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stood the Hebrew tongue, takes the psalms to be of the Lyric kind, and therefore compares David, to Pindar, Horace, and others; and for the metre of them appeals to Philo, Josephus, Origen, Eusebius, and others. Gomarus" has given hundreds of verses out of the psalms, which agree with Pindar and Sophocles; and the word commonly used throughout that Book, in the judgment of learned men, signifies metre"; and since then the Psalms were originally written in metre, it is lawful to translate them into it, in order to be sung in the churches of Christ. It is doubted whether the Book of Psalms is suit
ed to the gospel-dispensation, and proper to be sung in gospel-churches. Nothing more suitable to it, nor more proper to be sung in it; since it abounds with prophecies concerning the person and offices of the messiah, his suffering and death, resurrection, ascension, and session at the right hand of God, now more clearly understood, and more capable of being sung in an evangelic manner; and also is full of precious promises; is a large fund of experience, a rich mine of gospel-grace and truth, and so is greatly suited to every case and condition the church of Christ, or a particular believer may be in and at any time; a little care and prudence in the choice of proper psalms on particular occasions, would fully discover the truth of this. 3. It is objected, that cases are often met with in this book we cannot make our own: and to sing them, it is suggested, would be lying to God; and that some are quite shocking, as curses and imprecations on wicked men; and scem to shew a want of that charity which is recommended in the gospel. To which it may be replied, that singing cases not our own, are no more lying to God than reading them is, singing being but a slower way of pronunciation, in a musical manner. Besides, when we sing the cases of others, we sing them as such, and not our own; which yet may be useful by way of example, advice, comfort, or instruction; and being sung in public, may be suitable to some in the community, though not to others; and so the end of singing be answered: and the same objection will lie equally against public prayer, and joining in that, since it cannot be thought that every petition is suitable to all: and as for curses, and imprecations on wicked men, these may be avoided; we are not obliged to sing all that are in the psalms; besides, these may be considered only as prophetic hints of what may be exepected will befal such persons, and may be sung to the glory of God, and with instruction to ourselves; since herein may be observed the justice and holiness of God, the vile nature of sin, the indignation of God againt it, and abhorrence of it, and in which it is to be had with all good men,
4. It is urged, that to sing David's Psalms, and others, is to sing by a form and then why not pray by one? I answer, the case is different; the one may be done without a form, the other not; the Spirit is promised as a Spirit of
metrum, vel numeros, five quam
Davidis Lyra inter opera ejus, t. 2. p. 317, &c.
supplication, but not as a Spirit of poetry; and if a man had an extraordinary gift of delivering out an extempore psalm or hymn, that would be a form to others who joined him; add to this, that we have a Book of Psalms, but not a bock of prayers. David's Psalms were composed to be sung by form, and in the express words of them, and were so sung; hence the people of God are bid, not to make a psalm, but to take a psalm, ready made to their hands, Psalm lxxxi. 1, 2.5. It is observed, that David's psalms were sung formerly with musical instruments, as the harp, timbrel, and cymbal, and organs; and why not with these now? if these are to be disused, why not singing itself? I answer, these are not essential to singing, and so may be laid aside, and that continue; it was usual to burn incense at the time of prayer, typical of Christ's mediation, and of the acceptance of prayer through it; that is now disused; but prayer being a moral duty, still remains: the above instruments were used only when the church was in its infant-state, and what is showy, gaudy, and pompous, are pleasing to children; and as an ancient writer observes, "these were fit for babes, but in the churches (under the gospel-dispensation, which is more manly) the use of these, fit for babes, is taken away, and bare or plain singing is left." As for organs, of which mention is ma le in Psalm clth, the word there used signifies another kind of instruments than those now in use, which are of a later date device and use; and were first introduced by a pope of Rome, Vitalianus, and that in the seventh century, and not before".
11. There are other objections, which lie against some persons singing; as,
1. Women, because they are ordered to keep silence in the churches; and are not permitted to speak, 1 Cor. xiv. 34, 35. but this is to be understood only of speaking and teaching in public, in an authoritative way, 1 Tim. ii. 11, 12. otherwise it would not be lawful for them to give an account of the work of grace upon their hearts; nor to give evidence in any case, and the like: as for singing the praises of God, it is a moral duty, and equally binding as prayer on both sexes; and the God of nature and grace has given women faculties capable of performing it; and having a voice suited for it, to join in harmonious concert, ought to be exhorted to it, and encouraged, and not discouraged and discountenanced. Miriam, and the women with her, sung at the Red sea; and Deborah sung with Barak; and it is a prophecy of gospel-times, that women should come and sing in the height of Zion, Jer. xxxi. 8—12. and, indeed, what else is the womans prophesying, but singing, allowed by the apostle, with her head covered; since prophesying is explained by singing, as well as by praying and preaching, 1 Cor. xi. 5. — 2. The singing of unbelievers, and singing with them, are objected to by some; but then this supposes that it is the duty of believers, and is allowed of; or otherwise the cbjection is impertinent. Now let it be observed, that singing the praises of God, as well as prayer, is a moral duty, and so binding on all men, believers and unbelievers; and though none
* Autor Qu. & Resp6. inter opera Justin. p. 462. 7 Platina de vitis Pontif. p. 86.
but the former can sing in a spiritual and evangelical manner; yet the latter are obliged to do it, in the best way they can; and it may be as well objected to their admision to public prayer, as to public singing; and it will be difficult, if not impossible, to know who are such in public assemblies; and supposing they ought not to sing, how can this affect believers it is not their sin; nor should they neglect their duty on this account; but rather blush to see such so forward to it, to whom it is thought it does not belong, and they so backward to it. Besides, it has been the practice of the saints in all ages, to sing in mixed assemblies; there was a mixed multitude that came out of Egypt with the Israelites, in whose presence they sung at the Red sea, and who very probably joined them in it, since they shared in the common deliverance. It was the resolution and practice of David, to sing the praises of God among the heathens, Psalm xviii. 49. and li. 9. and, indeed, some ends of this ordinance cannot be otherwise answered; which are to declare the Lord's doings, his wonders, and his glory among them, Psalm ix. 11. and xcvi. 3. and this has been an ordinance for conversion; it was of great use in forwarding the reformation from popery, as Burnet, in his history of it, relates; and it has been made very useful to souls under their first awakenings. Austin speaks of it from his own experience: "How much, says he, have I wept at thy hymns and songs, being exceedingly moved at the voices of thy church sweetly sounding. These voices pierced into my ears; thy truth melted into my heart, and from thence pious affections were raised, and the teats ran, and it was well with me."-3. It is urged, that singing is not proper for persons in any discress, only when in good and comfortable frames; and which is very much grounded on James v. 13. the sense of which is, not that such are the only persons that are to sing psalms, or this the only time of doing it; any more than that afflicted persons are the only ones to pray, and the time of affliction the only time of prayer; but as affliction more especi ally calls for prayer, so a good and joyful frame on account of good things, for singing of psalms. What more distressed condition could a man well be in, than that in which Heman the Ezrahite was when he penned and sung the lxxxviii. Psalm? as the church sung in the wilderness in the days of her youth, when she came out of Egypt; so it is prophesied that she should hereafter sing there as then; and as the church is now in the wilderness, where she is nourished with the word and ordinances, for a time, and times, and a half time, she has reason to sing on that account, Hos. ii. 14, 15. Rev. xii. 14.
2 Hist. of the Reformation, vol. 2. p. 94.
Confession. 1. 9. c. 6.
OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF PUBLIC WORSHIP,
THE circumstances of place and time of public worship deserve consideration; since for public worship there inust be some certain place to meet and worship in, and some stated time to worship at. As to the first of these, it may soon be dispatched; since there does not appear to be any place appointed for it until the tabernacle was erected in the wilderness. It is probable that there was some certain place where our first parents worshipped, after their expulsion from the garden of Eden; whither Cain and Abel brought their sacrifices, and offered them; but where it was is not easy to say; perhaps the cherubim and flaming swoid, at the east of the garden of Eden, were the symbols of the divine presence, since the Lord is frequently represented as dwelling between the cherubim; which may have respect, as to the cherubim in the tabernacle and temple, so to these; and there might be a stream of light, splendour, and glory, an emblem of the Shekinah, or divine Majesty, which had then appeared in the form of a flaming sword; and now near to this, or however in sight of it, might be the place of public worship; and hence wher. Cain was driven from these parts, he is said to be hid from the face of God, and to go out from the presence of the Lord. As for the patriarchs in succeeding times, before the flood, it does not appear that they had any other places to worship in but their own houses, where families might agree to meet, and worship in them in turn and course. And the patriarchs after the flood, as they were strangers, sojourners, and travellers in the earth; they built altars here and there for their convenience, and where they worshipped. Abraham in his travels came to a place near Bethel, as it was afterwards called, and built an altar, and worship. ped; and on his return from Egypt he came to the same place again, and there worshipped as before, Gen. xii. 8. and xiii. 3, 4. Jacob, in his travels, came to a place called Luz, and where he remarkably enjoyed the divine presence, and thought it no other than the house of God, and therefore set up a stone for a pillar, and said it should be the house of God; and called the name of the place Bethel; and which God so honcured as to call himself by the name of the God of Bethel; and hither, with his family, he came many years after, and crected an altar unto God. There does not seem to be any settled place of worship until the tabernacle was built in the wilderness; and then every man was to bring his offering to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and there offer it, before the tabernacle of the Lord, Lev. xvii. 4, 5. and this tabernacle was moveable from place to place; not only while in the wilderness, but when the Israelites where come into the land of Canaan: it was first at Gilgal, then at Shiloh, after that at Nob and Gibeon; hence the Lord says, he had not
dwelt in an house, in any fixed place, from the time the Israelites came out Egypt; as if he had before; but had walked in a tent, in a tabernacle, 2 Sam. vii. 6. It had been said by the Lord, that when the Israelites came into the land that was given them, there would be a place chosen of God to dwell in, and where all offerings were to be brought, and feasts kept, Deut. xii. 10, 11. the name of the place was not mentioned, but it eventually appeared, that the city of Jerusalem, and the temple there, were meant; and the place where the temple was to be built was first discovered by David, and shewn to Solomon; and which was confirmed to him by the Lord himself, to be the place he had chosen for an house of sacrifice, 1 Chron. xxii. 1. 2 Chron. vii. 12. and this continued a place of worship until destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar; and after the Jews return from the Babylonish captivity it was rebuilt, and remained to the times of Christ. Indeed, after the captivity, there were synagogues erected in various parts of the land of Judea, which were a sort of chapels of ease, where prayer was made, and Moses and the prophets read and expounded on Sabbath-days; but no sacrifices were offered in them, nor any of the yearly feasts kept there: and whereas there had been, before the times of Christ, there still was a controversy between the Jews and Samaritans, whether the temple at Jerusalem or mount Gerizzim, were the place of worship; this was decided by our Lord, who declared that the time was coming, that neither at the one place nor at the other, should God be worshipped; but every where, John iv. 20, 21. as the apostle also says, 1 Tim. ii. 8. and, indeed, since, under the gospel dispensation, as was foretold, the name of the Lord should be great among the Gentiles, from the rising of the sun to the going down of it; and offerings of prayer and praise should be offered to him in every place, Mal. i. 11. No one place could be fixed on for all the nations of the earth to meet and worship in; and saints are now there fore at liberty to build places of worship for their convenience wherever they please, as the first christians did, and continued to do.
But the circumstance of time, or a stated day of worship, requires more paricular consideration; it having been a matter of controversy which has éxercised the minds of good and learned men, for a century or two past, and not yet decided to the satisfaction of all parties; and in order to obtain what satisfaction we can, it will be proper to inquire,
I. What day has been, or is observed, as a stated time of public worship; with the reasons thereof.
First, It has been thought and asserted, that the seventh day from the creztion was enjoined Adam in a state of innocence, as a day of public and religi
us worship, and so to be observed by his posterity in after-times; but if it was njoined Adam in his state of innocence, it must be either by the law of nature written on his heart, or by a positive law given him.
1. It does not seem to be the law of nature written on his heart; for then, He must be bound to keep à Sabbath before the institution of it; he was ereated on the sixth day, after the image of God, one part of which was the