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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V. 19. This author observes, that it consists of three me-
trical lines:

Egeirai O kaflieudon,

Kai anasta ek ton riekron,

Kai epiphausei soi O Christos." Jen. Ant. 37G.

"Awake thou that sleepcst,

And arise from the. dead,

And Christ shaU ^ve thee light."

From these facts, I think it abundantly plain, that the
object of the apostle was, to contrast the indecencies of
the gentiles, and particularly, the idolatrous and obscene
rites and. revels of the Ephesians and the Colossians, with
that spiritual joy and gladness they ought to cultivate; and
instead of practising in songs and mirth, of the above char-
acter, they ought to expatiate in Jiymns of grateful praise
to God. With respect to the opinion of Heumannus, I
would make two remarks. First, that such hymns or spir-
itual songs were in common use in the christian church, in
those turns, is his testimony. Secondly, that the above
lines were taken from one of them, is his conjecture. The
supposition, to say the least, is not improbable, as I appre-
hend diat prose writers seldom happen to write poetry
without design; and as they are really a quotation, and
there is not such a verse in the Bible, it is by no means un-
likely, that Heumannus is correct. But not wishing to
rest on conjectures, I refer chiefly to the fact he states,
of such hymns being in common use. All these things go
to refute the opinion, that there was any design by the
apostle, or by the spirit which inspired his language, that
the church should be then, or at any time confined to the
Psalms of David; or to any particular catalogue of songs,
in his worship.

With these views, the most approved commentators
accord, as we have shown in several instances, and, al-
though it may not appear necessary, we will present our
readers with one more to the same effect, from the evan*
gelical' Scott, on Col. iii. 16. 17 — '*• Their idolatrous
neighbours had laid up in their memories songs in praise
of their base deities and corrupt practices, which they
used, on every festive occasion, and when they met to-
gether for social intercourse, nay, for amusement and
recreation when alone. This, in fact, has always been


*the case in every country; and the popular songs have
an immense, but, generally, a most pernicious eftect on
the people. They are learned in early life, and not soon
forgotten, and often are considered proverbial or oracular.
Let then christians, excluding those polluting vanities,
labour to get their memories and minds richly replenished
with hymns and songs of praise to God, and of every kind
which are suited to prepare them for the worship of heaven^
€tnd to anticipate its joys; and kt them use these hymns
and songs constantly, not on public occasions alone, but
in social meetings also: and even when alone, in their
houses, or journeying, and indeed in any other situation."
Let the reader now, carefully and candidly, examine
the evidence offered — compare it with what has been pro-
posed, from the opposite side — then determine on which
side lies the weight of proof, and which relies most on
confident assertions, and gratuitous assumptions. It may
not, however, be too much for me to sa}^, that my own im-
pression is, that the evidence is not only thus far sufficient.;
but conclusive and indeed unanswerable. This evidence,
owes nothing to the writer, it stands conspicuous on the
pages of inspiration; and, in the examples of th(^ Re-
deemer himself, of his followers, and of the churches which
he purchased with his blood. While tliese lead the way,
we need not fear to follow, in our ''psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs, singing in our hearts to the Lord." We
come now to that part of the question, where I consider
its strength to lie. Although 1 consider the evidence,
already adduced, as abundantly sufficient, to establish tlie

frivilege, or right of the church, as to her songs of praise;
believe that the evidence afforded, on this part of our
subject, not only defends the right, but, prescribes the
duty of the church, and of worshippers, to present their
praises explicitly, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ :
in such terms, or language, as is not t^ be found in the
Old Testament. This opinion I found principally on the
three following texts of scripture. Namely : " giving
thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in
the name of our Lord Jesus Christ," Eph. v. 20. *' And
whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of
the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by
him," Col. iii. 17. **Bv him therefore let us offer the


•ssatrince of praise to God continually, that Is, the fruit
©four lips, giving thanks to his name." Heb. xiii. 15.

Here are three texts, from three of Paul's epistles, which
not only allow the jjrivilege, but enjoin the chity^ ef oftev-
img our praises, and performing every other exercise, in
the name of the Lord Jesus. To ascertain, therefore, how-
other exercises are performed in his name, will aid us
much in settling this question^ and to eflfect this is our
present object.

Mr. M'M. says: '-Are you prepared to admit, that, if
Ive adhere to the book of Psalms, we cannot be said to
do any thing in the name of the Redeemer. Did, then,
a strict adherence to the doctrines of this book, which so
abundantly testifies of Christ, lead the worshipper to an
absolute God— a consuming fire.^ Was not Messiah, since
the fall of man, t^ie only way to the Father? Call now, if
there be ^ny that will answer thee; and to which of the
saints wilt thou turn.^ Who of them was ever, in person
or in worship, accepted through any name but that of
Christ.^ Did they not, under every economy, contemplate
him as wounded for their transgressions? In their sacri-
ficed victims, devout worshippers, by faith, beheld Messiah^
the Christ, cut off, but not for himself.

It is remiarkable with w^hat frontthese writers could, ia
various forms, repeat, that ''there is no distinct mention
of the Father, in the book of PsaimB, as a distinct or spe-
cial object of devotion." Had an aversion to this book
prevented them from reading the second Psalm? Who is
it that says, Thou art mij son? And to whom is the ad-
dress made? Yes, yes-; the doctrine of the trinity was well
known to the approved worshippers of God, from the first,
and is very distinctly exhibited in many a Psalm. " Apol.
p. ia£.

Before entering, fairly, into the consideration of this
text, above cfuoted, I will make two remarks, on the quo-
tation from the Apology. First, then, does our author
really believe, that,

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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 7 of 16)