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“ I will be glad and rejoice in thee, I will sing praise to thy name, O thou Most High.”—Ps. ix.
There is no part of Divine Worship more insisted upon in Sacred Writ, more delightful to a devout and innocent mind, than that of singing “ Psalms and Hymns, and Spiritual Songs ” to the praise and glory of God. We are commanded to do so by God himself, who, in his Holy Word, calls upon us as often and as solemnly to sing to him as to pray to him. “Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous, for praise is comely for the upright. Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery, and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song : play skilfully with a loud noise."-Ps. 33.
Sing aloud unto God our strength ; make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp, with the psaltery."--Ps. lxxxi. And again, “Sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; show forth his salvation from day to day.”---Ps. xcvi.
Many, indeed, are the passages that enforce the duty and acceptableness of this species of worship. We are taught, moreover, to practise it by the example of our blessed Lord himself, who, we are told, with his disciples sung a hymn, before they went to the mount of Olives (Matt. xxvi. 30); and we have every reason to believe that in heaven we shall continue the same duty and delight, for we are informed of the angelic hosts, that “ they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, thou King of Saints."---Rev, xv. 3.
Thus we find the duty of psalm-singing enjoined by the Word of God, and practised by our Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles ; hence it has constituted a part of Christian worship in all the Church, and forms one of the delights of the blessed throughout ETERNITY. Is it not then grievous to reflect that there is no part of public worship, in the present day, treated with so little regard as this, which ought to be its most joyful offering ? The voice which we receive from the Giver of all Good, wherein we instantaneously communicate all our thoughts and wishes to each
the voice which we are ready enough to lift up to our heavenly Father in prayer ; when adversity, sorrow, or sickness press heavily upon us, is too often silent when it ought to be exalted in praise of Him who made us.
Even the young,
to whom singing and melody are delights natural to their age, can be coldly or negligently silent when sacred songs are the theme. Do they forget then, or are they ignorant, that the best of every thing we possess onght to be dedicated to the service of Him from whom we receive it. "Ye brought that which was torn, and the lame and the sick ; thus ye brought an offering ; should I accept, this of your hands ? saith the Lord.” Malachi i. 13. How many young persons, stimulated by vanity, endeavour to the utmost to cultivate their musical talents, in order that they may excite the admiration of mortals, vain and perishable as themselves ; yet these same young people, when they stand up at church during the psalmody, spend the time in looking about them, their eyes roving, their lips, like their hearts closed, or uttering only half articulated sounds; as if that which has devotion for its basis, and perfection for its object, were unworthy of their attention or their skill : nay, so far can man carry his presumption and ingratitude, that I have even heard it alleged as a vulgarity, in those of superior rank, to suffer their voices to be heard among the multitude, in the service of the Lord. Do not, I beseech you, my dear young friends, fall into this awful impiety. Recollect that the ballowed strains which you so often hear with indifference, have consoled prisoners in their cells, and supported martyrs amidst flames ; that among the pious throughout the Christian world they continually cheer the humble hearth of poverty, and solace the bed of sickness; and that they cannot be offered up in the spirit af sincerity without recreating our senses with the delights of harmony, and benefitting our souls by communion with the Being who is pleased to accept our praises and thanksgivings, because our offering of them renders us more capable of receiving increased proofs of goodness from his inexhaustible love.
Let then your worship be offered up in the spirit of thankfulness and joy, as well as of fervent devotion, which is so beautifully depicted in the account of the ministration of Simon the High Priest: “ Then shouted the sons of Aaron, and sounded the silver trumpets, and made a great noise, to be heard for a remembrance before the Most High. Then all the people together hasted, and fell down to the earth with their faces, to worship Him Lord God Almighty, the Most High. The singers also sang praises with their voices, with great variety of sounds was there made sweet melody. And the people besought the Lord the Most High by prayer before him that is merciful, till the solemnity of the Lord was ended, and they had finished his service," --Ecclesiasticus I.
Here, my dear young friends, is no lukewarmness, no indifference, no ingratitude towards the Almighty for his precious gifts. Hearts, hands, and voices, all are gladly lifted up to the Most High. Follow the solemp yet cheering example: be ready at all times to raise your voices in praise as well as prayer, and be assured that when the time of life arrives, as arrive it must, when no remembrance will give us pleasure but the remenabrance of those moments when have drawn nearest to God, then will the melodious sounds which had Him for their object return upon our ear in accents sweet as the song of the angels to the shepherds, and cheer us with a foretaste of those blessed regions, where all is harmony, and peace, and love. Haydn, that great musician, whose mind was so penetrated with devotional feeling that he wrote many of his sacred compositions on bis knees, declared that he was more powerfully affected by the simple melody of a chant sung in unison by four thousand children in St. Paul's Cathedral, at the anniversary of the charity schools, than he had ever before been by the most skilful and elaborate performances. How often have I recalled his remark to mind when I have looked on the children at the Parish Church, who owe their knowledge of good and evil, their rescue from ignorance and vice to the blessings