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thing invaluable is lost ; and, perhaps, each has some memento of her departed worth. But we cannot think of her alone. Our church in Sligo has been once and again bereaved. Mr. Leech-that venerable man, who had laboured as a Local Preacher nearly half a century died a few months ago. Miss Graham, whose finished education, devout spirit, and opening usefulness seemed to give promise of a life that would be a blessing to this communion, died yet more recently. Those families that recall their own sorrows must always remember Mrs. Whittaker. And so must another circle-nearer to him who speaks-in which the youngest buddings of hope have been nipt by the fatal gale. Now hoary age, blooming youth, and helpless infancy have met in heaven, and mingled their voices in harmony before the throne of God. What recollections rise to your minds, bringing up the life and death of our departed friend ! Do you not think of some marked event in your history ?-perhaps the death of a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, or a friend : perhaps a letter, a word of advice, a caution, received from lips now sealed in the grave which has just closed. Could the spirit of the departed one now address is, what would she say? To the baekslider, Return to Christ in this very hour : to the careless, Awake, slumberer, awake : to the penitent, Rest not, till saved by faith in His blood : to the true believer, “ Be thou faithful unto death”. Let no man take thy crown.”
THE MUSIC OF YOUNG METHODISM.
Among the varied accomplishments now bestowed so liberally in the education of youth, none holds a higher place than the divine art of music. None is more cultivated, none more misused, and none more perverted. The causes of this are too numerous to be given at length; but a few of then will be touched upon as this paper proceeds: the design being to give a slight history of the music prevailing in the “United Societies” in their first days, and then to contrast with it the music of the present day, and especially that of Young Methodism, properly so called,—the hope of the church, and, in many happy instances, its glory also.
The “people called Methodists” have been known from the earliest stage of their existence as a singing people. They were ready boldly to endure the sneer constantly cast in their faces on account of their “spiritual songs,” and sang on through their lives; and often, when they came to die,
“ The last faltering accents whisper'd praise."
Our venerable father in the Gospel took good care to supply means for the constant outpouring of this joyful spirit. He took a holy delight in supplying "inusic for the people,”—such strains as they may even now recall with grateful delight, when hosts of them are singing “ the new song," and rapturously swelling the choir of “harpers harping with their harps." Their music was the best of their day, and some of it has not yet been
excelled. They sang with pure, fervent spirits, in obedience to the rules carefully laid down for them by their leader's wisdom. Are we their worthy successors ?
We have to consider the means by which the early Methodist singing attained its perfection. Very few young Methodists are aware of Mr. Wesley's exertions, or of the publications he issued relating to this subject. The first was a threepenny pamphlet, in which most of the tunes were written in the tenor clef ; but this does not appear to have satisfied Mr. Wesley, and it was followed by the “Sacred Harmony," which was adopted as the Connexional tune-book, its general use being strongly advised wherever Societies were formed. Mr. Wesley said, “Sing these tunes before you learn any other ;” and the obedience rendered to this injunction assures us that the people must have brought no ordinary amount of resolution, to learn to sing thein at all in the first instance. There is but little inferior music in the book : the compositions of the great masters are adapted to words with admirable taste. Such a collection demanded applia cation of mind, as well as practice; and in order that all, even the poorest, might be able to study it intelligently, an Introduction to Music was subsequently printed in a twelve-page tract, and sold for one penny. By means of this, all who needed instruction were to be taught to sing correctly. Many thus learned to sing from notes, more by imitation; and, being once instructed, they used their gift. When, through the Gospel word applie: to their souls, the blood of Jesus washed them from sin, then, being “apright in heart,” they were “glad in the Lord,” and sang, yea, shouted, for joy. The singing of hymns in the public services, and in the private means of grace, was not sufficient for them : they sang together as a holy zeal inspired them, feeling that it was good for them, where two or three were gathered together, to praise as well as pray. There was, nevertheless, one other cause of this ardent love of psalınody among our ancestors. “Music for the million” was then unknown; and the sort most accessible to the lower classes were rough ballads and drunkards’ songs, or the psalm at the parish-church, drawled, or else roared, by ill-taught charity-children: or, occasionally, a Glee Society might be within their reach ; but this was a rare exception, never within the reach of the poorest. Now all were welcomed into “ the service of song," and sweet strains were lovingly enjoined upon those who would share the new happiness. Like every other distinguishing mark of living Christianity, this furnished an occasion of reproach, and was, perhaps, on that account cherished with all the earnest simplicity of a first love; many a time being itself an instrument of sustaining or re-awakeving that first love, when in danger from the rage of the evil one. A taste thus deeply cherished could not be expected to find sufficient exercise in the songs of the sanctuary, however fervent. As the recognised mercy and comfort of godliness followed the people to their homes, and pervaded the family and its social circle, so did the spirit of praise, inspired by the constant presence of religion. The Journals of the brothers—those of Mr. Charles Wesley especially-afford many lovely instances of its
exercise. Opening the first volume, in the course of fifty pages one meets with many refreshing entries ; only a few of which can be now enumerated. These open up to a thoughtful reader a profitable vein of reflection. They are taken almost at random; but they will serve to illustrate the delight which was then taken in social hymn-singing.
Vol. I., page 100, of Mr. Charles Wesley's Journal, we read of his meeting with three friends at Islington, falling into spiritual conversation, and receiving an account of the great blessing vouchsafed to one of them ; then rejoicing with them in singing and prayer, and leaving the rest of the company “much stirred up to wait for the same unspeakable gift.” At page 115 : “ We met, a troop of us, at Mr. Sims's. There was one Mrs. Harper there, who had this day received the Spirit by the hearing of faith, but feared to confess it. We sung the Hymn to Christ.' At the words,
•Who for me, for me hast died,'—
she burst into tears and outeries, “I believe, I believe !' and sunk down.” Then again, at page 131, we find him singing Hymns on Faith, when on a journey to Oxford. His conversation and prayers were blessed as the means of bringing a fellow-traveller to a knowledge of the love of God; and then, as he records, they sang and shouted all the way to Oxford.
Page 126 gives us a fourth insight: “ We were warmed by reading George Whitefield's Journal. I walked with Metcalf, &c., in great joy, wishing for a place to sing in, when a blacksmith stopped us. We turned into his house, sang a hymn, and went on our way rejoicing.”
Once more, at page 162, we find him singing in the garden with a little company of like-minded ones, while the sweetness of their melody draws others to them, to receive the benefit of instruction and prayer.- Many such records are to be found by anyone who will look for them. Would that they were sought after to be imitated by everyone who loves the memory of early Methodism!
For almost every circumstance of family life stanzas were provided by the consecrated muse of Charles Wesley. This is to be seen in his biography, and among the hymns published with his Journal. Hymns for a wedding, a journey, or meeting with a friend ; for a sick child, for the death of a child, for recovery, for one departing this life, for one preserved from special danger, for a safe return from travelling,—all these convey, respectively, his notes of praise, submission, and fervent prayer, couched in the most melodious verse. It must be borne in mind, that, all through his long career, Mr. Charles Wesley retained his early attachment to the Established Church. He loved it to the last, and did not fail to commemorate the great festivals of its kalendar by fit psalmody. Christmas, Easter, Ascension-Day, Whitsuntide, Trinity Sunday, are all celebrated in hymns expressly composed and published for them in the form of penny and twopenny tracts, which had, no doubt, a large circulation, and were extensively used in private. Intimately connected with these is an inter
esting volume, now very rarely seen, entitled, “Hymns for the Great Festivals.” For elegance of printing and engraving, this volume may vie with any similar publication of the present day. With six exceptions, the tunes are all minors, and the composition of John Frederic Lampe. This musician was converted under the ministry of Charles Wesley ; and, from being an infidel, and a composer in the service of CoventGarden Theatre, he became a devoted Christian, consecrating his glorious talent to the service of his Redeemer. The hymns on his conversion and his death are well known; and his name occurs several times in the course of the brothers' Journals. His elegant little quarto of Hymns for the Great Festivals is dated 1752 ; and from the character of the selections, and the printing of them at full length, although all of them were in the Hymn-Books in common use, we may suppose that it was intended primarily for home; the parlour, the drawing-room, the garden, or else where, -for any place in which hymns now superseded the
of Satan. It is worthy of special remark, that all the tunes except three are in minor keys, though mostly set to hymns of a joyous character; and this also gives us some idea of the amount of musical knowledge that must have been required for their correct execution. All fit judges will perceive that the mass of the Society must have acquired a wonderful proficiency to be able to sing, as their ordinary tunes, minor melodies that would be dismissed from nine-tenths of our modern chapels—by the partially educated, as utterly beyond their ability; and by the rest, possibly, as droning or dull. All Lampe's tunes demand one of two things before they can be properly enjoyed : either a knowledge of harmony, blended with a refined taste; or else a quick, willing ear, and a hearty love for the words sung. In Mr. Charles Wesley's and Mr. Lampe's immediate circle, these qualifications were doubtless possessed : hence the appreciation of a style of music far beyond our capabilities.
Among these Hymns for Festivals are seven Funeral Hymns. Strange festivals these would be considered in modern times. Do not we now sing these Funeral Hymns, as though their spirit were far above our reach, with voices checked by weeping and lamentation? Is this a festival? O, how do the memories of our ancestors reproach us! As they stood round a grave, or beside a coffin, there rolled
“ The tides of Music's golden sea,
Setting toward eternity.” They were ever ready to "give hearty thanks that it had pleased the Lord to deliver their brethren out of the miseries of this sinful world.” The Journals of both John and Charles afford many instances of thus triumphantly meeting the last enemy, and show how sincerely they carried out the spirit of the verse they often sang,—one which does not breathe mournful strains of the dark valley, and a trembling passage over the river, but keeps the eye and heart fixed upon the gates of the celestial city,“ having the glory of God, and her light like unto a stone most precious :".
“ Thither in all our thoughts we tend,
And still with longing eyes look up;
Our ready scouts of faith and hope,
More widely circulated, and better adapted for general use, the “Sacred Harmony" continued to be the standard tune-book until the end of the last century. But, when the Societies were deprived of Mr. Wesley's authoritative oversight, they began in this, as in some other things, to depart from his injunctions; and from that time we may date the declension of Methodist singing. Choirs and choir-leaders helped on the downward movement consequent upon the death of the first two generations of Methodists. A few of the third and fourth are still alive, to testify that their early times were better than ours in this respect, and that good many of the strictly Wesleyan tunes were still in use then. But every good thing depending on the children of men for its preservation, seems sure to be corrupted in course of time; and Methodist music sank steadily for forty years, till the level of Leach, Jarman, and Arnold was gradually reached, and most of the “ Societies” were kept at that low point. These authors have left us a grain or two of wheat in the pile of chaff and rubbish that bears their name; and their few good tunes should remind us to be thankful that we are emerging out of the state in which they placed us, although in many country districts they still reign, to the prejudice of all good music. Fugues, coarse adaptations of secular melodies, and, worst of all,“ original compositions” of the choirleaders, aided the destruction of pure Methodist taste; and only within the last twenty years has it begun feebly to revive. Choir-leaders, doing that which was right in their own eyes, were a race almost unknown in Mr. Wesley's days. The Preachers were instruoted to pitch the tunes themselves, or else to choose two or three men in every place to perform that office for them. This implied the observance of another direction, that the Preachers should select their own tunes, with a view to avoid everything tending to mar the service of God by unsuitableness or comic effect. The leaders of the present day are, however, a vast improvement on some of their predecessors, who introduced original compositions, fifth or sixth rate music, which they liked and adopted merely from personal reasons. These, though occasion. ally pretty well adapted to the hymns they were originally made for, have been adopted by the choir and sung indiscriminately to any hymn of the same metre. This has been a very productive source of evil : but a more serious one is found in the unfitness of two-thirds of modern choir-leaders for their post. Many of them are valuable office-bearers in the church, men of influence or standing, who, having obtained the office almost by accident, have retained it when disqualified by bodily infirmity, or ignorance of anything but the music of their younger days, when the three authors above mentioned, with others of the same calibre, reigned