Page images
PDF
EPUB

that you want, like Satan, to be independent of him, -to have a store of your own to resort to, without being continually obliged to him.

Our answer is, at least, the answer of too many of us,-Nay, but we will be rich :-we will be independent. We dare say that it is all very true that our Father cares for us; and that he is able to supply all our wants. But we do not like to be always hanging upon him: and to be obliged, day by day, to come to him for all we need. Besides which, we cannot feel quite comfortable,~quite assured,—that he will always he as able and as willing as he is now, to supply our necessities. We do not like leaving the matter to this contingency! Let us get together, if we can, enough to supply all our wants for the rest of our days,-and then, having got another string to our bow, we will willingly talk about trusting in God, and relying on his providence.

Such is, in truth, the moving cause in many a heart. But there are other motives assigned, and more plausible pretexts brought forward; and we must touch upon these a little in our next paper.

R. B.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN

LADY'S MAGAZINE.

MADAM, Will you favour an attentive reader of your miscellany with your opinion on Oratorios in Churches? The subject has been much under discussion during the past month ; and many of my friends have stayed away from the Musical Festival, without being able to assign more than a feeling of general disapproval, which has been rather unsatisfactory to their less scrupulous acquaintance. Now I am in the habit of investigating inore minutely the character of those things that seem to call for a distinct rebuke-in other words, that which the apostle has commanded us not to touch, as we would be acknowledged the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty.

I, too, have absented myself from all such performances, not that I considered the place of worship to be desecrated by those strains wbich were of a devotional character; for I conceive the introduction of music, as such, into the congregation of God's people -and, therefore, into their place of assembly—to be most legitimately scriptural. I absented myself, not because money was collected at the doors; for that, when rightly applied to pious and charitable purposes, has unquestionably a sufficient sanction, and one that I believe is occasionally acted upon in every house of prayer-but I absented myself becausc the language of scripture was put into mouths polluted with blasphemy and obscenity, thence to be doled out, in tuneful notes, to tickle the ears of many whose hearts were far-immeasurably far-from God :-because, for the same hire-for the same filthy lucre's sake—those instruments were tuned, those voices raised, to inflame the passions by which the great enemy of God and man works the ruin of souls that Christ died to redeem :—because the bright glories of creating power, and the brighter glories of redeeming love, and the songs of praise with which we are told that souls washed in the blood of the Lamb encircle his eternal throne, were desecrated, in the mercenary breathings of performers, who, by wicked works, openly defy the God who made them, deny the God who bought them, and treasure up for themselves wrath, against His great and terrible day.

Now, this is my main objection; not the only one certainly: but I would desire to have your readers brought to serious consideration, on a point very much, and often very lightly, discussed.

Your's, July, 1834.

SCRUTATOR.

[Our correspondent will find, in page 143, a paper on this subject; but as he takes it up on somewhat different grounds, we insert his letter, yielding our unqualified assent to his strongly-expressed objection; and, in lieu of any editorial remarks, we will subjoin an extract, familiar, no doubt, to the majority of our readers, but of such value, in our estimation, that it can neither be conned too often by those who have already seen it, nor introduced

too soon to those who have not. The author was John Newton.

'I represent to myself a number of persons, of various characters, involved in one common charge of high treason. They are already in a state of confinement, but not yet brought to trial. The facts, however, are so plain, and the evidence against them so strong and pointed, that there is no doubt of their guilt being fully proved; and that nothing but a pardon can preserve them from punishment. In this situation, it should seem their wisdom to avail themselves of every expedient in their power for obtaining mercy. But they are entirely regardless of their danger, and wholly taken up with contriving methods of amusing themselves, that they may pass away the term of their im ment with as much cheerfulness as possible. Among other resources, they call in the assistance of music; and, amidst a variety of subjects in this way, they are particularly pleased with one. They choose to make the solemnities of their impending trial, the character of their Judge, the methods of his procedure, and the awful sentence to which they are exposed, the ground-work of a musical entertainment; and, as if they were quite unconcerned in the event, their attention is chiefly fixed on the skill of the composer in adapting the style of his music to the very solemn language and subject with which they are trifling. The King, however, out of his great clemency and compassion towards those who have no pity for themselves, prevents them with his goodness. Undesired by them, he sends them a gracious message. He requires, yea, he entreats them to submit. He points out a way in which their confession and submission

shall certainly be accepted ; and in this way, which he condescends to prescribe, he offers them a full and free pardon. But, instead of taking a single step towards a compliance with his goodness, they set his message likewise to music; and this, together with a description of their present state, and . of the fearful doom awaiting them if they continue obstinate, is sung for their diversion, accompanied by the sound of cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of instruments. Surely, if such a case as I have supposed, could be found in real life, though I might admire the musical taste of these people, I should commiserate their insensibility.

* But is not this case more than a supposition? Is it not, in the most serious sense, actually realized amongst ourselves?

I should insult your understanding if I judged a long application necessary. I know my suppositions must already have led your thoughts to the oratorio of The Messiah, and to the spirit and temper of at least the greater part of the performers, and of the audience.

• The holy scripture concludes all mankind under sin. It charges us all with treason and rebellion against the great Sovereign, Lawgiver, and Benefactor ; and declares the misery to which, as sinners, we are obnoxious. But God is long-suffering, and waits to be gracious. The stroke of death, which would instantly place us before his awful tribunal, is still suspended. In the mean time, he affords us his Gospel, by which he assures us there is forgiveness with him. He informs us of a Saviour, and that, of his great love to sinners, he has given bis only Son to be an atonement and mediator, in favour

« EelmineJätka »