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in the Lord Jesus Christ. He deserves all our joy—the loveliness of Immanuel his love to us—the blessings of his love - how many-how great-how lasting! these should encourage us to be glad in him now with great joy. But the wellgrounded prospect, which hope has, of finding in him infinite and everlasting blessings, should lead us to rejoice in him with joy unspeakable and full of glory. This prospect has brightened the darkest day : It has enabled sufferers greatly to rejoice, when in heaviness through manifold temptations : It has supported them under every fiery trial. Nothing could extinguish the joy. It has lived, and triumphed in the martyr's breast, even in the agonies of the most painful death. Faith reads, and with hope looks out for (and it is a hope that will never be ashamed) the accomplishment of this faithful promise—“ The ransomed of the Lord shall “ return and come to Sion with songs, " and everlasting joy upon their heads, " they shall obtain joy and gladness, and “ forrow and sighing shall flee away.”
Dost thou find, O my soul, any of this holy joy? Canst thou sing psalms with the understanding, with the heart, and with gladness in thy heart, rejoicing in the Lord? Canst thou give thanks always for
al] all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Chrift? This - is the privilege of every true believer. Being saved from fin and hell, made an heir of God and a joint heir with Chrift, he has an interest in all things. For they are all working together under God for his present and eternal good. While he lives by faith, he knows it, and has the comfort of it. His heart is kept in tune, and whatever befalls him, he has reason to rejoice in the Lord his God.
Thus the Lord would have his people to rejoice in him always. It is not only true in theory, that they may, but it is also true in practice, if the outward walk be in concord with the doctrine of the psalms. This is another essential part of psalm singing. The believer should live as he sings. His life should be in harmony with his principles. If he fees the truth as it is in Jesus, and loves it, and rejoices in it, the effect of all this will certainly be outward and visible. The inward melody will be expressed in his tempers and behaviour. There will be à consistency throughout. As he lives, fo he will walk, by the faith of the Son of God. Practice and principle will sweetly accord. The fame found that comes from his lips comes also from his heart,
praise him would live in
and his whole life will be an unison. His actions sing, his tempers are in harmony, his behaviour makes up the chorus, abroad and at home, the music of his heart and life gives one certain note - Jesus is mine ALL-I live in him-on him to him I would have all within me to praise him, and all without me to shew forth his praises-blessings on him for ever and ever. Amen.
If a man's life be not thus consistent with his singing, he mocks God, he deceives his neighbour, and he gives the lie to his own words. Actions are surer evidences, than sounds : For they discover the settled, and the last purpose of the mind. They shew not only what a man talks of, but what he is determined to live by. The true character cannot be known, but from them. God only sees the heart. We know what is in it, by what comes out of it. We judge of the fountain from the stream. If the words and works be evil, so is the heart: For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, &c. these are clear facts to judge by. If such a man was to sing with a voice like an angel, it is a voice and nothing more. His actions prove it to be mere air and empty found: Yea, they demonstrate,
thar that his heart is in perfect discord with God. He says one thing, and does the contrary. He seems to praise God, as if he was happy in his love, but he cleaves to the world and seeks his happiness in it. He sings -- Whom have I in heaven “ but thee,” yet shews his supreme joy is in the earth. How can any thing, that such a man sings be an acceptable service, while his heart and life are in direct opposition to the holy will of God? A Jew can sing, a Turk can join in concert with him, an infidel may play well upon an instrument, a company of Jews, Turks, and infidels may perform the finest piece of music and with the most harmonious sounds. They may go through the oratorio of the Messiah without one discord. But here is no melody to the Lord. They have no design to Thew forth the praises of Immanuel : And what is not done in faith, and to his glory is sin. Their music is as hateful to him, as any of their other vices: For SELF is the burden of their song. They sing to please themselves, and to please God is not in all their thoughts. O consider this, ye that come to church, and join in singing the psalms. Is it with you an ordinance of God? Do you look upon it, as such, and find it such: Does your understanding go with the psalm, and your heart enter into it? Is it the joy of your heart? Do you sing rejoicing in God? And do you find him your one fupreme blessedness all the day long? So that your life is a continued song of praise, and every action of it, being subject to his holy will, preserves the harmony, and keeps up the heavenly joy. Is it thus indeed? Who is like unto you, O people saved by the Lord. May nothing cause discord between you any more : But may increasing faith witness with growing comfort that you are one with God, and he is one with you. Look to Jesus. Let your eyes be fixt upon him, expecting all out of his fulness. Keep close to him. Thus you shall go on your way rejoicing; and foon you shall see him face to face, and your joy shall be full.
If all these things be put together, then we learn that singing psalms is an ordinance of God, and one of the means of grace, instituted for the exercise and for the improvement of grace. It is commanded with a promise, and the promise is made good to this very day, as thousands of living witnesses can testify, When they have met together, understanding the subject of the plalm, and finzing it with melody in their hearts, then the Lord has accepted