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were lately reminded of this brilliant company of miserable sinners, by the remark of an omnibus-driver on Mr. Spurgeon's congregation, of which he formed one. He boasted, saying, that “ All the haristocracy goes to our tabernacle. Vy, last Sunday, I see, close along o' me, the Duchess of St. Albings, and on her near side Baron Bramwell.” For the season the Temple Church, no doubt, often contained brilliant congregation. But soon
great attraction wore off-the preaching was dull, and the music mere monotonous repetition; and in the afternoon, at least, many of the middle and lower classes gained access to the church ; barristers, for the most part, not being wont to put in a second appearance at church, but rather moving clubwards or westwards, with visiting cards in their pockets. This alteration in the constituent part of the congregation, mainly recruited from the shops, offices, and counting-houses in the neighbourhood, has led many an afternoon preacher, who used to be appointed to fill the pulpit by the Benchers in rotation, into an erroneous style of sermon. Thinking they were addressing a congregation drawn from a learned profession, they were wont to endeavour to adapt their discourses to the supposed intellects of their hearers. Quotations in Latin and Greek were lavished, metaphor was indulged in, metaphysics were broached, theological and philosophical essays of a recondite and controversal description were freely delivered, not without creating vehement suspicion among the visiters of horrible heterodoxy. One Sunday's sermon produced a great sensation in the Temple. It happened that a reverend divine, either suddenly called on to preach, or having inadvertently selected the wrong discourse, delivered himself of one of a missionary character, originally composed for and addressed to a mixed congregation of Hindoos and their white brethren. Having disposed of so much of the sermon as applied to the latter, he proceeded to read a few appropriate phrases to their coloured fellow-sinners, and unfortunately turning, as it seemed, to the occupants of the seats on his “near side," who consisted of a few yellow-visaged and parchmentskinned Benchers, he thus proceeded :—“And now a few words
VOL. VIII. NO. XVI.
to you, my brethren, of different complexion to the rest of the congregation, and whose knowledge of the principles of our religion is necessarily less perfect than that of others who have had the privilege of being early educated to the truths of Christianity,” &c. This pointed and startling appeal gave, it is believed, no manner of satisfaction to those he addressed, and since that time we have rarely heard of a missionary preaching in the Temple. For the most part, however, the "selected” preachers? (sometimes recruited from rustic parts) were, if not of the edifying description, not uncomplimentary to the rulers and governors among the congregation of the people ; and as chancellors, exchancellors, and expectant chancellors, patrons of much preferment, were assumed to be, as indeed they occasionally were, among the audience, it would not be uncharitable to suggest, that the preacher exerted all his oratorical powers to effect the double advantage of securing a living for himself, while, peradventure, he might save the soul of a lawyer. It is recorded that one canny curate frae the North Countrie (who had a near relationan attorney-in one of the assize towns on the Northern Circuit, and who might thus have been introduced to the notice of a disinterested Bencher), took for his text a long passage out of the Second Book of Chronicles, where the description of Solomon's Temple is given—"And he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty : and the gold was gold of Parvaim. He overlaid also the house, the beams, the posts, and the walls thereof with gold, and graved cherubims on the walls. And the weight of the brass in the Temple could not be found out.” This afforded an excellent opportunity for drawing parallels between the Temple of Jerusalem and the Temple of Londou—between the wisdom of Solomon and that of the Benchers; on the whole, a preference was given rather in favour of the latter and their building. “The architecture of the Jews, if measured by cubits, was, it is true, more extensive, but somewhat barbarous; and the wit of Solomon not always so delicate as that of the present day. Was it not, too, a remarkable circumstance, that both Temples * This system is now done away with, and one afternoon lecturer is appointed.
had been restored. Strange were the coincidences wbich careful thought would suggest. Thus we read, that many of the chief of the fathers, who were ancient men that had seen the first house when the foundation of the new house was laid before their eyes, shouted aloud for joy,'” and so on—the occasion being carefully improved ” in all ways. One main object, however, of most of the occasional pastors, in obedience to the tone prescribed in high quarters, was to show how it was perfectly consistent to introduce pompous worship into the church, without incurring the suspicion of a taint of the “Puseyism” which was then dividing and rending the ecclesiastical world. The country parson, who would have had' every groat of his Easter offering cut off by angry parishioners had he there broached the abhorred doctrines of chanting a gloria and decorating the communion-table, here expounded how the compromise might be well effected by wisdom, and ability, and good intentions; how pure Protestantism might still flourish though men-singers and boy-singers took part in the services, and elegance and ornament prevailed in the sacred edifice.
The Benchers, however, at the outset of the services in the restored church, had, on one occasion at least, to hear some "home truths.” At the conclusion of one eloquent sermon, they were told pointedly how they "might gild their church and carve their altar, adorn their walls and revel in the richness of their display, be lavish in their ecclesiastical pageantry and pomp, and yet forget that God looked into the hearts of men, however great they might fancy themselves ; He spied out vanity and ostentation however masked, and, penetrating true motives, accepted only the homage of His pure and humble servants.” The masters of the bench, doubtless, on this occasion felt cruelly the truth of Sir William Follett’s remark, that “to
sermon there was no reply.”
The sermons, indeed, at the Temple Church have not of late been so much prized, as possibly they ought to be. So much so has this been the case, that many persons with bad taste were wont to escape therefrom at the conclusion of the anthem. To meet this evil, a terrible notice was affixed to a pillar in the fol
lowing words :-"No one can leave the church after the first lesson,” thus enjoining a “permanent sitting and a fixed congregation.” An equally intelligent and grammatical placard was wont to be put up outside the church after the long vacation, viz. : “Service in the church will begin the first Sunday in November, and continue till further notice.”
The musical services deserve some remarks. The choir labours under the great disadvantages of meeting together only on Sundays. There are no rehearsals, and it is only a marvel when new music is attempted, that they don't altogether break-down, an event which would infallibly often happen, were it not for the dexterity and ability of the accompanist; consequently there is a tendency to repeat the old chants, anthems, and services over and over again, till the regular attendants are somewhat tired. Moreover, the taste of the rulers of the houses has to be consulted ; and they, not having any extended or cultivated knowledge of music, prefer the few old pieces up to which they have been educated, and with which they are acquainted. Sometimes an admirer of “Mozart" seems in the ascendant, and then “Plead thou my cause" is repeated ad nauseam :' for there is not a little musical taste at the bar. 3 We know of two additions to the music of the church made by members of the Temple. The responses to the commandments, adapted by Mr. Meymott from the “Elijah," is one, and a very happy one too. It happened unfortunately to take the fancy of the choir committee, and in consequence was so hackneyed that at last it became intolerable. The other is an adaptation of one of Mendelssohn's Lieder ohne Worte to Bishop Heber's hymn, "Brightest and best of the sons of the morning.” This again so smote their taste, that,
1 We lately heard a horrid collapse in Mendelssohn's service ; common professional pride would have suggested a rehearsal of such music, we should have thought.
This, though no doubt splendid music, is most vilely adapted to English from the well known Twelfth Mass ; the order of the choruses and solo parts being inverted to suit the necessity of the psalm. At other times other favourite anthems are, or at least were, repeated like the tunes on a barrel. organ.
* There is now among the masters of the bench, one highly accomplished in musical learning, from whom we hope some reform may be obtained.
though an Epiphany hymn, they would order it for all seasons till every one of the congregation was sick of it. That these adaptations, however happy, are false in principle, we have no doubt; and glad were we to hear that the gentlenian who had devised that to Bishop Heber's hymn, became disgusted with the indiscriminate popularity and childish furor which it produced, and further reconsidered the propriety of adaptation at all; and so, repenting him of the evil he had done, refused to finish any more of those he was preparing.
We must not fail here to refer to the merits of the organist, Mr. E. J. Hopkins. He was appointed at the institution of the choral service at the Temple, and has ever since filled his office with great zeal and increased ability. His service in A is to our minds the best modern service we know. A composer of such ability as he is, ought to have every encouragement given him for writing sacred music, and having it performed at the Temple Church, as in the days of old the Benchers would have done. To him is the musical training of the boys consigned, and he is very successful in making capital choristers and wellgrounded musicians. Their chanting is brilliant, clear, and articulate, standing in great contrast to what one frequently hears on week-days in cathedrals, when it is either gabbled over in a slovenly and coarse manner, or drawled in a vulgar sing-song fashion. For while, on the one hand, the infrequency of the meeting together of the Temple choir is a disadvantage; yet, on the other, there is great monotony felt in going through the service at the cathedrals to a scanty congregation, day after day throughout the year, and it is undeniable that all sorts of lazy and bad habits are thus acquired by the singers of the cathedral choirs.
We have spoken of the Temple organ as it existed before the restoration of the church ; and we may here remind our readers
1 This clever musician must not be confounded with many other persons of the same name, who also are well known as organists. We happened to be at Rochester cathedral recently, and found there a Mr. Hopkins at the organ; and a few Sundays before we had inquired who was the skilful performer at Trinity College, Cambridge, and found it was also a Mr. Hopkins. A nice field this for Notes and Queries in the next century.