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they all surrounded him with clamorous and sulky importunity, and set to work with all diligence to demolish his objections.
“Please, sir,” said Martin Grubb, shaking his big head with a look of dogged wilfulness, “I don't see how it is to be done. The Hallelujah Chorus requires a lot of extra voices what isn't to be got every day; and if we tells them chaps as is coming over to-morrow to help us, that we don't want their help, they may take tiff, and never come over to Snatcham again.”
“ But, perhaps,” the pastor meekly replied, "they may assist you in the grave and sober singing of some serious and well known psalms, in which all the congregation may unite."
On hearing this, the broad-faced butcher expanded his features into a contemptuous sort of a grin, and said—“Come, now, that is a good one, as if reg’lar scientific singers would come all the way to Snatcham just to sing old psalm tunes!”
Mr. Gripe also said—“He! he! he!”
“ He! he! he!” is a very conclusive kind of argument! and so the rector of Snatcham felt it to be, for he could not answer it, nor refute it, nor evade it. He looked this way and that way, up to the ceiling and down to the floor, towards Mr. Gripe and towards Mr. Grubb; but neither ceiling nor floor, nor Gripe nor Grubb, afforded him any relief from his painful embarrassment. The exulting singers saw that he was posed, and that now was the time to push home their victory, and overwhelm the rector by their united importunities. So they all crowded round him at once, and almost all at once began to assail him with such a torrent of reasons and argumentation he had not a word to say for himself.
"Please, sir," said Onesiphorus Bang, "I ha'n't got nothing else ready to play.”
“Nor I, neither,” said Issachar Crack.
"Please, sir,” said Alexander Rudolpho Crabbe, “we never like to do nothing without your leave, and we hope you won't compel us to do so now. My wife says she'll never come to church again, if the Hallelujah Chorus is not performed to-morrow.
“And I declare,” said Gregory Plush, "that for my part, I never wish to touch the serpent again, if we mayn't to that piece of music.”
Absalom and Peter Gripe also said the same as touching the clarionets; and James Gripe then looked at the rector with a quaintly interrogative aspect, which, without uttering a word, seemed to say—“There, sir, what will you
do without Absalom and Peter's clarionets." Now, for his own part, the worthy pastor would have been glad to get rid of the whole clamor of their music, for these choristers were always at loggerheads either with one another, or with all the rest of the parish.
The rector, thus overwhelmed with argument and eloquence, with pathos and importunity, found himself compelled to yield, which he did with the worst grace imaginable. Away went the choristers, rejoicing in the triumph of music, and full of glee at the thought of the wonderful figure they should cut on the morrow, when, assisted by the “chaps from the next village,” they should astonish the natives with the Hallelujah Chorus.
That night neither the singers nor the rector slept: the former were kept awake by the anticipation of musical glory, and the latter was made restless by the dread of musical absurdity. Good Friday came: the whole
village looked more like a scene of festivity than of fasting. The “chaps
horse in harness.
At length the prayers were finished, and the merciless choristers let loose upon the congregation to inflict whatever musical torture they pleased. Away they burst with relentless and resistless fury. There was such scraping, and blowing, and roaring, and growling, and screaming, as never was heard ; the powers of every voice, and of every instrument, were exerted to the utmost of their capability ;—there was such an infinite variety of articulation of Hallelowyah, Holleluyear, Allyluger, and Ahmen, and Awmen, and Ameen, that none but the initiated could form a guess what the singers were about. The patient and afflicted rector sat still in the pulpit, waiting till the storm should be over: he knew that it could not last for ever, and that they must soon sing themselves hoarse or out of breath. There is an Irish proverb which says, Single misfortunes never come alone:” this was verified in the present case; for a misunderstanding occurred, which produced a double infliction of the music. Messrs. Grubb, Gripe, Crabbe, Bang, Crack and their friends, when performing at the cathedral, had observed that one or two parts of the performance had been encored by a signal from his Grace the Duke of who was present as patron, and this signal consisted of the silent waving or lifting up of a white pocket handkerchief. Now, unfortunately, just as the band was bringing its mighty performance to a close, the squire of the parish most innocently drew his handkerchief out of his pocket; but happening to draw it forth with a peculiar grace, or with what Mr. Grubb and his friends thought a peculiar grace, they were most graciously pleased to take it for granted that it must be a signal for a repetition of the chorus, and therefore, just at the moment when the good rector was pleasing himself with the thought that the absurd display was over, they all burst forth again with renewed vigor. He thought that they were absolutely mad: he looked; he sighed; he shook his head; but he was only answered by Holleluyear, Allyluger : and when they had finished the second time, he was half afraid that they would begin again, and sing it the third time. When the service was over, the good man took the liberty to hint to his musical practitioners, that he thought they had performed a work of supererogation in performing the chorus twice. They themselves felt that they had somewhat encroached, but they laid the blame upon the squire, whose slightest wish, they thought, should be obeyed. The squire was very sorry when he found what mischief he had inadvertently done, and promised that he would take care, in future, not to pull out his handkerchief again in singing time.
PETER'S DENIAL OF OUR LORD.
BY THE EDITOR.
The manner in which the sacred records are written has always been considered a strong argument in proof of their genuineness and credibility. Written, as they are in the simplicity of truth, they are their own witness. They present no parade of narrative—no pomp of circumstance—all is simple, all is natural, all is living.
Our Saviour's advent is related with no apology for its startling and unheard-of magnifience, and with no expressions of sudden surprise at its glory. The whole history of His life, full as it is of such thrilling incidents and supernatural wonder, is related with the most surprising calmness. The solemn story of His sufferings follows naturally, without preface and without after-reflections, in all the simple majesty of historical truth.
In the same way the lives and acts of our Saviour's disciples are written. There is no effort at effect, no attempt to make capital in their favor. Their virtues and their sins, their honor and their shame, their faithfulness and their failings, are all put down with the same steady hand. There is no praising of their virtues, no apology for their errors, no extenuation of their weaknesses.
How clearly does this show that they were no impostors. Impostors, who are not acting out their true characters, always overstrain the matter, and thus weaken their pretensions in the eyes of discerning men. They are at pains to hide their own defects, and to present themselves as faultless; for how, say they to themselves, shall we recommend our mission by acknowledging and publishing our own defects and weaknesses. cred writers, as true men, record their own errors penitently, and their own virtues modestly, and hence we feel that we have before us, in their narratives, a true picture of human life. We see them in the pit of sin, -we see them struggling out of it, and we see them at length on firm ground. While they are relating to us their own trials and triumphs in the simplicity of truth, they exhort us to follow bravely and undismayed in the same path. We feel that this faithful exhibition of their own struggles and victories, is to us the best exhortation and encouragement; and their own final standing upon the firm ground of deliverance, is the best evidence that the salvation which they preach, is true, good, and attainable.
How strikingly is the truth of these remarks verified in the history of poor, weak, fallen, but at last penitent Peter. His praise is in all the churches-so is his shame! His faithfulness as well as his failings, is recorded with the same steady hand. His fall and denial of our Lord, is written for our warning; his penitence and return to the Saviour for our encouragement, and for the praise of God's recovering and sustaining grace.
This denial took place on the night of that Passover, which immediately preceded our Saviour's arrest. This was the same night in which the Last Supper was celebrated, and in which He was, by Judas, betrayed into the hands of his enemies. After the Holy Supper, our Saviour and the eleven went out to Gethsemane, at the foot of Olivet, where Judas and his band took him, and led him to the High-priest’s house, where this remarkable denial took place.
Peter followed the crowd which took our Saviour to the judgment hall, “afar off.” He did not go in, but stood back in the rear in the court, among the servants and the crowd, but still in sight of Jesus. Here he was recognized by some persons among the crowd as one of the Saviour's friends and followers, and was thrice charged with holding such relation to the arraigned man; but he, as often, stoutly, and at length with an oath, repelled the charge; saying repeatedly, “I know him not whence he is !" ' When he had the third time, so desperately, so wickedly, and no doubt with a loud emphasis, denied him, the cock crew. This seems to have arrested both his attention, and also that of the Saviour. "Then the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out and wept bitterly!”
Let us look now at the character of this denial. 1. It is an astonishing denial.
Consider, that Peter had been so long his disciple. The Saviour had taken him from a fishing boat, and called him to the apostleship. For more than three years they had journeyed together, and had shared each other's confidence, friendship and sympathy.
Peter had also received many distinguishing favors at the Saviour's hands. He had been wonderfully delivered from death on the sea of Tiberias, on that fearfully tempestuous night when he was about to sink in the troubled waves. He was one of the favored three who were admitted into the room, to behold the miracle, when the centurion's daughter was raised from the dead. On the mount of transfiguration, he was again selected as one fit to go up with the Saviour to behold the excellent glory of the Lord. Peter was the one who, on that occasion, exclaimed in raptures of joy, “It is good to be here: let us make three tabernacles.” Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, he was one of the three whom the Saviour permitted to be witnesses of his sufferings and sorrows!
Besides all this, he had so repeatedly, so publicly, and so solemnly professed and exhibited his strong attachment to his Saviour and His cause. When, on one occasion, Jesus asked his disciples, “Whom say ye that I am?” — Peter exclaimed with emphasis, and as the voice of all the rest, " Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” On the evening of this same night, while the Saviour and his disciples were on their way from the upper room, where they had communed in the Last Supper, towards the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter had declared, in the most solemn manner, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.” But a short time before this scene of denial, this same Peter had lifted up his sword and smote in the Saviour's defence. This was but a few hours before he denied him !
When we consider all these things, how astonishing! How are we forced to exclaim, " Lord, what is man!”—There, among the rabble, the
taunt of servant girls, raving and swearing, is one whose speech proclaims him as a Galilean. See!-he is charged three times with knowing Jesus, but he answers with gruff and angry impatience, “I know not what thou sayest! I know not the man, whence he is!” Is that Peter?
"How art thou fallen, thou son of the morning."
2. This was a very aggravated denial.
It has nothing to excuse it, but every thing to increase and aggravate its wonderful wickedness.
When charged with knowing the Saviour, he pretends that he does not even know what those persons who made the charge alluded to. I know not what thou sayest!" It is as much as if he had said: I am here like the rest-have just come, drawn here by the crowd-desire merely to see what is going on, and I know not yet the meaning of this trial. Your allusion to the person arraigned, and your charge that I know him, are perfectly unintelligible to me—“I know not what thou sayest.” Here is the flattest, and tho most positive prevarication. Ah! Peter! thou art far gone.
It can scarcely be supposed that his faith was gone at this time; for he had had the clearest and strongest evidence, during three years, that Jesus was all that he professed to be. He had frequently expressed his firm and unwavering confidence in that fact. So firm was his faith, that he at other times felt willing to die for his doctrines, and in his service. His denial was therefore a sin against the clearest light.
Besides, it has no parallel, except in Judas, for boldness. It appears from other places where this melancholy history is related, that it was done in the presence of John and the Saviour; and after John had gone to him and solicited him to come forward to the place where he and the Saviour were.
John 18:16, 17. There is no doubt that both John and Christ heard his oath of denial and saw his restless anger, at those whose questions and charges had discovered his presence in the crowd. Thus in his presence, and in his face, did he deny him! How bold! It seems that he had lost all reverence for Christ, and all respect for his presence, and his feelings. Add to all this, the fact that “he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man!” It seems that he had become desperate in evil, intending, no doubt, earnestly and forever to cast away the Saviour and his cause. Satan was indeed sifting him as wheat.
It must be remembered also that this denial took place in the most solemn and trying circumstances. The Saviour was, at this time in the hands of his enemies, about to be treated in the most unjust and shameful manner. Peter had often professed the strongest friendship for him; now, therefore, would have been his time to show it; for “a friend in need is a friend indeed.” At this time Peter was bound by every thing that is sacred in friendship to stand by him. Once, on the sea of Tiberias, the Saviour had saved his life; and now he is bound by all the claims of gratitude to stand
up in defence of his benefactor, whom he knew to be an innocent
But hear him: "I know not the man!” He did not even sustain him by his prayers and his sympathy, but with cursing and bitterness, he "showed to all that he wished not to be identified with him and his cause. He did not even wish to be regarded as knowing him. He is bent on his point-and nothing shall shake his fearful purpose. They even argue with him: Is it possible that you should pretend to know nothing of him, and that you are not his disciple! Why, your very speech bewrayeth