Cape Breton's Magazine

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Page 42 - Presbyterianism in Old Cape Breton

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/6/1 (293 reads)

leal abstractions, contemplation of which brought exquisite joy to some hearts and unspeakable ter? ror to others. But, in either case, the exercise was good in preparation for the sermon which fol? lowed and continued for Ih or 2 hours in some cases, in course of which all the sins commonly known, or generally recognized, were fearlessly ex? posed, analyzed, and prescribed for. Nor was there hesitation in referring to particular moral faults in special districts within the jurisdiction of the ministerial charge! The occurrence of such mis? demeanours in any particular division of the con? gregation as called for public correction from the pulpit was regarded as a great reflection on the elder in that section, and invariably led to inten? sive efforts on his part in subsequent moral super? vision. In addition to the sermon, which was delivered without notes or memoranda of any kind, but was ac? centuated by much vociferation and pulpit thump- ings, the service of praise occupied much time and was conducted with much form and glory. Seated within an enclosure at the foot of the elevated pulpit were the precentors • the leaders of the mu? sic. No pipe organs or gowned choirs were to be heard or seen in the days of which I write: the on? ly approach to anything spectacular was furnished by the precentors. They were selected for their Whale Cruises Capt. Bill Crawford, Cheticamp Boat Tours, P. 0. Box 10, Grand Etang, N. S. (902X224-3376 honorable calling by the Session, and were always regarded as men of exemplary conduct in their dai? ly walk and conversation, besides being the posses? sors of melodious voices. A special pre-requisite for popularity and commendation in a precentor was his ability to "put out the line" with a saving unction • that is, to chant previously the line of the psalm that the congregation was to sing. To see one of the leaders, on a special occasion, smartly dressed in his frock coat, his bushy head tossed to one side and eyes heavenward bent, and to hear his sonorous voice rolling out the words with as many twists and twirls as are given today by a base-ball pitcher, was Indeed capable of cre? ating a thrill in the feelings of all the unsophis? ticated. When the last word of the line was ut? tered with more than usual quavering, the whole as? semblage joined together in the singing, and the effect was certainly enrapturing. To the uninitiated, who did not understand the Gae? lic language and who did not comprehend the genius of the simple Scottish folk, this musical perform? ance suggested the wailings of departed spirits; but to the participants no more inspired music or inspirational melody ever emanated from human throats. And the same sentiment was engendered by the exercise of prayer. Many of the old people found it difficult to believe that the Supreme Be? ing could be sufficiently addressed with becoming respect in any other language than their adored Gaelic. Indeed, it has been actually asserted by scholars, whose knowledge of the Gaelic tongue has been equal to their proficiency in other languages, that in none of the latter was there such capacity Matheson Hearing Aid Service Testing & Fitting at Home, Anywhere in Cape Breton! BILL MATHESON, CERTIFIED HEARING AID AUDI0L06IST, Grand River, Richmond County, N. S. BOE IMO "' Call 587-2229 any time for appointment * The agricultural challenges of tomorrow are being taught today at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College .'.?wi%'i' ??4=''',;''-''- ' -W''." 'i''''''''f''''' Technical Courses in: Animal Science Plant Science Agricultural Business Agricultural Mechanization Farm Equipment Offering Agricultural Programs in the following: Science Degree Options in: Landscape Horticulture Biology Laboratory Chemistry Laboratory Farming Agricultural Chemistry Agricultural Economics Agricultural Engineering Agricultural Mechanization Animal Science Plant Protection Plant Science Soil Science Pre-veterinary Medicine Contact: The Registrar Nova Scotia Agricultural College P.O. Box 550, Truro Nova Scotia B2N 5E3 Be sure to visit our Open House Saturday, July 26th, 1986. ''2)
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