excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 162-3 (295 words)

excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 162-3 (295 words)

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Musical letters from Abroad

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On Sabbath last we attended public worship at the Scotch Church, under the pastoral charge of Dr. John Cumming. Dr. Cumming is a very popular preacher; his house is generally crowded, and it is not easy always to obtain seats — which favor, however, we procured, through the politeness of the leader of the singing, Mr. Purday. The order of exercises observed in this church is an excellent one, and I therefore copy it.


I. Singing — a Hymn by the Congregation.

II. Prayer, half as long as the Prayer usually is in Presbyterian Churches.

III. Choir Singing. An Anthem.

IV. Reading Scriptures, with Exposition.

V. Hymn, sung by the Congregation.

VI. Prayer, about the length of the first.

VII. Sermon.

VIII. Singing by Congregation. Notices.

IX. Concluding Prayer, and Benediction.


The standing position was observed in the singing exercises, and the sitting posture in all others. I will not attempt to report the sermon, but will only observe that one more plain, faithful, and edifying can hardly be imagined. The text was

“It is good for me to draw near unto God.”

It will be observed that the singing exercise occurs four times; thrice by the congregation, and once by the choir exclusively. The people generally united, although the tunes, (with the exception of the last, which was York,) were too difficult to justify the expectation of the best congregational singing. The old tune of Martyrdom was sung; but in singing it, the people could not keep together, on account of the triple measure, and the crotchets in the fourth line. The other tune (we do not know its name) was so high that many could not reach the pitch. A congregational tune should not go higher than D, or E flat.

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excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 162-3 (295 words)


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