Imatges de pÓgina
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them in the song, since they had a share in the common deliverance. The psalmist David, declared it as his resolution, and, no doubt but it was his practice, when he had opportunity, to sing the praises of God among the heathens. Therefore, says he, will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and fing praises unto thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people, I will fing unto thee among the nations : The church, in Solomon's song, is represented, not only as taking her part in the song in the midst of, but as joining with the daughters of Jerusalem, though they were ignorant of Christ her beloved. It is evident, that the church at Corinth sung psalms in the presence of unbelievers, as well as performed other parts of public wor. Thip; which was one reason that made the apostle so desirous of rectifying the irregularities in this, as in the rest ; that so unbelievers, who came in among them, might be convinced and obliged to own, that God was in them of a truth. Moreover, inasmuch as unbelievers are admitted to public prayers, and to join with you in them, why not to public singing ? especially, since some ends of this ordinance cannot be answered without their presence ; which are to declare the Lord's doings among the people, and make known bis wonders and his glory among the beathen': To add no more, This ordinance has been an ordinance for conversion; I have known it to be so, and so have others besides me; and a good reason this is why it should be continued publicly in our churches, and unbelievers e admitted to an attendance on it.

V. I come now to consider the manner in which this ordinance should be performed, which I shall do very briefly, and shall chiefly regard what is expressed in my text, in which the apostle is desirous that he might, and determined to, fing with the Spirit, and with the understanding also.

1. With the Spirit. By which may be meant, either the extraordinary gift of the Spirit, by which the apostle was capable of delivering out a psalm or hymn extempore, and that in an unknown tongue; though he was determined to make use of this gift in such a way, as to be understood by others, that so they might receive some profit and edification by it ; or else, by the Spirit, may be designed the Spirit of God, who is absolutely necessary to the spiritual performance of this duty. Believers' in the discharge of this work, stand in great need of him to excite their attention, assist their meditations, enlighten their understandings, raise their affections, strengthen their faith, and make a comfortable application of what is sung to themselves; or, by

finging • Psal. xviii. 49. and lvii. 9. Psal. ix, 11. and xcvi. 3.

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singing with the spirit, may be meant, singing with his own spirit ; and indeed, believers should be fervent in spirit, whilst they are serving the Lord in any ordinance: As God is a Spirit, he must be worshipped in spirit, or with our spirits, that is, with our hearts, engaged in the work we are concerned in ; and then may we be said to sing with the spirit, when we sing with grace in our hearts, or in the lively exercise of faith, and hope, and love ; for to the due performance of this ordinance in a spiritual way, are required a large measure of grace, a good deal of spiritual light, knowledge, experience and judgment; for we should sing,

2. With the understanding also; that is, either in a language that is to be understood, or with the understanding of what is sung ; fing se praises with understanding o; or to the understanding of others; for one end of this duty is, to teach and admonish others as well as ourselves; and perhaps, the apostle may have fome regard here to one of the titles of David's psalms', namely, suyun maschil, which signifies a psalm, giving instruction, or causing to understand. Unless we sing in all these senses with understanding, we sing with little advantage, either to ourselves or others. In a word, besides our mutual edi. fication, we should have in our view the glory of God; we are to fing unto the Lord, not to ourselves, or to raise our natural affections, or to gain applause from others, by the fineness of our voice, and exact conformity to the tune; but to the glory of Father, Son and Spirit, who are that one God, who condescends to inhabit the praises of Israel.

Having now considered the several things I proposed, relating to the ordinance of singing, I shall subjoin a short account of the faith and practice of the saints in the first three centuries of Christianity, with respect either to singing alone, or in the family, or in the churches; which, added to the scriptural account of this duty, may serve the more to confirm us in the practice of it.

If the Therapeutæ, a set of religious persons mentioned by. Pbilo the Jew, who was, cotemporary with the apostles, were Christians, as Eusebius " thinks, then we have a proof, besides the scripture ones, of the Christians singing of psalms and hymns in the times of the apostles ; for of these Philo says, “ That they not only gave themselves up to a contemplative life, but coms posed songs and hymns to God, in various kinds of metre and verse;

and “ which they wrote as was necessary in graver rhyme, and which they not Vol. Ill.

only * So Psal. xxxii, xlii, with many others. .. Eccles. Hist, l. 2. c. 17. P. 59.

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* Psal. xlvii. 7.

“ only composed but sung“;" though perhaps he may intend the Efenes, of whom Porphyry says *, that “ They kept the seventh day of the week in

hymns to God, and in reft." There are some, indeed, who think they were neither, but a fećt of Jewish philosophers : However this be, it is certain,

That there is now extant an epiftle of Pliny to Trajan the emperor ; in which he tells him, that one part of the charge against the Christians was, ;" That they used to meet together at a stated time, before it was light, and “sing a hymn among themselves, to Christ, as to a god." Turtullian refers to this letter, and expresses the charge in it thus ; " That they had their

meetings before it was day, to fing to Christ and to God." Eufebius cites the same, and observes, that “ Pliny declared that he found nothing impious " in them, nothing done by them contrary to the laws, except that rising early " together, they sung an hymn to Christ after the manner of a god 5. Now this letter was written in the latter end of che first century, or at the beginning of the second, and, as some think, while the apostle John was yet living.

Juftin Martyr, Anno 150, in his epistle to Zena and Serenus, if it will be allowed to be genuine, speaks of the singing of pfalms, hymns and songs; and directs to the use of pfalmody, in such a manner, as not to grieve our neighbours :

Atbenogenes, a martyr, in the second century, as he was going to the fire, delivered an hymn to those that stood by, in which he celebrated the Deity of the blessed Spirit".

Clemens Alexandrinus, Anno 190, or 200, speaking of a good man, says, “ His “ whole life is a continual holy day; his facrifices are prayer and praise; the

scriptures * Ωστ και θεωρεσι μονον, αλλα και σοισιν ασματα και υμνος εις θεον δια σανθοιων μετρων και μελω», « po@mous oeurolepous avayxaıws Xapatl806. Philo de vita contempliva, p. 893. edit. Paris. Eile αδεσι σεποιημενος εις τον Θεον υμνες πολλους μετροις και μελεσι. Ιbid. p. go2.

και Τη εβδομαδι μη δειθαι κενωσεως, ην τηρειν ενωθασαν εις της υμνος τω Θεώ, και εις αναπαυσω. Porphyr. de Abftinent, ho 4. g. 13. p. 162. y Vid. Vales. not. in Euseb. p. 34. 35.

* Affirmabant autem, hanc fuisse summam vel culpæ fuæ vel erroris, quod efsent foliti ftato die, ante lucem convenire: Carmenque Christo quasi Deo, dicere secum invicem, Plin. Ep. 1. 10. ep. 97. p. 278. edit. Londin. 1722.

· Nihil aliud fe de facramentis comperiffe, quam cætus antelucanos ad cancndum Chrifto Deo. Tertull. Apolog. c. 2. p. 3.

• Μηδεν ανοσιον, μη δε σαρα της νομες αρασλει» αυθες καταλειφεται, πλην το γε για τη 10 διεγειροMoves, Tou Xposou ote dixnu vuren. Euseb. Eccl. Hist. de 3. C. 33. p. 105.

Υμνες τι και ψαλμες και αδας και αινο» ρηθεον, μη δια ψαλμωδιας τον πλησιν λυσει» Jultin. ad Zenam. p. 509. edit. Paris.

• Vid. Fabricii Biblioth. Græc. vol. 5. C. 1. §. 24. p. 195.

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“ seriptures are read before eating of food; and, whilst eating, psalms and “ hymns are sung; and, at night, before he goes to bed, prayer is pers formed again.” And, in another place, he observes, that “ a man's love, « friendship, and good will to God, should be shewn by thanksgiving and “ finging of psalms";” and he himself composed an hymn to Christ, which is still extant at the end of his Pædagogue.

Tertullian, who lived about the same time, has many things in his writings, which show that singing of psalms, both publicly and privately, was practiced in his day; in one place 8 he says, “ After washing of hands, and “ lighting up of candles, (meaning at their Christian meetings, and lovea feasts) every one might come forth, and sing to God, either out of the “ holy scriptures, or what was of their own composing." · And, elsewhere", among the arguments he makes use of to prevail on Christians to marry among themselves, this is one ; “ Psalms and hymns, says he, are harmoniW ously sung between the happy pair ; and they provoke each other to fing, 6 the better to their God” And in another place i he speaks, “ of the

reading of the scriptures, singing of psalms, preaching sermons, and of " prayer," as the several parts of public worship. And to add no more, in another book he makes this to be one part of the happiness of a chafte and continent man, that: “ If he prays to the Lord, he is near to heaven; if 6. he-ftudies the scriptures, he is wholly there ;. if he sings a psalm, he pleafes « himself;"

Origen, Anno 226, or 230, speaking of the need of the Spirit of God in prayer, adds, “ Even as no man can sing a psalm or hymn to the Father in « Chrift, in good rhyme, proper verse and metre, and in concert, except the sa Spirit, who searcheth all things, even the deep things of God, first searches, 4 H 2

and, • Απας δε ο βιο» αυθe Φανηγυρις αγια ουλικα. θυσιαν μεν- ανίω, ευχαν τη καινοι, και αι προ της αγι. ασεως εντευξης των γραφων ψαλμοι δε και υμνοι σαρα την εστασιν. Προ τε της κοιλην, αλλα, και νυκτωρ,.

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Clement. Alexi Stromati li 7. p.728. edit. Paris: € Προθέρα μεν η εις Θεον δε ευχαρισιας και ψαλμωδίας γενέσθω φιλοφροσυνη, Ιd. Pedagog. 1. 2. c. 4.

ευχαι παλιν. .

p. 165.

8 Poft aquam manualem & lumina, ut quisque de fcripturis fan&is, vel de proprio ingenio potest, provocatur in medium Deo canere. Tertull. Apolog. C. 39. p. 36.

Sonant inter duos psalmi & hymni, & mutuo provocant, quis melius Deo suo cantes. Ibid. ad uxorem, 1. 2. c. 8. p. 191.

Jam vero pro ut fcripturæ leguntur, aut psalmi canuntur, aut adlocutiones proferuntur, aut petitiones delegantur, ita inde materiæ vifionibus subministrantur. Ibid. de anima, c. 9. p. 311.

* Si orationem facit ad dominum, prope eft Cælo. Scripturis incumbit, totus illic eftSi pfalmum canit, placet fibi. Ibid. de Exhort. Caftitat. C. 10. p. 670.

“ and, as much as can be, comprehends the deep things of the mind, with

songs of praise and hymns'.”

Cyprian, Anno 246, exliorted Donatus to the practice of singing of psalms, in an epistle to him;

to him; “ Let a psalm, says he, be sung at a feast, kept with “ moderation, and that thou mayest have a retentive memory, let thy voice “ be melodious. Begin this work after the usual manner "."

Nepos, an Egyptian bishop, Anno 260, is greatly commended by Eusebius, not only for his faithfulness, labour, and diligence in the scriptures, but for his psalmody; which was very grateful to many of the brethren at that present time".

I might go on to produce testimonies, proving psalmody to be in use in the churches in the times of Constantine, not far from the third century, which, as Eusebius, who was on the spot, relates ', was performed with a very decent and agreeable modulation of the voice. As also, in the churches at Alexandria and Milan', when Athanafius was bishop of the one, and Ambrose of the other, who both lived in the fourth century. I might also observe, what spiritual delight and comfort the great Austin 9 found in attending on this ordinance ; but I choose to go no further than the three first centuries, which were the purest and most uncorrupt ages of Christianity.

Paulus Samosatenus, who denied the divinity of Christ, is the only person I have met with in this period of time, that objected to the psalms and songs being sung in the churches, which he condemned as novel compositions ; and yet provided women to fing in the church concerning himself : His reason for it seems to be, because the divinity of Christ was in an excellent man. ner set forth in the old songs and pfalms; as appears from a passage in Eufebius, mentioned to confront Artemon and Theodotus, who had represented Christ's

divinity Ωσπιρ εδι ψαλκι και, ευρυθμως και εμμελως και έμμετρως και συμφωνως υμνησαι τον Παθερα και Χρισω, αν μη το Πνευμα σαν τα ερευνων, και τα βαθη τε Θιε, προθερον αινισει και υμνησει τα να τα βάθη ηρευνηκε, και ως εξισχυσε κατειληφεν. Origen Περι ευχης. edit. Oxon. 1686.

i Sonet psalmos (vel psalmus) convivium fobrium : Et ut tibi tenax memoria eft, vox canora; aggredere hoc munus ex more. Cyprian. ad Donat. p. 10. edit. Oxon. 1682.

1 Εν αλλοις μεν πολλοις αποδεχομαι και αγαπω Νεπωία, της τε σισεως και της φιλοπονιας και της και ταις γραφαις διατριβης, και της πολλης ψαλμωδιας, η μεχρι νυν πολλοι των αδελφων ευθυμονίαι. Εueb. Eccl. Hist. 1. 7. c. 24 p. 271. • Ibid. 1. 2. c. 17. P 57. & 1. 10. C. 3. P. 371.

Auguft. Confeff. 1. 9.c 6. $. 2. & 7.1. & 1. 10. c. 33. $. 2. , Ibid. 1, 9 c. 6. §. 2. & 10. C. 33. $. 3. : Euseb. Ecel Hift. 1. 7. c. 30. p. 281.

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