it. The scarcity of psalm-books was the origin of this custom; and, when they became so common as to be left in the meeting-house through the week, the proposition to discontinue the “deaconing” of the psalm was made, and it met with quick opposition from the deacons and readers. The habit continued till the Revolution. It is related of the earliest days among us, that one line only was read at a time, but that this custom gave place to the reading of two lines from the following fact. In the psalm, which the clergyman had selected to be “deaconed” and sung, occurred these two lines:--
The Lord will come; and he will notBy making a full stop at the end of the first line, very queer work was made with the sense of the poem. Affirmation and contradiction came solemnly into the same breath; but even this bewilderment was deepened by reading the second line: “Keep silence, but speak out.” April 27, 1846: The subject of congregational singing was brought before the parish by a committee, who discussed the topic well, and recommended “all the members of the congregation to join the choir.” We trust that the introduction of music into all our public and private schools will soon restore congregational heart-and-voice singing to our churches (a mode so piously adopted by our fathers); and this will put an end to that impious mockery of devotion, now sometimes witnessed, where infidel and licentious opera-singers are hired to conduct this beautiful part of sacred worship. The antislavery excitement had been conscientiously carried into many pulpits, and, in some parishes, had caused durable alienations between minister and people. The first parish in Medford felt somewhat the flux and reflux of the troubled waters. Fiat justitia, ruat coelum. April 19, 1847: “Voted to raise $1,700, by tax, for the support of public worship and the current expenses of the ensuing year.” On the same day, “Voted to raise, in like manner, three hundred dollars, for the reduction of the parish debt.” Dec. 7, 1847: Rev. Mr. Stetson having fallen from the sidewalk in Main Street, and much injured himself, the parish met, and passed the following vote: “To take measures ”
Keep silence, but speak out.