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of that time, by an audience of 3700 persons, who had been admitted by tickets at five shillings each.
In 1734 Handel brought out his celebrated “Hautbois Concertos.” Magnificent instrumental music is disguised under the modest title. The hautbois was a favourite with Handel ; and has considerable prominence given to it in these pieces ; but the music itself might be more appropriately designated “Grand Symphonies.” In the following year he published “ Six Fugues, or Voluntaries, for Organ or Harpsichord”: a style of composition in which he is unsurpassed except by Bach ; and in this year he also gave to the world another Italian opera, “ Alcino.”
It should be remembered that, while this fertile genius was giving one masterpiece of music after another to the world, he was also laboriously preparing for and conducting performances in public. His own exploits on the organ were remarkable. On one occasion he entered a church where he was unknown, and at the close of the service requested permission to play the people out. The organist obliged him. The greatest improviser that ever lived then commenced playing. The people who had got up sat down again ; those who were at the door turned back; those who had not risen kept their seats; and, after nearly an hour's ecstasy the organist, interfered, remarking that he could never play the people out.
On February 19th, 1736, “ Alexander's Feast" was performed as an oratorio. It was at once acknowledged to be a masterpiece. Everything in it is said to be superb, and Handel once more displayed the sovereign power of his genius for choral combinations. The words are from the gifted pen of Dryden.
In the next two years Handel was in great difficulties : struggling against a powerful opposition-accumulating debts—bringing out pieces of music, partly original, and partly selected—until he was obliged to stop payment; and was so afflicted thereby that he was seized with partial paralysis. This necessitated rest, and he went op. the continent for a few weeks. On his return, Queen Caroline died, and George II. commanded an anthem to be composed for her funeral. In four days this celebrated “Funeral Anthem” was finished, and was in the hands of copyists and musicians for rehearsal! It is a sublime work, abounding in melody, harmony, and grandeur : said to be comparable even to Mozart's famous "Requiem." It extends over eighty pages of printing; and was performed on December 17th, 1737, by one hundred instrumentalists and eighty vocalists.
The following compliment deserves to be given entire. It is from the Daily Post for April, 18th, 1738. “We are informed that there is now near finished a statue of the justly celebrated Mr. Handel, exquisitely done by Mr. Roubiliac, of St. Martin's Lane, statuary, out of one entire block of white marble, which is to be placed in a grand niche, erected on purpose in the great grove at Vauxhall Gardens, at the sole expense of Mr. Tyers, undertaker of the entertainments there; who, in consideration of the real merit of that inimitable master, thought it proper that his effigies should preside there, where his harmony has so often charmed even the greatest crowds into the profoundest calm and most decent behaviour.”
The “ Dead March in Saul”-awful, grand, penetrating, and universally admired—is but one of many superb pieces in the oratorio of “Saul,” with which too few people are acquainted. This oratorio was commenced on July 3rd, 1738, and finished on September 27. Four days after this, Handel commenced“ Israel in Egypt," and this gigantic work was finished in twenty-seven days ! During this year he also published his “Ode for St. Cecilia's Day,” and “ Twelve Grand Concertos” and some minor works. In this way did he seek to make up for lost time during his illness; and yet at the age of fifty-five he was a poor man.
The vast aggregate of glorious music comprised in his operas, on which he had employed his utmost energies, and which had commanded the devotion of his life, failed to secure a remunerative support from the public, and to this day is terra incognita to most musicians. The music upon which the composer set but a secondary value, and which was set to English words, is that which has made his name great.
Up to this date he had composed thirty-nine Italian operas, thirty-six of which had been composed in England; but their repeated and total failure, in a financial sense, caused Handel to abandon this kind of composition. Their chief value to him was this--during a long, fluctuating, and painful experience, they had been a training-school for the genius, which, under Providence, was to accomplish such hallowed and sublime results. Others besides Handel have been led through pain and weariness and heartache to their destination--led by a way they little expected, but still the right way.
OUR EARLY MINISTRY.
REV. WM. BAGGALY.
No. IX.-THE REV. GEORGE WALL. “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over His household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that He will make him ruler over all that He hath."Luke xii., 42—4. GEORGE Wall stands next in the chronological order of our Early Ministry. The general features of this excellent man were somewhat peculiar. He was rather under the ordinary size, and slightly built. In personal appearance he was remarkably neat and plain, and always dressed after the orthodox fashion of a Methodist preacher. His manners were singularly polite and gentlemanly. Refined habits evidently cultivated in early life clung to him somewhat tenaciously. This may have conveyed an idea to some minds that he was rather too rigid and precise for the itinerant life, but a more intimate acquaintance with him discovered so many excellences in his character as to command both admiration and esteem.
His early history was fraught with singular interest, and may furnish a fine study for young men. He enjoyed the advantages of a pious home. His father's family altar, and the religious duties practised and taught there in his childhood, were never forgotten. After several severe conflicts with temptation and a depraved nature grace triumphed, and his young heart was surrendered to Christ. On becoming a Christian he cheerfully avowed himself a disciple of the Lord Jesus, and endeavoured to walk in His steps. The blessing of pardon and acceptance with God, found in Darly Dale, were carried with him in all their freshness and power to Nottingham, where he afterwards went to reside. Thus transplanted into a favourable soil it proved conducive to his spiritual growth. There, his pious principles were both encouraged and strengthened. Private devotion and diligent attention to spiritual duties fostered the good work of grace so happily commenced in his heart, and he evidently became grounded and settled in the faith.
Maintaining his piety and walking in the fear of the Lord, young Wall found encouragement to cultivate his talents and make himself useful. Mr. Huddleston, a gentleman of considerable influence in the circuit, took great interest in him, by whom he was soon engaged and placed in a confidential situation at Arnold. Mr. H. was a local preaciier. Ūn one occasion, having two appointments at Heaonr on the same day, he requested his young friend to accompany him there. George consented, and they set out together. Before reaching the end of their fifteen miles ride, Mr. Huddlestone requested his companion to preach for him and take one of the services. The
proposition being made in a form which would admit of no excuse, compliance was given, on a distinct understanding that it should be kept a profound secret on their return home. That point settled, they reined up their horses, dismounted, and knelt down together under a hedge, and there sought direction and assistance from above. Prayer is a fine preparation for duty, and could not fail to assist and encourage a mere stripling when entering upon such important work. On reaching the place, the time for service having arrived, he took his stand behind a chair, placed there as an apology for a pulpit, and commenced the service. His text was Eccles. ix., 10, “Whatscever thine hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” A fine theme for a young man to dwell upon. The result proved tolerably satisfactory, even to the preacher's own mind, and from that time he was frequently requested to undertake similar services. Having engaged to preach one evening at Calverton, he made special preparation for the exercise, and wrote an outline of his sermon, intending to place it in a small pocket Bible, to assist his memory when preaching. Unfortunately (or fortunately, we will not affirm which) such preparations were in vain, for the room in which the service was held was so crowded, and the atinosphere so dense, that the candles did not burn clear enough to enable him to read the notes he had written, and they were entirely useless. In that dilemma he resolved to place no more dependence on such questionable assistance, and be abandoned them altogether.
The first Conference after the division was held in Sheffield. Mr. Wall was there, though not, we presume, in a representative capacity.
He was requested to take a circuit, and probably disposed to do so had not an important business engagement prevented.
Fifteen months afterwards he was free to accept an appointment as a circuit preacher, and did so most cheerfully.
In 1799, Mr. Wall entered the ministry of the Methodist New Connexion, and was stationed at Newcastle, where he continued two years. The estimation in which he held the ministerial office, and particularly in connection with Methodism, was thus expressed : “To be in truth a circumspect, consistent, and evangelical minister of the everlasting Gospel, 1 deem the highest designation to which man can be appointed, nor could I covet one more honourable.” Influenced by sentiments like these, he left Arnold and gave himself up to the itinerant life. At that time there was nothing very tempting either in salary, home accommodation, or circuit arrangements, to induce any young man to relinquish business and become a travelling preacher, had he nothing more than “ loaves and fishes " in view. In a letter, addressed to the writer many years ago, Mr. Wall said: “When I commenced the work of a travelling preacher, there existed no Preachers' Fund, no Paternal Fund, no such thing. Our quarterage was three pounds per quarter, and board wages in the same proportion. Even at Hanley, in 1805-6-7, the board was only four shillings per week, and a trifle over for odd days.” No rich pickings, certainly, for an ecclesiastical epicure then, even in one of the richest circuits in the Connexion. Prospects like these would offer no great attractions to men who sought ease, or wealth, or fame; and yet they were not despised by men inflamed by love to God and perishing souls; and such men formed the nucleus of the Methodist New Connexion ministry in its infancy. Mr. Wall was one of those men. He accepted the office with all its disadvantages, and if he found not riches or worldly emoluments, his whole life was a striking comment on David's words, " Trust in the Lord and do good, so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.”
Mr. Wall's mental powers were regarded as of a superior order, and his ministerial abilities were held in high estimation. He had neither volume of voice nor physical power to become a Boanerges, had the tendencies of his mind led that way; but they did not. His ministrations were not noisy or boisterous, but calm, logical, dispassionate-full of thought, clothed in chaste, Scriptural language, and addressed to the judgment and affections of his hearers with evident effect. The writer well remembers the first sermon preached in South Street Chapel, Sheffield. Mr. Wall was the preacher. His text was 2 Thess. iii., 5 : “ The Lord (the Holy Ghost) direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” It was a choice sermon, and furnished a fine illustration of the style, manner, and ability of the preacher. We heard but little of him as a writer, but our library furnishes a “ Dictionary of the Bible” (2 vols. 8vo.), published by him in 1826, a very creditable work, and well suited at the time of publication for young students in theology.
Few men have sustained a higher Connexional reputation than Mr. Wall. Three times he was elected President of Conference, and he evidently took a very active part in the formation of our Connexional laws and institutions. It is rather amusing to advert in
the present day, after the lapse of nearly forty years, to a slight passage of arms between the writer and his venerable friend at Hanley Conference, 1835, relative to the Beneficent Society. Having ventured some remarks on the subject which Mr. Wall evidently thought too far advanced for the times, and specially from the lips of a young man, he took his place on the platform, and replied somewhat smartly, referring to what he and others had done in former days when no Beneficent Fund existed, and concluded with cautions to the younger brethren, who were expected to share so largely in its advantages. Considering his advanced age and the great services he had so long rendered to the Connexion, the reply was a mere defence of the propositions then submitted, with an assurance from the writer that he had no disposition to do anything prejudicial to the true interest of the Beneficent Society—a fact which Mr. Wall lived long enough to witness and cheerfully endorse.
Connexional principles and institutions were almost sacred in his estimation, and any attempt even to modify, much less to upset them, he watched with a vigilant and scrupulous eye. For many years annual certificates were required to be sent to Conference from circuits for preachers in full standing, as they are now for probationers. In 1837 notice was given of a change to be proposed at the ensuing Conference so as to abolish such certificates in future. A circular addressed to the Connexion in favour of the proposed change called forth a smart reply from Mr. Wall, deprecating any alteration in a practice which had, as he contended, proved so beneficial in its influences. But though very decided in whatever views he took on any Connexional question, he was always open to conviction, and could never be charged with either obstructing or refusing support to any measure which was in his judgment likely to prove beneficial to Connexional iuterests.
In 1814 Mr. Wall was stationed in Huddersfield, and exerted himself nobly in promoting the erection of High Street Chapel; the one formerly occupied by the Connexion having reverted to the Wesleyans. In 1834 he was appointed to the same circuit, when the interior of the same chapel was improved, and at considerable expense. Tbat chapel, and a large amount of adjoining property, was taken down during the writer's superintendency of Huddersfield in 1864, and the present magnificent chapel erected on the same site, at a cost of near twelve thousand pounds. Six thousand six hundred pounds were raised towards the erection, of which sixteen hundred pounds were collected at the opening services. It is gratifying to find that that noble and splendid chapel is now entirely free from debt! “Other men laboured and we have entered into their labo urs.” Let us rejoice together.
Severe affliction having rendered it impossible for Mr. Wall to continue his labours as a circuit preacher, he retired in 1836, and became a supernumerary.
His own views and feelings ou that occasion, with a statement of the circumstances which led to his retirement, were touchingly expressed in a letter addressed to Conference, and dated May 19th, 1836. In that letter he gave a sort of resumé of his ministerial life, explained the peaceful and happy frame of mind in which he accepted the mysterious but all-wise