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of the temple, after the death of David, Solomon seems to have continued the same choir for the temple service, "to praise and minister before the priests." And upon that very solemn occasion we read that
the charms of music were called in to add to the divine honour. trumpeters and singers were as one to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord." And if you read the history of the Jews in the Old Testament carefully, from this period down to the destruction of Jerusalem, you will frequently observe allusions to this part of the temple worship, and particularly in the reigns of the kings Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah, and Josiah. Upon the return from the captivity, Ezra, as you will see in the book bearing his name, set persons to "praise the Lord after the ordinance of David, king of Israel," and the same was kept up in Nehemiah's time. The prophets also frequently call upon the people of God to "break forth into singing." Indeed, from the first verses in several of their chapters, we may conclude that they must have been intended for music, as the fifth, the twelfth, the twenty-fifth, and the twenty-sixth of Isaiah. The Lamentations of Jeremiah are a sort of mourning hymn. What is called the prayer of Habakkuk was clearly intended for the musical services of the temple. In later times we read of the sacred songs of the Virgin Mary, and of Zacharias, and old Simeon; and after the institution of the Lord's Supper, it is written of him and his apostles, who partook of it with him, that "when they had sung an hymn they went out into the Mount of Olives." Those same apostles seemed to have sanctioned it afterwards, for St. James says, "Is any merry? let him sing psalms;" and the first Christians we are told, when they met together, "used to sing hymns to Christ as a god." Hence probably the practice was derived into the church of Christ, as it " grew and prevailed," and so was continued in all churches and public worship in this country. And it is worthy of observation, that however Christians have thought it necessary to differ upon points of doctrine and ceremony, all parties have kept up psalm-singing: they "exalt the Lord's name together." Such then is the antiquity of music in religious services, and coupling its early beginning in the time of Moses with its present and early use in all christian churches, there cannot be a more just or pleasing fulfilment than this of David's pious expectation in Psalm cxlv. "One generation shall praise thy works to another, and declare thy mighty acts."
Let us consider, secondly, the object of psalm-singing. And it is justly and mainly "the praise and glory of God." And whether we consider the hymns themselves originally composed and sung for that purpose; or their subject-God's praises almost exclusively; or their mode of performance-with cheerful music; or the place-the house of God; who will not at once confess that such must have been the origin of this singing, the nature and the object of it. And looking higher, reading what Scripture tells us of that kind of honour being paid to God by the angels, when at the creation, "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy ;" and when, to announce the birth of a Saviour, "there was a multitude of the heavenly host praising God;" what subject had they to dwell upon but him, what to celebrate but his glory? And what we hear in the Revela
tions of the "continual cry of cherubim and seraphim," and the future employment of the blessed in a state of happiness, is much to the same effect. "I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps." "They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb; Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of many thunderings, saying, Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." "Yea, they say in the ways of the Lord, that great is the glory of the Lord." "It is to the praise of the glory of his grace." But further, we may see the object of psalm-singing in the feelings which should always lead to it and accompany it; and these are, thankfulness to God, pious joy, and holy love. We must all of us have been receiving some mercies, perhaps special ones,—some blessings, perhaps undeserved ones,-some warnings, perhaps necessary ones. And all these came from God. But even if we had not, there is our life, a daily and hourly blessing, a gift that we have enjoyed the longest, and has been itself the cause of every other. These are all our worldly comforts;-friends, health, goods, children, education, understanding, many of which came from God, and all through God. But, above all, there is the hope that your soul has, in the next world, through your Saviour, his mediation above, and his Spirit here below, his Bible, his means of grace, and his ministers. These are things which a whole life of praise could never repay or never express; things which the gratitude of a whole world could never feel enough, or the strains of a most heavenly anthem touch aright. And this we should always remember, that though God is the first object of such music, it cannot be considered that he is at all the better for it, for in his own nature he "is exalted far above all blessing and praise." But he has commanded us to praise him for our own benefit, and condescends to receive it as though it were for his loving "in all things to be glorified," and to hear his creatures "sing of his power, yea, sing aloud of his mercy." Another object of psalm-singing, then, is our own edification, and the edification of one another, "teaching," as the apostle says, "and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs." Such tributes are spiritualizing and elevating to the minds of all who hear them, besides the good effect they may have upon a worldly singer, and do have upon a pious one. And again, music is always very cheering to drooping spirits, sorrowful hearts, and troubled consciences. There is something in it that awakes, and excites, and interests; something that cheers, something that occupies It had somewhat of this effect in the case of Saul; we read, “It came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp and played with his hand; so Saul was refreshed and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him." Considering, therefore, that by these means, it is the great object of psalm-singing to create piety and devotion in the heart, that object is greatly answered further by the variety it gives to our public services. The attention even of the most thoughtful and spiritually-minded worshipper is too apt to become weary and wandering in prayer, particularly if there is much of it at a time. Here then psalm-singing, scattered as it is through
the service, is again useful to us. We cannot thus be long without some change of subject, some new turns of thought, some fresh motives to piety. Surely then, on all these accounts, "it is good to sing praises unto our God," which brings us lastly to the consideration of a very important point in psalm-singing-the manner of performing it. And first of all, it is very clear, that if psalm-singing is for "the glory of God," and is a divine institution, every one, without exception, should join in it; young men and maidens, (as the Psalmist says,) old men and children, should praise the name of the Lord." Nay, he goes farther, and says in the last Psalm, "Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord." And in another Psalm he makes a particular call upon an assembled congregation, "Praise ye the name of the Lord, ye that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God." Here is no excuse given, no allowance made for those who say they cannot sing, or that it is not the custom. The command is given to all, and given by God. Then let those who pretend to be his servants beware how they disobey it, beware how they show themselves ungrateful to him, unmindful of him. Prayers, perhaps, without praise may not be answered. Would such men excuse themselves in heaven where there is nothing but praise and alleluiahs? or with their present feelings, and under such circumstances are they fitted to go there? When Paul and Silas were in prison at Philippi, and sang praises unto God," did they stop to ask themselves whether they were able? Upon that interesting occasion, when our Lord entered into Jerusalem, and "the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, Hosanna to the Son of David," do we hear of any one in that vast assemblage who could not join the general voice? So true is it at all times, and particularly in such a case as this, that where there is a will there is a way, and all of us, if we please, may "with one mind and mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Another point also in the proper performance of psalm-singing is, that it should not be done for show. And this is an evil in part arising from the last, for those, who do not sing, are attending to those who do, which makes it a show. And it is the more necessary to caution people upon this subject, as music, with which it is accompanied, is in itself very captivating, and is too likely to make them indifferent to that which sanctifies it-the praise of God. "And whether is greater, (says our Lord on a different occasion,) the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold; the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?" They begin with saying, that they are to sing to "the praise and glory of God," and after all it is to the praise and glory of themselves. Thus, when" they do these things, they show themselves unto the world," and our Lord might as truly say of those who sing in this manner, as of the Pharisees of old, "I know you that ye have not the love of God in you." And it was probably very much owing to this sort of show and vanity in the performance of their religious duties that the Lord said to his people in former times, "I hate and despise your feast days." And again, there should be no irregularity in psalmsinging, any more than in any other religious duty. Those who take delight in such things should not consider that God's glory may be sung on some days and not sung on others. Let it be our care,
however, in future, considering the antiquity of all sacred music, the express end of psalm-singing, and these defects in the performance of it, to think of it and regulate it very differently. As God in the text makes it a command upon us to "make a joyful noise unto himself," let it be to his glory only that we sing. As he makes it a command to " all lands," let us all join in it; and as he makes it a command, that whenever we "come before his presence" we should come before it "with singing," let us never miss coming. Let it always be "a song as when a holy solemnity is kept," a song that it befits us to sing and God to hear, a song from the heart, a song of thanksgiving, a song of christian love and joy, and so whenever you "speak to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs," you will, according to the apostle's wish, be "making melody in your hearts, singing with grace in your hearts unto the Lord." "Seek only that ye may excel to the edifying of the church" and God's greater glory. And then, if you "prefer this Jerusalem above your chief joy," thus "sing with the spirit and sing with the understanding also," you will have been preparing, thus far, for the celebration of God's praises hereafter in his own dwelling-place, a place where for the righteous "there is fulness of joy, and pleasure at God's right hand for evermore."
COMMENTARY OF THEODORET, BISHOP OF CYRUS, IN SYRIA, ON ST. PAUL'S EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS.
(Continued from page 675.)
28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called in accordance with (their own) disposition. They work not together with all, but with those that love Him, nor simply work with them, but work with them for good, for if any ask for what would not be profitable to him, he fails of his petition, because it is to his advantage not to gain it. And with the fittest accuracy of expression does he join the disposition with the call, for the call is not irrespective, but to those who possess this disposition; wherefore He
* Τοῖς κατὰ πρόθεσιν κλητοῖς οὖσιν. Compare Acts xiii. 46, 48. Τεταγμένοι, disposed, while the Jews were not, as explained by the ragav čavтous of 1 Cor. xvi. 15, and the diaTeTayμévos of Acts xx. 13, Luke ix. 62, ev0erós, and Matt. xiii. 3—17. Verbally “disposition,” as ἡ φίλαρχος τῶν μοχθηρῶν ἀνθρώπων καὶ φιλαργύρος πρόθεσις κ. τ. λ. Hist. Εccl. lib. i. ch. 3, ad init. ; and again, οἶδάς, φησιν, ἀκριβῶς τίνος ἐπιθυμοῦσιν οἱ πένητες, καὶ ποίαν πρόθεσιν ἔχουσιν. On Ps. ix. 17. Again, εἰς γὰρ τὴν πρόθεσιν ἀφορᾷν ἐδιδάχθημεν, Epist. 97; and so again, αἰδέσθητι τὸν φιλολόγου εὐνοῦχον ἐκεῖνον, μὴ δ ̓ ἐν ὁδῷ καταλιμπάνοντα τὴν ἀνάγνωσιν, οὗ τὴν πρόθεσιν ἀποδεξάμενος ὁ Δέσποτης ἔπεμψεν εὐθὺς αὐτῷ τὸν διδάσκαλον προστίθεντα τῇ ἀναγνώσει τὴν γνῶσιν, ἀπὸ τῶν γραφῶν τε αὐτὸν προσάγοντα τῷ Σωτῆρι. Euther. Serm. ii. ; and as see the explanation below, and on ch. ix. ver. 11, and compare Acts xi. 23, tỷ #podéσei, τῆς καρδίας, and 2 Tim. iii. 10, τῇ ἀγωγῇ, τῇ προθέσει, τῇ πίστει.-Ε. Β.
† ̔Απλῶς, ἀλλὰ τοῦς πρόθεσιν ἔχοντας ; but to those predisposed towards it, ἀλλὰ προγνοὺς προώρισεν.-Ε. Β.
said to the apostle in Corinth, (Acts xviii. 9, 10,) "speak and hold not thy peace, for I have much people in this city;" and forbade him to preach the word in Mysia (ch. xvi. 6, 7); and as to Asia, at first restrained, and afterwards commanded him to do it; wherefore he also said to him in Jerusalem, (ch. xxii. 18,) "make haste and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem, for they will not receive thy testimony;" and wherefore he here also says, to those that are called in accordance with (their own) disposition, agreeably to what follows. 29. For whom He had foreknown. He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; for He did not irrespectively* predestine, but predestined in his foreknowledge of them. And speaking with the strictest accuracy of expression, he says not conformed to His Son, but to the image of His Son; and this he has even more plainly put in the Epistle to the Philippians (ch. iii. 20), where, having said that "our citizenship is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ," he adds, "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be conformed to His glorious body." For our body will not be made to resemble His divinity, but His glorified body, and so here also he calls those who now obtained the privileget of the call conformed to the image of His Son, that is, to the body of His Son; for the divine nature being invisible, and the body visible, by the body as an image (or shadow) is He adored; that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and this the truth of the doctrine testifies, for it is as man that He is called the first-born, as God being the Only-begotten, seeing that as God He has not brethren, but as man designates as brethren them which believe. Of these He is the firstborn, being yet no other than the Only-begotten; but He, the same, both Only-begotten and firstborn. 30. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified. Those whose (suitable) disposition he had foreknown, those in the beginning He predestinated; and predestinating, also called; and calling, justified by baptism; and justifying, glorified by designating them sons, and endowing them with the grace of the Holy Spirit. But let no one say that such foreknowledge is the cause of these things; for foreknowledge made them not
Ağwoévras. Having heretofore so translated this word, it has so been rendered here, however the more literal version of Luke xx. 35, received Engl. Transl. would have been in stricter accordance with the xarà poléσw and the oûs πрoéуvw above, and so at end of ch. "we may be found worthy of the mansions of the apostles ;" i. e. the same that themselves are, &c.-E.B.
All the verbs and participles being in the same tense, Aor. 1st, except the "had foreknown," Aor. 2d, both here and in the original text of the Romans, v. 29, 30, and therefore to be rendered rather synchronistically than successively,(and here by the way may be mentioned, once for all, a liberty throughout taken in this translation, for greater plainness of sense sake, at variance with the general attempt verbum reddere verbo, and that is the substitution of the present, where our author frequently speaks in the past tense, of what St. Paul is saying, e. g. as in next verse, literally, "has comprehended." 34. Literally, "having said".. "he has added," &c.; the advantage, and almost necessity, of which alteration, will be seen plainly in those passages, where, having already laid down such and such, the apostle is represented still in the past tense as proceeding to enforce it, and yet as meaning this or that in the present; while our author himself sanctions it by frequently so expressing it himself.)—E.B.