Page images
PDF
EPUB

faculty, he will endeavor to exprefs his happiness in God. • We meet with several passages to the fame purpose in the new testament, in which there are very particular rules laid down for singing. Thus the apostle speaking in his own person directs the Corinthians, how they might pray and praise with profit. " If I pray in an unknown tongue

my spirit prayeth, but my understand“ ing is unfruitful. What'is it then? I « will pray with the spirit, and I will *6 pray with the understanding also : I as will sing with the spirit, and I will fing « with the understanding also," that my whole soul may be engaged in giving of thanks, and that others may be edified.

He enlarges upon this to the Ephesians: He propofes singing of psalms as the means. of being filled with the Spirit, and thews what sort of singing was most likely to do this, namely using scripture hymns, scripture pfalms, and scripture fongs indited by the holy Spirit, and then he prescribes the manner of singing, believers were to. fpeak audibly with their voices to one another, and with their hearts to the Lord, so that they might make melody with

both, and they might always and for all , things be giving of thanks to God and the

.

Father,

Father in the name of our Lord Jefus. Chrift.

The same directions are given to the Colossians: The apostle would have the word of Christ to dwell in them richly in all wisdom both of theory and practice: And to this end he advises them to try to edify one another by finging of psalms. They were to aim at mutual teaching and admonition, finging with grace in their hearts unto the Lord, and whatever they did in word or deed all was to be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

And the apostle James lays down a general rule without any exception, that whenever a believer is happy in God, it is his duty and his privilege to express it in singing of pfalms, both as a proper ac-. knowlegement to the Lord for his goodness, and also as the most likely means to preserve and to increase this holy joyama

Is any of you in a happy frame? let ** him sing psalms.",, * 3. These commands and directions are greatly enforced by the promises made to singing of pfalms. All the commands of God have a promise included in them, and they suppose that whenever the commands are kept in faith, they will be aci.. E4

cepted

cepted in and through Christ Jesus. With respect to God himself to whose praise, and glory we sing them, he declares->“ Them “ that honor me, I will honor." We certainly honor him by finging of pfalms. He has appointed this service : He has revealed the hymns which we are to sing : And in using them we wait on him in his own means for his promised blessing, which he will not deny to those who give him all the honor of what they are in Christ, and of what they do by the Spirit of Christ. When they ascribe to him all his glory, he will accept the sacrifice of praise, and will manifest his acceptance of it.

... With respect to the brethren, the promises are many and great-fuch as Singing psalms together is the means of exercising and increasing the graces of the Spirit, of making the word of Christ dweli more richly in them, of teaching and of admonishing one another, and thus giving and receiving mutual edification. O come and praise the Lord with me, and let us magnify his name together, keeping up the communion of saints in this as well as in every other ordinance. in

With respect to ourselves it is the means of preserving holy joy in the heart. If any one be sensible of God's infinite love to

pfalms increas word.oaching, us sino

his foul, this is the proper expression of it. And if it be expressed with an humble and thankful heart, this is the right way to increase joy in God. It is the same where they have attained to the fulness of joy. There the saints sing without ceasing: The song which they begun upon earth will be continued in heaven, and it will be their perfect happiness to sing for ever and ever the praises of God and the lamb.

Consider those authorities, ye that have lighted this ordinance. Has it been the uniform practice of the church of God in all ages to join in singing his praises? Was it by his express command ? Has he given us a collection of hymns, the very words which we are to sing? Has he promised to accept our thanks and praises, and while believers have been offering them with grateful hearts, has he constantly made them the means of increasing their joy in the Lord? Was it for the benefit of others, that the church might receive edifying, and that each might bear his part by ftirring up and exciting thank fulness in one another? Q do not then Reglect such a blefied ordinance : But ra. ther pray the Lord to enable you to rejoice with them that rejoice, to fing with them that sing. Have you not mercies il

to

E 5.

,

to alk? Why then will you not join the church in asking? Have you not mercies out of number to thank God for? Why then will you not take your part in praif. ing him for his goodness? Why will you rob yourfelf of the pleasure of doing it? Why will you not profit your neighbor ? And why will you not give God the glory due unto his. holy name? Be assured it be cometh you well to be thankful at all times and in all places, especially in the great congregation.. May you have your fhare in the service, and your share in the blessing promised to it. .

:: If you are convinced it is part of the public worship of God, in which you are required to join, as much. as in the prayers or in hearing the word, then take heed you join properly. You may fing, and yet greatly abuse this holy ordinance.. There are many fingers in the church, who take no pains either to keep the time, or to follow the tune, and who thereby shew they think it of no consequence, how the praises of the most high God are fung. Solomon differed much from thema'. He thought it a great perfection in praising God, that among the many thousands of voices and instruments, which were founding forth his praise at one time, there was not a single discord

« PreviousContinue »