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BOROUGH PETTY SESSIONS.

FESTIVAL OF VILLAGE CHOIRS…

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FESTIVAL OF VILLAGE CHOIRS AT MALPAS. On Thursday, the 18th inst., a festival of village choirs was held at Malpas, where the fine old churchj with its ample accommodation, seems specially adapted for such a purpose. A rehearsal of the service took place at 1.45 p.m., and the service proper at 3.30 p.m. The service commenced with a procession of clergy from the Rectory, the two rectors, the Rey. C. W. Cox and the Hon. and Rev. W. Trevor Kenyon, bringing up the rear. The service was intoned by the H. Stevens, assistant curate of Tattenhall, the first lesson being read by the Rev. Canon Trevor, rural dean, and the second by the Rev. Canon Cox, rector of Malpas. The sermon was preached by the VICAR of WREX- HAM (the Rev. D. Howell, B.D.), who took for his text the 150th Psalm. Having dwelt at some length nn the history of choral and instrumental music, as recorded in the sacred Scriptures, and the place which music has always held in Christian worship, he made a con- cluding appeal to the choirs assembled, and also to the congregation generally, as to tneir duties and responsibilities, in the following words:â Let me now address a word of exhortation in the firt-t place to the choirs present in this church. To try brethren, is entrusted a most important partis the wor- ship in the House of God. On you it devolves to lead the congregation in their praise to God, as on the officiat- ing Minister to lead their prayers to God. And it is no exaggeration to say that the same reverence, devoutness, and solemnity is required in the one as in the other. We all know what would be thought of a Minister of Christ kneeling before his Maker and Judge, who, while pleading for pardon for himself, and for others, could be seen to be careless, absent-minded, flippant in tone, and undevout in manner. But, what would be thought of him, under such circumstances, is equally what would be thought of you, and God demands oi you as of him, orship in Spirit and in truth." And I am sure I am expressing the anxiety of your ministers lest your proficiency in leading the devotions of others should make you careless in regard to your own. "I confess said an eminent bishop of our church when addressing a body of singers some time agoâ" I ( niess that I never listen to a well-trained and well-or-nised choir without a painful feeling that someone 'there might be taping part, and taking pleasure, in the work for the work's sake, yet utterlv regardless of the great and neavenly use and end to which his work was devoted. Familiarity with sacred things is alwavs a snare nothing but watchingânothing but prayer-can prutect you from its hardening influence." C)h mv ? how needful is this warning, both to clergvaiid t, -h-is alike. Let ine, then, beseech YOU to take hE-d that you do not mistake the luve of sacred music for the love of Him in whose praise it should sung. Let me entreat you to beware that you do not substitute the satisfaction derived from the mere indulgence of a musical taste, for purely religious and devotional feeling. May you never forget that it is nothing less tnan the uplifting of the soulâthan the living spiritual homage of the heart, that constitutes acceptable praise and worship with God. May you never forget that it matters not how correct your taste, or how perfect your rencieiiny, of music may beâif the spiritiia! sym- pathies and affections of your souls are not engaged in the work, it is only as "sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. May you now never forget that no man can rightly sing in praise of God who has not received the Spirit of God. And oh may it never be said of any of you-" this people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouths, and knoweth Me with their lin" brt their heart is far from Me." And this warning is equally applicable, in its measure and degree, toyou, mv brethren of the congregation in general. I know of hotiiing so hardening to the heart, I know of nothing so deade-ng- to the conscience, as the frequent use of liob- words without a cievout realization of their deep and solemn meaning. And what insult to God so great as the mere sacrifice of the moving lip, with, at the same time, a dull, cold, and faithless heart. If, my brethren, we would have our singing to be an act of real worshii, let us strive to grasp the full meaning of all we sing, and then pour forth with full fervour our whol- s0-]3 in the words and music set before us. This, and tliis'onlv is our safeguard against coldnessâagainst formalismâ^ nay, may I not say, against profanity. And let me express the hope that one effect of this day's festival will not to make the worship of G-od more eV h more showy, more scientific, but mjre devotional more solemn, more heartfelt, more congregational, in other woids, it is that we may become more than ever praising congregations, as well as praying congregations. And if this object is to be attained, it can anI, be bv your uniting-all unitingâwith deep earnestness and devoutness in the services of the House of Grod. Let me, therefore, entreat you, my brethren, as vou Ih,p2 to mingle your voices with the heavenly choir, where they cease not day nor night singing Hallelujahs and Hosannas to Gou and to the Lambânever let your lips be mute when God demands your praise. Here, and now. indeed, our songs are mostly in the minor kev FY-p the cry of the holiest and the best of us is, ""6 Lamb of God. Son of the 1 ather, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Thou that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Tb(iU that takest away the sins of the world prayer Thou that sittest at the right hand of God, the Father, have mercy upon us." But thenâonce we Pif i xli velJâ°nce we have crossed the threshold of the IN ew Jerusalemâwhose music is the seraph song, and whose light is the smile of G v1 song shall be "We praise Thee We bless Thee We worship Thee; We glorify Thee, we give tbnk" to 7/r i?T!iat g^ry.~7° Lord God-Heavenly j ,,1,e Father Almighty! The rev. gentleman concluded with an appeal to the congregation for an Jffertory worthy of the occasion in aid of the expenses attending the festival. The two concluding hymns having been sung t;, = ser. s'ice was brought to a close with the benedicknro- nounced by the Hon. and Rev. W. Trevor Kenvon* The psalms were sung to single chants bv Mac-ian-en. Juseley and Humphreys. Attwood's well-known chant ri E flat and Crotch in A were used to the Canticles. fbe hymn" were sung to well-known tunes from Hymns Ancient and Modern. The service on the whole went â¢ery steadily, especially the anthem "Lift up your leads(by Dr Hopkins). A little more "light and 1]Jums ^ouId! however, have materially ncreased the eilect. The want of a general rehearsal )revious to the day of the festival however may ac- mnt for the want of attention to these matters of de- ail. The musical arrangements reflected great credit ipon the Rev A. P. Holme and his fellow-worker, the tev. Horace Stephens. Mr. Joseph C. Bridge. M.A., Mus. organist of Chester Cathedral, presided at the Irg-an with characteristic ability, and played as -Volun- anes Andante in F, by Dr. Hiles, march in D (Lem- nens), andthe Ave Maria "of Arcadelt, in which he hawed the beauties of the organ, which, although an. >arentlv new, does not seem to be quite powerful 'nough for the size of the church.

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