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scene-contemplating the creative power, and directive wisdom of Jehovah, as manifest in the starry heavens; and with a prophetic eye, descrying through the lengthened vista of futurity the "great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh;" and when, instead of listening with vain plaudits, the thousands of favoured Israel were sunk in the deep sleep of midnight. Jehovah only, hears the pious and adoring strains-"What is man that thou art mindful of him? and the Son of Man that thou visitest him?" This then, was not a vain, ambitious, ostentatious praise. It was that he might "give unto the Lord the glory due to his name." Such should be the supreme end of our praise. "Do all to the glory of God."
2. It is necessary that the matter of comely praise and its dress should be of divine original. In celebrating the praise of God, no one need inquire-"Wherewith shall I come before the Lord?" Ample provision is made. In the rich collection of inspired songs, every one, in any circimstances, may find suitable expressions of praise. If any one is straitened, it is not in the collection, but in his own bowels. Lacked we any thing here, alas! how despe rate the hope of a suitable supply! The canon of scripture is closed, and none henceforth can boast the spirit of inspiration to guide his pen. Soaring human genius is no substitute for this.Who then, is able to supply the defect of God's provision for the church? If that Spirit who searcheth the deep things of God, concludes that in the scriptures given by inspiration of God, the man of God is thoroughly furnished unto all good works, what mortal may hope from his own treasures of wisdom, to furnish one additional, necessary, acceptable song of praise? The experience of many a saint declares, that in respect of suitable material for praise, there is no deficiency in the inspired collection of 'Psalms, and Hymns, and spiritual Songs."
But some may ask, may not the dress of Divine Song be improved by human skill? But who, I would ask in reply, is competent to such a work? Or if some vain confident mortal may trust his powers, I demand of him, where he received his commission, and who required this labour at his hand? Alas! the improvements already made upon the works of the Spirit of God! As for myself, I find no necessity for these pretended improvements; I never felt the difficulties charged upon the scriptural version of the Psalms-that they "flatten devotion; awaken regret, and touch all the springs of uneasiness within us." No: Give me divine truth in all its native loveliness, and in all the simple beauties of its heavenly dress; and I will envy no man the devotion aided by the trappings, and meretricious ornaments,
supplied by human genius. The "Lord's Song" only, is comely in praise.
3. In comely praise, an orderly manner is requisite. In celebrating God's praise, the injunction is appropriate-" Son, give me thy heart." While our lips utter the furnished expressions of praise, we should also, "make melody in our hearts unto the Lord." It is greatly to be feared, that many are not duly concerned to "stir up all within them to bless the holy name of the Lord." It is true, indeed, that many worshippers spare no pains, no expense, in procuring what they call "helps to devotion"fine-toned organs, and skilful quoirs.-Helps, by the bye, of which the Christian church never felt a need, until sunk in the deep sensuality of Anti-Christian reign. Let those fashionables who are most urgent for the introduction of such foreign auxiliaries to devotion, answer unto God, and their own consciences, if their own carnal gratifications from this church opera be not their care, rather than to please the God of heaven? It is to be feared that many who seek these pretended aids, are neglecting the essential aid of that Spirit who helpeth our infirmities.
But even where this Popish mummery is, as yet, excluded, there is often too much evidence that external performance receives more attention than heart preparation. It is much to be feared that with many there is more concern about the right pitch of the tune, than about the right pitch of the affections.—— More concern to tickle the "itching ears” of mortals, than to fill the ear of Jehovah. But we, like the "sweet singer of Israel" should summon our "glory to awake" and "praise the Lord with our hearts." We should "exercise ourselves unto godliness for bodily exercise profiteth little.”
But even as to externals, decency is required in the manner.Vocal music has its place in comely praise. "Come before the Lord with singing." In the ceremonial worship of the old dispensation, praise with instruments which were typical of the spiritual joy of the new dispensation, was admitted. But Christ and his immediate followers sung their praise. That instrumental music was not used during the simplicity and purity of primitive Christianty, is attested by the consent of all ancient writers in the christian church. Our modern advocates for this kind of music, plead its early introduction by christians. But even Bellarmine, who would-most willingly confer the dignity of antiquity upon this rite, pretends not an earlier date for its introduction than the time of Pope Vitalian, of the seventh century. As a writer fitly remarks, "well may a Reformed divine be ashamed of that antiquity that does not exceed the rise of antichrist." Even many among the more judicious of the Roman Catholics, contin
ued to condemn this innovation in christian worship. From many declarations to this effect, we select the opinion of Erasmus.— "Let a man," says he, "be more covetous than Crassius, more foul-mouthed than Zoilus, he shall be reckoned a pious man if he sings those prayers well, though he understands nothing of them. But what I beseech you, must they think of Christ, who can believe that he is delighted with a noise of men's voices?— Not content with this, we have brought into our churches a certain operose, and theatrical music; such a confused and disorderly chattering of some words as I hardly think was ever heard in any of the Grecian or Roman theatres. The church rings with the noise of trumpets, pipes, and dulcimers; and human voices: strive to bear their part with them:-Men run to the church as to the theatre, to have their ears tickled. And for this end organ makers are hired with great salaries, and a company of boys, who waste all their time in learning these whining tones. Pray now compute how many poor people in great extremity, might be maintained by the salaries of these singers?"
In the Christian church, vocal music only has the sanction of divine anthority. "In vain do men worship the Saviour teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
Moreover, the vocal music should be such as comports with the solemnity and dignity of divine worship.. Every one knows that different emotions are excited by different airs in music.-; These are light "Italian trills" which are as unbecoming in the house of God as lascivious conversation would be. "No unison. have these with our Creator's praise."
The simple, the grave, and the dignified can all unite. And. when united they form the happiest kind of sacred music Care, on the part of all worshippers, to prepare themselves to join with ease and without annoyance to others, in this holy service, is highly becoming. While it is the folly of multitudes to exalt too high the externals of praise; too much neglect is the fault of others. A cultivation of the talent we may have for music, in order that without embarrassment we may be enabled to perform the sacred service of praise to God is a duty. To music in divine worship the injunction is applicable, "Let all things be done decently and in order."
II. Considerations to enforce the declaration-praise is comely. 1. The majesty of Jehovah, to whom this praise is directed. "He is thy Lord christian, worship thou him." Great are the displays of his majesty and glory, "He bows the heavens and comes down, and darkness is under his feet-He rides upon a cherub and flies upon the wings of the wind-He makes darkness his secret place--his pavilion round about him are dark waters,
and thick clouds of the skies." "Who," then, "in the heavens can be compared unto the Lord?" “ God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised." Therefore, "Sing praises unto God, sing praises, sing praises unto our King, sing praises."
2. Our obligations to God for his numerous mercies. In the disposal of the common bounties of his providence, God is "good unto all and his tender mercies are over all his works." "The earth is full of his goodness." Therefore, "let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever." In the provisions of special grace, none can express the fulness of his wondrous love. Into the mystery of grace, "angels desired to look," and when the fulness of time was come, "multitudes of the heavenly host were heard on earth praising God and saying-Glory to God in the highest, and on the earth peace, good will towards men. All the ends of the earth, have seen the salvation of our God: Let all the earth, therefore make a joyful noise unto the Lord. O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works unto the children of men."
3. Praise on earth is an anticipation of the service of heaven. "And I beheld, and I heard a voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures, and the elders; and the numher of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands. of thousands; saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches, and wisdom, and, strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." How becoming even here to commence the "song of Moses and the Lamb" to commence on earth the eternal employment of heaven! Therefore, "bless the Lord ye his angels. Bless the Lord all ye his hosts. Bless the Lord all his works. Bless the Lord O my soul. Learn hence,
1. The propriety of improvement in church music. It is connected with comely praise. Entire negligence here, is therefore unbecoming. When a talent is possessed and an opportunity given for its improvement, and improvement is not made, our praise looks too much like bringing our lame and our blind in sacrifice to God. Learn
2. The proper kind of music for the church of God, although light and also complicated tunes may be introduced into schools for improvement yet not into the church for praise. The former kind comports not with the dignity of the service; the latter would, contrary to every law of "decency and order," close the lips of many an humble child of God who would engage in comely praise. Learn lastly
The proper station of music in the house of God. It is not in itself praise. But the mere handmaid of comely praise. It is consecrated to God's service however, in this humble station.Dedicate therefore all your acquirements in music, as all your other atainments to the praise and glory of God. Still celebrate Jehovah's praise. "O give thanks unto the Lord of Lords, for he is good, for his mercy endureth forever. O give thanks unto the God of Gods for his mercy endureth forever. O give thanks unto the Lord of Lords for his mercy endureth forever.-Praise ye the Lord-for praise is comely."
For the Religious Monitor.
On the Duty of Heads of Families.
GENESIS Xviii. 19.-“For I know him that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him."
God doth according to his will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth. He hath determined the times before appointed and the bounds of our habitation; the period of our existence and the character of our lot. He hath determined what nations and kingdoms shall be upon the earth, and all their revolutions. He hath determined the end of time, and all the beings and events to which time gives birth. But if this be the case, why, say some, should we make use of means? Why should we study personal holiness? If it be determined that we shall be saved or lost, our good or bad conduct cannot change the decree. Why should we pray to God, if he has already determined whether he will give or withhold what we ask? Why should we as ministers or parents or members of the church labour to bring souls to Christ, if the number and the very persons of the elect are so fixed that none of them can fail to be saved, and no others can obtain salvation? It may be answered that God has decreed all the means leading to the end as fully and determinately as the end itself. He hath chosen us from the beginning to salvation, not whether we be holy or sinful, believers or unbelievers, he hath chosen us through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth. He hath chosen us that we should. be holy and without blame before him in love. Abraham was chosen to be an heir of life, and he could not fail of it; but he was not chosen to the blessing and to perseverance, let him do as he would; for God who knew that he would perform the good which he had spoken of Abraham knew also that Abraham would perform the good which he required of him,-that he would keep