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Thomas Dickson Baird.

An inquiry into the privilege and duty of the Christian church, in the exercise of sacred praise: a chronology and history of Scripture songs .. online

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again until further notice; but it may. be proper to inquire,
Avhat light the scriptures throw upon the assertion of our
author.

1. The Bible contains the most ample evidence, that the
Jev/s were accustomed, from their existence as a people,
that is, at least, from their going out of Egypt; to make
new songs on new occasions, and yet we never hear of any
convulsions among them.

2. The prophets, as we have noticed, and particularly
Isaiah, promised a new song to the gospel church, and cal-
led upon all the earth to unite in it. From their former
practices, therefore, these promises and the church's ex-
pectations, we have no reason to allege or apprehend, that
any convulsion or excitement would at all have taken
place.

3. When the morning of the gospel day dawned, Mary
commenced the song, which was followed by that of Zech-
ariah, the angels, and Simeon and Anna: but no convul-
sion of any kind took place. But it may here be objected,
that these were inspired songs. This makes nothing to
the point, unless they were received from the first as such;
and if they were, the necessary inference would be, that God
was not confining them to the songs of the former dispen-
sation, when he gave them the aid of his Spirit, in preparing
new ones.

4. Besides those already noticed, we find the multitudes
on different occasions, as well as individuals, ottering up
iheir aspirations of praise, for the miracles Christ, or his
apostles, performed in their behalf: as, in Luke vii. 16,
*' And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God,
saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and,
that God hath visited his people." In Luke xvii, ISr-



APOSTOLIC AGE. 51

18, ''And one of them, when he saw that he was healed,
turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell
down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks; and he
was a Samaritan. And Jesus answerino; said, Were ttiere
not ten clensed.^ but where are the nine? There are not
found that returned to give glory to God, save this stran-
ger." In chap, xviii. 43, "And immediately he received
sight, and followed him, glorifying God : and all the people,
when they saw it, gave praise nnto God." These, with the
hosannas^of the multitude, when Christ entered Jerusalem
in triumph, as the Son of David, plainly declare that there
was no danger of a convulsion, from the presentation of a
new song^of praise. On all these occasions, we do not
hear of the least displeasure manifested, except, by the
Pharisees, at the application of the ancient prophecy to
Jesus as the Messiah. On a number of other occasions,
praises were oflfered by the multitude, and no disapproba-
tion expressed, by him or others: and the same observation
may be made, respecting Acts iii. 8, 9, and iv. 21 et alibi.

This convulsion, therefore, which our author has so finely
imagined, and described with such masterly and powerful
effect, has no support whatever from scripture; but is
merely the child .of our author's own inventive imagination.

The next statement of Mr. M'M. which we shall exam-
ine, is, that Christ, and his apostles, sung the Hillel, at the
celebration of the last passover before his death. Our
author's words are, **In his own practice, our Redeemer
himself gave his sanction to the social singing of praise, as
an ordinance divinely appointed. After the institution of
the eiidiaristlc feast, he and his disciples sung an hymn :
.one of those comprised in the HilleU that is, those psalms
from the 113th to the 118th inclusive"— Apol. p. 15. A-
gain, '*0f the practice of the apostolic age, there can be
little doubt. The Saviour, while yet with his disciples,
set them an example, from which they were not likely to
depart — the Hillel was sung by him and them," p. 40. And
finally, "That the hymn sung by our Lord and his disci-
ples, after the institution of the eucharistic supper, was a
portion of that part of the book of Psalms, called the Hillel
by the Jews, and which they usually sung at the paschal
solemnity, is admitted as more than probable, by all except
those individuals who may have some private purpose to



5;^ 0>i PSALMODY.

iipliold bj its denial.-' Our author, thcR, in a note, gives^'
some important information, respecting the Hillel, in his
usual manner of ''we know;" and concludes with a ques-
tion from Lightfoot, saving, that ''He who could have
inspired every disciple to liave been a David — sings the
Psalms of David." Apol. p. 79.

I have now laid liefore the reader, all the strength our
author has brought forward on this subject: and I would
ask, are these the arguments, of a man who demands evi-
dence, that would be satisfactory if all books but the Bible
were banished from the church.'^ The reader will see, that
the two first quotations, from pp. 15 and 40, are sheer as-
sertions^ without either proof or qualification. On the
r9th page, he states it as more than probable, and to put
down opposition, sajs, this is admitted by all except those
individuals who have some private jnirpose to uphold by
its denial. We are not informed what that private pur-
pose may be, but doubtless will stand convicted of it, if
\\Q.deny our author's gratuitous statements.

It is true, that several respectable commentators are of
the opinion, that the cHillel was sung on the occasion i»
(juestion. Gill and Whitby think, that if it had been a
new song ^ the disciples could not have joined; but they
never supposed that it interferes with the propriety of
using a Gospel Psalmody. W^e will, however, examine
this subject a little, and rather appeal to evidence than ta
iiames, although we might obtain a very respectable list of
names, in support of our side of the question.

1, I I'.iink it particularly strange in a writer, who makes
so much a


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Online LibraryThomas Dickson BairdAn inquiry into the privilege and duty of the Christian church, in the exercise of sacred praise: a chronology and history of Scripture songs .. → online text (page 5 of 16)