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as if we understood him to say, “Let us continue the worship of God, by hearing the choir sing the - hymn.” It may be said by way of apology, that the people who hear the sound, and make melody in their hearts,” worship as effectually, as if they actually sang. But we very much doubt whether the hearts of the congregations, have any thing to do with the performance. We have often observed with pain, that the utmost indifference prevails, while the hymn is singing. We doubt whether it is not from beginning to end, a tasteless and heartless mockery. It is the duty of the whole congregation to join with voice, as well as with heart. We have had enough of pretensions to science. Nevertheless, let there be a choir, and let them sing as scientifically as they please, but let the whole church join them. We venture to say that the music would be improved by it. At all events we do not think it could be made worse. A more universal taste for music would grow up, and this part of the service would become, as it was in the primitive church, a matter of the heart, and not merely of the ear.
It is for these and other reasons that we approve of the practice of the Methodist churches. We there see the popular influence of music, in its most interesting form. In a mixed congregation of the less artificial and fashionable, great excitement of the religious feelings, always pours itself fourth in music. When the voice of a popular preacher has, in its natural eloquence, humbled them in sorrow, or cheered them with hope--or agitated them with remorse, or filled them with gratitude to God, it pauses only to be echoed by a mightier sound, the united voices of a thousand hearts, pouring forth their high-wrought emotions in the simple language of poetry and music. What other language could they utter? It is the only way in which they can speak together. We do not approve of the paroxysms which sometimes take place at these meetings;—but how often have we heard and gloried in the sound of a thousand united voices ascending by one common impulse of adoration and gratitude! making no pretensions to science, but simply singing for the hearts' sake, they are not thinking of bars and rests, but of the majesty of God, and the glory of his religion. Yet we have heard fashionable musicians criticize this part of the Methodist worship, as if it were merely a musical performance! Alas that the profession of music should thus narrow down the contemplation of its great end, as a part of our nature, intellectualize it into a mere science, and reduce all its natural and moral beauty to a cold standard of studied rules! Such criticism we despise. How
far beyond its petty jurisdiction is the simple language of the heart-yet how apt it is to intermeddle with what never was intended to be its subject! It would make us despise song which is not scientific, though it soothe and lighten the heart of the singer:—though it gladden the long task of the laborer, or cheer the heavy task of the poor:-though it speak with a mighty pathos of multitudes bowed in penitence, or exulting in the joy of redemption.
It is this spirit of fashionable criticism, which has destroyed the music of our churches, only to substitute in its place, that awful and incomprehensible thing called choir music; which has neither the merit of feeling or of science; and we must say, that if churches have really abandoned singing as a part of worship, and yet irreverently retain a little of it as a recreation, or merely for forms sake, they have most effectually punished themselves.*
Art. X.-DR. LIEBER'S LETTERS. Letters to a gentleman in Germany, written after a trip from
Philadelphia to Niagara. Edited by Francis Lieber; Carey, Lea and Blanchard, 1834.
This is both an amusing and instructive volume, and we recommend it to the attention of those who love the unconstrained, epistolary style of writing. The entire absence of method and arrangement is indeed its fault. In fact, it treats of no particular subject, and we see the title cautiously avoids all limitation of topic. It does not profess to be a book of travels-neither indeed is it one. It does not profess to have any author, only an editor-he, to be sure, is a responsible person.
From its being written to a gentleman in Germany, we are authorized in surmising that it may contain matters interesting and novel to such an one-from its being written after a trip from Philadelphia to Niagara, we may conjecture that matters lying between those two points shall furnish at least the basis of its observations. But even these moderate demands are not complied with;-much in the book is not addressed to the German gentleman (of straw?), but at once to the American audience and quite as much of the volume relates to European scenes, and incidents, as to America. This miscellaneous and rambling character, appears to us a real
To be continued in Number 3.
fault in the work. Bishop Berkeley's essay on Tar-water, which, beginning with Tar-water, ended with the Trinity, does not appear to us, a very happy literary model. We have enough of the news-paper sort of reading already, in newspapers, Penny Magazines, Popular Libraries, &c. We have a right to expect in a book of the respectable size and appearance of the one before us, a more systematic form, and closer discussion. However, having eased our critical consciences by this reproof; we may further say, that the book is not without its unity. The actual working of the American system—the bad and good tendencies of our state of society-this forms the real subject of these letters; and the views are frequently original, generally profound, always liberal and friendly.
We have long wished to see a book of travels in America, written by an intelligent German. It seems almost an impossible thing for an English mirror to cast a true reflection of America. How can an Englishman put himself into an historical attitude? Bred up to party-having had party doctrines inculcated from his cradle-each man among them must look at our institutions, and character, through a convex or concave lens;-he must see all things magnified or diminished. Such is the fact-we blame not Captain Hall and Major Hamilton for looking at us through tory glasses, any more than we blame a man for being near-sighted—but such is the fact. Each man looks at the facts before him, through the medium of his particular creed or theory-and sees only what goes to prove it.
From various causes, obvious enough, the German is more free from such prejudices-he is therefore generally much better fitted to make correct observations on foreign countries. They are generally accurate, discriminating, liberal.
We are free to confess, that of áll Travels we have ever read—those of Prince Púckler Muskau in England seem to us the best. Although perhaps not quite just to Englandthey are full of generous views, and minute observationremarks which penetrate below the surface--and reflections springing from a mind highly gifted by Nature, and well formed by a knowledge of books and contact with men. A rumor has been spread that this gentleman is now travelling in this country, incognito. We hope it is so—a volume on America from such a pencil, would be invaluable.
In the mean time, the letters before us, remind us strongly of the spirit and style of those celebrated travels. They are written by one who resembles the Prince Muskau in several
respects. He has the true German integrity, and piety of sentiment—an honest love of truth—and a sincere respect for every thing lofty and sacred. These best traits of the German character, our author possesses. But, in addition to these, there is a practical habit of mind, not usual with the German. The abstract, and theoretical, usually overbalance the active part of the mind, and destroy its equilibrium. But our author, and the German Prince, are both men of the World, as well as “Men of Feeling.” We mean in the good sense, they are men of the World—they have learnt by an extensive travel, and various adventures—by a contact with rough Life, and Reality, to pay attention to the how, as well as to the what. They have learnt to act with reference to the peculiarities of men, and things, around them, and this, for a German, is no easy lesson. A Frenchman can adapt himself in a moment, with an easy versatility to the state of things around him—not so a German.
We must confess now, to our readers, that we have not taken these views of the author's character, wholly from the book before us. The writer of this article, happened last summer, to get into a stage, in the beautiful city of Rochester, bound to Utica. He had just came from Niagara, the sound of its waters was in his ears, and the rich green and white masses of its living torrent, made pictures in his imagination. He had just shaken hands and bid farewell to a pleasant party, with whom three day's sojourn had made him intimate, and to part from friends is by no means an exhilerating event. So he sat himself doggedly down, in a corner of the coach, determined to think over the past two or three days, and not trouble himself about the present. But the conversation of his neighbor on the front seat, soon roused him. This stranger seemed to be a man who had seen, and learned much, and was ready to see and learn a good deal more. He too had just came from Niagara, and his observations showed that he was not accustomed to do things by halves—he had made himself perfectly familiar with every part of the wondrous scene. Although not apparently more than thirty, he had travelled much, and learnt to know the manners of many nations. He had been in the battle of Waterloo_fought in Greece-studied in Rome—had enjoyed a personal acquaintance with many distinguished men, far and near. Yet, with all this, his manner was so easy and natural, that it was impossible not to be familiar with him, and I wondered that I did not pay more respect to a man who had seen and done so much. Enough-I travelled with him three days or more
saw Auburn-Utica—and Trenton Falls in his society-was much instructed and improved by his manner of observation —and parted in New-York city, with regret. Undoubtedly he is the author of this book. But I will not betray his name, since he chooses to conceal it.
We extract the following passage, in which he speaks of
TRAVELLERS IN AMERICA.
“It is easy to take a passage in Liverpool for New-York, to enjoy the aromatic rolls at breakfast, to go about and philosophise on every handbill, generalize every straw, explain every push you may get in a bustling street, by the elementary principles of the government under which the society around you lives; to deliver letters of recommendation, and see how they operate; to talk about jolting stages, and chewing passengers; to meditate on a baby and a hog; to deplore the want of wigs on the bench, or pronounce a wise opinion on the number of copies of the fathers of the church in the United States, or sweepingly to declare all New-England inhabited by wretches prostrated before Mammon, their only God;-but to speak sensibly of a people, and their institutions; to let the guessing and chewing a moment rest, and occupy ourselves with matters of substantial value; to treat them with becoming attention, and not in a flimsy, flippant way, calculated to catch the wary, not to gain the thinking, is, I say by no means impossible; yet not very easy. It requires thinking, patience, a manly calmness, and some pains-requisites not as often met with, as the extraordinary faculty enjoyed by some who can throw off a book as readily as the deer throws off yearly, its antlers.”
He is very happy at description. The sketch of the Beautiful Albanian, (p. 86.) is very interesting—the whole chapter of adventures, before and after the battle of Waterloo (p. 99.) is written with much spirit and feeling. The description of New-York city as seen in approaching it, we will extract, and also a picture of a North River boat departing.If the Ohio boats would only be as punctual to their hours!
“I will now describe the approach to New-York city, by water, from Philadelphia. About three quarters of a mile off from CastleGarden, a prospect presents itself, or rare beauty and interest: you have at once before you, a view up the wide and noble Hudson, with its high and majestic bank to the West, and the numerous masts along its Eastern bank, down toward the sea, over the quarantine ground, and the beautiful bay, out to where the sharp line of the horizon bounds the chain of vision; whilst the charming and well-wharfed battery lies right before you, with its regular walks, and fine foliage, through which may be seen a crescent of neat houses, and close alongside, innumerable masts on the western side of the Sound, while, on the eastern shore, rises a steep bank crowded with the houses of a busy sister