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make it useful: If some providence should afford me leisure to revise my papers, of which I have no prospect at present, and if they should then appear to me likely to promote the honor of God, and the good of his church, I should think it my duty to let my light shine before men. Yet in this, and in every thing else, I do earnestly pray--Not my will, Lord, but thine be done.
Another very great abuse arises from not treating psalm singing as becometh a divine ordinance. There should be great respect paid to what God has appointed, and in the use of which he has promised to meet and to bless his people. We commonly call those the means of grace, to which grace is promised, and by which grace is received, and through which it is increased in the heart. Singing of psalms is undoubtedly one of those means, but it is amongst us very much neglected, and when used, it is done in fo irreverent a manner, that the end of its institution is not attained. God, as has been already proved, has enjoined, and enforced it by repeated commands. He has also assigned the reason of them, namely, that when ever we find ourselves happy in him, he would have our joy to flow out this way. And what more proper and significant ?
Singing is only expressing outwardly the melody of the heart: And God has required it of us, as a just service of praise. He has furnished us both with matter and words. He has given us a divine collection of most perfect hymns. And when we use them in humble faith, God will render them the means of exciting, of preserving, and of increasing our holy joy: For the promise is --" The meek aiso " fhall increase their joy in the Lord, and “ the poor among men shall rejoice in the
holy one of Israel.”
ages. The blessing has come in the use of means.
The church of Christ in praising him has found fresh reason to praise him. While its happy members have been singing together, he has vouchsafed to them his gracious presence, and has given them sweet communications of his heavenly love. They have sung till their hearts burnt within them, inflamed with a sense of his goodness. Then they had delightful experience of the psalmist's words---- Praise ye the Lord; for it is a “ good thing to give thanks unto the « Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, “O most high: For it is pleasant and praise is comely."
Reader, dost thou find it so ? Is it a pleasure to thee to sing psalms ? Dost thou sing them, as an ordinance? Dost thou in faith expect a blessing upon thy singing ? And is it indeed to thee the means of grace? If it be, use them more, and thou wilt find an increasing blessing: If it be not, consider well what has been said repent of thine abuse of this precious ordinanceand pray for grace to observe it to the honor of God, to the edification of others, and to the profit of thine own soul : The Lord give thee, a right understanding in this matter.
The neglect of it as an ordinance has led many people entirely to neglect it. I have scarce ever seen a congregation, in which every one joined in singing. This is a very great abuse: Because it is defeating the end of God's institution. He commanded psalms to be sung for mutual edification.
It was to be the service of the whole church. All were to join ; whereas among us it is performed by some few, and they are sometimes set by themselves in a singing gallery, or in a corner of the church, where they sing to be admired for their fine voices, and others hear them for their entertainnient. This is a vile prostitution of church music, and
contrary to the letter and spirit both of the old testament and also of the new.
The first sacred hymn upon record was sung by Moses, and the children of Israel, in which Miriam, and all the women joined, and sang the chorus. The second hymn mentioned is said to be sung by the people of Israel without any distinction. When the ark was brought up to the city of David, he and all Ifrael played before God with all their might, and with singing: Most likely they sang the lxviiith psalm accompanied with harps, and psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. David frequently speaks of singing plalms, as an ordinance in which every one should bear his part, that God might be glorified, and all might be edified—“ Make a joyful noise unto
God, all ye lands; sing forth the honor si of his name, make his praise glorious. “ All the earth shall worship thee, and “ Shall sing unto thee, they shall sing unto
thy name. O let the nations be glad, s and sing for joy, sing unto God, ye “ kingdoms of the earth : O sing praises “ unto the Lord.” The sweet singer of Israel chooses this for his subject - All “ thy works shall praise thee, O Lord, 6 and thy faints shall bless thee" and he pursues it through the cxlviiith psalm.
He begins with Hallelujah, and intending to have a full chorus to join him in ascribing all glory to God in the highest, he calls upon the holy angels and the heavenly hosts to affift; then he addresses himself to the active powers.in nature, which praise God by doing his will and obeying his decree; afterwards he calls upon the earth with every thing in it, and on it, animate, and inanimate: For these fulfill his commandments, and keep his laws, and so praise him: At last he comes to mankind, and requires high and low, kings and all people, princes and all judges of the earth, both young men, and maidens, old men and children, to join with him in praising the name of the Lord: For his name alone is excellent, his glory is above the earth and heaven: He also exalteth the power of his people, the praise of all his saints, even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Hallelujah.
This was the state of the case in the old testament. We know from prophane history, that the first Christians in all their meetings used to sing the praises of Jesus their God. They would not sit down to meat, or rise up without a psalm. Jerom says, you might have heard the ploughmen and reapers in the fields singing psalms: Yea several of them could repeat E