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is possible that the difference in provincial accent may account for this. But after making due allowance for these accidental circumstances, it will be admitted that in every village sufficient material is at hand to form an average choir; it is a matter of training which must determine whether such a choir shall be good or indifferent; according to the pains bestowed in teaching so will the result be. When one comes across a bad choir the fault is pretty sure to rest with the trainer; so great an improvement has been wrought in the last twenty years that we are compelled to ask ourselves the question, how much further improvement remains to be carried out?
After all these suggestions have been adopted no church choir can be satisfactory unless the singing is conducted in a reverent spirit. If a service is rendered for effect only, there will be an indescribable want of earnestness which ruins all; mere lip service can never be any addition to devotion. There is an undoubted tendency, when frequent musical services are held, to regard the part of the choir as a matter of mechanical business, and this is a grievous fault which should be carefully guarded against.
We must add a few words as to the Gregorian tones, which as the ancient inheritance of the Church cannot be passed over, although it is our decided opinion that Gregorian music is unsuitable for a village choir; there are nevertheless a few simple rules which it is necessary to observe if Gregorian should be in use. As with Anglican chants, the words should above all things be distinct; the time must vary according to the occasion; thus the 150th Psalm should be sung joyously, with a great swing, if I may use the expression. The 51st Psalm, on the other hand, "Have mercy upon me, O GOD, after Thy great goodness,” must be taken slowly and with feeling. So with the rest of the Psalms, according to the sentiment expressed, must the reading be given. The organist must be sure the body of voices are absolutely in tune, or the effect is trying. I think a Gregorian sung flat is about the worst fault which can be suggested in music. It is better to divide the choir into Decani and Cantoris, if the number of voices is sufficient to admit of this, otherwise it will be found a severe tax on the individual voices. As with Anglican chanting, never pass over a mistake in the pointing at practice. Precision is everything in unison singing, and a slovenly way of reading the pointing, a fault which once acquired will not easily be eradicated. As a boy, I remember many a wearisome half-hour under the able tuition of Mr. R. Redhead, for a mistake was never over.
looked; it was tedious at times, but I now thank him for the care which made his choir, at that time, one of the best in London for Gregorian singing.
The term Gregorian Music may be understood in different ways, that is, Gregorians in one sense imply the various tones attributed to Pope Gregory in the sixth century, or in a wider sense a similar style of music, either of earlier date or composed by followers of the school. For instance, the setting of the Te Deum, known as the Ambrosian, is essentially Gregorian in character, yet it was written as early as the fourth century, probably by S. Ambrose of Milan. The Gregorian proper consists of eight tones, some of which have several different endings, which were set for the Psalter by Gregory the Great. It is said the original number of tones was fourteen, but that it was found necessary to reduce them to eight on account of the violation of fundamental rules of Church music. Every scale must possess a perfect fifth and fourth, and thus it was discovered that fourteen scales could not be produced from the seven notes A to G, for two out of the fourteen contained a false fifth and a false fourth respectively, this reduced the number to twelve. Four out of the twelve were found to be mere transpositions of others, so we have eight correct tones left to us, to which it is impossible any additions can be made. The difference in these eight tones is in the position of the semi-tones in each scale, and the following table is sufficient to show the position of each tone.
It will be seen on examination that each tone is a fourth below the one before it, and that each scale comprises a perfect fifth and a perfect fourth. But if we can only have eight legitimate tones with their several endings, it is possible to have an immense amount of music
which is essentially Gregorian in character. Even in modern days we find writers imitating the early style, as in Mr. Walker's Missa de Angelis, in which there is all the crudeness of the Gregorian school. The setting of the Nicene Creed by Merbeck, one of the most favourable specimens of church music of its kind, may be also included in this school.
Real Gregorian has always been written on four lines, only two kinds of notes being commonly used, viz., ■; the first a square note, the second diamond, the latter half the length of the square note. It was the universal custom to sing Gregorian chants in unison, a rule which apparently has been violated by modern writers; it is not uncommon now to hear harmonized Gregorians set by Dr. Stainer, Helmore, and others. For a large body of voice the unison singing has a grand effect. Who indeed having heard the Parisian tone sung by a body of forty voices could wish to have the same harmonized! it is a mistake to consider that the unison Gregorian singing is easy, it is by no means So. In village choirs Anglican chants are infinitely preferable; four or five boys and a couple of men's voices will make very poor work of a Gregorian tone. If, however, Gregorian music should be used by small choirs, there are two collections of the tones which stand preeminent,—Helmore's and Redhead's; for the pointing and clear division of words I prefer Redhead's book, although it is a little more difficult to learn accurately than Helmore's Psalter. The latter collection is by far the most widely used.
THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD.
EPHESIANS VI. 13—18.
It is in S. Paul's Epistles that we find the clearest teaching of the New Testament on the doctrine of Justification by Faith; but how little this Apostle valued that faith without works which "is dead being alone," may be seen by reading the concluding chapter or chapters of his Epistles. Here we have what would now be called a “practical application" made with an "enthusiasm of humanity" that could only have been kindled by the Light of the World, the true Lover of men. Having stated in his letters the positive truth that God had revealed
to him, and endeavoured to drive away the errors which he saw "bewitching" his children in the Gospel, S. Paul almost always ends these letters with words to this effect, " If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." No Christian virtue after Charity was more dwelt upon by the Apostle of the Gentiles than Faith, but full of earnestness himself, he knew that "the great atheists indeed are hypocrites; which are ever handling holy things, but without feeling, so as they must needs be cauterised in the end."
Let us take the last chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, and think over the application contained in it. The heading of our version runs thus: "The duty of children towards their parents, of servants towards their masters. Our life is a warfare, not only against flesh and blood, but also spiritual enemies. The complete armour of a Christian, and how it ought to be used." The complete armour of a Christian, how much it is needed! It would have been only waste of time for S. Paul to tell the Ephesians to do their duty in all relations of life, if he had not pointed out to them a very present help. Your life, he says, is a warfare; but be very courageous, Christian, for every weapon you stand in need of, may be found in the armoury of the Captain of your Salvation. May none of us have to say as David said to Saul, "I cannot go with these, for I have not proved them!"
Every telling preacher is a close observer. He is a seer who lets no illustration escape him. That S. Paul's description of the Christian armour should be so graphic is only natural, considering the circumstances of the writer. "c He was in the midst of the Prætorian Guards, the élite of the Roman army, a body of men raised far more conspicuously above the legions than our Guards, or even the French Imperial Guard, are above the regiments of the line. But not only was he in the midst of them, seeing them continually, and hearing daily all the sounds of barrack life, but he was fastened to one of these Guardsmen while he dictated the letter, and he felt the chain on his wrist while he affixed his signature."
We turn now to the regulation catalogue of a Christian soldier's equipments. S. Paul enumerates six articles, of which five are intended for purposes of defence, while only one is offensive, for attacking. First we have the belt, which is Truth, "having your loins girt about with truth." Of King Messiah the prophet Isaiah had foretold that 'righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness"-the word is truth in the Septuagint-" the girdle of His reins." Lord
Bacon says that "the inquiry of Truth, which is the love-making or wooing of it; the knowledge of Truth, which is the presence of it; and the belief of Truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature." How few of us even when we do not speak lies are true in act and to ourselves! Is not this the case because we live more to please public opinion, which can only judge of outward acts, than to please Him, "unto Whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from Whom no secrets are hid ?" To say that a man lies, is to say that he is daring towards GOD, and a coward towards men. S. Paul did not mean by this belt any mere ornamental girdle, but a very strong girding apparatus, made of leather, and covered with metal plates, and fastened tightly. It was of essential use to the soldier for the purpose of safety, and especially for the sake of standing firmly. It was to the Roman soldier exactly what Truth is to the soldier of CHRIST. Truth is the bond of character, and however many may be our faults we shall not greatly fall, so long as He who is the Truth enables us to scorn Antichrist the essence of falsehood.
We have next described for us the cuirass or shield, which is Righteousness. In his first letter to the Thessalonians, S. Paul says more definitely that the breastplate is "faith and love," nor is there any genuine righteousness when these two principles are absent. Of course the Apostle was thinking of what Isaiah had said of Messiah, that "He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head."
In the Crimean war our soldiers suffered terribly because they were supplied by roguish contractors with shoes so badly made that the soles fell off after being worn for one or two days. Nor can a Christian soldier do much if he be badly shod. Let, says the Apostle, the preparation (or prompt ready movement of the Gospel) become as it were shoes for your feet. "The Roman soldiers were all on the alert in obeying orders to carry into every nation the miseries of war. The like alacrity ought to be shown by us in our obedience to our Captain; and no slip-shod indolence ought to make us slow in moving on this happy errand of Peace."
Above all, taking the shield of Faith," we should perhaps understand these words literally 99 66 over all," on the outside of all," rather than meaning "especially," more important than all." The Roman shield referred to was very large. It covered and protected the whole body. When a man has enthroned the LORD JESUS CHRIST as King of