exhibited in Britain-(its sound still vibrates in the ears of many who hear me) which furnished the best. idea we shall ever obtain on earth of what is passing in heaven. It did justice (and that is saying very much indeed) to a composition of the great master, to which may be applied the observation of a learned writer upon a chorus in an anthem penned by the same hand, that "nothing less is suggested by it to "the imagination, than all the powers of the universe "associated in the worship of its Creator'.'
Music, then, has always been used in the church, and with good reason. May it always continue to be so used, and to produce its proper effects! In England, choral service was first introduced in this
Rev. xix. 1, &c. Set by Blow, in a strain of sublimity truly wonderful.
• Commemoration of Handel in Westminster Abbey.
Sir John Hawkins, v. 416.
cathedral, and the practice of it long confined to the churches of Kent, from whence it became gradually diffused over the whole kingdom. Here may it breathe its last-but not till time shall expire with the world! Violated no more by sacrilegious hands, may this august and magnificent fabric remain, in perfect beauty, through all the generations of mankind that are yet to come, a monument of the piety of our ancestors, and a witness to that of our posterity! May thanksgiving and the voice of melody, like that of this day, be evermore heard in it, till the veil being done away which parts the visible from the invisible world, the choirs of heaven and earth shall unite before the throne.
"Sir John Hawkins, i. 404, 371.-We are informed by Strype, in his Annals of the Reformation, vol. ii. p. 314, that when queen Elizabeth was entertained at Canterbury by archbishop Parker, the French ambassador, who was in her suite, hearing the excellent music in the cathedral church, extolled it to the sky, and brake out into these words: "O God, I think no prince be"side in all Europe ever heard the like, no, not our holy father "the Pope himself."-May we not say, that to cathedrals, and the persons teaching and taught in them, has been owing the preservation of music among us from age to age?