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most purity and least error, than with those that swerve more from regular exactness.
Quest, cxxiv. Is it lawfulto use David's psalms in our assemblies?
Answ. Yes: 1. Christ used them at his last supper, as is most probable; and he ordinarily joined with the Jews that used them; and so did the apostles.
2. It is confessed lawful to read or say them; therefore also to sing them. For saying and singing difference not the main end.
3. They are suitable to our use, and were the liturgy of the Jewish church, not on a ceremonial account, but for that fitness which is common to us with them.
4. We are commanded in the New Testament to sing psalms; and we are not commanded to compose new ones; nor can every one make psalms, who is commanded to sing psalms. And if it be lawful to sing psalms of our own or our neighbour's making, much more of God's making by his Spirit in his prophets h.
Object. 'They are not suitable to all our cases, nor to all in the assembly.'
Answ. 1. We may use them in that measure of suitableness to our cases which they have. You may join with a man in prayer who expresseth part of your wants, though he express not all. Else you must join with no man in the world.
2. If ungodly men are present when the faithful speak to God, must we not speak our proper case, because they are present? The minister in church-administrations speaketh principally in the name of the faithful, and not of hypocrites. Must he leave out of his prayers all that is proper to the godly, merely because some wicked men are there? No more must the church do in singing unto God.
3. They that cannot speak every word in a psalm just as their own case, may yet speak it as instructive; otherwise they might not read or say it.
h Matt. xxvi. 30. Mark xiv. 26. Luke iv. 16. vi. 6. John vt. 59. xiriii. 2O. Mark i. 21. 23. 29. iii. 1. vi.2. 1 Chron xvi. 7. Psal.cv. 2. xcv. *. James v. 13. 1 Chron. xvi. 9.
But the sectarian objections against singing David's psalms are so frivolous, that I will not tire the reader with any more'. Quest, cxxv. May psalms be used as prayers, and praises and thanksgivings, or only as instructive? Even the reading as well as the singing of them?Answ. The sober reader who knoweth not what errors others hold, will marvel that I trouble men with such questions. But I have oft been troubled with those that (having no other shift to deny the lawfulness of written and set forms of prayer) do affirm that psalms are neither to be read or sung at all as prayers, but only as doctrinal Scriptures for instructionk. But that this is false appeareth, 1. In that those that are real, material prayers, and praises and thanksgivings, and were penned to that very use, as the titles shew, and those that were so used by the Jewish synagogues where Christ was ordinarily present, may be so used by us: but such are the psalms both as said and sung. 2. And those that we are commanded to sing as psalms, and have Christ's example so to use (who sung a hymn or psalm of praise at his last supper), we also may so use. But, &c. 3. And those that are by God's Spirit fitted for our use in prayer, praise and thanksgiving, and never forbidden so to be used, may by us be so used: but such are the psalms, &c. I will weary you with no more.
Quest, cxxvi. Are our church-tunes lawful, being of man's invention?Answ. Yes: they are a lawful invention, allowed us by God, and fitted to the general rules of edification, Scripture is no particular rule for such modes and circumstances. Object 'They breed a carnal pleasure by the melody, which is not fit for spiritual devotion.' Answ. 1. It is a lawful, sensitive pleasure, sanctified to a 1 James v. 13. Eph. v. 19. Col.iii. 16. " Psal. Ixxii. 40. xc. Title. Ixxxvi. Title- xvii. Title, ice VOL. v. , K K
holy use, not hindering, but greatly helping the soul, in spiritual worship. Either you call it carnal, because it gratifieth the sinful, corrupt inclinations of man; or only because it is sensitive, or a pleasure in the imagination and lower faculties. If the former, 1. There is nothing in it which is a necessary cause of any sinful pleasure, nor any impediment to spiritual pleasure. 2. But a lustful person will turn all sensitive pleasure into sin , our meat, and drink, and clothes, and houses, and friends, and health: the bread and wine in the sacrament maybe thus abused1. 2. But you must know, that as our bodies are here united to our souls, so they act together, and while the sensitive part is subordinate to the rational, it is serviceable to it, and not a hindrance: when you come to have souls that are separated from the body, you shall use no bodily instruments; and yet even then it is uncertain to us, whether the sensitive powers of the soul do not accompany it, and be not used by it. But certainly in the meantime, he that will not use sense, shall not use reason. And he that acteth not sensibly, acteth not as a man; it is not a sin to be a man; and therefore not to see, to hear, to taste, to smell, &c. Nor is it a sin to taste sweetness in our meat or drink, nor is it a sinful pleasure for the eyes to behold the light, or the variety of the beauteous works of God, or to take pleasure in them. "His works are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein m."
You know not what it is to be a man, if you know not that God hath made all the senses, to be the inlets of objects, and so of holy pleasure into the soul. Would he have given us eyes, and ears, and appetites, and made his creatures sweet and beauteous, that all might either be sin or useless to us? No: all things are sanctified, and pure to the pure n. The sense is the natural way to the imagination, and that to the understanding; and he that will have no sensible and natural pleasure, shall have no spiritual pleasure: and he that will have none but sensitive pleasure, were better have none at all. It is therefore a foolish pretence of spirituality, to dream of acting without our senses, or avoiding those dei Lnkexii. 17—19. xvi. 20—22. ■ Psal. cxi. 2.
<> Hom. viii. 18.32. Titus i. 15. Rom. xiv.20. 1 Cor. Hi. 21. » Cor. W. 15.
iights, which may and must be sanctified to us. Harmony and melody are so high a pleasure of the sense, that they are nearest to rational delights, if not participating of them, and exceedingly fitted to elevate the mind and affections unto God. And as it is the very nature of true holiness, to be so suited to holy things, as that they may be our delight, and he is the genuine saint, and the best of Christians, who most delighteth in God and holiness: so that is the best means to make us the best Christians, which helpeth us best to these delights; and if any thing on earth be like to heaven, it is to have our delight in God. And therefore if any thing may make us heavenly, it is that which raiseth us to such delights. And therefore a choir of holy persons, melodiously singing the praises of Jehovah, are most like to the angelical society m.
Quest, cxxvn. Is church-music by organs or such instruments,
Answ. I know that in the persecuted and poorer times of the church, none such were used (when they had not temples, nor always a fixed meeting place). And that the author of the Quest, et Resp. in Justin Martyr speaketh against it: (which Perkins and others cite to that purpose.) And I grant, 1. That as it is in the power of weak, diseased Christians, to make many things unlawful to their brethren lest we be hurtful to them, and to deprive us of much, not only of our liberties but our helps; so in abundance of congregations, church-music is made unlawful by accident, through their mistake. For it is unlawful (' caeteris paribus') by an unnecessary thing to occasion divisions in the churches; but where one part judgeth church-music unlawful, for another part to use it, would occasion divisions in the churches, and drive away the other part. Therefore I would wish church-music to be nowhere set up, but where the con
■ Psal. cl.
» Rev. xiv. 2, 3. The voice of harpers harping with their harps, is ordinarily expounded of public worship. gregation can accord in the use of it; or at least where they will not divide thereupon. 2. And I think it unlawful to use such strains of music as are light, or as the congregation cannot easily be brought to understand; much more on purpose to commit the whole work of singing to the choristers, and exclude the congregation. I am not willing to join in such a church where I shall be shut out of this noble work of praise. 3. But plain, intelligible church-music, which occasioneth not divisions, but the church agreeth in, for my part I never doubted to be lawful. For, 1. God set it up long after Moses' ceremonial law, by David, Solomon, &c. 2. It is not an instituted ceremony merely, but a natural help to the mind's alacrity: and it is a duty and not a sin to use the helps of nature and lawful art, though not to institute sacraments, &c. of our own. As it is lawful to use the comfortable helps of spectacles in reading the Bible, so is it of music to exhilarate the soul towards God°. 3. Jesus Christ joined with the Jews that used it, and never spake a word against it. 4. No Scripture forbiddeth it, therefore it is not unlawful. 5. Nothing can be against it, that I know of, but what is said against tunes and melody of voice. For whereas they say that it is a human invention; so are our tunes (and metre, and versions). Yea, it is not a human invention; as the last psalm and many others shew, which call us to praise the Lord with instruments of music. And whereas it is said to be a carnal mind of pleasure, they may say as much of a melodious, harmonious concert of voices, which is more excellent music than any instruments. And whereas some say that they find it do them harm, so others say of melodious singing: but as wise men say they find it do them good. And why should the experience of some prejudiced self-conceited person, or of a half-man that knoweth not what melody is, be set against the experience of all others, and deprive them of all such helps and mercies, as these people say they find no benefit by.