A DISCOURSE Concerning the Rise and Antiquity OF Cathedral Worship.

In a Letter to a Friend.

LONDON, Printed, and are to be sold by A. Baldwin in Warwick-lane, 1699.

Mr. M's Argument methinks carrys a great deal in it. Simplicity and Gravity are the most becoming Ornaments of Divine Worship; to fancy the great God pleas'd with Theatrical Pomp, and a noisy Os­tentation in paying him publick Homage, were to represent him tinc­tur'd with human Vanity and Folly; which fills Conversation with su­perficial Ceremonies and complemental Addresses, that are but mere air and shew. But as they are nauseous to Men of sense, so may it well be concluded that any thing parallel to them, needs must be the like to the All-wise and Heart-searching God. 'Tis true in Humane Conversation, Men may be very complaisant and yet hearty; and in Divine Worship they may be Ceremonious and Formal, and yet truly Devout and Serious: but Likelihood in such cases is more con­siderable than Possibility. Men of Brains and Thought, altho they either through the tincture of Education, may really be fond of a pompous way of Worship; or for fear of singularity, may custo­marily fall in with such Ritual Observances as they don't much ad­mire, are yet sufficiently guarded against so gross a weakness, as the resting in an outside Homage would imply: but what will become of the poor Vulgar? They use their Eyes and their Ears more than their Reason, and understand not the Art of Abstraction; when therefore they find the Divine Worship so contriv'd and ordered as to give them entertainment in their own way, gratifying their senses, and tickling their Fancies, instead of elevating their Un­derstandings, and warming their Hearts, they'l be strangely apt to rest in the former, and over-look the latter, and so the great end is lost. He that questions this, seems little to know Mankind.

For my own part, I am far from being a friend to Slovenliness, or an enemy to Decency: I abhor Irreverence in Divine Worship out of a pretence to Spirituality; and yet am for guarding against too great a Prevalence of sensual part, lest it degenerate into mere Form. And therefore cannot but fall in with that which appear'd the com­mon sense of the Company, that it were better for our Cathedrals to imitate, than be propos'd as patterns to our Parish Churches.

That I remember, which the Doctor most harpt upon, in his En­comiums of the Cathedral way (compar'd to which he seem'd to look upon our Parish Worship as mere babbling) was Antiquity and Authority. There he had us at every turn, when he had not an Answer at hand to our Reasons. There he thought he had a safe Retreat: Thither (according to your desire) I have since pursu'd him, and can find no ground for such mighty Boasts. I have made the best search into the matter that I was able, with that assistance [Page 5] which my poor Library would afford, and must declare that I can find no footing of the modish Worship of our Cathedrals in the Christian Church, either in the days of the Apostles, or for some after-Ages; that if my Authors don't misinform me, (and there call in who you please to be Judges) it prevail'd not till the fourth Century was drawing to a close, and came not to perfection till Gre­gory the Great's days: and was warmly oppos'd by sundry Persons of great Worth and Eminence for a long time before, at, and after the times of the Western Reformation. If I can set this in a just light, I doubt the Doctor must lower his Top-sail, and abate of his Pretensions, lest his Zeal prove too strong for his Judgment.

His Plea from the Church, when Truth lies at stake, is with me of small account. I honour the Reformation because bottom'd upon a free ventilation of Truth, to which whosoever attempts to put a stop, undermines our Foundations, and endangers a relapse into Ig­norance and Superstition, from which we ought to be thankful that we are so happily escap'd. I honour our Church, but cannot think that those befriend her, who would advance her to a practical In­fallibility, admitting of no Alterations and Amendments: and cannot (when I review times past) forbear esteeming her unhappy in many of her Sons that have appear'd most Dutiful, who have outdone her greatest Enemies; and in her choicest Patriots, who have prov'd real Betrayers. For over-doing is undoing, and there­fore I am well satisfy'd that Arch-Bishop Laud with his Heat and Bigotry, was a greater Enemy to our Church, than Tho. Cartwright or any of his Abettors, with all their Admonitions and vehement Invectives. This I think the Event hath verify'd.

It is easy to be observ'd, when Men are once fond of a Notion, how busy they are in searching for something to defend it; how apt to turn all things almost they meet with into Proofs to serve their pur­pose. Take for instance, those whose Ears are fill'd with the Ca­thedral Chanting, and whose minds are still running on its delight­ful Melody and Harmony; give them the New Testament, and turn them to those places where mention is made of singing Psalms and Hymns, and they'l presently fancy themselves in the Quire, with their Singing-Boys about them; and 'tis ten to one but they can find Organs too, and other Musical Instruments: they'l think they can presently thence confute you, even tho they can find no fair Medi­um for an Argument. But this is a Phaenomenon that is easily re­solv'd into a strong prepossest imagination.

Persons may if they please assert, that when our Blessed Saviour [Page 6] sang a Hymn or Psalm after his first Institution of the Holy Com­munion, Mat. 26. 30. he divided his Disciples for the greater Advantage, put­ting six on one side, and six on the other, giving them their parts to sing Antiphonally, while he himself was the Praecentor; for my part, I should put them off with a compassionate Smile, as not thinking the matter would bear an Argument. If they at the same time pre­tend that Paul and Silas, who sang Praises unto God in the Stocks, sang also like Choristers, rebounding their Parts from one to t'other, I Acts 16. 25. would not bear hard upon them; 'tis pity methinks they should be envi'd the Pleasure of their profound Discoveries. When they urge St. Paul's Authority, I am not, I must confess, much mov'd: For tho I know he charges the Ephesians to speak to themselves, in Psalms and Hymns and spiritual Songs, singing and making Melody in Eph. 5. 19. their Hearts to the Lord; and the Colossians to teach and admonish one another in Psalms and Hymns, &c. yet I can't see but this charge of Col. 3. 16. his may be fully comply'd with, without any alternate singing af­ter the manner of the Quire. Baronius indeed informs us, that the Apostle here prescribes the Form of Ecclesiastical singing: But I Ad An. 60. Num. 24. think so important a matter needs better vouchers. Christians speak to themselves, and admonish one another in Psalms and Hymns suffici­ently, by devout Psalmody in their Church-Assemblies and Private Families, while they thereby warm their own Hearts, and quicken and excite each other by their common Ardour. But for singing alternately and by turns, I can see nothing of it without Spectacles, which I am not fond of using for fear they should spoil my Eyes.

The most plausible Scripture-Allegation they produce is from the Book of the Revelation; where the Apostle represents the four Beasts that were about the Throne above, as crying out incessantly, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, &c. which they strengthen Rev. 4. 8, &c. Isa. 6. 3. by a parallel Passage in the Prophet Isaiah, who brings them in as crying so one to another; to which cry of the Beasts, the 24 El­ders give a sort of an Antiphonal Answer, saying: Thou art wor­thy, O Lord, to receive Glory, and Honour, and Power, &c. But we must have a better Key to the Prophetick Visions than hath yet bin found, before we can warrantably argue from them in dubious matters. I can't find but the Apocalypse is yet a Sealed Book, notwithstanding the great Labour and Pains of so many scores of Commentators to open and unfold it: who, as far as I can discern, know better how to overthrow one anothers Schemes and Hypotheses, than how to six with any certainty when they have done. But as to the matter in hand, 'tis no way needful to labour for an Answer. The Pas­sage [Page 7] in Isaiah plainly refers to the Antient Temple-Worship, which can't be admitted a Precedent for Christian Practice, till better proof is brought, that it was design'd, and is fit so to be, than is as yet to be met with. And it is withal generally agreed, that the Images in the Apocalyptic Visions are fetcht from the Law, and not from the Gospel: consequently what in them relates to Divine Wor­ship, refers to the Jewish and not the Christian Mode of it: which takes away the force of any Argument that might hence be drawn, with reference to the practice of the Apostles or their Contempora­ties, as to the using any alternate Singing in their publick Assemblies.

But if what is wanting in Scripture Proof, could be made up by Authentick Primitive Records, I should be silent. For tho I can't fall in with those who represent all the Antients as Giants, and all Moderns as Dwarfs, and confine Sense, Learning and Piety, to for­mer Times, yet I have a just Veneration for Antiquity; and can't particularly for bear having a great regard to the Sentiments and Practice of the Primitive Christians. But the worst of it is, many of the Allegations with reference to the matter in hand, out of the early Ages of the Church, run in so visionary a strain, that it requires more Credulity than I am master of, to lay any stress up­on them: and as for the rest, they are liable to so many Objecti­ons, that I see not how they can amount to any thing like sufficient Evidence.

I have indeed read, that both the Apostolick College, and a De­tachment from the Celestial Hierarchy, made up the Quire at the Celebration of the Funerals of the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of our Lord; whose remains with a mournful Ditty both of Angels and Apostles were deposited in Gethsemane, where the Angels af­terwards continu'd singing for three whole days together: which comes from no meaner an Author, than the famous John of Da­mascus; who I find was a great Patron of Image Worship, and Jann. Damas­cen. Serm. 2. de Dorm. Dei­parae. therefore so much in favour with the Blessed Virgin, that when his Hand was cut off, 'twas through her Intercession miraculously join'd to his Body again. And (tho my Author informs me not, yet) I suppose this might be the hand which afterwards in a way of Gratitude, signaliz'd it self by committing to Writing, and conveying to Posterity, the foregoing Account of the Funeral Solemnity of his great Benefactrix. An admirable Story this to support the Quire! what pity 'twas it remain'd so long un­known! Had it bin publish'd to the World four or five hundred years sooner, it might have done good Service, and effectually [Page 8] silenc'd all Objections against the Cathedral way: but having his kept secret 730 Years, it loses its force, and all that I can say is, Fides sit penes Authorem. Let him look to the truth of it. The same Author elsewhere very gravely relates a pleasant Passage concern­ing the Original of the famous Antient Hymn call'd the Trisagion: The Story is this: In the time of Proclus the Archbishop, the Peo­ple De Fide Or­thodoxâ, Lib. 3. cap. 10. of Constantinople were making solemn Supplications on the ac­count of some portentous Signs, which had a threatning Aspect While they were full of Concern and Horror, a Boy being snatcht from amongst them, was taught by the Angels to sing that celebrated Hymn, which ran thus; [...]. i. e. Holy God, Holy and Strong, Holy and Immortal, Hare mercy upon us. The Boy when return'd, related what he had bin taught by his Celestial Masters, and instructed the Multitude, who freely sang after him, and so averted the Judgments which threatned them. But such sort of Narratives are not food for my Under­standing, with how confident an Air soever they are vented; tho for any thing I know there may be some in the World, to whom such a Passage as this may sufficiently evince the Jus Divinum of Singing-Boys.

But to be as grave as the matter will allow me, I find it positive­ly asserted, and that a great many Ages ago, that the Church-Pomp had its first rise from Heaven: For Ignatius the third Bishop of Anti­och Socrat. Eccl. Hist. Lib. 6. Cap. 8. in Syria, after the Apostle Peter, who also convers'd familiarly with the Apostles, saw the Blessed Spirits above, upon a certain time, singing Hymns to the Sacred Trinity alternately; and deliver'd to his Church that way of Singing, which he in a Vision had observ'd the Angels using: which Tradition was afterwards spread to all the Churches. These are the words of as Antient an Author as Socrates the Church-Historian. Nicephorus Lib. 13. c. 8. gives the same account of the Original of Alternate Singing. So also doth George of Alexandria, in the Life of St. Chry­sostom, Amalarius, De Eccl. Off. Lib. 4. Cap. 7. Walafridus Strabo, De Rebus Eccl. Ch. 25. and sundry others. The Great Baronius Ad An. 60. N. 24. joins this Angelick Vision of Ignatius, with that of the Prophet Isaiah foremention'd, and then triumphs in the fulness of his Proof. The learned Dr. Beveridge Cod. Can. Eccl. Prim. Vind. ac Illust. L. 3. c. 5. §. 8. also makes mention of this Vision, in such a way as makes it plainly appear that he lays a stress upon it, and looks upon his Cause as concern'd in it: and so did Dr. Hammond In his View of the Direct­ory or Vindica­tion of the Li­turgy, &c. before him. But Dr. Comber In his Origi­nal and Ʋse [...]f Liturgies, 80. p. 27. openly espouses and defends it: I know (says he) some take exceptions at the Vision of Angels, from whom he is said to learn this Method; but let it be noted, that this was an Age of Miracles, and that the Holy-Scripture represents [Page 9] the glorious Seraphims singing in this alternate manner: So that it is not unlikely that so great a Saint and Martyr might have such a Vision. Do but observe how fond these Men are of Visions! 'Tis pity but they should have their fill of them: Let them turn to the Golden Legend, and they'l find a thousand as pretty Tales as this. But in Answer to Dr. Comber, I reply, 'tis beyond all question that Igna­tius liv'd in an Age of Miracles: but that God by miraculous Visi­ons, after the Apostles decease, settled any thing of publick Con­cern in the Church, as to which they had given no direction, is too dangerous a Notion to be admitted among Articles of Faith: the Apostolical Commission was large and full; they were to fix the Church upon a stable bottom, both as to Doctrine and Practice; and to provide for the safe propagating Christianity to after Ages. Had they instituted any Artificial Singing like that of our Cathe­drals in worshipping God, they might have bin safely appeal'd to about it, their Commission would have born them out, there need­ed no Visions to have establish'd and made way for it: But supposing them to have bin altogether silent, to go to supply their defects by after Visions, opens a door to great Extravagancies, and gives scope for the introduction of the weakest Dotages, should but any have the Confidence to ascribe them to a divine Original. Ignatius was indeed a great Saint, and famous Martyr; but it doth not thence follow that he must have such a Vision: Many a great Man hath had those things father'd upon him, of which (could he have fore­seen them) he'd have discover'd his abhorrence. If this Story prove a Fiction, it reflects not upon Ignatius. Socrates is most bound to answer for it; for he first reports it: and he, if we have any regard to the Opinion of the great Photius, was not very accurate in his Notions, and may therefore very well be suppos'd weakly to Cod. 28. have taken the matter upon trust from others, without canvassing the truth of the Fact. Withal, 'tis observable that he first started the Notion of this Vision in the year of Christ 440, above 300 years after Ignatius's Death, which alone makes it very suspicious, and weakens the Credit of it, there being no mention made of it by any of the Writers who went before him. The Doctor indeed gently touches upon the silence of Theodoret, (who was the elder Church-Historian of the two) and endeavours to excuse it; say­ing it might proceed from his taking it for granted, and supposing it was generally own'd and known. But what room is there for such a supposition, when the silence is so general? How often do our antientest Historians relate▪things less material, as generally [Page 10] known as this could be? Why then should so famous a Vision, of such importance, be overlook'd by all of them but Socrates, had they either heard of it, or thought it worth inserting? Why par­ticularly should Eusebius be silent, who first collected the scatter'd Fragments of Church-History? His Diligence was such, that so re­markable a Passage as this could hardly have escap'd him; and such was his readiness to put together, whatsoever he met with that had any appearance of Antiquity, that had he heard of it he would scarce have baulkt it. His silence alone (to one that knows the Man) is a sufficient Argument, that he had no notice of this Visi­on: if so, how could it be so generally own'd and known as the Doctor supposes?

I'd e'en advise our Cathedralists therefore to be content to a­scribe their admired Service to a lower Original, and not to soar so high; to let the Angels alone, and to own it had its rise from this Earth, where it hath more Admirers than I doubt it hath in the upper Regions. Here we shall stand upon a level, and may better see our way. I'll give you a brief view of their most applauded Humane Authorities, as I find them produc'd by their most cele­brated Writers.

They in the first place mightily boast of the Egyptian Therapeute, whose Manners and Customs are largely describ'd by Philo, who a­mong a great many other peculiarities, gives this Account of them: De vitâ con­templat. That they had a Quire of two sides, singing alternately; so that when one had begun to sing, the rest answer'd him, by repeating the ends of the Verses, in imitation of those at the Red Sea. Eusebius will needs have these Therapeutae to have bin Christians, and the Disciples of Hist. Eccles. Lib. 2. cap. 16, 17. St. Mark, who preach'd the Gospel among the Egyptians. In them therefore, and their Practice, both Cardinal Baronius, and the three foremention'd Doctors, Hammond, Beveridge and Com­ber, think they meet with an early authentick Proof of the Anti­quity of the Cathedral way: The Narrative wherein this occurs, being written by Philo within 60 Years after the Birth of our Saviour. Now I'll suppose (tho I can as yet see no necessity to grant it) that these People did make a Christian Profession, yes am I to seek for a Proof that their Practice was binding; it be­ing an evident revival of Judaism. The utmost this matter on amount to is this: that there were in Philo's time a numerous party in and about Alexandria, of the Converts of St. Mark, who mixt Judaism and Christianity together. This is not my Notion, but Sozomen's the Historian; and I'll give it you in his words: speak­ing [Page 11] of Philo's Therapeutae he declares, that he looks upon him as there­by Soz. Hist. Eccl. Lib. 1. cap. 12. meaning those in his Days who of Hebrews were become Christians, who yet liv'd after the Jewish manner, and observ'd their Rites. This need not seem strange to any that know that there was in the Pri­mitive Church, a sort of People called Nazarenes or Nazarites; who join'd Christ and Moses, the Law and Gospel, Baptism and Circumcision together. We have early intimations of such an inclination, in St. Luke's Compendium of Church-History: and Acts 15. 1, 8. those who have bin at all conversant with the Accounts given of after-times, cannot but observe how mightily this inclination prevail'd among those Hebrews who embrac'd the Principles of the Christian Faith, who were very unwilling to be disswaded from their old Customs and Observances; of which the pompous way of their Temple-Worship was none of the least belov'd, or least considerable. Supposing these People Christians of this stamp, (and it's plain by the whole Series of Philo's Discourse, and Eu­sebius's after him, which give an Account of so many instances of plain Judaism retain'd amongst them, that they could be of no other) I can't see how much can be gain'd by them. For it can no more be groundedly concluded from their Practice, that the Antiphonal way of Singing was usual in publick Christian Wor­ship in those days, or that the way of the Antient Temple was to be retain'd in Christian Churches; than it can from the Custom of a few Judaizers be inferr'd, that Circumcision was to be a standing Institution even under Christianity, and a discriminating badg as formerly. But after all, it's very justly questionable, whether or no these People were Christians even of this sortment. Scaliger asserts, (and brings a great many Arguments to prove) De Emend. Temp. Lib. 6. Miscel. l. 1. c. 3. Panst. Cath. T. 3. L. 20. c. 22. §. 68, 69, 70. &c. that they were Essenes. Our Countryman Nicolas Fuller is of the same Judgment. The great Oracle of the French Churches, the learned Chamier, proves the same largely. And Valesius also (who was of the opposite Communion) tho he doth not think them Essenes, yet in his Notes upon this part of Eusebius, by di­vers Arguments proves that they were not Christians, and the like doth Dr. Cave: whose Judgment, where it thwarts so many Dons of the Church, is with me as valuable as any Mans. Ano­ther In his Life of St. Mark. ingenious Person of our own Nation also, who takes a great Tho. Bruno his Dissert. de Therapeut. adv. H. Vales. deal of pains to confute Valesius, and is very zealous for having them to be Christians, yet can make no more of them than converted Essenes, owning that they still retain'd their old Rites and Customs. If all this weakens not the force of this Allegation, 'twould to me [Page 12] be very strange: it hath not the face of an Argument left; for ei­ther these People were Christians, or mere Jews. Take which side you will, I am very indifferent; they are unfit Precedents for our Practice. If they were mere Jews, of the Sect of the Essenes, (as is asserted by sundry of the Learned) how are we concern'd in them? What have we to do with them? Which way can they satisfy us as to the Practice of the Christian Church? If they were Christians, they were but Judaizers: who cor­rupted our Religion by sundry unlawful and improper mix­tures; were bitter enemies of the Converted Gentiles, and there­fore very unfit Persons to be our Precedents. Their Practice should rather be us'd as a Caution to us, than urg'd as an Ex­ample for us to imitate.

Another Testimony I meet with commonly produc'd by the Idolizers of the Cathedral way, to prove its Antiquity, is a Pas­sage in an Epistle of the younger Pliny to the Emperor Trajan, about the Primitive Christians; wherein (among other things) he C. Plin. Epist. Lib. 10. Ep. 94. tells him, it was customary with them to meet together on a certain day before it was light, and sing together an Hymn to Christ as God: which he thus expresses; Carmenque Christo quasi Deo, dicere secum invicem; the meaning whereof they will have to be this, that they sang alternately, and by turns, after the manner of the Quire. But methinks 'tis a little odd and unaccountable, that a Heathen should first take notice of this as a common Custom of the Christi­ans, and that their own Writers for a long time after should pass it over silently, even when they were giving an Account of what related to their Worship, and often had so fair an Occasion to mention it. But waving this, I'll give you an instance of unfair dealing, in that great Patron of the Quire, the learned Dr. Comber. Of Liturgies, Oct. p. 23. He urging this Passage of Pliny against his Antagonist, draws an Argument from the Phrase Carmen Dicere, in proof of the Hymns being in a set form of words, wherein I verily believe he hath the right of his side. To back his Assertion, he produces the An­thority of the famous old Gerard Vossius; and presently after thus argues: Since it was sung alternately, it is certain it must be a prescribed Vossii Com­ment. in Ep. Plinii de Christianis. Form; when yet he overlooks what follows but a Leaf or two after in Vossius, when he is opening the sense of Pliny's secum in­vicem; which he explains not by any thing of an alternation (which the Doctor thought fit to take for granted) but repre­sents this as its meaning; that the Priest did not sing alone, but others also that join'd in Divine Worship, did by Singing stir up [Page 13] and quicken one another. So easy it is for a Man to take or leave what he apprehends is for or against him.

But two Considerations, so far as I can perceive, may sufficiently clear this Passage of Pliny, to such as are willing to receive satis­faction. First, the signification of the word invicem is not universally the same. I pretend not to any great accuracy in Criticism; but as far as my insight into the Roman Tongue will help me to dis­cern, am of Opinion, that the sense of this Particle varies, ac­cording as it stands in Conjunction. For as it sometimes signifies, one after another, and by course; so doth it at other times, again; and in other Cases it implies no more than either a joint consent in Action, or an accidental coincidence of Events. Let Laurentius Valla here be consulted, and others of the like Stamp, if there De Linguae Lat. Elegan­tiâ, l. 2. c. 59. be leisure and inclination. The most that can fairly be made of secum invicem, in the Passage referred to, is this; that they sang together, and with one consent. And therefore commend me to Dr. In his Intro­duction to Vol. 1. of the Live, of the Primi­tive Fathers. Cave, who tho no enemy to the Quire, yet was not for support­ing it by a quibbling Criticism, but fairly renders this Passage thus: they were wont upon a set solemn Day, to meet together before Sun rise, and to sing among themselves an Hymn to Christ, as the God whom they worship'd.

A second thing to be noted is this, That the Roman Priests us'd to sing alone in their most sacred Solemnities; none bearing a part in the Service but themselves: the Carmen Saliare (which was the most antient and celebrated of any) was wont to be sung by the Priests of Mars in their particolour'd Coats, while Rosini Antiq. Rom. l. 3. c. 20 they were dancing about the Forum; none joining with them in the Song but those of the Fraternity. The case was the same in their other Songs of the same Nature. Because therefore the Ro­man Priests were the only Singers in their Sacred Worship, did Pliny think it strange to hear that among the Christians all bore a part, and all the Assembly with joint Consent and Harmony sang their Hymn? And yet now alas among Christians (pre­tending to be of the best Reformed Church in the World) do we find a body of Men that are grown weary of letting all God's ☜ Worshippers bear a part in his Praise, and are better pleas'd with the Heathen Custom, of confining it barely to the Priestly Fraternity, and their Attendants. And thus the World runs round.

The next Writer that comes in our way, produc'd in proof of the Antiquity of the Cathedral Service, by its Patrons and Vota­ries, [Page 14] is Tertullian; who flourish'd about the Year of Christ 190, in whom there occurs this Passage; What shall she sing to her Hus­band, [...]tull. ad [...]orem, L. 2. 6. or her Husband to her? I could not, I confess, forbear smiling to find Dr. Comber, when speaking of Tertullian, so gravely as­serting that it appears from him that they then sang Psalms and [...]scourse of [...]turgies, p. Hymns alternately; and referring in the Margin only to this poor Passage. I am no great admirer of such sort of Proof; however shall scan it, and see what it amounts to: ‘The aim of Tertul­lian, in that second Book to his Wife, was to admonish her (supposing that she surviv'd him) to take heed of marrying a Gentile. He urges therefore upon her the Apostle's charge, to marry in the Lord, which believing Women could not be said to do, who link'd themselves with Heathens. He tells her that those who engag'd in such Marriages were to be debarr'd the Privilege of Christian Society; for that they could not with any convenience answer the demands of Christian Discipline, nor forbear exposing Divine things to contempt; nor avoid either the being infected with some idolatrous Leaven, or at least being diverted from those Sacred Engagements that became Christians. Among these he reckons singing the Praises of God, which is most undoubtedly a necessary Duty, and very advantageous, whether it be perform'd in Publick or Private.’ Now says Tertullian, how can a Man and Wife of such opposite Principles, as are those of Heathens and Christi­ans, which run as wide as Heaven and Earth, join together in that Divine Employment? Let the Man set himself to sing, and he'll presently vent what the Wife abhors, and would not join with him in for all the World: Let the Wife on the other side attempt to sing the Christian Psalms and Hymns, and the Husband will storm, because he'll find contempt pour'd on the Objects of his Veneration. How can there be any compliance with the foremen­tion'd Charge of St. Paul, of Teaching and Admonishing one ano­ther in Psalms and Hymns, &c. which as it should be extended to all that are join'd in any thing of a Religious Society, so comes with a special force on such as are join'd together in so near a Relation, as that of Husband and Wife? But alas, so far are they from being capable of any Harmony in such an Engagement, that any attempts towards it would be likely to issue in Strife and Va­riance, and wretched Confusion. This Passage of Tertullian thus taken, runs smooth and even; is free from Difficulties, and needs no force, and is very apposite, and much to the purpose. But on [Page 15] the other side, it must be strain'd and forc'd, before it can be pre­tended to do the Quire any Service; and after all is not very pertinent. In order to the making way for any other Gloss, it must be suppos'd that 'tis either publick or private Singing be­tween Husband and Wife, that is here intended; and either sup­position hath its difficulties. If publick Singing be here referr'd to, and that in the alternate manner; then must it be suppos'd that there was a particular Address of the Husband to the Wife, and Wife to the Husband, during the Service in Christian As­semblies, which so unsutable a Conjunction as he was speaking of would prevent: But this were to assert what could not be prov'd, what we have no where any hint of, and that little to the service of the Cause to be befriended; by reason it would bring in a set of Women-Singers into the Quire, which would not be much for its Reputation. On the other hand; if it were private Singing that Tertullian meant, (which seems much the most likely) then, if their not being able to sing together, or to sing to each other upon occasion, for Excitation, or Exhilaration, won't sa­tisfy as the sense, but an Argument must hence be drawn for the publick Use of the Cathedral way in those days, in order to its having any force, it must be suppos'd that every Man kept a Quire in his House, to train up his Children and Servants for Choristers for the Benefit of the Publick, and so divided them at the time of Worship into two opposite sides, himself heading one, and his Wife the other: which is so large and wild a Supposition, that by virtue of the same Figure, I dare undertake any where almost to fetch Arguments for Proof, in whatsoever Cause I espouse.

These are the principal Authorities, to prove the Use of the Cathedral way in the three first Centuries, that are produc'd by its most sensible Patrons: But were I concern'd with them, I must declare I should be asham'd to claim so great Antiquity, if I could not better prove my Title. However there are others, who are no small Friends to the Cause, who run yet lower, and urge the Apostolical Constitutions; wherein (under the prescrib'd Order of Divine Worship) 'tis requir'd, that after the two Lessons, one should sing David's Hymns or Psalms, and the People should fall Apost. Con­stit. l. 2. c. 57. in with the extremes or ends of the Verses. And this would be to the purpose indeed, were those Constitutions Authentick; but that they are so, is yet to be prov'd. Du Pin (tho a Romanist) is by evidence of Fact forc'd to declare the Author of them an Impos­tor. For that tho he attempts to pass for Clement, the Disciple of the [Page 16] Apostles, he yet ascribes to them all in common, and each in particular, Ou Pin Bibli­ [...]th. des Au­theurs Eccle­siastiqu. Tom. 1. pag. 15. sundry regulations no way agreeing to the Apostles; as concerning Churches built in the Form of Temples, Liturgies, the Ordination of Deacons, and Deaconesses; the Benediction of Oil and Water, and the like; which he declares he's satisfi'd were unknown in those early days. And afterwards he charges them with being infected with the Arian, [...]d. pag. 31. and sundry other Errors; gives it as his Judgment that they did not appear till the 4th Century; and that they were often reform'd; chang'd, and augmented afterwards, according to the different Customs of Times and Countries. Cottelerius also declares he's far from think­ing Cottel. Jud. de Const. Apost. them Apostolical; and that he looks upon them as wretchedly in­terpolated, since they became first extant. Nay even Dr. Beveridge owns the same: and tho he discovers a much greater value for Jud. de Canon. Apostol. c. 17. those supposititious Writings, than any unprejudic'd Person could think they deserve; yet freely declares they are so sadly mangled, that they are quite different from what they were when they first appear'd in the World. But I have oft wondred in my own Mind, why the Doctor thinks L' Arroque unworthy of a Reply, who in his Re­marks Observationes in Annot. Be­veregii in Can. S. Apost. upon him hath sufficiently evidenc'd his antedating them, when he so vehemently contends for their being extant before the Council of Nice. He that at this time of the day lays any stress upon these spurious Constitutions is not to be argued with: the like I say as to Dionysius the Areopagite of the Hierarchy of the Church, and other such Authors, out of whom Passages of the like nature are often cited; they are so generally esteem'd spurious by all that have any gust of Antiquity, and are so far from deserving regard, that they are not worth the mentioning.

And now, Sir, let's consider how far we have advanc'd. It's requir'd by all the Rules of Reasoning, that he that affirms any thing dubious, should give good Proof of it before he can expect to gain credit to his Assertion. Those therefore who so positively affirm the Use of the Cathedral way of Worship, in the three first Centuries, must produce good Evidence; and if their proof be not cogent, there are good Grounds for a denial. The strongest Evi­dences that usually are produc'd, have bin consider'd and weigh'd; and (I think I may without Vanity say) prov'd weak and insufficient. Till therefore they either bring better, or better strengthen and support these, they can't reasonably refuse to allow us to withhold our Assent. The Negative is not in any Case equally capable of Proof with the Affirmative, supposing it true; and yet sometimes may be attended with strong Probabilities, the force of which is [Page 17] not easily avoided. And I think I am not destitute of Reason to assert that this is the case in the present Argument. For tho there's no possibility of demonstrating that the Cathedral Service was not so Antient as is pretended, to those who are unwilling to be convinc'd; yet are there sundry things that make it probable, that the Antiquity ascrib'd to it, is but imaginary and supposititi­ous. And here I should desire that three things were consider'd by those who are open to Light.

First, The State of the Church in the three first Centuries is not to be forgotten. Christianity was then traduc'd, contemn'd, ma­lign'd, and persecuted, with the utmost Subtilty and Malice, Rage and Violence. The great work of its Votaries, was to defend its Principles by the strength of their Writings; to wipe off its Re­proach by the Holiness of their Lives; and to bear Testimony to its Truth and Divinity, by their chearful Sufferings. The Cir­cumstances of Christians were in those early days so presling; so great were the hazards they daily ran, and the fatigues whereto they were expos'd, that it's scarce conceivable they should have inclination, leisure, or opportunity, to introduce so pompous a Worship as that of our Cathedrals. The privacy of their Meet­ings would not allow of any such Magnificence, nor their strait Confinements of such Art and State. The whole contrivance of that sort of Service shows it to be the work of Men at ease, and not under the Hatches, as it's well known Christians generally were before the days of Constantine.

Secondly, The silence of those Primitive Writers who would have bin most likely to have mention'd it, is not to be overlook'd. Justin Martyr, in his particular Account of the Christian Wor­ship in his time, mentions their praising God heartily and chear­fully, In Apologiâ secundâ. but gives not the least intimation of any Pomp or Art in that part of the Service. Irenaeus, Clemens of Alexandria, and Origen are altogether silent as to the Cathedral Service. The di­ligent and industrious Dr. Comber (who takes all Occasions, joint­ly with Liturgies, to recommend alternate Singing after the man­ner of the Quire, as of equal Antiquity) would hardly have overlook'd it, could he have met with any thing in them to the purpose. Tertullian often mentions the singing of Psalms in the Lord's Days Solemnities, in the publick Assemblies: but not a Tertul. de A­nimâ cap. 9. & Apolog. c. 2. &cap. 39. word is produc'd from him as to the Alternate way, saving the foremention'd Passage of his, which won't much serve the Cause. The like may be said as to others their Contemporaries. Now [Page 18] what Account can be given of this general Silence, were the Ca­thedral Service known in those early Ages? It can't be said they conceal'd it for the same reason as they did many of their Sacred Mysteries; for it would not hold in this case. What they did keep secret, and upon reserve, was with a design to heighten Ve­neration and prevent Contempt; (tho I must confess that is an Artifice of which I should not be over fond) But how the conceal­ing this Pompous sort of Service could be conceiv'd likely to guard against dislike and contempt, I can't imagine: its airiness, and gaudiness, and fancifulness, would have bin much more likely to have procur'd it Respect and Approbation among both the ceremonious Jews, and superstitious Gentiles, supposing it had bin generally known and publish'd. Their Ignorance of it, and utter unacquaintedness with it, will to any one who fairly considers Circumstances, appear a much more probable Cause of their silence concerning it.

Thirdly, The solemn Dedication of Churches in those Halcyon days, which attended the Emperor Constantine's embracing the Christian Faith, deserves also a Remark. To have the Emperor of their side, was a surprising Blessing to the poor Christians, who had gone through so many Persecutions: they hardly knew how to contain themselves for Joy, being as it were on a sudden rais'd from the Dead. They had now an Opportunity of shewing them­selves to the World to the best Advantage, and they were not backward to improve it. Among other particulars, they dedi­cated their publick Churches in all parts with great Joyfulness and Festivity; nothing was wanting that could be thought of that might add to the Pomp and Magnificence of those Solemnities: and had any such sort of Singing as that of the Quire, bin then ever heard of or us'd among Christians, we have a great deal of reason to suppose we should have met with it upon those Occasi­ons; or that if it was omitted in one place, it would have bin found in another: whereas there appears not the least footstep of any such thing to be trac'd. Eusebius is here very large in his Ac­counts. In the general he tells us that all with one Soul, and one Hist. Eccles. lib. 10. cap. 3. Consent, sang Hymns to God; loudly eccho'd his Praise in Psalms; heard the other divinely inspir'd Writings, and receiv'd the Symbols of our Redeemer's Passion; and that the several Presidents of the Churches made Panegyrical Orations, with all the Eloquence of Joy whereof they were capable. But he gives not the least hint of any Antiphonal Singing, in parts, and by turns, with Musical Symphony, in a The­atrical [Page 19] way. The Oration at the Dedication of the Church of Cap. 4. Tyre, gives an Account of the Form and Parts of that Edifice (which were very different from what had before bin usual among Christians) and sundry other particularities: but makes not the least mention of any thing like our Cathedral Service, as then in use; for which there was scope sufficient. At the Dedication of the Church at Jerusalem, there was (by virtue of Constantine's Letter) Eus. de Vit. Constant. l. 4. c. 43, 44, 45. a Convention of about sixty Bishops, who were ordered upon this Occasion to adjourn thither from the City of Tyre; where they were met in Council about the Affair of the great Athanasius. The Ceremonies us'd upon that occasion were peculiarly pompous, and a famous Oration was made by Eusebius, which is yet extant at the close of his Ecclesiastical History: But still there's no mention of that sort of Service, which hath so ingross'd the Affections of our Cathedralists. Finally, The same Author gives us also a large Ac­count Cap. 70, 71. of the Funerals of this Famous first Christian Emperor, tells us of the Reception of his Corps by the Clergy in a body, at the Church of the Apostles; takes notice of the mournfulness of the Solemnity, their sorrowful Praying on that Occasion, and the Praises that were universally given to the Deceased; but is al­together silent as to any such Ceremonies, as are in our Days usual, when the Relicks of Persons of Note and Eminence are deposited in our Cathedrals. Which Considerations put together, make it highly probable that the Cathedral Service came not into the Church, till after Constantine left the World; which was in the 337th Year of Christ.

Matters being thus far clear'd, I'll now proceed to give you the best Account I am able, of the true Rise of that way of Wor­ship, which our Cathedralists so much extol; and in comparison whereof they reckon the Worship of those who statedly wait on God like honest Christians in their Parish Churches, to be poor, mean, and beggarly. I'll omit no material Circumstances I have met with in the narrow compass of my Reading, which may either seem to make for their Cause, or help to afford any Light; and make a few Reflections as I go along, that I mayn't seem heavy, flat and tedious.

After all the stir that hath bin made, the first certain hint that can be fix'd on in Ecclesiastical Antiquity, of Cathedral Chant­ing, is in the Church of Antioch, during the Administration of Leontius, who was advanc'd to that See A. C. 347. and continued in it till the Year 356. in which interval of time, Flavianus (who [Page 20] was afterwards himself advanc'd to this See) and Diodorus (after­wards Bishop of Tarsus) divided the Quire into two Parts, and made them sing the Psalms of David alternately: which Custom (saith The­odoret) began first at Antioch, and thence spread it self to other pla­ces; and reach'd even to the ends of the World. Leontius the Bishop Theod. Hist. Eccl. Lib. 2. cap. 24. was an Arian, and subtilly undermin'd the Nicene Faith; of which Flavianus and Diodorus set up for zealous Defenders. They were both engag'd in a Monastick Life, and in great repute for Piety; and therefore altho (as the Historian observes) they were as yet mere Laymen, and not in Orders, yet they had a great many Followers; and their way of Antiphonal Singing, which they set up in separate Assemblies, was generally so taking, that they drew all the People from Leontius their Bishop, who thereupon desir'd them to bring their new fashion Service into the Church. So that this so much admir'd Service, was first set on foot in or­der ☞ to the enticing People from the Arians, to please the Mob, and keep them from running after those by whom they'd be se­duc'd. But for my part I must declare I am rather for leaving those Arts and Shifts to persons of Sectarian Principles: Let Truth make its own way, I can't apprehend it any great Service to it, to gain it Proselytes by any such enticing Methods. And I very much question, whether those who are attracted merely by the pompousness of Worship, are like to prove any great Credit to the party they fall in with. However, thus stands Fact. At An­tioch where Persons were first call'd Christians, were Christians first taught to turn the Church into a Stage. There was that way of Singing first introduc'd, which hath turn'd the Worship of God into an artificial contrivance; and which, should it universally pre­vail, would transform Religion into mere Mechanism. Of this Flavianus was the great occasion. A Man who stands branded in Ecclesiastick History, for the breach of a most solemn Oath, where­by Sozom. Hist. Eccl. Lib. 7. cap. 3. c. 11. (for the preventing a perpetual Schism in the Church of Anti­och) he and five more stood bound, not to covet the Bishoprick of that See, and not to accept it altho elected, while Paulinus and Meletius were alive: Notwithstanding which Oath, he after the Death of Meletius, in opposition to Paulinus, (who yet surviv'd) readily accepted the Bishoprick when 'twas offer'd him: for which notorious Perjury, he was deservedly detested by all the Western Bishops. I know 'tis pleaded on his behalf, that he herein acted with the Advice and Approbation of a Synod of the Bishops of the East, who unanimously elected him, when they were met to­gether [Page 21] in Council at Constantinople. But that only proves that those who possest the chief Dignities of the Church, began betimes to act more out of Interest than a Principle of Conscience, (of which there are alas but too many instances) but proves not the lawful­ness of the Fact. Our Cathedralists have no great Cause to be proud of their Founder, who in so scandalous a manner mounted the Episcopal Throne. However, tho he was loose in his Morals, yet he was very fond of Ceremonials: an unhappy Conjunction! too oft to be met with in every Age! He seems to have reckon'd his Anthems a sort of Magical Charms, proper to appease both God and Man. We meet with a remarkable instance of his reli­ance upon their Virtue, when he was sent as a publick Agent to the Emperor Theodosius. The Case was this: The City of Antioch had by a popular Sedition incurr'd the Emperor's Displeasure, and was afraid of the consequences. Whereupon Flavianus was by common Consent, deputed as their Mediator with him, to pacify Sozom. Hist. Eccl. l. 7. c. 23. his Anger, and implore their Pardon. He undertakes the Busi­ness, and thinking nothing could be more softning than his be­lov'd Church-Musick, ordered the usual Service to be sung before the Emperor at his Table, and for once makes a Quire of the Im­perial Dining-room. The Design succeeded, the Emperor took Pity, he wept most tenderly, and the City was receiv'd into Fa­vour. Behold here an instance of the charming Power of the Ca­thedral Service! How could the Antiochians forbear having a mighty Esteem and Reverence for their late Invention, which they found had such a melting Virtue! How easily were they per­swaded that it was likely to be as moving to God, as they found it had bin to Man! What wonder then, that this City was so fond of Alternate Singing! No where do we hear so much of it as there. In the days of the Emperor Julian, they convey'd the Corps of St. Babylas the Martyr, from Daphne (where the Daemon could not bear his Neighbourhood) and carri'd it through their Socrat. Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 18. Theod. lib. 3. c. 10. City in Triumph, singing all the way they went with great Joy, after the manner of the Quire; the whole Company joining in this response, at every Period, Confounded be all they that worship Graven Images. The same sort of Reception they gave also in the Reign of Theodosius, to the Corps of their Bishop Meletius, which Soz. Hist. Eccl. l. 7. c. 10. was deposited near that of St. Babylas. And many other ways did they show their fondness of it. The prevalence of Antipho­nal Singing in such a City as Antioch, which was the Metropolis of [Page 22] Syria, a place of great resort, and of a mighty Influence, much further'd its spreading in other Parts.

Between the year of Christ 360, and 370, there was a Council held in the City of Laodicea, upon what Occasion is not now cer­tainly known. Among other things 'twas then determin'd, that Concil. Laod. Can. 15. there should be Canonical Singers, and that they should sing out of Writ­ten Books, and that none else should sing in the Church. Who had the framing of these Canons, and what Bishops met in this Council, I cannot find out; but meet with this Reason assign'd by Baronius, for this particular Canon about Singers: because (saith he) when Baron. ad An. 60. N. 28. the People and Clergy sang promiscuously, through the unskilfulness of the Singers it oft fell out, that by the disorderly sound of Voices, the diversity marr'd that harmonious Singing, which was congruous to the Churches Dignity: therefore it was prohibited the People in the Church; and ordered that none should sing, but those unto whom this Work was as­sign'd. Zonaras also intimates as much, telling us that these Ca­nonical Singers were reckon'd a part of the Clergy. But Balsamon (who in Dr. Cave's Judgment was the best skill'd in the Ecclesiasti­cal Canons, of any that ever Greece produc'd) tells us in his Hist. Litera­ria, Pars 1. p. 687. Scholia, that before the Laodicean Council, the Laity would many times in contempt of the Clergy, begin such Hymns and Songs in the Church as were crude and unusual: to obviate which practice it was ordered in that Canon, that none should begin to sing but those that were appointed, and whose Office it was: Not but that the Laity might follow them, and sing with them in the whole Service, which he declares was not intended to be thereby prohibited. So that the true meaning of this celebrated Canon is no more than this, that the Clerks in all the Churches should read the Psalms, out of a Psalm Book; and none else should presume to begin a Hymn, or set a Tune but they. Whence it appears to me a better Evidence of the Antiquity of Parish Clerks, than of the extent of the Cathedral Service, on the behalf where­of 'tis commonly produc'd.

But whatever becomes of the Laodicean Canon, great boasts are made of the Patronage of three most celebrated Names, viz. St. Basil, St. Ambrose, and St. Chrysostom, who were all fond of the Quire; recommended, spread, and diffus'd the new Mode of Service, wheresoever they had an influence, and handed it down to Posterity with Encomiums. Be it so, must we therefore pre­sently be frighten'd out of our Wits? Are they too eminent to have their Sentiments canvass'd, and their Actions scann'd? Is a [Page 23] thing therefore true because they said it, therefore good and laudable because they did it? For my part I think I have them in a just Veneration, and yet cannot reach such a pitch of Com­plaisance. I can't be content to part with my own Eyes, for the use of other Mens, were they ever so eminent, great or good. I find the best have so many failures, that I can't satisfy my self to follow any blindfold, for fear they should lead me into a Ditch. None that are at all vers'd in Antiquity, can be ignorant, that towards the latter end of the 4th Century, and the beginning of the fifth, through the ignorance of some, the negligence of o­thers, the haughtiness and stiffness of others, and a spreading love of Pomp and Magnificence, a variety of Corruptions crept into the Church, which in process of time rose to a far greater height, than could have bin at first imagin'd by those who had the greatest hand in introducing them. Witness the undue admi­ration of Celibacy, the fondness of Reliques and Pilgrimages, the Invocation of Saints, the setting up Images in Churches, the overgreat Veneration of the Cross, and Prayers for the Dead; ☜ which about this time had their rise. Why mayn't the Service of the Quire, which gain'd so much about this time, be of this number; when, how honest and laudable soever were the inten­tions of its first Patrons and Abettors, it came by degrees to be so manag'd, as to render the Divine Worship perfectly ridicu­lous; and would, if it universally prevail'd, bid fair for the justling real Worship out of the World? However I can't pass by the three Persons mention'd without a few Remarks.

As for St. Basil, he had part of his Education at Antioch; he was there made Deacon by Meletius; was a continual Spectator of the pompous Worship of the Quire, which was there so much in vogue; he was us'd to it, and it suted his Genius, and there­upon he resolv'd to spread it. At the same time, being him­self a great Ascetick, mighty fond of Retirement, and full of Zeal, he set up for a Patron of the Monastick Life, for which he was the first who fixt Laws and Constitutions to be pro­pagated to Posterity: but they must have much worse thoughts of so great a Man than I can give way to, who imagine he would have bin fond either of one or t'other, could he have foreseen the Damage they'd have done to real Religion in after­times. 'Tis however observable that he was reckon'd an Inno­vator, and charg'd as an introducer of Novelties, in setting up [Page 24] Monachism, and being so fond of the new way of Psalmody, and so industrious in spreading it: He was even then forc'd to apo­logize for himself. And his Apology (in an Epistle to the Neocae­sarean Basilii Ep. 63. Clergy, still extant) was indeed (like the Man) very warm and vehement. ‘As for his forming Men into a Monas­tick Life, he declares he was so far from reckoning it a fault, that he thought it to be his Glory, and the great Business of his Life: and he fetches Precedents out of Egypt and Palaestine. And as for the new way of Psalmody, at which they were offended, he declares 'twas now become a common practice in the Christian Church; the People rising before day, and going to Church; where having made their Confessions and Prayers, they proceeded to the Singing of Psalms, in which Holy Exer­cise, the Quire being divided into two Parts, mutually answer'd one another, the Praecentor beginning, and the rest following after. And tells them that if this were a fault, they must blame many pious and good Men in Egypt and Libya, and The­bais; in Palaestine, Arabia, Phaenicia and Syria, and many other places. They objected against him, that 'twas not thus in the time of their Bishop Gregory Thaumaturgus, for whom they had a great Veneration. He answers, that neither were the Lita­nies then us'd known in his time.’ But that methinks is no Argument, but that both that sort of Psalmody and the Lita­nies too, might be novel Inventions. ‘Withal, he accuses them of not following their admir'd Gregory in other things; and therefore charges them with straining at a Gnat, while they swallow'd a Camel, in that they in the mean time made such a noise about his Psalmody.’ But how could their being guil­ty of other faults, make them incapable of being in the right, in their opposing the Service of the Quire as a Novelty? Nay rather his inability to produce Evidence of the Antiquity of that which they oppos'd as an Innovation, (which appears from his not having done it) shows that they were herein in the right: and his diverting thence to other things, looks very like his seeking for a subterfuge. After all, St. Basil was a great Man; and yet 'tis well known, that tho he made so strict a profession of Humility, and had spent so much time in learning Mortification, he was as little able to bear a Contradiction as his Neighbours.

From him I pass to St. Ambrose, who was on a sudden translated from the Civil Tribunal to the Episcopal Throne; and who was [Page 25] the first that brought the Antiphonal way of Singing into the Western Parts, as is expresly asserted by St. Austin, Isidore His­palensis, Confess. l. 9. c. 7. and sundry others. He was a considerable Man in his time, but abundantly more so on the account of his Gravity, Simplicity, De Eccl. Off. l. 1. c. 7. and Piety, than his Depth and Solidity: he was too great an ad­mirer of the Greeks, whom he follow'd blindfold. It hath long since bin observ'd of him by St. Jerom, that he often transcribes the Greek Fathers in his Writings; no wonder therefore if he follow'd them in Ritual matters. He had particularly a great Veneration for St. Basil, in imitation of whom he introduc'd the Service of the Quire at Milan; of which we have this Account. ‘When he was persecuted by the Empress Justina, the People watch'd all Night in the Church; and then he appointed that Psalms and Hymns should be sung, after the manner of the Oriental Countries, lest the People should pine away with the tediousness of Sorrow; and from that time forward the Cus­tom was retain'd, and spread to all the Western Parts.’ But I must be excus'd if I can't lay so great a stress on this honest Fa­ther's Judgment and Practice, as some others may do: for a Visio­nary Inclination is with me, wherever I meet with it, a great mark of weakness. Of this we have in him a notorious Instance, in one of the most remarkable Passages of his Life; which relates to his Ambrosii Lit. 22. management of the Relicks of St. Gervasius, and St. Protasius; of which he himself gives this Account: ‘Having built a Church in the City of Milan, he was desir'd to Consecrate it in the same manner as he had done the Roman Church, (i. e. another Church that was near the Roman Gate.) He promis'd it, provid­ed he found any Relicks: and thereupon got some Officers to dig about the Rails that encompass'd the Tombs of St. Felix and St. Nabor the Martyrs. Digging, they found the Bodies of two proper Persons besprinkled with Blood, which with great Solemnity were carried and interr'd in the new-built Church, after having wrought a great many miraculous Cures.’ In his two Sermons which he preach'd upon this Occasion, (which I'd commend to the perusal of all those who reckon Things and Senti­ments must, if Antient, be good of course) he tells his Hearers, that these were the Bodies of St. Gervasius, and Protasius. And tho he did not think it necessary to acquaint them how he came to know so much, yet St. Austin (who was at that time at Milan) tells us he had his Intelligence in a Vision. For my part, I'm Confess. l. 9. c. 7. [Page 26] clearly for plain ground, for I find Precipices dangerous. Once admit Visions in the Case of Relicks, and I see no reason why they should be refus'd on the behalf of Transubstantiation, or any other Dotage. If we have a sure Word of Prophecy, let us stick to it. Should a Man bring his Visions into the Pulpit in our times, either in the Court, City, or University, he'd at once forfeit whatever Reputation he was master of. And why we should give a Letter of Licence to an Antient, and deny it to a Modern Preacher, I can't imagine. In a word, I honour the Piety of St Ambrose; yet cannot but be loth to admit him a Precedent, where any thing dubious is under Consideration: for I am satisfi'd we have many an honest Country Parson, that is able to see as far as he.

The third admir'd Patron is the great St. Chrysostom, concern­ing whom 'tis to be observ'd, that he was born and bred at An­tioch, where we have found the Cathedral Chanting was first in­troduc'd. He was made a Deacon there by Meletius, and after­wards a Presbyter by Flavianus (the Founder of the Service) of whom he is said to have bin a great admirer: So that he imbib'd the love of Antiphonal Singing, almost with his Mother's Milk, and was all along bred up in the Use of it: and he must be alto­gether unacquainted with humane Nature, who knows not the Force and Power of Education. When he was once advanc'd to the See of Constantinople, he soon found occasion to introduce the Antiochian Custom. Historians relate it thus: ‘The Arians in that City were grown very insolent: They kept their Conven­ticles Socrat. l. 6. c. 8. out of Town, but were wont upon Saturdays and Sun­days, Sozom. l. 8. c. 8. (which were constant times for the Publick Assemblies) to come within the City; and dividing themselves into Companies, they walk'd about the Publick Portico's, singing as they went along Hymns compos'd in defence of their own Principles, one part responding to the other; adding petulant Reflections on the Catholicks. Thus they did the greatest part of the Night, and early the next Morning they march'd through the heart of the City, singing their Antiphonal Hymns, and so went out to their own Meeting-house. St. Chrysostom in opposition to them, deliver'd Hymns to some of his People, to be sung in the Night in the same manner: and that the business might be manag'd with the greater Pomp and Solemnity, procur'd Crosses of Sil­ver to be made at the Empresses Charge; and order'd that they [Page 27] should have lighted Torches born before them, and got Briso the Empresses own Eunuch, as Praecentor, to walk before the Com­pany: which was the occasion of a great Scuffle and Sedition in the City, that issu'd in the utter Expulsion of the Arians. But this way of Singing thus introduc'd, was (as Sozomen observes) us'd at Constantinople from that day forward. Which is to me a plain Argument that it was not introduc'd there before; for otherwise he'd hardly have taken such particular notice of it. However, it had not bin long there, before it was manag'd in so unseemly a manner, as made the good Man who first brought it in, perfectly asham'd: For the Singers affected such mimical Gestures, and bois­terous Clamors, as turn'd the Church into a mere Stage: Where­upon he with great Vehemence, Warmth, and Gravity reproves them: ‘Telling them that their rude Voices, which gave an un­certain Chrysost. sound, rather became Theatres than the Church of God; Hom. 1. de Verb. Isaiae 1. 5. p. 128. because they were borrow'd from thence, and were unseemly for the Church, in which all things are to be done with Reve­rence, because of his tremendous Presence, who observes the Motion of every one there: yea he declares he reckons those rude Voices in Singing, for tokens of an uncomposed Mind; which declare that Men are rather mad, than humbly confessing their Sins to God, and with a becoming lowliness, begging his Pardon for them.’ Which was a sort of a retractation of his former Fact, when he saw the Profaneness to which it gave occa­sion; and intimates an abatement of his fondness for the Cathe­dral Service, when he found how much Religion, and the Wor­ship of God was like to suffer by it. We may very well conclude, that the same fervent Piety and Zeal for God, could he have known the Mischief it occasion'd in succeeding Ages, would have made him as forward to throw it out, as ever he was to bring it in. Up­on the whole, there's no great room for boasting of these three Patrons; for the first was reputed an Innovator in that very re­spect, wherein our Cathedralists urge his Authority: The second in things of this nature, made more use of other Mens Eyes than his own: and the third in a little time saw cause to repent his for­wardness in that for which they commend him; and in effect re­tracted it.

Thus I have given you a brief View of the first Rise of Anti­phonal Singing, at Antioch, at Caesarea; and Constantinople in the East; and at Milan in the West: whence by degrees it was spread [Page 28] to other places. You may perhaps wonder, I have not in all this time brought it to Rome, where there was from the first Rise of Christianity, a great fondness of Pomp and Magnificence obser­vable, and a forwardness to outdo all other Churches. But the truth of it is, I am for dealing impartially: Rome hath enough in all rea­son to answer for, it need not be charg'd falsly. Other Cities were before it in the time of admitting the Cathedral Service: but when once it was receiv'd there, it was quickly so improv'd that no time seem'd lost, while it remain'd unknown. If we'll believe the Pontifical, 'twas Pope Damasus who first ordain'd that Psalms should be sung both Day and Night by the Clergy. Conc. T. 1. p. 496. There is in St. Jerom's Works a Letter of this Pope, wherein he de­sires him to send him an Account of the Grecian manner of Singing; and he gives this Reason, because it was not as yet us'd amongst them, neither was the Grace of an Hymn known in their Mouth. Baronius calls the truth of this Epistle into question; but the Pontifical asserts, and gives Credit to it. In his time therefore, that is about the Year of Christ 380, Antiphonal Singing was brought in at Rome also. And there it was so cultivated, that it made mighty advances un­der the conduct of several Popes successively; till at length it be­came as hard a matter for any one to manage a Part in the Quire, as on the Stage; nay requir'd more time and pains for a Person to learn to sing the Praises of God in the Church, than to sing in a Theatre.

Should I pretend to give you an Account of the several Emenda­tions, Augmentations, and gradual Alterations, of the Cathedral Service in the Roman hands, I should soon expatiate beyond the bounds of a Letter, and therefore I'll forbear; and only observe that in the time of Gregory the Great, (that is, about the Year of Christ 620) it was brought to Perfection; and thence-forward call'd Cantus Gregorianus, in English the Gregorian Cant. He sent it into our Nation by his Trusty Emissary Austin the Monk, who found such a stiffness among the British Clergy, that he was quite at a loss: they were not to be perswaded to forsake their own Rites of Worship, and receive the Romish Trumpery, and among others things their new model'd, and much admir'd Cathedral Ser­vice; whereupon he was the Occasion of the slaughter of twelve Bede Hist. Eccl. l. 2. c. 2. hundred of them at once, being resolv'd they should pay dear for their unmusical Disposition. One would think this should be but a ☞ poor encouragement to the Survivors, to dance after his Pipe! And [Page 29] that the Remembrance of it should damp our present Clergy in their most pompous Service, and abate their fondness of the Quire, which was in this Island founded in so much Blood! Our old Brit­tans however for a good while after kept their ground; tho Austin had got the better of them they would not yield: they would not conform to the Roman Custom, so much as in the time of celebrating the Paschal Solemnity; much less would they comply in changing that plain and simple manner of Divine Worship which prevail'd among them, for a Gaudy, Pompous, and Theatrical sort of Wor­ship, which was all made up of Art and Shew. But about the year of Christ 670, Pope Vitalian sent Theodore a Grecian into England, to fill up the Vacant See of Canterbury; who by his Subtilty and Artifice outwitted the poor Brittans, to the full satisfaction of those who employ'd him. He held a Synod at Hartford, wherein the Easter Controversy was settled to the Pope's Mind, and the Spelman. Concil. way pav'd for the introduction of the Cathedral Service with all its Pomp. To this Pope Vitalian, to whom our Nation is oblig'd for this Archbishop Theodore, must we pay our Acknowledgments also for Organs in Divine Worship; of which (if Platina be to be cre­dited) he was the first introducer.—Some time after, when Aga­tho Platina in vitâ Vitalia­ni. was in the Pontifical Chair, Benedict, who had built a Monastery here in Britain, went to Rome to be confirm'd in the honour of his Abbacy. He was kindly receiv'd, and the Pope sent one John (who was chief Singer at St. Peters in Rome, and Abbot of the Monastery Baron. ad An. 679. N. 10. of St. Martin) back along with him; who introduc'd into his new built Monastery, the whole Service that was us'd at St. Peter's, and taught his Singers the art of Chanting, in conformity to the Roman Method. This was about the year of Christ 679; which is the earliest certain date of the Cathedral Service in this our Land. Our Brittans had for some Ages worship'd God accept­ably enough without it, and might have continued so to do had they never known it. But Rome had then set up for the Mother-Church, and with great zeal spread an Uniformity of Service among all her reputed Daughters; till in process of time she had made them all as bad as her self.

But France was not even yet conformable: Pope Hadrian there­fore took the Advantage of the Obligation he had laid on Charles the Great, by making him Emperor of the West, in order to the engaging him to introduce the Gregorian Cant into the Gallick Church. About which Baronius gives us this memorable Passage: [Page 30] ‘In the Year 787, the Emperor kept his Easter with Pope Ha­drian Baron. ad An. 787. N. 106. at Rome; and in those days of Festivity there arose a great Contention between the Singers of the French and Roman sort. The French pretended to sing more gravely and decently; the Romans more melodiously and artificially; and each mightily undervalu'd the other. The Emperor yielded to the Pope, and made his own Servants truckle; and thereupon carry'd back with him Theodore and Benedict (two expert Roman Singers) to instruct his Countrymen. The Pope also gave him the Ro­man Antiphonary, which he promis'd should be generally us'd in his Dominions. And upon his return into France, he plac'd one of these Artists in the City of Metz; ordering that the Sing­ers should from all the Cities of France, repair thither to him to learn his Art of Singing, and playing on the Organs.’ And thus you see (in part) how the Cathedral Service spread in these Western Parts, by means of the Pope of Rome, who had then set up for Administrator General of the Kingdom of Christ.

I'll forbear troubling you with the various Constitutions of se­veral National Councils about this sort of Service, lest I trespass upon your Patience: tho if they were consulted (I find by sundry instances) they would discover a sense even among the Clergy, as bad as 'twas, of the Corruptions which prevail'd in it. But in lieu of it, I'll give you the Censures of sundry particular Persons of Note and Eminence all along in the Church.

Dr. Comber in the heat of his Zeal for the Service of the Quire, Of Liturgies, Oct. p. 88. positively asserts, that no Christians, before our Dissenters appear'd, ever found any fault with it. As for the Dissenters, I undertake not their Patronage; tho this I'll venture to say for them, that the most rational and solid of them (with whom I have had any Con­verse) lay a greater stress on the Objections to which our Consti­tution is liable, than those that may be started against our Mode of Worship in our Parish Churches. But as for the Worship of our Cathedrals, there are a great many who never deserted the Com­munion of the Church, nor never intended it, who are as much against it as any of the Dissenters. And, but that I a little know the World, it would have amaz'd me, that a Man so conversant with Books as Dr. Comber, should pretend the Objections against it are of late Date: for alas it hath met with opposition ever since it appear'd in the World, and bin objected against in every Age. I'll mention a few Instances of many.

[Page 31] The Neocaesarean Clergy (abovemention'd) excepted against it as a Novelty, when it was so industriously spread by St. Basil; and that not many Years after its first appearance.

St. Austin (when his Mind was calm) was much afraid of it. I know indeed there is a Passage of his often made use of in favour of the Quire; and it can't be deni'd but he once commended it. For speaking of the first Introduction of Antiphonal Singing at Milan, at which he was present, he thus expresses himself: ‘How Confess. l. 9. c. 6. abundantly did I weep before God, to hear those Hymns of thine; being touch'd to the very quick by the Voices of thy sweet Church-Song! The Voices flow'd into my Ears, and thy Truth pleasingly distill'd into my Heart, which caus'd the Af­fections of my Devotion to overflow, and my Tears to run over; and happy did I find my self therein.’ This was his first Apprehension before he had weigh'd matters in an even ballance. But St. Austin was not asham'd to change his Judgment; wit­ness his Book of Retractations. He at first mistook the natural work­ings of his Passions, thrô the influence of Musick, for the fervent work­ings ☜ of a vigorous Devotion: (a common mistake I doubt among the frequenters of Cathedrals!) But when he came to himself, he saw his danger: ‘and thereupon censur'd himself severely, Conf. l. 10. c. 33. for being so tickled with sensual Delight in Divine Worship, and heartily blest God for being deliver'd from that Snare. He withal expresly declares, that he often wish'd that the melo­dious Singing of David's Psalter with so much art, were re­mov'd from his and the Churches Ears: and that he thought the Method which he had often heard was us'd by Athanasius Bishop of Alexandria was the safest; who caus'd him who read the Psalm to use so little a variation of the Voice, that he seem'd more like to one pronouncing, than singing. And elsewhere he declares, that the same way of Singing as was us'd in Alexandria, prevail'd throughout all Africa. St. Austin Ep. 119▪ charges it upon himself as a great fault, that he was more mov'd with the pompous sort of Singing, than the thing sung; and that he gave more respect to musical Delights in the Church than was seemly; to which he was very prone; and which he repre­sents as a great inconvenience of nicely manag'd artificial Con­cord in that part of Divine Worship. I wish those who profess so great a Reverence for Antiquity, could but see the force of this Objection as coming from so noted a Father as St. Austin, [Page 32] which they are so apt to slight when mention'd by one who stands upon a level with them. If I mistake not, he liv'd before our English Dissenters appear'd.

St. Hierom also (tho Friend enough in all reason to Pomp and Hier. Epist. ad Rusticum. Magnificence in Divine Worship, yet) drops a Passage that looks askew at the Artists of the Quire in his time: ‘Intimating that we are not like Tragaedians, to anoint our Throat and Mouth with sweet Modulation, that our Theatrical Tunes and Songs may be heard in the Church; but we are to sing with Reverence.’

Isidore Hispalensis (a celebrated Author in the sixth Century) De Ecclesiast. Off. l. 1. c. 5. says, that ‘the Singing of the Primitive Christians was next akin to Reading, the variation of the Voice was so very small; and as for that pompous way of Singing which had a little before his time bin introduc'd into the Western Church, he says 'twas brought in for the sake of those who were Carnal, and not on ☞ their account who were Spiritual: that those who are not reach'd or affected by the Words, might be charm'd by the sweetness of the Harmony.’ In my Apprehension, this is not much in favour of the Quire.

Rabanus Maurus (who was a Disciple of the famous Alcuine) De Institut. Cleric. l. 2. c. 48. ‘freely declares himself against Musical Artifice, and Theatri­cal Singing in the Worship of God; and only for such as may move compunction, and may be clearly understood by the Hearers.’

Thomas Aquinas (who is universally reputed the solidest of the In 22. q. 91. a. 2. 4. Schoolmen) ‘declares against musical Instruments in divine Wor­ship; which together with the pompous Service of the Quire, he seems to intimate were Judaical. He says Musical Instru­ments do more stir up the mind to Delight, than frame it to a right Disposition. In the Old Testament such sensitive helps were more needful, and they were figurative of something: but now (he says) he sees no reason for them.’

John Wickleff (that early Detester of the Corruptions which had Catalog. Test. Ver. l. 18. overspread the Church) declar'd against the Ecclesiastical Sing­ing. He was altogether against the Cathedral Service, and that Ceremonious Worship, which the Popes of Rome in all Parts so zealously promoted. He mightily contended for the Abolition of the several Offices, and Canonical Hours, &c.

After him, among others, Erasmus very freely (in his wonted Comment. on 1 Cor. 14. 19. manner) inveighs against the Cathedral Chanting. ‘There is [Page 33] (says he) a sort a Musick brought into Divine Worship, which hinders People from distinctly understanding a word almost that is said. Nor have the Singers any leisure to mind what it is they sing; nor can the Vulgar hear any thing but an empty sound, which delightfully glides into their Ears. What Notions have they (says he) of Christ, who think he's pleas'd with such a Noise? and afterwards, We have brought (says he) a tedious and frolicksom sort of Musick into the House of God, a tumultu­ous noise of different Voices, such as I think was never heard in the Theatres, either of Greeks or Romans. For the keep­ing ☜ up of which, whole flocks of Boys are maintain'd at great Charges, whose Age is spent in learning such gibble gabble; while they are taught nothing that is good and useful; a whole troop of lazy Lubbards are also maintain'd merely for the same purpose. At such cost is the Church for a thing that's pestiferous. Whereupon he wishes it were exactly calculated, how many poor Men might be reliev'd and maintain'd out of the Salaries of these Singers.’ (A very good wish; I may pos­sibly make an Essay towards such a Calculation in my next.) ‘He particularly reflects upon the English for their fondness of this sort of Service.’—So that I find 'tis not of late days only, that my Countrymen are degenerated from the old Brittans.

Cornelius Agrippa (who was Counsellor to the Emperor Charles De Vanitate Scientiarum, cap. 17. the 5th) vehemently also inveighs against the Church Musick, and says: ‘That 'tis so licentious, that the Divine Offices, Ho­ly Mysteries, and Prayers, are chanted by a company of wan­ton Musicians, who are hir'd with a great sum of Money, not to the Hearers Understanding, but merely for wanton tickling. The Church being sill'd with belluine Clamours, while the Boys whine the Descant, others bellow the Tenour, others bark the Counterpoint, others squeak the Treble, others grunt the Base; and they make that many sounds may be heard, but no Words or Sentences (almost) be understood, but the Authority of Judgment is taken away both from the Ears and Mind.’

Zuinglius, (the first Reformer of the Helvetian Church) is very Zuinglii Act. Disp. 2. p. 106. warm also upon this Point. ‘It is evident (says he) that the Ecclesiastical Chanting, and the roaring in our Temples, (which are scarce understood by the Priests themselves) is a most foolish and vain abuse, and a most pernicious hindrance to Piety.’

[Page 34] I might mention John Calvin also; but that I know his Authority won't go far with those whose Conviction I would gladly promote.

But Cardinal Cajetan is an Unexceptionable Man; as great an Enemy as he was of the Reformers, he yet herein agrees with them; declaring, ‘that it may be easily gather'd from 1 Cor. 14. In 1 Cor. 14. that 'tis much more eligible and agreeable to the Apostle's Mind, that the Sacred Offices should be distinctly recited, and intelligibly perform'd in the Church, without Musical and Ar­tificial Harmony; than so manag'd, as that with the noise of mu­sical Organs, and the Multitude, Clamours and Quavers, and absurd Repetitions of affected Singers, (which seem as it were devis'd on purpose to darken the sense) the Auditors should be so confounded, as that no one should be able to understand what was sung.’

Polidore Virgile also (tho an Italian) writes to the same purpose: De Invent. rerum, l. 6. c. 2. ‘Now (says he) the Chanters make a noise in the Church, and nothing is heard there but a Voice; and others who are pre­sent rest satisfi'd with the consent of the Crys, no way regard­ing the meaning of the words. And so it is, that among the Multitude, all the esteem of Divine Worship seems to rely up­on the Chanters; altho generally no sort of Men are lighter or more wicked,’ [the Spanish Index Expurgatorius, pag. 72. order'd these words to be left out in following Impressions] ‘and in the same place, speaking of the Quire, (he saith) I may say that these are for the most part brought into our Ceremonies from the old Heathens, who were wont to sacrifice with Symphony, as Livy witnesseth, Lib. 9.’

Nay Lindanus Bishop of Ruremond, continues even after the Re­formation in the same Tone; and bitterly ‘complains of the Lindan. Pano­pliae, l. 5. c. 7. Musicians and Singers, that have possest the Church, whose Singing is nothing else but a Theatrical confusion of Sounds, which rather tends to avert the minds of Hearers from that that is good, than raise them to God: and declares, that tho he had oft bin present, and was as attentive as well he could be to what was sung, he yet could hardly understand any thing; the whole Service was so fill'd with Repetitions, and a confu­sion of different Voices and Tones, and rude Clamours. And thereupon he praises those who expell'd this sort of Musick out of their Churches as a profane hindrance of Divine Wor­ship, and a device of humane Vanity, rather than admitted and [Page 35] continu'd it, for the gaining the Applause of the Light and Frothy.’

And now, Sir, what think you of Dr. Comber's Assertion, that none objected against the Cathedral Service, till the Dissenters ap­pear'd? I doubt the Doctor would not willingly have them grac'd with such Patrons as the Persons mentioned.

I know indeed 'twill be reply'd, that the forecited Censures were level'd against the Service of the Quire in the Popish Church­es: but till it can be made appear that it is even in our Protestant Churches free from the things excepted against, their Objecti­ons have an equal force. And really, tho I have bin abroad, and had Opportunity of seeing the Popish way, yet (bating the Lan­guage) I can discern little difference between their Worship and ours, as manag'd in our Cathedrals.

I'll add one Authority more, which with some possibly may out­weigh all the rest; and 'tis that of the 32 Commissioners, who were in the Reign of H. 8. and Edw. 6. appointed by Act of Parliament to examine all Canons, Constitutions, and Ordinances, Provinci­al and Synodal; and to draw up such Laws Ecclesiastical, as should be universally observ'd. The same thing was also reviv'd in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, but quickly dropt; and (saith the Reverend Bishop Burnet) to the great prejudice of our Church it hath slept ever since. The Persons deputed for this purpose, were Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury, Ridley Bishop of London; Ponet Bishop of Winchester, Goodrick Bishop of Ely, Coverdale Bishop of Exeter, Hooper Bishop of Glocester, Knight Bishop of Bath, Scory Bishop of Rochester, Mr. Taylor of Lincoln, Mr. Cox the King's Almoner, Parker of Cambridg, Latimer, Cook, Peter Martyr, Sir John Cheke, John a Lasco, Mr. Peter, Mr. Cecyl, Sir Tho. Smith, Mr. Taylor of Hadleigh, Dr. May, Mr. Traheron, Dr. Lyel, Mr. Skinner, Justice Hales, Justice Bromley, Goodrick, Gosnal, Stamford, Carel, Lucas, and Brook Recorder of London. The flower of the English Nation for Sense and Learning, Sacred and Polite Literature. Tho the Design came not to Maturity, yet may we in their unfinish'd Tract, (since publish'd under the Title of Reformatio Legum Anglicarum) as to the several Points whereof they treat, see the Judgment of a set of as valuable Men as this Nation could perhaps ever have af­forded, for consulting together about a matter of so great Mo­ment. Now in this Discourse of theirs, when they come to treat of the Vocal and Instrumental Musick us'd in the Cathedral Ser­vice, De Divinis Officiis. c. 5. [Page] they declare they are for having it quite taken away.

☞ It would almost tempt a Man to wonder with what [...] can pretend to have so great a Veneration for our first [...] as they do, when yet they so zealously defend, and are [...] retaining what they thought better abolish'd and quite rem [...]

And thus (Sir) I have finish'd the Authoritative part [...] Argument; wherein I think I have bid fair for proving [...] tiquity and Authority don't so far favour our Cathedralists seem to imagine. The reasoning Part remains behind. [...] but recollect what past at our Conference, what Argument urg'd, and how Objections were answer'd, I should hope [...] many might be convinc'd. If you'l show this to the honest I and be so kind as to let me know his Censure and Resentmen [...] try what I can do; and at the same time endeavour [...] Animadversions, and a further clearing of the matter.

Yours, N. [...].

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