« AnteriorContinuar »
of voices. Indeed the principle is attested and confirmed by the grand performances of the present age, so greatly and skilfully conducted of late years to the astonishment of the hearers. Magnitude of sound will strike ,the mind as well as sweetness of harmony; and this is one reason why we are all so affected with the sound of thunder, to which the sound of a great multitude may well be compared.. Thus it comes to pass in the union of Christians: the joy and peace of every individual increases in proportion as charity is diffused and multiplied in the church.
But there is another sense in which charity is promoted by music. This happens on those occasions, when music is promoted with a charitable intention. Very considerable sums are raised from the contributions of those who come to be treated with sacred harmony. The poor are fed, the sick arc healed, and many good works are carried forward. Blessed be the art, which from the hands and hearts of the wealthy and the honourable, can draw relief for the poor and needy! The widows and orphans of the poor clergy of this church were the first objects relieved through the medium of church music:
and and let us hope they will rather be gainers than losers by all improvements in this way: for they who are related to the church have, undoubtedly, a priority of claim upon the music of the church.
I am now, lastly, to remind both my hearers and myself, that all our observations upon this subject will be to no purpose, unless from the use of divine music, and its effect upon us, we learn to aspire to the felicity of heaven, of which it gives us a foretaste. While we are in this lower state, there is no vehicle like sound for lifting the soul upwards toward the eternal source of glory and harmony. We may conceive of the spirit of man as riding on the wings of Psalmody to the celestial regions, whereto its own powers could never transport it. A great admirer and practitioner of sacred music, who was also a man of great piety and devotion, was present at a grand church performance, with which he felt his mind so vrapt and elevated, that in describing the sensation afterwards, he made use of this emphatical expression—/ thought I should haiie gone out of the body *. O what a place would this world be, were it our only employment thus to be rising upwards towards heaven, to
* The late Rer. Sir John Dolben.
K 4 visit visit God with our hearts and affections, adoring his greatness, and delighted with his goodness! but this we can attain to only by uncertain intervals: the corruptible body will soon recall the soul from its heavenly flights. How high soever it may mount, on certain occasions, it must descend again to the wants and weaknesses and sorrows of mortality; as the lark, from its loftiest song in the air, drops to its lowly residence upon the ground. However, what we do enjoy must make us wish for more. What then have we to do, but to fit ourselves for that society, which praise God Avithout interruption in his own glorious presence, and rest not day or night?
When that heavenly scenery is described to us in the Revelation—" 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, Alleluia, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth! let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him!" Who. can read these words without a desire to add his own voice to that multitude, and to sing as a member of that kingdom, in which the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth! How must the soul be filled with that immense chorus of men and angels, to which the loudest
and and mightiest thunder shall add dignity without terror, and be reduced to the temper of an accompaniment!
God of his infinite mercy give us grace so to pray, and so to sing, and so to live, in this short time of our probation, that we may be admitted into the celestial choir, where with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, and with sounds as yet unheard and unconceived, Avc may laud and magnify the adorable name of God ; ascribing to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, into whose name and worship we were baptized upon earth, all honour, glory, power, might, majesty and dominion lor ever aoid ever. Amen.
FEAR GOD. 1 PETER II. 17.
AT AN is led to the fear of God by a wise consideration of his power in the creation and preservation of the world, and the justice with which he governs it now, and will judge it hereafter.
By this fear man is distinguished from the beasts of the field; which are fearfully and wonderfully made, but Have no apprehension of the power which formed them: they are fed by the hand of God, but are insensible of his bounty: they are governed by him, and observe his laws, but know not their lawgiver. But the view of man extends to that invisible power which made and sustains the world: he sees that hand \t\\\c\\ filleth all things living •with ^knteoumess; and expects retribution