« ZurückWeiter »
the pipe and the harp ceased. Of the pipe and the use that was made of it, we have an illustration in the words of Jesus, Matt. xi. 16, 17: “Whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, We have piped unto you,
ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, but ye
have not lamented.”
The pipe was used also to enliven the annual journeys of the people to Jerusalem, to attend the great festivals; and this custom, it is reported, continues even to this day. Though the scenes in which the sound of the pipe most commonly mingled were those of a highly joyous character, there were still some exceptions to the rule. There was also a plaintive pipe among the Phænicians, which was used on occasions of sorrow and distress; and it was, no doubt, the tone of this pipe to which the Saviour alluded when He said: “We have mourned unto you, but ye have not lamented.” It was this kind of Aute-players, whom our Saviour found in the chamber of the supposed dead daughter of the ruler, the account of which is recorded. in Matt. ix. 23, and whom He ordered away, because the daughter was not dead in fact, and their plaintive strains were, therefore, inappropriate. The regulation among the Jews was that every one, how
he might be, should have at least two pipes at the death of his wife, by which it was sought properly to improve the melancholy event.
Finally, among wind instruments, as mentioned in the Bible, and ascribed, together with the harp, to the inventive genius of Jubal, we have the organ (ugab). The organ is mentioned only three times, besides the notice of its origin, in Genesis, twice in Job, and once in the 150th Psalm. In the latter place the language is as follows:
“ Praise Him with the timbrel and dance,
Praise Him with stringed instruments and organs.” The probability is, that between this early organ and that now in use, in this country and Europe, there is very little in common.
The early organ was exceedingly simple, had but few pipes, and these were filled with air by passing them along the mouth; hence, in the way of distinguishing it from the modern instrument, which has monopolized the name, it was called a “mouth-organ.”
The early history of the organ is comparatively obscure. The name organ meant, originally, a mechanical instrument of any sort. After this it became appropriated to instruments of a musical character; at a still later day it became exclusively applied to wind instruments; and finally to the principal wind instrument—the organ. The present organ was suggested by the Bible organ, in connection with the shepherd's pipe, to which, in the course of time, in order to make it complete in itself (a selfbreathing being, as nearly as possible) was added keys and a reservoir to receive condensed air, to be distributed to the pipes at the pleasure of the performer. These improvements, it is probable, were not made before the Christian era. It is not known at what period, definitely, it became enlarged and improved from the original into its present shape. A man, by the name of Mersenne, a traveller, describes an organ carved on an ancient monument in the gardens of Rome, “the form, the keys, the bellows, and the operation of which,” he says, "closely resemble those of the present day." In Western Europe, organs are supposed to have been introduced as early as the seventh century. The Greek Emperor, Constantine Capronymus, sent an organ, as a present, to King Pepin, in 755. In England, organs were in general use as early as the tenth century, and many of them, from the accounts that we may gather, were of large size. In 1143, the steam-organ, or calliope, was invented, a musical instrument in which a wind, as William of Malmsbury says, "forced out by the violence of boiling water passing through brass pipes, sends forth musical tones.” At this period they seem, however, to have been of very rude construction. The key-boards were very clumsy, and the keys so large and wide as to necessitate the performer to strike them with his fists instead of his fingers. About the year 1470, pedals or foot-keys were attached to the organ, which had the effect to increase its power about one-third. A German, by the name of Bernhard, has the honor of this invention. From this rough and rude construction the improvement gradually went forward, and with special rapidity during the seventeenth century, until, in the present day, the organ seems almost to have reached perfection. Among all musical instruments for the sanctuary, the organ •stands without a peer; and for the reason, doubtless, that it comprehends, in its majestic being, nearly all the rest. Nothing can so gather up the aspirations of the worshipping soul of the great congregation and bear them aloft to God; nothing can so intone the chant of praise and the glorious old carols of Luther, and cause the divergent spirits of God's people to tremble into sacred unity, as the organ, because nothing is so grandly varied and yet so perfectly harmonious.
Among the largest organs in the world, according to Dr. Vinton, is the one at Haarlem, Holland; the one at Rotterdam; the one in St. George's Hall, in Liverpool; and the one in York Minster. In this country, the largest is the one which has just recently been erected in the Boston Music Hall, at the snug cost, as we are informed in the Musical Pioneer, for January, 1865, of fifty thousand dollars. The great organ in Trinity Church, which, “in point of majesty and volume of tone, has no rival in this country, except the great Boston organ,” was built in 1846, at a cost of sixty thousand dollars.
It would seem harsh to close a sketch like the foregoing, without at least a slight reference to the man, who has been the most intimately identified with the progress of organ music. Handel, perhaps the greatest musical genius the world has ever known, was born in 1684. At seven years of age, he was placed under the tuition of a music teacher, and at nine, it is said, he could already play creditably upon the organ. He turned his attention to the production of oratorios at the age of thirty-six; and in 1781 he produced his master-piece, the MESSIAH, which has given him an undying fame over all the world. It is said that this stupendous work was finished in twenty-two days, showing the fervent power of the inspiration which had seized his being. In the latter part of his life, Handel, like the greatest of poets, Homer and Milton, became blind. After this severe affliction had fallen upon him, he was always greatly agitated when he heard a certain air from his oratorio of Samson. The words which affected him specially were these:
“ Total eclipse! No sun, no moon:
All dark amid the blaze of noon.
Why thus deprived thy prime decree?
Sun, moon and stars are dark to me.” Handel died on Good Friday, April 13, 1759, at the age of seventy-five. He was buried among the ashes of many greatly renowned for learning and bravery, in Westminster Abbey, and over his grave is a monument representing him in full stature, with a music-paper in his hand, whereon are these more than merely musical words,
I know that my Redeemer liveth.”
RELIGIOUS CHARACTER OF JOHN RANDOLPH.
BY THE EDITOR.
John Randolph, of Roanoke, as he was wont to write his name, was born in Chesterfield County, Virginia, June 2d, 1773. On his father's side, he was a descendant of Pocohontas, the Indian princess; a fact in which he took great pride. In early life, he studied law, but never practised in the profession. Taking to political life, he became a Representative in Congress, and afterwards, United States Senator from Virginia. His character was a singular compound of aristocracy, sarcasm, wit, eloquence, selfishness, pride, misanthropy, and sporadic religious impulses.
Though a Virginian, and a large slaveholder, he always showed opposition to slavery, manumitting, at his death, his own three hundred and eighteen slaves, and making provision for their settlement and support in a free State. He opposed the compromise of 1820, "stigmatizing the Northern members, by whose co-operation it was carried, as doughfaces,' an epithet at once adopted into the political vocabulary of the United States, and still in use,” being applied to that class of persons who are not governed by principle, but who suffer their views and acts to be entirely shaped by outward pressure.
Randolph was a tall, slender, cadaverous-looking man. His voice was singularly shrill and piping, though said to have been not without music and agreeableness in some of its lower tones. Though he struck with the fangs of a serpent, and was prickly as a thorn-bush, he was not without great influences, even over those who disliked and feared him. tion, at last, broke down his slender frame; and intending to leave for Europe, to recruit his health, his journey was arrested in Philadelphia, where he died, in a hotel, June 24th, 1833, aged a little over sixty years.
Much has been said in regard to the religious character of this singular, erratic genius, especially of the fearful despair which seized him in his last hour, like that of the young Altamont, under which he made such strange der onstrations with the word REMORSE! It is with a view of introducing a revised account of this scene, from the Episcopal Recorder, that we have given this brief sketch of his life and character. The Recorder's account is as follows:
ConsumpIn a late number of the Living Age, there is reference to Dr. Parrish's account of John Randolph's death-bed, and a re-asserting by Dr. Parrish's son of the truth of that account. Our readers will probably remember the strange and startling circumstances of Randolph's death. The following is Dr. Parrish's account of the striking scene:
Being told, in answer to his inquiry, that his end was not far distant, he appeared to make some preparation therefor, which consisted chiefly in arranging his clothes, adjusting his position, &c., after which, "for a short time,” says the deposition, “he lay perfectly quiet; his eyes were closed, and I concluded he was disposed to sleep.' He suddenly roused from this state, with the words, 'Remorse! Remorse! It was twice repeated: at the last time, at the top of his voice, evidently with great agitation, he cried out, 'Let me see the word.' No reply followed, having learned enough of the character of my ient to ascertain that when I did not know exactly what to say, it was best to say nothing. He then exclaimed, "Get a dictionary; let me see the word.' I cast my eyes around, and told him I believed there was none in the room. *Write it down then; let me see the word.' I picked up one of his cards from the table— Randolph, of Roanoke'—and inquired whether I should write on that. “Yes, nothing more proper.' Then with my pencil I wrote, Remorse. He took the card in his hands in a hurried manner, and fastened his eyes on it with great intensity. Write it on the back,' he exclaimed. I did so, and handed it to him again. He was excessively agitated at this period, and repeated, · Remorse! You have no idea what it is. You can form no idea of it whatever. It has contributed to bring me to my present situation; but I have looked to the Lord Jesus Christ, and hope I have obtained pardon.' He then said, “Now let John (his body-servant) take your pencil and draw a line under the word,' which was accordingly done. I inquired what whas to be done with the card. Put it in your pocket, and take care of it, and when I am dead, look at it.' There is no reason to doubt the accuracy
representation. Yet it is nevertheless true, that, at one period of his life, Randolph expressed a decided religious conviction and hope. The writer of these lines at one time contemplated writing a biography of Francis S. Key, the author of
Star-Spangled Banner.” Mr. Key was an intimate friend of Mr. Randolph, and had taken profound interest in his religious welfare, and had carried on a correspondence with him on that subject. Among the papers that were placed in the writer's hands were copies of ten letters, written by Mr. Randolph to Mr. Key. In these letters we can trace the progress of his views and feelings on this subject, from almost absolute darkness and despair, to what seems like a clear and bright personal hope and faith in the merits of his crucified Redeemer. As the letters were placed in his hands with the view to their being used in the biography of Mr. Key, the writer feels that there can be no impropriety in using them at this time, with a view to illustrate one phase of the character and history of this eccentric and most gifted man.
In one letter, dated October, 1816, he writes: “If your life is so unsatisfactory to you, what must that of others be to them? For my part, if there breathes a creature more empty of enjoyment than myself, I sincerely pity him. My opinions seem daily to become more unsettled, and the awful mystery which shrouds the future alone renders the present tol
erable. The darkness of my hours,' so far from 'having passed away,' has thickened into the deepest gloom. I try not to think, by moulding my mind upon the thoughts of others, but to little purpose. Have
you ever read Zimmerman on Solitude? I do not mean the popular cheap book under that title, but another, in which solitude is considered in respect to its dangerous influence upon the mind and heart. I have been greatly pleased with it for a few hours. It is a mirror which reflects the deformity of the human mind to whomsoever will look into it.”
In another letter, of December, 1818, in which he speaks of recent illness, and presents a deplorable picture of the selfishness and greed of the society by which he was surrounded, he writes: “I think that the state of solitude and desolation in which I am placed, has not been without some good effects in giving me better views than I have had, of the most important of all subjects; and I would not exchange it, comfortless as it is, for the heartless intercourse of the world. I know that if a man says he ‘loves God, and hates his brother, he is a liar;' but I do not hate my brothers of the human family. I fear, however, that I cannot love them as I ought. But God, I hope and trust, will, in His good time, put better dispositions into my heart. There are few of them, I am persuaded, more undeserving of love than myself.”
Here we discern a change from the feeling expressed two years before. It seems to be a preparation for conviction. In another letter, written but a few weeks later, we find something much more satisfactory. It seems like the good work so well begun, as to lead to sanguine hopes that it will be completed by the power of the Holy Ghost. “Every day," he writes,
brings with it new evidence of my weakness and utter inability of myself to do any good thing, or even to conceive a single good thought. With the unhappy father in the Gospel, I cry out, “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief! When I think of the wisdom, and goodness, and power of God, I seem in my own eyes a devil in all but strength. I say this to you, who will not ascribe it to affected humility. Sometimes I have better views, but again I am weighed down to the very earth, or lost in a labyrinth of doubts and perplexities. The hardness of my own heart grieves and astonishes me. Then again I settle down in a state of coldness and indifference, which is worse than all. But the quiverings of our frail flesh, often the effect of physical causes, cannot detract from the mercy of our Creator; and to Him I commit myself. Thy will be done !'”
Surely these truths were learned under the teachings of the Holy Spirit ! And even a more distinct and complete work soon appears. A few months later he writes the following brief and joyful letter: "Congratulate me, dear Frank! Wish me joy you need not give it you cannot! I am at last reconciled to my God, and have assurance of his pardon through faith in Christ, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. Fear hath been driven out by perfect love. I now know that you know how I feel, and within a month, for the first time, I understand your feeling and character, and that of every real Christian. I am not afraid now of being righteous over-much, or of methodistical notions." In a postscript he adds: “Let Meade (doubtless Bishop Meade), know the glad tidings, and let him, if he has kept it, read and preserve my letter to him from Richmond.”
In two other letters the expressions of a humble faith, and of a steady purpose to cleave to God, are expressed with touching simplicity. From