Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

so long continuance. And only great variety of metrical character—even the occurrence of occasional discords—can furnish the similitude of life. When one goes to the Opera, one must be content to leave common sense at the door, and to take for granted that all that passes shall go on the basis of an extreme conventionality. But in the case of a tragedy, if the writing and the presentation be worthy, the spectator should forget that he is not looking at reality. The author of Oulita has kept this in view. Yet while remembering that unvaried melody of rhythm would result in satiety and tediousness, no one knows better how to add the charm of music to thoughts with which it accords: Very beautifully, in the lines which follow, have we Mr. Thackeray's ever recurring theory of the prevalence of the affections even in the trimness of modern life:—

So dear that in the memory she remains,
Like an old love, who would, indeed, have been
Our only love, but died; and all the past
Is full of her untried perfections, while
Amidst the unknown recesses of our hearts
Enthroned she sits, in tenderest mist of thought,
Like the soft brilliancy of autumn haze,
Seen at the setting of the sun : and such
Is Venice—to pronounce her name is sweet,
Just as I love to say the word “Oulita.”

[ocr errors][merged small]

& EPUBLICANS are born, not made,’ says the

lively author of Kaloolah ; and so, we have long held, are those persons who may be called trueblue or divine-right Presbyterians. A certain preponderance of the sterner elements, a certain lack of capacity of emotion, and disregard of the influence of associations,—in brief, a certain hardness of character to be found chiefly in Scotland, is needed to make your out-and-out follower of the bold, honest, but narrow Covenanters. The great mass of the educated members of the Church of Scotland have no pretensions to the name of divine-right Presbyterians: Balfour of Burley would have scouted them; their fundamental principle is briefly this : that Presbytery suits the Scotch people best; and Prelacy the English: each system having just as much and just as little inspired authority as the other. Dr. Candlish’s book reminds us that out-and-out holders of views which have quietly dropt into abeyance in most Scotch minds, are still to be found in the northern part of this island. In arguing with such, we feel a peculiar difficulty. We have no ground in common. Things which appear to us as self-evident axioms, they flatly deny. For instance, it appears to us just as plain as that two and two make four, that, a church should be something essentially different in appearance from an ordinary dwelling; that there is a peculiar sanctity about the house of God, making tea-parties and jocular addresses in it unutterably revolting ; that the worship of God should be made as solemn in itself as possible, and as likely as possible to impress the hearts of the worshippers; that if music be employed in the worship of God, it should be the best music to be had ; and that if there be a noble instrument especially adapted to the performance of sacred music, with something in its very tones that awes the heart and wakens devotional feeling, that is beyond all question the instrument to have in our churches. Now all this the true-blue Covenanter at once denies. He holds that all that is required of a church is protection from the weather, with seat-room, and, perhaps, ventilation; he denies that any solemnised feeling is produced by noble architecture, or that the Gothic vault is fitter for a church than for a factory; he drinks tea, eats cookies, applauds with hands and feet, and roars with laughter in church, with no sense of incongruity; he taboos Christmas-day, with all its gentle and gracious remembrances; he maintains that the barest of all Y

* The Organ Question : Statements by Dr. Ritchie and Dr. Porteous for and against the Use of the Organ in Public Worship, in the Proceedings of the Presbytery of Glasgow, 1807–8. With an Introductory Notice, by Robert S. Candlish, D.D. Edinburgh. 1850.

worship is likeliest to be true spiritual service; he holds that there is something essentially evil and sinful in the use of an organ in church ; that the organ is ‘a portion of the trumpery which ignorance and superstition had foisted into the house of God;’ that to introduce one is to ‘convert a church into a concert-room,' and “to return back to Judaism ;’ and that “the use of instrumental music in the worship of God is neither lawful, nor expedient, nor edifying.” We confess that we do not know how to argue with men who honestly hold these views. The things which they deny appear to us so perfectly plain already, that no argument can make them plainer. If any man say to us, ‘I don’t feel in the least solemnised by the noble cathedral and the pealing anthem,’ all we can reply is simply, “Then you are different from human beings in general ;’ but it is useless to argue with him. If you argue a thesis at all, you can argue it only from things less liable to dispute than itself; and in the case of all these matters attached to Presbytery, though not forming part of its essence, this is impossible. Whenever we have had an argument with an old impracticable Presbyterian, we have left off with the feeling that some people are born such ; and if so, there is no use in talking to them. But all these notions to which allusion has been made, are attached to Presbytery by vulgar prejudice; they form no part of its essence, and enlightened Presbyterians now-a-days are perfectly aware of the fact. There is no earthly connexion in the nature of things * The Organ Question, pp. 108, 125, 128, &c.

between Presbyterian Church-government and flatroofed meeting-houses, the abolition of the seasons of the Christian year,” a bare and bald ritual, a tuneless “precentor” howling out of all time, and a congregation joining as musically as the frogs in Aristophanes. The educated classes in Scotland have for the most part come to see this ; and in the large towns, even among the most rigid of Dissenters, we find church-like places of worship, decent singing, and the entire service conducted with propriety. And one of the marked signs of vanishing prejudice is, that a general wish is springing up for the introduction of that noble instrument, so adapted to church music, the organ. Things have even gone so far that the principal ecclesiastical court of a considerable Scotch dissenting denomination, has left it to be decided by each congregation for itself, whether it will have an organ or not. And several dissenting ministers of respectable standing and undoubted Presbyterianism, are pushing the matter strongly. We should have fancied that men of sense in North Britain would have been pleased to find that there is a prospect of the organ being generally introduced: and this upon the broad ground that church music would thus be made more solemn, more worthy of God’s worship, more likely to awaken devotional feeling. We should have fancied that there was no

* We happened once to be in Dr. Cumming's church on an EasterSunday, and found that the prayers and sermon were as fill of reference to the season as the service for the day in the Prayer Book; perhaps

more SO.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »