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assistance of soloists and orchestra from abroad, the Union rendered Handel's Oratorio, “ The Messiah.”
The audience completely filled the spacious edifice, and included the alumni and guests of the Seminary, to all whom complimentary admission was tendered by the generosity of the Trustees. The public indebtedness to the Seminary for the eminent character of the performance was well expressed in the following hearty recognition by the Hartford “ Courant":
“It is so long since the Messiah was given in this city that the public owes a debt to the Choral Union for giving it, and a double debt for giving it so well as was done last evening. Some of the obligation must extend over to the Theological Seminary, since it is largely through it that the performance becaine possible. It not only furnishes a considerable share of the singers, but has given place for rehearsal, furnished the director, and done very much more, directly and indirectly, towards developing and strengthening the Union. Without the Seminary it would hardly have come into existence, and certainly would not have had so good an opportunity for development into an enthusiastic society with a high aim and a better conception of the purpose of music of the highest order than has yet existed here. Each of the performances given since the initial one has shown a marked advance, and this last was no exception to the established rule.
“When from a body chosen mainly out of those who have an enthusiasm for study and practice, such admirable results can come, as were produced last evening, it evidences very remarkable ability on the part of the instructor. Those who have often heard the Messiah, and compare the rendering of the choruses last evening with those of the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, the Sacred Harmonic Society of London, and similar organizations, must confess that while, of course, weak in the grand effects, there was not simply a precision, a technical mastery of difficulties, but better still, an intelligence of comprehension and a poetry of execution which are almost never surpassed. It was not simple earnestness, but there was a delicacy of shading, a studious force of contrasts, a breadth of style which showed the most careful study of the piece, viewed as a great religious work. In a word, it was given in a manner quite in keeping with the Institution under whose auspices it was performed. These qualities were so uniformly displayed that it is not necessary to select instances. Of course, with a chorus of less than two hundred, with a small orchestra, and an organ not of first magnitude, the thrilling effects produced by numbers cannot be gained; but it may be said that the 'Hallelujah' and the closing chorus, “Worthy is the Lamb,' were a surprise to all in their massive and stirring power. But all had been equally studied, and revealed in the details the supervision of a skilled director, and the most painstaking practice. The impression made upon the crowded audience was one of surprise, pleasure, and satisfaction.”
The annual devotional service, held on Thursday morning, was more largely attended than usual, and most appropriately conducted by Rev. H. C. Alvord. Brethren widely sundered for years found the hour of spiritual fellowship most delightful and refreshing.
The afternoon was devoted to the annual meeting of the Pastoral Union, whose business proceedings, reported in the Appendix, were enlivened by a thrilling address of congratulation and sympathy, by Rev. Dr. E. B. Webb of Boston, who succeeded this year to the Presidency of the Board of Trustees.
The closing exercises in the evening were very largely attended. Rev. Dr. A.J. F. Behrends of Brooklyn, delivered the last lecture in the Carew course on “ The Relation of the Mind of Man to the Revelation of God.” His profoundly philosophical treatment of the theme was designed to demonstrate the capacity of man's mind to receive, respond to, and interpret the revealed thought of God.
The memorable series of services was concluded by the eminently appropriate and practical address of Rev. Professor Riddle to the graduating class, which is the fitting conclusion to this Memorial volume.
ADDRESSES AND LETTERS.
Address of Welcome.
BY ROWLAND SWIFT, ESQ. Mr. President, Alumni, and friends :
As one looks about him here, just now, there is something in the very motion and composure of this gathered company that is suggestive of the season of reunion and repast for kindred hearts. I am sure that something of the old-time spirit of the Pilgrims' Jubilee, grave indeed, but fervid too and even exuberant, is abroad in the assembly and moving upon the surface and through the depths of it.
A narrative of early colonial times tells of the reward to public and united prayers, when the rains saved the shriveling crops: “Having these many signs of God's favor and acception we thought it would be great ingratitude if, secretly, we should smother up the same or content ourselves with private thanksgiving for that which by private prayer could not be obtained.” Cotton Mather recorded the information that Mr. Eliot taught his Indian converts “to set apart their days for both fasting and prayer and for feasting and prayer,” and that they, the devout Indians, “performed the duties of those days with a very laborious piety." I hope we shall do as well as they, with less fatigue and possibly as appropriately; but it is our turn to-day to celebrate; it is our calling to rejoice and give thanks, not secretly, at the manifold things of divine bestowal which we have received. *
The committee have honored me with a request that I should say a few words for them at this stage of your proceedings. I wish, at the same time, that what I have to offer, so very briefly as will be necessary, may be commended to your
acceptance as the hearty greeting of a citizen of Hartford, for I cannot avoid associating, in a manner, events which we celebrate in this presence, with others inevitably to be recalled to mind as we go on, and which are happily so much in harmony with this occasion. I assume, as a fact, that this memorial service to which you have been invited, commemorates one of the accomplishments which is fairly illustrative of the old-time character of our Christian citizenship—its loyalty, its wisdom, and its piety.
I presume you will not forget that probably before ever a kernel of wheat was sown upon these hills or even a furrow had been traced across the virgin intervals, our provident forefathers had hewed and planted and covered in the beams of their little sanctuary. The colony was still very young when Hopkins, first the merchant citizen, then the chief magistrate, had set apart a significant portion of his estate by will, “to give some encouragement for the breeding up of hopeful youths both at the grammar school and college, for the public service of the country in future times," supplementing this first provision by another, as he so positively set forth, “in further prosecution of the aforesaid public ends, which, in the simplicity of my heart, are for the upholding and promoting the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ in those parts of the earth."
It is assuring to remind ourselves how the land was possessed, and how orderly and characteristic was the progress of Christian enterprise. A city that began, well back in the last century, to gather its public libraries, and to multiply its churches; where, from common school to college, seminaries of learning have increased as rapidly as riches; where, in due time, were planted homes for the orphan, retreat for the insane, asylum and training-school for the deaf and dumb, reformatories for the inebriate, hospitals for the sick and injured, houses of refuge for the aged and infirm, and numerous other distinctively Christian enterprises, to this day doing their beneficent and sacred work—Hartford, at the appointed time, not lacking a citizenship equal to the opportunity, after thoughtful observation and deliberation, of course adopted this consecrated school. It was like Hartford to do it; to do it in a way that should bring to record that measured decision that goes with purpose and faith; and if you would see a chart of the willing mind that is accepted according to what a man hath and not according to what he hath not, look over, some day, the lists of saintly donors enrolled upon the old subscription books. She who cast in of her living has written her name there, and the well-to-do men of the time have honored the page and their names and their city by varying and increasing and noble gifts. .
Here the renovated institution was not out of place. New associations were and are felicitous, and you who, to-day, return here for the first time, find yourselves here at home, and we together, citizens and alumni, may reverently give thanks for what we see not only within these walls, but for the legacy of unnumbered names ever to be remembered with Hopkins's and Wadsworth's and Watkinson's and Gallaudet's and Hosmer's, because of their co-operation in those beneficent projects which best adorn our neighboring landscapes, and most significantly characterize our civilization.
With the close of our half century we would gladly have welcomed full numbers to our golden festival. A timely summons, as hopefully importunate as could be framed, went abroad to every name upon your rolls of survivors. Many are marked “not present” this morning, yet it will seem so often, while you are together, as if they were very near and verily of your company!
I have been told that on the shores of the Adriatic, there may be heard, at nightfall of almost any day, the sweet snatches of song that are sent out by waiting mothers and children who expect, through the deepening shadows, the return of husband or brother. From afar out upon the waters, responding strains are heard at last, and though distant and but faintly to be heard, how do they reward and animate the heart of loving wife and child! They sing to and fro from beach to boat as the tired but blessed fishermen are guided to their rock and to their home!
In the mountains of the Tyrol, too, they say such another call