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is commanded by divine authority, and commanded as a part of divine worship; not left to man's wisdom, how to provide for it, but it is expresly provided for in the good word of God. And is not great contempt put upon this infinitely wise provision, when it is quite disused in the church, and man's word is preferred to it? What would you think of them, who should throw aside all the fcripture, and never read it at all in the congregation ? And is it not an offence of the like nature, totally to neglect a part, a chief part
of it, which was recorded for the use of the church, and in which its members were to sing the high praises of their God? It is hereby treated as useless and good for nothing. A very gross affront is put upon the love and wisdom, which revealed this divine collection of hymns, and the church is deprived of the blessing promised to the finging of them, whereby it is robbed of one of its choicest treasures. If any thing be facrilege this is. The psalms are stolen out of the church, and thereby the members are deprived of the blessings promised to the singing of them: For God will not give you the end, if you neglect the means. Frequent
Frequent are his commands in the old testament to sing psalms, and we have several in the new :
) For instance, Let the word (not something besides it) but the word of Christ itself dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songsthese are not different things, but different names for the same collection of psalms, as they treat of different subjects. Psalms in praise of Immanuel, such especially as have Hallelujah at the beginning or end, are called hymns, and the psalms which relate to the spiritual things of Christ and his kingdom, have the title of song set before them by the holy Spirit, such as, 7, 18, 30, 45, 46, 48, 65, 66, 67, 68, 75, 76, 83, 87, 88, 92, 108, from 120 to 135. These hymns and spiritual songs were part of the scripture, and part of the psalms, fcripturé hymns and scripture songs; for the word of Christ in singing them was to dwell in them richly ; not man's word, but Christ's, and when the apostle is speaking of them altogether, he calls both the hymn and spiritual fong a pfalm. We render the word ψαλλονίες making melody, but it means singing the psalm, and is as if he had said when you use a hymn to the praise of God, or a spiritual song to any spiritual purpose ling the psalm fo that one may teach and adnionith the other. It was a service in
which each is commanded to join, and each was to endeavor in it to profit the other. They were to tèy so to sing with the melody of the heart to the Lord, as at the same time to confult each other's profit, that while the Lord was glorified the church might receive edifying. Here is a full authority for the use of psalms in the church, and a very clear direction how to fing them, and as following this direction was the divine means of making the word of Christ to dwell richly in believers, how poorly must it dwell in them, who fight and despise the command, yea fo far as never to sing any psalms at all?
If any real christian would attend to this reasoning, how can he oppofe it? Here is a collection of hymns appointed to be sung in the church by divine authority; but the authority is despised, and the collection is thrown aside. It comes from the inspiration of the Almighty, but the church entirely refuses to use it; is not this doing despite unto the Spirit of grace? The collection is large and very particular in setting forth the praises of the adoreable Immanuel; is it not a gross affront to him to sing none of his praises in the words which the holy Ghoft teacheth, as if any praises were good enough
for him, or as if he could be praised better in the words, which mans wisdom teacheth. Men and brethren, consider whether this be not a very grofs affront to the word of God, to the Spirit of God, and to the Son of God. Consider it well, and the Lord give you a right understanding in this matter.
Secondly, The singing of mens poems in the church and setting aside the psalms, given by inspiration of God is contrary to the prophecies of the old testament, and is an attempt to deieat them. They describe the state of the gospel church, and declare there fhould be great joy and gladness found in it; particularly they mention singing of psalms, as the outward expression of their inward joy in the Lord. Thus we read i Chron. xvi. 23, 24. “ Sing unto the Lord all the earth, fhew “ forth from day to day his falvation : s6 Declare his glory among the heather, “ his marvellous works among all the na« tions :” Of the same thing speaketh the prophet Isa. lvi. 6, 7. “ Also the fons as of the stranger that join themselves to " the Lord to serve him, and to love the
name of the Lord, to be his servants, “ even every one that keepeth the fab« bath from polluting it, and taketh hold “ of my covenant, even them will I
“ bring to my holy mountain, and make “ them joyful in mine house of prayer ; “ their burnt offerings and their facri“ fices shall be accepted upon mine altar: “ For mine house shall be called an house “ of prayer for all people." How this joy was to be expressed is mentioned in psalm xcv. The prophet shews how believers should stir up one another to rejoice in singing psalms: And St. Paul says this was written of the new testament church. According to his explanation of the psalm given in the 3d and 4th chapters of the Hebrews, the holy Ghost here calls for the folemn worship of our Saviour, and requires him to be praised with psalms: He presses this duty together with public prayer, ver. 6, 7. and then demands obedient attention to the word of God, against which no man should harden his heart through unbelief: From whence it appears,
, that praising God folemnly, with singing psalms, with public prayer, and with hearing the word are still the ordinances of Christ, and are to continue to day, even while it is called to day, unto the end of the world. These prophecies have been fulfilled. The blessed gospel has brought joy and gladness into heathen lands, and this very day psalms have been sung and a pure offering of praise has been present