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praising God, the deficiency is not felt. On the contrary, the people congratulate one another on the excellent music of their place of worship. Thus, the general neglect of the duty and privilege of praising God is perpetuated from year to year, no attempt at reformation being made, because, in fact, the need of reformation is not perceived ; whereas, if a religious assembly in which there is neither a powerful instrument, nor a powerful band of singers, be either unable or unwilling to praise God in an edifying manner, the evil is felt and lamented, as it should be, and measures are more likely to be adopted for supplying the deficiency.
The most plausible argument in favour of instrumental music in public worship, arises out of the fact that, in some cases, without this support, the tune sinks below the proper pitch; but musical knowledge and skill tend greatly to prevent this evil, and if at any time the tune should fall inconveniently low, why may not the precentor restore it to its proper key ?
A better method of improving the psalmody of a congregation than either the introduction of instrumental music or the procuring of a powerful band, is certainly within reach; namely, the simple method of teaching every person, and especially every young person in the congregation, to sing. The human voice is not universally preferred to instrumental music merely because it is seldom heard in perfection. Almost every person, if taught sufficiently early, may sing ; the majority of people may learn to sing well, and a very considerable number of persons require nothing but knowledge and practice to enable them to sing most sweetly. Till lately this subject, in England, has been lamentably overlooked, and while most of our people have learned to read, not one in a hundred has learned to sing. Pastors and other officers of christian churches are now beginning to be aware of their negligence in not furnishing the means of instruction in the science and art of singing to all the young people
But let it never be forgotten that the most essential requisite for good psalmody is piety. How can it be otherwise, when psalmody is neither more nor less than the vocal expression of piety? A larger number of persons in our congregations would sing if a larger number of them were real christians, and among our real christians, a larger number would sing audibly and heartily and expressively, if a larger number were happier and more thankful. Highly instructive is the record which President Edwards has written respecting the effect of a remarkable revival of religion, in his time, on the psalmody of the people. The people had previously been taught to sing and could sing in parts. Thus the singing-master had given them the requisite skill, and when the Spirit of God was poured on them in his vivifying influences, they at once had a mind' to sing. Thus the power and the will happily meeting in them, their psalmody, the president gives us to understand, was sweet, expressive, harmonious, and affecting, beyond anything previously heard.
The following are the president's words :—"The goings of God were then seen in his sanctuary; God's day was a delight and his tabernacles were amiable. Our public assemblies were then beautiful; the congregation was alive in God's service. Our public praises were then greatly enlivened. God was then served in our psalmody, in some measure “in the beauty of holiness. It has been observable that there has been scarce any part of divine worship wherein good men amongst us have had grace so drawn forth, and their hearts so lifted up in the ways of God, as in singing his praises. Our congregation excelled all that ever I knew in the external part of the duty before, the men generally carrying regularly and well three parts of music, and the women a part by themselves; but now they were wont to sing with unusual elevation of heart and voice, which made the duty pleasant indeed.”
Two things only are wanted for good psalmody-vocal skill, and inward piety.
Hallelujah--Essay on Psalmody by J. Burder, M.A.
THE FAMILY OF LYDIA.
[Acts xvi. 13, 14, 15, 40.] In these four verses the readers of the Independent Magazine have all that is recorded concerning Lydia and her family before them. Of what, then, was Lydia's family composed P
Not of men-servants, certainly. Had there been men in the place “where prayer was wont to be made,” it would not have been written «
we sat down, and spake unto the women which
resorted thither.” It appears to have been a female prayer meeting. The “brethren,” therefore, of the fortieth verse, were none of Lydia's family.
The same objection will not apply to women-servants ; but nothing is said of servants at all. It is not Lydia's servants ; it is “ her household” or family.
Had Lydia left her children at home it would not have been true that her household were baptized at this meeting “by a river side.” If Lydia's household consisted of hired servants only, for what reasons are we informed of their baptism in 2013nexion with Lydia ? Did the grace by which the heart of the mistress was opened, pick out from this assembly every one of her maids ? And if not, were Jewish and Pagan servants baptized in unbelief when those who had hired them became converts to christianity ?
But, perhaps, enough has been said to convince my young readers that Lydia's household was composed of some three or four dear little boys and girls, for whose support, in all probability, their mother settled at Philippi as “ a seller of purple.”
Were Lydia's children baptized on account of their own conversion to God? I apprehend not. Had the heart of every child been opened at the same time with the mother's, so delightful a circumstance could scarcely have been omitted. Besides, the young reader will observe, that Lydia had some difficulty in persuading Paul and Silas to partake of her hospitality; yet she pleaded not the service they had rendered her family; but “if ye have judged me to be faithful.” Nor is any notice taken of Lydia's children at the farewell meeting of Paul and Silas with their converts. “And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.” Lydia was a convert to christianity; and for that reason, in my judgment, her children were baptized. The baptism of Lydia's family is recorded as a mere matter of course consequent on Lydia's conversion; “and when she was baptized, and her household.”
Lydia's children were taken out of a congregation and baptized apart. They were all baptized, without exception. They were baptized altogether; and not some at one time and some
at another. They were baptized without delay"the same hour"_“straightway.” And, for aught that appears in the narrative, they were baptized alone, no other persons receiving baptism with them.
Finally; from the beginning of the chapter we learn that Timothy was accounted “unclean” because “ his father was a Greek,” and consequently grew up without being circumcised. But "now" (1 Cor. vii. 14,) though the mother only be a christian (for “there is neither male nor female") as in the case of Lydia, the children are holy,” that is, not disqualified for religious ordinances. And infant baptism is the only ordinance by which this distinction between holy and unclean can be recognised.
The young readers of the Independent Magazine have now before them some of the reasons why our missionaries, when a Jew or a Pagan is converted to christianity, baptize him “and all his;" and our ministers baptize children as additions to christian families. Will my young friends, in conclusion, allow me to remind them that as circumcised families under the Old Testament dispensation were debtors to “put off the body of the sins of the flesh," so families baptized are solemnly bound to crucify the flesh, to come out from the world and be separate, and to live a new life unto righteousness ; even so Jesus was dead, buried, and raised again. Not every one that is baptized shall be saved, but "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned."
THE WISE MISER. He is called a miser who denies himself the comforts, nay, often the very necessaries of life, that he may heap up wealth which he knows he must surrender when he dies. This man thinks himself much wiser than the one who gathers what he intends to part with in a month or year, because he plans possession on probably a longer tenure; but he is but a fool to that miser who is resolved never to give up his riches, but to hoard them for enjoyment beyond the grave. This is that egregious miser who builds his avarice on these words, “it is more blessed to give than to receive;" and on these, “ lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” where they may be eternally secured on that bond : “ He that gireth to the poor lendeth unto the Lord;” and look, what he layeth out, it shall be paid him again. So much for his capital. But he must have interest too, which is secured to him by this deed : “Blessed is the man who provideth for the sick and needy; the Lord shall deliver him in the time of trouble."
ANECDOTES OF DR. PAYSON. One day he went to visit a mother who was disconsolate from the loss of a child. He said to her as follows:—“Suppose now, some one was making a beautiful crown for you to wear, and you knew it was for you, and that you were to receive it and wear it as soon as it should be done. Now if the maker of it were to come, and, in order to make the crown more beautiful and splendid, were to take some of your jewels, and put into it, should you be sorrowful and unhappy, because they were taken away for a little while, when you knew they were gone to make up your crown?”
GOING TO SEE A SICK PERSON.
“Suppose you were to see a little sick child lying in its mother's lap, with its faculties impaired by its sufferings, so that it was generally in a troubled sleep; but now and then it just opens its eyes a little, and gets a glimpse of its mother's face, so as to be recalled to the recollection that it is in its mother's arms; and suppose that always, at such a time, it should smile faintly with evident pleasure to find where it was;--should you doubt whether that child loved its mother, or not?
On one occasion Dr. Payson invited all young persons who did not intend to seek religion. About forty came. They had a social interview, nothing about that subject, until, just as they were going to leave, he closed with a very few plain and simple remarks in the following manner:-“Suppose you should see, coming down from heaven, a very fine thread, as fine as to be almost invisible, and it should come and very gently attach itself to you. You knew, we suppose, that it came from God. Should
you dare to put out your hand and brush it away?"