Page images
PDF
EPUB

was the custom at most of the heathen banquets. They used to try to fill one another with wickedness. But ye have not so learned Christ. Seek ye to be filled with his spirit, and use the means appointed for that purpose : Among which singing of psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs is one of the chief. These several names are expressive of the different subjects treated of in the sacred poetry; bymns are in praise of Immanuel, Spiritual songs are in praise of his spiritual kingdom, according to the sense of the words in the Hebrew, and according to the translation of them in the Septuagint, as was before shewn. The manner of singing them it is here said was by joining together with their voices, but especially with their hearts. From thence comes the best melody. Harmony in sound is pleasant in our ears; but harmony in affection is the music, which enters into the ears of the Lord of hofts. “My son, give me thy heart:” He will have no service without it. Prayer, obedience, praise, every offering must come from the heart. He looks at this, and this in all, and above all. This he accepts, and testifies his delight in: For it is the same sacrifice of praise, which will for ever delight him. The church triumphant has begun the song, which will

He will have a feevery. Oncles at this,

be

be perfectly and for ever pleasing to the
Lord: And when we meet below with one
faith to glorify our one Lord, then we en-
joy the communion of saints. We have
one heart with them-join in the same sub-
ject of praise to their Lord and our Lord-
our harmony is theirs-our happiness is
theirs-it is one and the same communion
with the Father and the Son by the Spirit.
And though we cannot raise our song to
so high a pitch, or continue it without
ceasing, as the saints above do; yet we
entirely agree with them, and are trying
to make better music in our hearts every
day, until we fee, their Jesus and our
Jesus face to face. He loves us, as well
as them: For he is our Immanuel : And
our souls rejoice in him together with them.
We love him, we serve him, we bless him,
as humbly, and as thankfully, as we can;
yea in all things we would be giving of
thanks to his holy name. O for more
love, more thankfulness, more devotedness
to our precious Lord Jesus Christ. This
is our daily prayer, and our constant pur-
fuit. Blessed and eternal Spirit purify our
hearts by faith, and increase in them a
sense of his wondrous love to us, that we
may be growing in love to him, until he
vouchsafe to admit us into his pre-
- D

sence,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

fence, and give us to thank him with never ceasing songs of praise.

In another place the apostle treats of the same subject, only varies the expression a little. He recommends singing of psalms to the Colossians, as an ordidinance of God for increasing the graces of his people" Let the word of Christ “ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, s teaching and admonishing one another « in pfalms and hymns and spiritual

songs, singing with grace in your “ hearts to the Lord: And whatsoever

ye do in word or deed, do all in the 66 name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks 66 to God and the Father by him.” The . Colossians had put on the new man, and the apostle exhorts them to put on the ornaments and endowments peculiar to their new nature, and he mentions several of them: In which he would have them to be growing daily : And he proposes to them the word of God, as the best means for this purpose. He would have it treasured up in their hearts, and inwardly digested " dwelling richly in them in all 66 wisdom” for knowlege and practice. He includes both: Because this wisdom was for edification-they were to teach and to admonish one another. What each had learnt out of the scriptures was to be

of of public benefit to the church. And the way of doing this is particularly mentioned–They were to sing together with grace in their hearts. All is discord within, until we are taught by grace, free effectual grace. But when we believe the doctrines of grace, then harmony comes in, and we learn to ascribe every good to the mere mercy of God. We receive his blessings, and he receives all the praise of them. Then grace is in the heart: It is there not only to reconcile the sinner to the way of salvation by faith alone, but also to make him in love with it, and to keep hina willing to praise God for it with his lips and life. O how good a thing is it, that the heart be thus eitablished with grace! For then the affections will be fixe upon the right object, and the whole soul will be in harmony with the truth as it is in Jesus. Free grace doctrines felt in their power in the heart make heavenly melody. Every faculty is in tune, and inclined to bear its part in blessing the name of the Lord. The understanding sees it right, the will chooses, the heart loves to give him all the praise, and the mouth joins to glorify him with joyful lips, singing unto the Lord=The God-man-Immanuel is the subject of this happy song. He is the God of all grace. It is a joyful and pleaD 2

fant

fant thing to be thanking him for it: Yea, it is a forecast of the saints fulness of joy. The truly humble believer, seeing the exceeding riches of grace, gladly joins his elder brethren round the throne in praising the Lord Jesus Christ. And when the temple of God shall be complete, and the last believer joined to the spiritual building, then the topstone shall be brought forth with shouting — grace grace unto it-glory be to free grace for ever and ever.

To the same purpose the apostle James, ch. v. 13. teaching believers how to behave in every state directs them, “ Is any « among you afflicted ? let him pray. Is 66 any merry ? let him sing psalms." Af. fliction should send him to prayer, for grace to bear it and to improve it: Joy to singing of psalms to express thankfulness to God. Is any merry ? that is a proper season, though not the only feason. Prayer is necessary at all times, though it be most needful in affliction: And so singing; it is not only needful when we are rejoicing, in order that our joy may center in the Lord, but sometimes singing will beget fpiritual joy, and will awaken it in the amicted heart. Paul and Silas were in great outward distress, yet they sang a psalm in prison. The apostles fang an

hymn

« PreviousContinue »