Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Who'll Sing A Psalm?

Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD. (Ps. 150.6)

"Improvement in Psalmody," in The Home and Foreign Record of the Free Church of Scotland, Vol. 4 (1853), p. 114:

Music is universally diffused through all nature. It is the accompaniment of all utterances. All creatures, so far as our observation goes, have received from their Creator constitutions which enable them to relish it, and dispose them to be powerfully affected by it. Are we to conclude that there is one domain from which music is to be banished, and one service, and that the highest, in which it can give us no aid? There is music in the sighing of the wind: there is music in the murmur of the stream: there is music in the notes of the bird, in the roll of the billow, in the thunder's awful peal: and is it in the temple alone that the voice of melody is to be silent? Is all nature to be vocal? Are the floods to clap their hands, the little hills to rejoice, and the valleys to sing? and in the midst of this universal chorus is gladness to be banished from the sanctuary, and there alone shall silence reign? Shall the birds of the air praise God with loud and melodious notes, and shall his own redeemed people celebrate his greatness with discordant sounds, and voices harsh and unattuned?

Charles Spurgeon on Ps. 98:

Do we sing enough unto the Lord? May not the birds of the air rebuke our sullen and ungrateful silence?

Ambrose, Hexameron, V.12:

Who is he, bearing the sense of a man, which is not ashamed to end the day without singing of Psalms, seeing even the little birds, with solemn devotion and sweet notes, do both begin and end the day.

The Death and Burial of Poor Cock Robin:

Who'll sing a psalm?
"I," said the thrush,
"As I sit in a bush.
I'll sing a psalm."

Henry Ward Beecher, Life Thoughts, p. 6:

The Twenty-Third Psalm is the nightingale of the Psalms. It is small and of a homely feather, singing shyly out of obscurity; but, oh, it has filled the air of the whole world with melodious joy, greater than the heart can conceive. Blessed be the day on which that Psalm was born.

Henry Van Dyke, The Story of the Psalms, p. 36:

It has been said that this psalm is like the nightingale, whose music charms the world. But the nightingale sings only at night, and this is a morning song. There is another bird whose melody gives us a sweeter and brighter comparison. The first time that I ever heard the skylark was on the great plain of Salisbury. Sheep were feeding and shepherds were watching near by. From the contentment of her lowly nest in the grass the songstress rose on quivering wings, pouring our a perfect flood of joy. With infinite courage the feathered atom breasted the spaces of the sky, as if her music lifted her irresistibly upward. With sublime confidence she passed out of sight into the azure; but not out of hearing, for her cheerful voice fell yet more sweetly through the distance, as if it were saying, "Forever, forever!"

Matthew Henry on Ps. 84:

The word for a sparrow signifies any little bird, and (if I may offer a conjecture) perhaps when, in David's time, music was introduced so much into the sacred service, both vocal and instrumental, to complete the harmony they had singing-birds in cages hung about the courts of the tabernacle (for we find the singing of birds taken notice of to the glory of God, Ps. civ. 12), and David envies the happiness of these, and would gladly change places with them. Observe, David envies the happiness not of those birds that flew over the altars, and had only a transient view of God's courts, but of those that had nests for themselves there.

Maximus the Confessor on Ps. 135:

While songbirds are excellent paradigms for people's praise of God, we should not be like the owl and see the darkness of the world but be blind to the light of our Savior and divine matters.

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