Imágenes de páginas

unsuitable to the solemnity of religion, purified and separated from the corruptions by which it had long been disfigured and obscured. I am not maintaining that these views were in all respects correct, but am stating them only as the probable causes of the aversion of the Scotish people from instrumental music in divine service.

But these were afterwards corroborated by other circumstances of an adventitious character, Scotland was reformed by presbyters, and its church from its very origin adopted the presby. terian government, discipline, and worship. These were, indeed, during a certain period forced to give place to episcopacy, but at the revolution they were restored, and have remained ever since. The great body of the people entertained from the reformation an invincible repugnance to Episcopacy and all its appendages. The Episcopal Protestant church established in England retained the use of the organ in public worship, while the Presbyterian reformed church of Scotland rejected it. Hence in the minds of the Scotish Presbyterians, an association of ideas was formed by which the use of that instrument in churches was connected with Episcopacy itself, This connexion rested on no national ground; for in the Presbyterian churches on the continent the organ was never disused. It is constantly employed whenever a congregation can afford the expensé attendant on the use of the instrument, and the noblest organ in Europe is in a Presbyterian church, namely, the great church of Haarlem.“ Now, while such association of ideas existed, it is evident, that whatever contributed to rivet on the minds of the Scots, their aversion from episcopacy, would, at the same time, tend to strengthen their repugnance to instrumental music in diyine service. But this double effect was certainly produced by the attempts of the Stuarts, after the succession of James VI. of Scotland to the. English throne, to introduce, by violence and arbitrary measures, episcopacy into Scotland, as the established and predominant form of religion, The cruel and bloody persecutions which the Scotish presbyterians underwent in the reigns of Charles II. and of his brother James, who was compelled to abandon the throne of the three kingdoms, exasperated to a high degree, as was most natural, their repugnance to episcopacy, and, in an equal measure, increased and confirmed their attachment to the presbyterian church, which the reformation had established in their country. These horrid persecutions cannot be disguised or palliated by the ill-applied ridicule of certain popular tales, and must be abhorred by every honest, feeling, and manly heart. The memory of them will never be obliterated in Scotland. They are recorded in the faithful page of history, and will be transmitted to the most remote posterity, together with the other attempts of those arbitrary and despotic princes to annihilate civil and religious liberty in the British isles.

a The number of pipes belonging to this magnificent instrument is astonishing. I cannot venture to state them. I believe that three organs of the same magnitude were constructed by the same artist : that of Haarlem ; another erected in a church at Mentz ; and a third, which is placed in some cther town of Germany,

That despotic dynasty is gone. May the prin ciples of government which they attempted to establish never be revived, under any

form or disguise, in our country!

The causes which I have above stated appear to me to have chiefly produced the aversion of the Scotish presbyterians from instrumental music in public worship. I have already observed, that the connexion which they have generally supposed to exist between the use of the organ and episcopacy is erroneous; but, till this connexion be dissolved in the minds of the generality of the people, which can be done only by degrees, I suspect that instrumental music will not be introduced into the Scotish church, without wounding the religious feelings of a great part of the community. After all, it is certainly not a matter of essential importance. Sacred worship has been performed in the church of Scotland, without instrumental music, as effectually, to say the least, for the moral and religious improvement of the people, as in those churches in which

it is employed. I should consider it as some addition to the musical part of the service, but, for the sake of that addition, could never consent to risk, much less to sacrifice, matters infinitely more important. I might here adopt the words of the apostle, in regard to another subject, thus fitted to the present: If an organ make my brother to offend, I will use no organ while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.* I would not wish to be rash or uncharitable; but I cannot help suspecting that some who are zealous for the introduction of instrumental music in our churches, are fully as desirous of the gratification of their ears as of their advancement in piety."

In order to the maintenance of true religion, it is necessary that its doctrines should be elucidated and recommended, and its precepts be explained and enforced by all the cogency



a 1 Cor. viii. 13.

b My judicious, learned, and acute predecessor, Dr. Campbell, gave, with respect to this point, as he did with regard to many others, the most exact representation of the question. When I came first to Aberdeen, I found, among the congregation in which I succeeded him in the duty of preaching, after his resignation, one party zealous for an organ in the church, and another as zealous in opposition to it. I was asked if I objected to its introduction, and answered that I did not, if it occasioned no separation; for 1 had been officiating eighteen years in the English presbyterian church at Utrecht, where we had an organ. When I stated to the Doctor, who was then confined to his house by indisposition, what was going on, he replied, Well, well, I like a tune, but, for a tune, I would not burn a house. I perfectly agreed with him. The organ controversy was dropped.

ment, and all the legitimate attractions of persuasion. This can be done with the greatest effect chiefly in religious assemblies. When men are congregated in large bodies, addresses to them acquire peculiar energy from the sympathetic part of our constitution. The glow of religion is then communicated from breast to breast; its impressions are confirmed ; its aspect is irradiated with celestial light; its powers are invigorated ; and the ties by which it binds society on earth are drawn more closely by the hand of heaven. Religious instruction and exhortation must therefore always constitute a most important branch of public worship. Without these, a considerable part of the people would remain in complete ignorance of religious subjects, and even many who are better informed in regard to other matters, would be deprived of the principal means of their religious information. Piety would in fact gradually vanish, or degenerate into gross superstition, or extravagant fanaticism. As man is much affected by sensible objects, and, by means of his organs of perception, receives the elements of his knowledge ; as he is susceptible of vivid impressions through the imaginative faculty ; it follows that true religion must also be addressed to these parts of his constitution. Hence, external rites and ceremonies are rendered necessary. But as human nature is not surrendered wholly to the impressions of

« AnteriorContinuar »