Imágenes de páginas

do so.

were taught to read and write, and also to mend was agreeable to his Maker's will; and every their shocs; and when they were ill, John always action of his life was an acceptable service. visited them, and did all he could for them.

He knew what was required of him, and how Many hundred persons, now living usefully and creditably in the world, owe, by the blessing of to perform it in a manner that would be apGod, the whole formation of their character to him.

proved. But how different is the case now! John Pounds died suddenly, on New Year's

Sin has entered into the world; and the divine day, 1839, at the age of seventy-two. The child anger has been provoked; and, the underdren wept sadly on hearing of their loss, and for standing being darkened, we cannot discover a long time were overwhelmed with sorrow and of ourselves how to draw near to an offended dismay. They, indeed, had lost a friend and bene- God with acceptance, or what services will factor, whose place could not easily be supplied. Who can calculate the good which has been ac.

find favour in his sight. Convinced of our complished by the means of ragged schools ?

guilt, and feeling the rebukes of our own conNumbers of poor children, whose outward wretch-sciences, we may trembling ask: “Whereedness was but a true type of the misery within, with shall I come before the Lord, and bow have by them been reclaimed from the paths of myself before the Most High God?" what sin and temptation, and rendered a blessing instead services shall I offer to him? what honour of a curse to society. Those forsaken and de- shall I pay him? But it is all in vain : we graded little ones have been taught to remember shall be in darkness still. their Creator in the days of their youth,” and to

No light can love that Saviour who died for them, and who burst through the thick cloud of ignorance invites the most sinful to come to him.

that sin has spread over the human mind : And who that reads the history of John Pounds we cannot by “searching find out the Alwill say that any are too poor or too insignificant mighty,” his character, his ways, or his manto be useful? Think of the great good which the ner of dealing with his fallen creatures. He poor lame cobbler effected! The mender of shoes himself must tell us how we are to draw near was the instructor of the ignorant, the guide of the wayward and neglected, and the friend of the to him, and how we must serve him. And distressed. Look at his daily toils and bis self- this he has done. In his holy word we are denying labours, and learn a lesson of industry informed that “through Christ we have and usefulness. The humblest individual may access by one Spirit unto the Father ;" that benefit others, if he is only willing and anxious to he is the true and living way, by which sin

Do not forget this, my dear children. ners can approach an offended God; that in Many kind actions can be performed without him God is" reconciling the world unto himmoney ; many noble deeds have been done by very poor people.

self, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” How much better it is to be useful than rich ! But are we reconciled? Are the blessings John Pounds was more highly honoured in being of the new covenant ours ? sins forgiven, the founder of ragged schools than if he had accu- peace established, the soul renewed unto holimulated a large fortune. The great object of life ness, and a title to heaven secured ? is to glorify God, and to do good to our fellow

there must surely be required some exprescreatures. Let us strive to keep that object constantly in view. “The night cometh, when no

sions of our gratitude, some services denoting man can work.” Happy will it be for each of

an obedient spirit. It cannot be doubted

us, if our lives will bear the simple but important that, if through the abundant grace ard mercy testimony, “She hath done what she could.” of God we have been made

ration, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a

peculiar people,” it is that we may show forth THE PROPRIETY OF MUSIC AND SINGING the praises of him who hath called us


darkness into his marvellous light." Sermon

To show forth, then, the praises of God is

our duty; and the various ways of doing it (Preached on the erection of an organ),

we may collect from the holy scriptures. God BY THE Rev. ROBERT B. Fisher, M.A., has not left us in ignorance, ignorant as we

are in ourselves, how we may render to him Vicar of Basildon, Berks; and Rural Dean.

acceptable praise and honour. PSALM lvii. 8-10.

There are services appointed and religious “ Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp : ordinances ordained by him which directly I myself will awake early. I will praise thee, o set forth his perfections, and show the honour Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee due unto his name. To advance his kingamong the nations. For thy mercy is great unto dom and promote the salvation of immortal the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.”

souls, he has been pleased to appoint certain THERE was a time when God and man were times and certain places for the worship of himfriends ; when they could hold sweet com self and the preaching of his word. The sabmunion together, and delight in each other's bath was consecrated immediately after the company. Every thought of man's heart creation, even before man had sinned, and di

If so,

a chosen gene

vine honours rendered to the great Jehovah. thoughts and cares, as Moses put his shoes The patriarchs by his command set up their from off his feet because the place where he altars wherever they came, and offered the met God was holy ground, we must worship appointed sacrifices. In due time the taber- the Lord, and make known our requests for nacle was frared by Moses according to his spiritual blessings. “My house," says God, direction; and afterwards the temple was "shall be called the house of prayer for all built on Mount Zion. To these sacred places, nations.” And it ever will be the house of where he condescended to record his name, prayer. It ever will be the place where sinners, the solemn assemblies of devout worshippers burdened with their various cares and sorrows, were called. Here he was made known, will offer up their supplications to a throne of bere he was honoured, and from hence divine grace, and where a merciful and reconciled truth and saving knowledge shone forth, by God will, as it were, hold his court, to meet which the expectation of a coming Saviour and bless his waiting people. And greatly was kept alive. And when that Saviour, in do ihey mistake the business which they have whom dwelt all the fulness of the godhead here to transact, who, coming with a hardened bodily, actually did come, and established and unhumbled heart, or with a vain and the gospel church, the observance of the sab- frivolous mind, restrain prayer and utter no bath was enjoined with firmer sanctions, and penitential confessions of sin or supplications places of public worship were every where for pardoning mercy. set apart. And can we, who call ourselves But, though prayer is the appointed means Christians, who profess to be the disciples of of procuring the divine blessing, and the the Son of God come down from heaven, and house of prayer has been opened for sinners to be looking to his atonement for the for- solemnly and acceptably to draw near unto giveness of sins and the salvation of our souls, God, something more is necessary, or the neglect his worship and despise his ordi- blessing will not be obtained. The darkened

If so, how can we be honouring understanding of man must be enlightened, him, forwarding his cause, and showing forth or he will not know what to pray for as bis praise? If you would glorify him who he ought: his heart must be affected, or he died for you, and secure the salvation of your will have no disposition to prayer. The only souls, “O forsake not the assembling of kind of prayer, too, that will prevail and bring yourselves together as the manner of some down a blessing, is the prayer of faith, the is.” Let not those sacred ordinances which prayer that is offered up in the name of were appointed for your everlasting benefit Christ, and rendered acceptable through the be the occasion of increased guilt and severer incense of his merits. To dispel the ignocondemnation. Shall the assembled congre- rance of the mind, to produce a suitable frame gation hear the glorious gospel proclaiming for prayer, or to confirm those devout feelings

peace on earth, good will towards men;" which prayer has excited, the word of God shall they from time to time “show forth the is necessary. It is the word that alarms the Lord's death till he come," and gather slumbering conscience, and quickens the soul strength and refreshment to their souls, and dead in trespasses and sins. It is through you be absent? While they are honouring the word that sinners believe; for "faith him by their meek and solemn attendance, cometh by hearing.” It is by the word that will you be dishonouring him by your negli- they are made holy; according to the prayer gence, carelessness, sin, and vanity? You of our blessed Lord—“Sanctify them through cannot fulfil the duty which God requires, thy truth : thy word is truth.” The public you cannot rightly praise him, unless you worship of God, however conducted, would keep his sabbaths and reverence his sanc- not therefore be complete, would not do good tuary

to the souls of men, if it were not accomThe way in which public worship is to be panied by the reading and preaching of the performed may well engage our anxious word. It was the custom of the Jews to have attention; for, when we enter the courts of the law of Moses read in the synagogue every the Lord, we come into the presence of One sabbath-day; and our Saviour sanctioned it. who is high and exalted, whose power is infi. He also commanded his disciples : “As ye nite, and whose holiness is incomprehensible; go, preach;” “preach the gospel to every of One who will not be mocked by insincere creature.” and formal solemnities, nor accept of those In both these particulars our church folwho honour him with their lips while their lows the practice of Christ and his apostles: heart is far from him. In the presence of the scriptures are read, and the word is such a Being let all things be “done decently preached. Nay, it is one of the excellencies and in order,” “ with reverence and godly of the church-service that so much of the fear." Having cast aside our worldly holy scriptures is appointed to be publicly read every sabbath-day. In these God him- from other nations, and formed them into a self speaks unto the people; and there can be church for his own glory, he positively enno error or delusion in what is said by him. joined the use of music in their religious fes

But, while we duly prize the reading of the tivals. “In the day of your gladness, and sacred scriptures in our solemn assemblies, in your solemn days, and in the beginnings we need not undervalue the preaching of the of your months, ye shall blow with the gospel ; for, though in the former God him- trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over self speaks, in the latter men set apart for the sacrifices of your peace-offerings, that they the sacred ministry according to his appoint- may be to you for a memorial before your ment warn and exhort, instruct and comfort God. I am the Lord your God.” That the their fellow-sinners with tenderness and af- service of the tabernacle might never want fection. But persuasive as are the tones of the melody of holy song, David appointed the human voice, and heart-stirring the warn- different classes of singers, “who should proings and exhortations of one of the same phesy,” as it is said, “ with harps, with nature and in the same fallen condition, yet psalteries, and with cymbals, and give thanks the gospel preached has effect only through and praise the Lord.” On that solemn octhe power of God. But that power will not casion when the whole nation of Israel was be withheld: “Lo, I am with you alway,” assembled to consecrate the temple which is the promise ever at hand to support the Solomon had built, the Lord took possession faltering steps and stir up the flagging spirits of it in a cloud, and filled it with his glory, of his faithful ministers. Applied by him, when the people were praising him, and liftthe word from their mouths becomes sharper ing up “their voice with trumpets and cymthan any two-edged sword : it is mighty to bals and instruments of music.” And why the pulling down of the strong-holds of sin may not praise and thanksgiving be offered and Satan in the human heart : it is the in- to God in the same manner now, as it was in strument of sanctification and the worker of the Jewish church by his own appointment? faith; in short, it is “the power of God unto If,” said a learned bishop of a former age, salvation to every one that believeth.” Take “if music in the Jewish church served to heed that you do not put from you the word enliven devotion and elevate the affections, spoken. What would this be, but to “judge why should it not be used to produce the yourselves unworthy of everlasting life”, and like effect among Christians ? Human nature seal your own doom?

is the same; and the power of music is the But, while we are seeking fresh blessings same: why should there not be the same apfrom God, a feeling of gratitude should be plication of one to the other, for the same cherished in our hearts at the recollection of beneficial end, under both dispensations? those which we have already received. The Vocal music ceased not with the law: why service of the church would, therefore, be should we suppose that instrumental music incomplete if direct praise did not form a part was abrogated by it? Surely, the trumpet of it. But it has done so in every age. And may still be blown upon our feast-day; the to attune the heart, and produce that com- singers and players on instruments may posure and cheerfulness of spirit which the make their voices to be heard as one, in proper offering up of praise requires, singing blessing and thanking the Lord God of and music have always been used. Ånd Israel, the Redeemer of his people.” Christ

, surely this is the natural mode of expressing “who was not only a sacrifice for sin, but religions joy, as prayer is the natural mode also an ensample of godly life,” has by his of pouring out the sorrows of the heart. “Is own conduct encouraged singing, any afflicted ? let him pray. Is any merry ? solemn occasions. In that dread hour when let him sing psalms”. As soon as men began he was preparing for those tremendous sufto multiply, and to cultivate the arts of civi- ferings which were to be the price of our relized life, music was attended to ; and instru- demption, he sung a hymn with his disciples. ments were invented to add melody to the Was this a service suitable for gaining human voice. In the fourth chapter of spiritual strength at a season so cheerless and Genesis it is recorded that Jubal was “the alarming, by one who was altogether free father of all such as handle the harp and from sin? And can it ever be unsuitable to organ;" and, in all probability, those musical us for the purpose of increasing instruments, whatever might be their peculiar keeping up our spirits amidst the conflicts construction, were used for religious pur- and trials of life? poses, since the name of the inventor of them Severe were the persecutions and great seems to be recorded with honour by the the difficulties which the early Christians inspired anthor of this book. In after-times, were called upon to go through; and what when God had separated the people of Israel does the apostle exhort them to do in those


on the most

our faith and

[ocr errors]

evil days of perplexity and distress ? Not to rished? But congregational singing is more be "drunk with wine, wherein is excess,” scriptural and devotional; and I trust it will and so to drown care, as men of the world are be increasingly profitable to conform our too apt to do, but to be filled with the mode of praise to the practice of the apostles Spirit," and to show forth the rich consola- and early Christians. In their days the tions which he bestows, by “speaking to whole congregation joined in praising the themselves,” or cheering and animating each Lord; and the whole congregation ought alother “in psalms and hymns and spiritual ways to join in so interesting and edifying a songs, singing and making melody in their service. May this be our practice hereafier. heart to the Lord.” Nor were those, who Let every one sing, to the best of his ability, lived in the age immediately succeeding that the praises of his God and Saviour. of the apostle, forgetful of his command; for To assist you in so doing on every occasion it is a charge brought against them by a of your assembling here, and to preserve orheathen Roman governor, that “they were der and solemnity, an appropriate musical wont to meet together before it was light on a instrument has been provided, which we hope, stated day, and sung among then selves, alter- through the divine blessing, will awaken the nately, a hymu to Christ as a God.” They did best feelings of the heart, and so promote the it in times of persecution, at the peril of their glory of God. My brethren, let us not forlives : we can do it at our ease, and in safety get ihat we are by nature fallen and guilty; and comfort. Nay, we are invited, exhorted, that we have erred and strayed from God's and encouraged to come to this sacred place ways “ like lost sheep.” The time when we on every returning sabbath, among other must give an account of ourselves is near at things to sing hymns to Christ as God. hand. The Judge standeth at the door. There

The form of our songs may, indeed, be is a hell prepared for the punishment of a proper subject of inquiry. The psalms of God's enemies; and there is a heaven of David animated and Edified the saints in the everlasting bliss and glory, where his people Jewish church, who looked forward by faith, will dwell for ever. And to one or other of through a dark dispensation, to brighter and these states we must at death all go. Death! better days, when life and immortality would 0, it is an awful word! Death is an enemy; be brought to light, and the Spirit poured (and its terrors who can tell? It will burst forth in all its fulness

. We have been per- asunder those endearing ties which bind us mitted to see those brighter and better days, to our earthly friends. It will strip us of all which prophets and kings in vain desired our worldly possessions, and put an end to our days enlivened by the radiant beams of the worldly enjoyments. It will, amidst pains, Sun of Righteousness. And surely, though and anxieties, and wearisomeness, dismiss thé we will not discard or undervalue (God forbid soul, and bring the body down to the silent that we should !) the inspired and edifying grave to see corruption. And the soul—that songs of the sweet psalmist of Israel, we can- must be uttering curses for ever in the agony not do wrong in following the example of of despair with ruined angels, or be singing the early Christians, sanctioned as it is by the the praises of Jehovah in the realms of everauthority of an apostle, and expressing our lasting bliss and glory. And, if we hope to thankfulness and praise for the blessings of a join the heavenly choir, shall we not willingly clearer dispensation, in hymns framed from learn the song 'now in these earthly courts? the equally inspired writings of the New Tes- shall we not attune the voice, and the heart tament, and addressed personally to Christ, too, to those strains which, heightened and as possessing all the divine perfections. And improved, will resound through the spacious shall we be wanting in this duty ? shall we universe for eternal ages? Awake

up, fail to sing the praises of him who for a time then, my glory: awake, psaltery and harp: laid aside the glories of the Godhead, that he I myself will awake early.” Let the tongue, might take our nature upon him, and die upon with its boasted powers of speech, by which the cross to redeem our souls ? This indeed man is distinguished from the brute creation, we have done for many years, to the edifica- break the unseemly silence, and praise the tion and comfort, we hope, of our beloved Lord. Bring the powers of music to the friends and neighbours, who have fought and solemn concert, and awaken the dull instruconquered under the banner of our divine ment to swell the chorus of triumph and the Redeemer, and whose perishable remains are song of thanksgiving. “Praise him with the now mouldering around us. And cannot we sound of the trumpet: praise him with the also trace in ourselves some benefit derived psaltery and harp.” Let this be the resolution from singing the praises of God? some lust of every one of us, with reference at least to checked ? some grace strengthened ? the feel the sabbath morning: “I myself will awake ing of sadness relieved, the joy of hope che- early.” Get yourselves ready to come to


God's house; and get your hearts ready to

Duvenile Reading. sing and make melody. Be not ashamed of

DUTY TO PARENTS*. the duty: shrink not from it through shyness and reserve; but“ among the people”, yea, if

" Children, with awe and filial fear, it were possible, among the nations, praise the Your aged parents still revere, Lurd. We have abundant reason to express

And to their mandates lend a dutious ear. the grateful feelings of the heart; for his

May their love to latest age mercy

is great unto the heavens," and his Cheer my earthly pilgrimage. "truth' unto the clouds." It was mercy that

May their love o'er death victorious

Rise beyond the grave more glorious : formed the plan of salvation. It is mercy

Souls united here would be that has made it known to us, and that in

One to all eternity."

MONTGOMERY. vites us to come in humble repentance and lively faith to Christ. It is mercy that has Let me now direct your attention to the second called us out of darkness, and delivered us table of the law, the duties we owe to our neighfrom the power of Satan—if happily we have bours. The first and highest class of these is been called and delivered. It is mercy that duty to parents : this is styled “the first comgives us the great and precious promises of mandment with promise." By those who are nathe gospel, and sets before us victory and tri- turally possessed of an affectionate disposition, a

strong desire will be felt to be the means, by their umph, and the glorious and eternal crown.

kind and dutiful conduct, of gilding the evening And the truth of God will make good of their parents' life, and discovering the dawn of what his mercy has promised. No hopes their own opening virtues, in active exertions for founded on scripture will be disappointed. their comfortt, and in tender sympathy in their Soon will the believer's warfare be accom- afflictions. “O ye that are just rising into life, plished. Soon will one of those blessed spirits, cast your eyes backward to the first moment of which surround the throne above, receive his your existence, and realize the innumerable exsoul, and introduce it, amidst shouts of joy, have been followed to the present time.

pressions of parental affection with which you

What to the glorious choir who will chant the

pangs did not your tender mother endure when praises of redeeming love for evermore. In she brought you into life! With how fond a the hope and prospect of such high felicity, heart did she clasp you in her arms, lay you to let us frame our voices to the seraphic strains her breast, and pour her very soul upon you ! which burst from the heavenly host, now, in With what painful anxiety did she anticipate your the house of our pilgrimage. Ours shall be wants! With what unwearied attention did she no service of cold formality, nor simply a she hourly protect you, gathering you as a hen

provide for them! And from how many evils did performance to gratify the natural taste of the gathereth her chickens! Of what a variety of unrenewed mind. The feelings of heart comforts have your parents, each of them, denied kindled into warmth by the recollection of themselves! and what a variety of labours have the blessings of redemption, shall animate our they incessantly undergone, in order to procure songs; and the expectation of future bliss, for you a thousand enjoyments! Your happiat least in some happy moments, when we

ness, your usefulness, your honour, your final can rejoice with “joy unspeakable and full of salvation, were their grand objects through the glory”, shall give to them a heavenly ardour, term, the long and tedious term, as it seemed to

you, of nonage. How often, shaken with alterand unite us in harmony with the church tri- nate hopes and fears, have they stood trembling umphant. At all events, we will catch some by your cradle and your bed, watching the event thing of their spirit, and imitate, in the best of threatening disorders! With what solicitude manner we can, their loud hosannas, till, have they led you on every step, through the being delivered from the burden of the flesh, devious paths of childhood and youth, holding we shall join their blessed company in those you back from this and that insidious snare, and glorious mansions, where

shielding you against this and that violent assault of temptation! What various reasonings, appre

hensions, and cares, have agitated their minds * Ten thousand harps attune the mystic song ; respecting your education, the manner in which

Ten thousand thousand saints the strain prolong : they should conduct themselves toward you, and Worthy the Lamb, omnipotent to save,

the hands to whose guidance they should entrust Who died, who lives triumphant o'er the grave.”

you! How often have their hearts bled within

* From “ Advices to the Young.”

† The Chinese are said to be a people remarkable for filial piety. A mandarin having been condemned to death for some crime committed by him in his office, his son, a child of only fifteen years, besought the emperor that he might suffer in his stead. The emperor, moved with this uncommon instance of filial affection, gave the father his life; and he would have conferred some tokens of honour on the son ; but the son declined them, saying, he would not accept any distinction which should recall to him the idea of a guilty


« AnteriorContinuar »