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Plagiarisms-Church Music and Bible Music.

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burden of solemn meaning in the sacred Word, and while under its influence, employed all the resources of his art to convey that meaning through the sense to the soul. Dr. Crysander has pointed out, that while all composers of sacred music before Handel wrote for the Church, he wrote for the Bible. He inherited from his mother a reverence for the Bible. That he was thoroughly familiar with its contents there is abundant proof. 'I have read my Bible well,' said he, when the Bishop of London sent him some passages as the text for the Coronation Anthems, and will choose for myself.' During the composition of the Messiah, he was absorbed in the deep significance of the words on which it was based, and he was found poring over some of them with tears in his eyes. And it is when in immediate contact with these holy words that he rises, as if by a contagious inspiration, to those supreme summits of sublimity which were inaccessible to him when dealing with Scripture histories, parodied at second hand, mainly from French sources, by the Humphreys, Hamiltons, and Morells, who wrote his metrical texts. And when we are borne by ardours so directly kindled at the source of Divine truth to these mountain tops, where a fervid faith is made to hear the ascriptions of the 'multitude whom no man can number,' that we lose sight even of the composer himself, and regard only the great Revelation which shines through and above him. In the very order and gradation with which Handel approached his master-work of Christian art there is remarkable evidence of his close relation to the Bible. That order corresponds in the main with the order of the dispensations recorded in the sacred books. His first Te Deum, the Chandos Anthems, and the choral parts of Esther, Deborah, and other works, culminating in Israel, are full of the spirit of the Old Testament, as distinguished from the New. Mingled with all their grandeur there is a certain degree of unrest, of militant energy and human passion, as if the worship of the Lord of Hosts were leavened with a perpetual defiance of His enemies. This, as a dominant tendency, seems to have finally spent itself in the triumphant chant evoked by the fate of the Horse and his Rider.' In the Messiah, composed when Handel's personal affliction and restoration had their time to do their work in the recesses of his mind, another spirit arose in divine harmony with that of the New Testament; and though the composer afterwards treated subjects from the Jewish history, and was too much of a man and an artist to suppress in them one iota of any timely zeal of battle, there was henceforth a subtle infusion of the new spirit, bringing with it a tender grace, a pathos, and a calmness of faith unknown before.

It is not to be hoped, amidst existing diversities of culture, that we shall not be judged by some to have assigned too high an importance to these, or to any possible embodiments of religious truth in musical forms. It need imply no disrespect to the habits and temperaments which so largely help to form judgments of this kind, if we decline to reason with them. They will certainly not be confirmed by many persons amongst the thousands who will be listening to the noblest works of Handel while our comments on them are passing through the press.

The 'Life of Handel,' by M. Schoelcher, is curious as the production of an enthusiastic political refugee, knowing nothing of musical science, from a martial nation which knows nothing of Handel, except 'See, the conquering hero comes!' The book appeared two years before the Handel Centenary in 1859, and did much to widen an intelligent interest in that event. The field was still open for a critical biography, and this want is being well supplied in the work of Dr. Chrysander, the learned secretary of the German Handel Society. The third volume, which was promised for 1861, has not yet reached us; but the two first volumes, bringing the narrative down to 1740, are notable specimens of German thoroughness and critical acumen. The errors of previous writers go down in great shocks before the sickle, and the story of Handel is finally cleared of heaps of traditionary trash. The collation of the two biographies shows, further, the advantage possessed by a cultivated musician in such a labour. That our own historians of the great composer are superseded by a Frenchman and a German does not seem to us a matter for regret. There is room on this grave for immortelles and Denkzeichen; and we gladly see about it a representative congress of grateful nations, owning the universal genius to which locality was no more a limit than time will prove itself to be.

ART. III.-The Bible; the Missal; and the Breviary. 2 Vols.
T. Clark, Edinburgh.

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IN this article we mean to show that the rigorous uniformity exacted by the Church of England from the time of the Reformation was not the perpetuation of a past usage, but an innovation a Protestant novelty. It came not from the Ecclesiasticism of Rome, but from the Erastianism of St. Stephen's. In so far as this department of change was concerned, our Reformation consisted of bad made worse. Not that the Prayer Book of the Reformed English Church was more

Diversity and Liberty.

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exceptionable than the formularies which preceded; but the authority exercised was less rational. In early times each bishop framed his own Liturgy. Few of the more ancient of these formularies have been preserved for there was no great reason to endeavour to communicate the knowledge of them to posterity when churches framed them at their own discretion. Concerning the fact that the early bishops did exercise this discretion, ecclesiastical historians are agreed. Nor did the Roman Church seek to contravene this liberty. On the contrary, it sanctioned the practice; and, as we shall find, we in England were not denied this indefeasible and inalienable right.

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It is, therefore, an easy task to prove, that on the introduction of papal Christianity into England, diversity and liberty obtained in the celebration of public worship. The faith is one, the 'customs of churches various; and one manner of mass prevails in the Holy Church of Rome, another in the Church of the Gauls. How, then, ought a bishop to officiate in the Church? Such was the inquiry of the missionary Augustine. To this Pope Gregory replies, "If you have found anything more acceptable to 'God, whether in the Church of Rome or that of the Gauls, or any other, carefully select it; and by singular instruction, instil what you may have collected out of many churches into 'the Church of the English. Choose out of every church what is 'pious, religious, and right, and treasure up this composition in 'the minds of the English as a customary use for divine offices.❜

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This principle was never abandoned by Rome: she invariably acted upon the liberty thus commended and carried out. Additions and alterations were repeatedly made in this very use which Augustine compiled; and what is more, the Popes took 'no care to reduce the several churches and copies to a uni'formity; and, indeed, it was scarcely practicable to do it.' So that distinguished canonist, Johnson, speaks in his collection of ecclesiastical laws. He also says, that 'the series, and pomp, and 'ceremoniale of divine worship were left to the discretion of 'them that officiated.'*

That a large amount of liberty in this form pervaded the ecclesiastical institutions of the Anglo-Saxons is evident from what Wihtred, the most clement king of the Kentish, says in his law, A.D. 696: A freedom from taxes belongs to the Church; and let men pray for the king of their own accord, 'without any compulsory law.' Construed literally, it implies that the practice then prevailed of free prayer for the king, and a portion for all other people; and so this law mixes itself in See his note upon the Constitution of A.D. 1416, and his general preface, section xiii. page xviii.

with the canons of Elfric, in 957, when he exhorts 'all God's 'servants to pray devoutly for the king and their bishop, and 'for their benefactors, and for all Christian people.' For even the use of books of prayer did not preclude unwritten and spontaneous acts of public worship, inasmuch as whatever books were used were those which priests compiled themselves; and were guides rather than fetters to devotion. Moreover, the books were the property of the priests, who copied one from the other; and were often inconsistent with each other, as it 'frequently happened that transcribers took the liberty of ' varying the copies.'*

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That the Book of Prayers then used was a guide, not a fetter, becomes self-evident from the law of Edgar, A.D. 960. He says, A priest should never celebrate mass without book; but let 'the canon be before his eyes, to see to, if he will: lest he mis'take.' Now this Canon of the Mass' [Secreta] was the most important portion of the missal. It was upon the right celebration of this part that, according to the then prevailing dogmata of Rome, the salvation of the living, and the repose of the dead, was made to depend: a mistake here was fatal. Yet this most essential part of the mass was guarded, not enjoined. 'It is 'fairly intimated here,' says Johnson, in his note, 'that the priests used to say this canon without book; and even here the priest is only permitted, not enjoined, to read it.' Nor must it be overlooked, that this instruction extends not to the whole contents of the missal, but to one part only of it. True, another law in the same code charges 'every priest to take great care 'to have a good book, at least, a true one.' But this caution serves to confirm the previous assertion respecting the liberty then prevailing in the use priests made of their books; and the freedom of transcribers in copying them. One thing is certain, that if any power inhered in the ecclesiastical authority to issue commands upon this matter, no man could have been found, in any age, more disposed to speak authoritatively than Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury. As a strict, if not the strictest disciplinarian of that or any other age, he was not the man to have let the priest off with advice, if authority could or might have been exercised even upon a matter of such vast moment as this Canon of the Mass.

It may be imagined that the reason why the Papal Church did not interpose her authority upon this point was, that the times were not ripe for uniformity. In direct opposition to any such surmise, it is to be remembered, that in this very code of

* Johnson, ubi supra.

† Bede, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, places his death in A.D. 988.

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Edgar's ecclesiastical laws, there is one which expressly points in this direction. It reads thus: That all priests be uniform as 'to the feasts and fasts, and all bid [announce] them in the same manner, that they may not misinform the people.' This law of uniformity applies to 'feasts and fasts;' and to them only. Why? Because on every such occasion, civil as well as religious advantages accrued to the people. There was the protection of God and the Holy Church so that no criminal could be arrested on those days, nor any civil suit commenced, argued, or determined. The people, therefore, had many secular interests at stake; and the priest of one parish or district was not to imperil such interests by announcing one day, whilst the priest of another parish or district would announce a different day. Such conflicting notices would necessarily occasion confusion: the effect of which would involve parishioners in great loss and damage, in relation to their civil privileges. The 'uniform 'manner,' is restricted, therefore, to special times, and not to public worship. For as to this, the difference was most emphatically drawn between the mode of celebrating 'the Canon 'of the Mass' and the bidding of feasts and fasts. Why did this difference exist? Because, in the first place, but for this ' uniform manner,' in the notice given, the people were sure to suffer a social wrong; and in the next place, because if a similar uniform manner' of celebrating the Canon of the Mass had been enjoined, the Church would have been despoiled of her liberty to pray without any compulsory law;' but for which liberty, neither a feast nor a fast could ever have been appointed by the Church.

With Edgar, it has been said by Milton, 'died all the Saxon 'glory.' He left the essential constitution of the Church intact. Nor was it impaired by the Danish or the Norman Conquests. Whatever changes took place consequent on either of those events, were upon the ecclesiastical surface, and by no means entered into the substratum of the ancient Episcopal polity. We shall, therefore, find that this question about the diversity of services, and liberty in the use or non-use of them, remained as Edgar left it.

It was after the Norman Conquest that the matter engaged public attention. The 'Customary Use,' compiled by Augustine, had been retained; but with very many variations, expurgations, and, in the view of some portions of the clergy, many adornments and intrinsically valuable additions. Still it had become confused in the rubrics; so much so, that they frequently clashed with each other. Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, undertook the onerous task of reducing all the differences into one certain form, both as

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