Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hymns of Their Own Making

Will-worship in song was one of the errors highlighted by Thomas Edwards in his Gangraena (1646). In Part I, he lists 176 errors of the Sectaries, including (p. 27):

138. That all singing of Psalmes, as Davids, or any other holy songs of Scripture, is unlawfull, and not to be joyned with.

139. That the singing which Christians should use, is that of Hymns and spirituall songs, framed by themselves, composed by their own gifts, and that upon speciall occasions, as deliverances, &c., sung in the Congregation by one of the Assembly, all the rest being silent.

In Part I, pp. 44-45, he speaks of the "Prelaticall faction and Court-partie [who] were great Innovatours, given to change, running from one opinion to another, being Arminians as well as down singing of Psalmes in some Churches, and having Hymnes." Likewise, "so our Sectaries are great Innovatours as changeable as the Moon," and have brought in "new practices," among which were "taking away of singing of Psalms, and pleading for hymnes of their own making". (See some discussion of this in Matthew Winzer, "Singing the Lord's Song in a Strange Land.") Edwards identifies a related error in Part III, p. 13:

36. That Organs are a sanctified adjunct in the service of God now under the Gospel, and that if any man in the Church had a gift of making Hymnes, he might bring them in to be sung with Organs or other Instruments of musick.

In Part II, pp. 11-12, Edwards gives an example of one such "hymn of their own making" (HT: Daniel Ritchie):

A HYMNE which some of the Antinomians do sing at their meetings instead of DAVID'S Psalms.

THe newes is good, Christ shed, his bloud,
our peace is made in Heaven;
And now he is gone up to his Throne,
all power to him is given.

Our glory is great, we are compleat
in Gods great love we stand,
We are on high exalted by
Christs victorious hand.

We once neer lost, to hell did post,
but God in mercy found us,
And now he hath taught us his path,
and with his mercy crown'd us.

Shall sin or hell Gods people quell,
or ever keep them under?
No, Christ hath died, sin purifide
and hell bands rent in sunder.

The bloud of Christ our great High Priest,
which once for us was shed,
Hath purg'd the blot, and cleans'd the spot
wherewith we were besmear'd.

A glorious thing, a wonder strong
that sin should not defile,
And those are all to Christ more dear
that once did seem so vile.

All sin we finde is out of minde,
the Saints are made divine
First in the love of God above
in glory they do shine.

None are so dear, nor yet so near,
with God they are made one,
Who now doth see them sure to be
as is his only Sonne.

Christ is our guide, we cannot slide,
nor never fall away;
Our state is sure, and must endure
though all things else decay.

Then let's be bold, our heads uphold,
the time is drawing nigh
When we shall raign, and eke remain
with God eternally.

Let all base fears, and needlesse cares
out of our souls remove,
With speed let's fly to God on high
and dwell with him above. Amen, Amen.

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