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whom you have to deal with-how great and good a God-obferve, how you praise him: Engage all your mental powers in this delightful work, that it may be holy, acceptable to God, and a reasonable service.
The apostle agrees in sentiment with the psalmist : For thus he speaks to the Corinthians : “ If I pray in an unknown “ tongue, my fpirit prayeth, but my unu derstanding is unfruitful : What is it “ then? I will pray with the spirit and I 56 will pray with the understanding also : 56 I will fing with the spirit, and I will 6. sing with the understanding also." Singing is unfruitful, unless the understanding go with it. Unless the mind be profited, and God be honored, it is only empty found. But when we sing by the Spirit, then he will teach us to sing with the understanding also. He will open the subject to us, will give a fixt attention to it, will bring the mind into tune, and will keep us looking at the sense, more than at the found.
Is it so with thee, O my soul? Enquire carefully. . Art thou led by the Spirit in thy singing? Does he enlighten thy mind, and guide thee into the knowlege of the subject, in which thou art engaged ? Take heed, and be often examining thyfelf-how
thy mind is affected-least thou should it present unto the Lord the song of fools.
But chiefly keep thy heart diligently : Because out of it are the issues of life. The man is what his heart is. If this te dead to God, nothing in him is alive : If this be right with God, all will be right. If he has a clean heart, and a right spirit renewed within him, the holy Ghost has made him a new creature in Christ Jesus, and has won the will and the affections over to God. This is his principal office in the conversion of finners. He there. fore discovers truth to the understanding, in order that it may become desireable, and that the heart may be properly inAuenced by it. The heart is the commanding faculty. When this has once tasted the sweetness of the Father's love in Jesus, it will engage the whole man to feek for more. Love is very active, and will do or suffer much to obtain and to preserve the beloved object. Set this ipring a going, it will move all the wheels. · The hands will work for God.
The feet will run the way of his commandments. Love will make heavy burdens not grievous to be borne: Love will carry them a long time, and faint not. Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed unto him but a few days
for the love which he had unto her. The labor of love is always delightful. When we know God to be our Father in Jesus, and have his love shed abroad in our hearts by the holy Ghost, then his service becomes perfect freedom: Then duty is ennobled into privilege: Then obedience becomes willing, and filial: The beloved child finds free access to the Father's throne, and receives blessed communications of his grace: For which his thankful heart offers the sacrifice of praise, and it comes up with a sweet savor acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. This is the melody of the heart. While it feels its infinite debt to free grace, is deeply convinced of its utter unworthiness, and is kept humble by the abiding sense of its imperfections, and of its indwelling corruptions, it is in a right frame to exalt the exceeding riches of divine mercy. Then it is disposed to give God all his glory. This he requires, as his due, and it becometh well the righteous to pay it. When the heart is made willing to ascribe every good to his holy name, then it is right with God. All within is now in tune to join every golden harp, and every joyful tongue in heaven, which are ascribing blessing and honor, and glory and power
to him that fitteth upon the throne, and to the lamb for ever.
This is the chief requisite in singing psalms. The heart makes the best music. The finest compositions, ever so well executed with intruments and voices are not a divine concert, unless the heart accompany them. David knew this well, and therefore he fet his affections to the highest pitch of praise, and he brought ALL of them to join. His whole heart entered into the performance, and rendered the concert full.--" I will praise thee, O Lord s my God, with all my heart, and I will “ glorify thy name for evermore : For « great is thy mercy towards me.” Thy special covenant mercy is fuch towards me, that my very thoughts cannot rise up to its greatness : How. then can I utter forth all its praise? I cannot; no, not even half of it. But though the debt be so great, that I cannot count it up, yet I will the more extoll thee for it from day to day : I would engage my affections, and give them all up to this heavenly employment. I would have my whole soul in it. And yet the debt remains, rather increases. O for a more enlarged heart! My praises continued are only acknowlegements, and I want then continued with growing humility--more in earth and more in heaven.
There I shall praise better, when my heart will have nothing in it, but humble gratitude. Yet here I will not give over; but will carry on my joyful song, till I can sing in a higher strain. - Praile the Lord, s. O my soul, and all within me bless his “ holy name: O give thanks unto hin “ for he is good, and his mercy endureth " for ever. Hallelujah.”.
The apostle Paul had his portion in the fame mercy, and had the same grateful sense of it: He sang the psalms of David with the spirit of David. What he practiced himself he has recommended to others. He has given us fome rules about singing in the congregation, and he chiefly confines them to the heart accompanying the voice. Thus he directs the Ephesians " Be not drunk with wine wherein is ex« cess, but be ye filled with the spirit, “ speaking to yourselves in psalms and “ hymns, and spiritual fongs, singing and " making melody IN YOUR HEARTS unto " the Lord, giving thanks always for all " things unto God and the Father in the " name of our Lord Jesus Chrift." He would not have them -meet together, as they formerly had done, to feast without fear, and to drink unto drunkenness, inciting one another to greater riot and excess by wanton and profane songs : Which