« ElőzőTovább »
deficient in the practice, as themselves; even supposing they were willing to give them such information. But it is well known how backward men are to perform the task of censors upon any habits of their friends, unless called upon to do so. And the man who wants such information, from a consciousness of his deficiency, is yet restrained from applying for it, by a false shame; considering it as a disgrace to acknowledge that he did not know how to read, at that time of life. For this is the light in which they consider it, confounding under one term, two very distinct things, that of mere reading, and reading well. In learning to read, two very differeut ends may be proposed. The one, that of silent reading, to enable us to understand authors, and store our minds with knowledge; the other, that of reading aloud, by which we may communicate the sentiments of authors to our hearers with perspicuity and force. All our pains have been employed in accomplishing the former end; and with regard to the latter, we are either set wrong by false rules, or left wholly to chance. Now if it were known that to arrive at perfection in the art of reading in the latter sense, would require much time and pains, even supposing it were taught by a regular system of rules and skilful masters; surely it could never be considered as a disgrace. to any one to be deficient in such an art, who, far from having precepts to guide, or masters to teach him, should be misled by false lights, in the very first principles of the theory, and corrupted by bad examples in the practical part. For the benefit of such as are desirous of getting rid of their bad habits,
and discharging that important part of the sacred office, the reading of the liturgy, with due decorum, I shall first enter into a minute examination of some parts of the service, and afterwards deliver the rest, accompanied with such marks, as will enable the reader, in a short time, and with moderate pains, to make himself master of the whole. And though this may seem to be chiefly calculated for the use of the clergy, yet it will be found the very best lesson that could be given to all others, in the art of reading. In making my comments, I shall not select passages from different parts of the service, but take them in their order as they lie in the Prayer-book, beginning with some of the texts that are usually read before the exhortation. But first it will be necessary to explain the marks which you will hereafter see throughout the remainder of this work. They are of two kinds; one, to point out the emphatic words, for which purpose I shall use the grave accent of the Greek [']
The other, to point out the different pauses or stops, for which I shall use the following marks: For the shortest pause, marking an incomplete sense, a
small inclined line, thus ['] For the second, double the time of the former, two ["] And for the third or full stop, three [ " ] When I would mark a pause longer than any belonging
to the usual stops, it shall be by two horizontal lines,
as thus [ ] When I would point out a syllable that is to be dwelt
on some time I shall use this mark [. ]
When a syllable should be rapidly uttered, this [-]
or a curve turned upwards; the usual marks of long and short quantity in prosody.
The reason for my using new marks for the stops, is this. They who have been accustomed to associate reading notes to the stops, will, on the sight of them, be apt to fall into their old habit; and as the new marks are free from such association of ideas, they will be more likely to be guided in all the changes of their voice by the sense only.
THE ORDER FOR DAILY MORNING PRAYER.
As the first necessary step towards getting into a good habit, is to get rid of a bad one, I shall point out the faults that are usually committed in reading the service, and afterwards propose the amendments.
SENTENCES OF SCRIPTURE AT THE BEGINNING
OF PUBLIC WORSHIP. From these it will be sufficient to select the last two by way of examples.
I have often heard the following verse read in this manner.
“ Enter not into judgment with thy servant O Lord, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.”
Here the words, not, servant, sight, justified, between which it is impossible to find any connexion, or dependence of one on the other, are principally marked. By these false emphases, the mind is turned wholly from the main purport and drift of the verse. Upon hearing an emphasis upon not, it expects quite another conclusion to make the meaning consistent; and instead of the word for, which begins the latter part of the sentence, it would expect a but; as Enter no't into judgment with thy servant O Lord, but regard me with an eye of mercy. When it hears the emphasis on se'rvant, it expects also another conclusion; as, Enter not into judgment with thy se 'rvant O Lord, but enter into judgment with those who are not thy servants. And by the emphasis on the words sight, and justified, the true meaning is not conveyed. But if read in the following manner, Enter not into judgment with thy servant O Lord" for' in thy sight' shall no man li ving be justified'—the whole meaning becomes obvious, and we see that there is a great deal more implied, than the mere words would express, without the aid of proper emphasis. Enter not into judgment with thy servant O Lord”—That is, enter not, O Lord, into the severity of judgment with thy servant—'for' in thy sightwhich is all-piercing, and can spy the smallest blemish - shall no man living be justified-No man on earth, no not the best, shall be found perfect, or sufficiently pure, to stand the examination of the eye of purity itself.
Upon this sentence thus pronounced, the following beautiful passage in Job, may be a comment.
“How then can man be justified with God, or how can he be clean that is born of woman? Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less, man, that is a worm, and the son of man, which is a worm."
The following sentence is often read in this faulty manner.