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SERMON XVI.

CHURCH MUSIC.

[On placing a new organ in Blunham Church.]

EPHES. v. 18–19.

Be filled with the Spirit ; speaking to your

selves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.

THE contrast which is to be discerned between the children of God and the children of the wicked one, is in nothing moreconspicuously displayed than in their daily habits and pursuits. Christians are children of the light and of the day; they have renounced the hidden things of darkness, and their employments are such as they can review with comfort, and ask the blessing of God upon. On the other hand, it might be said of too many, judging by their ruling passions and propensities, as our Lord said to the Jews,

“ Ye are of your father, the devil; and the lusts of

your
father

ye

will do.”

Such has been the state of the church in all ages; and the wheat and the tares will be suffered to grow together till the harvest, and then the final separation will be made. Happy they, to whom the words shall be applied ; “Gather the wheat into my barn.”

In all his epistles, St. Paul affectionately warns his christian converts against certain vices which were more or less prevalent, and exhorts them to cultivate such employments as were not only profitable in themselves, but highly delightful to them as Christians. “ Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Very different indeed are these two states : the one a deadly sin, the other, a high christian privilege. The effect of the former would be discord and confusion; the offspring and fruit of the Spirit will be devotion ; for he adds, “ Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”

Such were the devotional employments of the church of Ephesus, and of all the primitive churches ; and such have been the means used to excite a religious spirit in all those places where Jehovah is pleased to record his name. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” “ I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also, that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”

Assembled as we are this day in the house of God (invited, as we are, for the first time,) to hear the sound of a new and noble instrument, which I humbly trust will be the means of assisting in the sacred services of this place for many years to come, it seems important that we should inquire

1st. Into the use and excellence of Church Music.

2ndly. Into the assistance which may be derived from the organ which has been this

day opened: at the same time exhorting you to make liberal contributions on this occasion, simply because when this instrument is, in the strictest sense of the word, your own, you will enjoy it yourselves, and have pleasure in the thought that generations yet unborn may enjoy it after you. The posterity also of thy servants shall inherit it, and they that love the name of that Lord whose praises we sing, shall dwell in this house of prayer and praise. The oldest anthem of which we have

any account, was at the laying of the corner stone of this fair world, when “ the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy."

In the very opening of the Bible, (Gen. iv. 21,) Jubal is mentioned, as the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.” There can be no question, then, but that, in the earliest ages of the world, musical instruments were known. But as we enter into the history of the Jewish church, we find music the companion of all their religious ceremonies, giving effect to the mode of worship ordained by God himself. On

Bishop Dehon's Sermons, vol. i. pp. 216. Job xxxviii. 7.

"*

one most solemu occasion, when the presence of Jehovah filled the temple, music appears to have formed a considerable part of the services of that memorable day. (2 Chron. v. 12.) It is said, before Solomon offers up his dedication prayer, (ch. vi.) “ The Levites which were singers, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals, and psalteries, and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets. It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound, to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord ; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals, and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever; that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.”

In those days, a variety of instruments were employed. Between the seventh and the eleventh century of the Christian

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