Presbyterians of the Past

Contemporary Christian
Church Music

As Scripture reminds us, there is nothing new under the sun and there is nothing novel about the current spectrum of opinions regarding worship and its music. Presbyterians in the United States had from earliest colonial times used the Psalms exclusively but by 1856 composers including Isaac Watts (1674-1748) had not only produced his own Psalter but added numerous hymns to the selections available for worship singing. Without anachronism, Watts was a contemporary musician influencing the traditional worship of his day. Added to changes in music from Psalter to hymnbook was the increasing use of musical instruments, particularly the organ. You may have visited an eighteenth-century American church in which it appeared the organ had been jammed into its location—it probably had been as thinking about church music changed. Debate about what constitutes worship and what is decent and in order will continue, but the central point of glorifying and enjoying God through Scripture regulated worship must be kept in focus.

The article that follows is titled “Church Music” and it discusses the subject with emphasis on the place of choirs and the importance of congregational singing. Stuart Robinson and Thomas E. Peck were editors of The Presbyterial Critic and even though the article published in September 1856 is not signed, they bear the responsibility for it. At the time Robinson was pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Baltimore and Peck was the minister of the Broadway Street Church in Baltimore. Both ministers and their churches were Old School Presbyterian. In the article there is a comment about church music “here in Baltimore,” which adds evidence to one or both composing the piece. Robinson left Baltimore to teach in Danville Seminary in the fall of 1856 and in 1860 Peck would commence teaching in Union Seminary, Virginia. Both ministers had considerable interest in ecclesiology and worship with Robinson publishing The Church of God as an Essential Element of the Gospel, 1858 (reprinted by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in 2009 but currently out of print), and Peck’s interest is shown in the three volumes titled, Miscellanies of Rev. Thomas E. Peck, D.D., LL.D. (reprinted by Banner of Truth).

A few introductory comments about the article may be helpful.

One comment in the text regarding congregational singing is—

Just enter one of our German Protestant churches and hear one thousand voices of the old and the young singing in lively concert, and see if, for all devotional ends, the effect on each and all is not far superior to that of a few voices, however well trained and managed.

The authors’ point is that many voices are beneficial when singing hymns, but imagine a German church having more than 1,000 congregants in 1856. It says “one of our” churches as if such a congregation size was common.

Comments are made about negative aspects of having “a choir of paid singers” and paid musicians. These paid individuals would have been brought into the church strictly as musicians contracted to perform whether in singing, directing, or with an instrument. Robinson-Peck contend that it is the congregation that worships and no matter how skilled or incompetent the music, the people of God are to worship in singing without professional assistance. Some of the comments about paid musicians are particularly harsh, but the authors are concerned that worship is neither entertainment nor a show for professionals. I do not think they would be critical of particular individuals who are members of the congregation being paid for particular duties; their concern is worship by God’s people. They do not care for classical opera either.

The term “precentor” is used. Historically, the precentor led the congregational singing by lining out the Psalm and directing the pitch and tempo of the music because instruments were not used. Psalters were not in pew racks for the congregation and the precentor provided the words and music. Today, whether a hymnal, handout, or overhead is used, the text is before the congregation to be read for singing and instrumental accompaniment of some form provides the tune. However, non-instrumental singing is still used by some Presbyterian and Reformed churches, some Primitive Baptists, and other denominations. In the article it seems precentor is used to describe a leader or music director. 

Some of the ideas presented by the duo are quite good. For example, it is suggested that congregations having difficulty singing together should be taught the basics of singing. Both Peck and Robinson would have been considered conservative theologically in their day and stringently confessional, but their presentation of the use of church music is more moderate than might be expected.

In a few places portions of text have been included in [ ]. These bits are rewrites of the original texts needing clarification. Also, some editing of punctuation has been done to improve the flow of the text.

You may want to read the subsequent article, “Committee Report on Church Music, 1849,” which provides additional information on the worship music controversy in the 1840s. 

Barry Waugh

Church Music

The worship of God is the most exalted and most exalting occupation in which a creature of God can possibly engage. It is angelic to adore and praise God. To those who put their trust in God, it is indeed befitting that they commune with Him in every way that He permits, in every aspect of His character in which He reveals Himself, and in reference to all their interests. It is befitting, that God’s people “pour out their hearts before Him,” and “praise is comely for the upright.”

It is the will of God that His people worship. And, accordingly, throughout the Christian world, God’s people have their sanctuaries and assemblies, we find God’s people attempting His high praises with the aid, and through the medium of music—singing His praises in sacred songs.

Now there is warrant for attempting God’s praises in and through music. We have the warrant of Scripture exhortation and example. We find in different parts of the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms, such exhortations as these: “Praise the Lord, sing praises unto His name”—“Sing unto Him, sing psalms with Him”—“Sing unto Him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.” Such praise was to be public as well as private. Says the Psalmist, “I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.” In the New Testament, while we have no set directions upon the subject, we yet find the Apostle Paul writing to the church of Ephesus, as also that at Colossae, exhorting the Christians of those churches, “to speak to themselves in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in their heart unto the Lord.”

Then we have the warrant of Scripture example. David wrote psalms for the public service of the temple, these psalms were sung, and the singing was accompanied by instruments of music. Also, we have the high example of Christ and his Apostles, who, at the close of the first celebration of the Lord’s Supper “sung a hymn, and went out into the Mount of Olives.” If we conceive of the institution of the Lord’s Supper as the act in which our Savior organized the New Testament Church, then the singing of a hymn in connection with it would intimate very strongly the propriety of sacred song, if it does not also make the demand for it in the public services of the New Testament Church.

Accordingly, in all ages of the Christian Church, there has been an almost universal concurrence in all branches of the Church, in the practice of singing in public worship.

Nor need we wonder that God has warranted us, or even required us, to sing His praises. When we consider the constitution of our nature, we see that God has made us such that singing is a most natural and effective method of expressing our emotions of divine praise. Music has immense power over the human heart. It is everywhere used for exciting and expressing emotion, and that with uniform and eminent success. And music is attractive as well as powerful. Even if we do not ourselves engage in singing, the singing of others compels us to listen; and listening [results in awakened emotions as a combination of harmony and melody call it forth]. God would have us “praise Him with our whole hearts.” He would have “our souls and all that is within us bless His holy name.” Hence, He would have us praise Him in song.

The praise of God in song being thus warranted and encouraged and being thus extensively and systematically attempted throughout the Church, it is very evident that great care should be taken by the Church to secure for her service the most suitable and edifying music. Here, at once, the question arises, what sort of music is most suitable and edifying? Is it that which merely yields the greatest amount of noise? Or is it that which exhibits the highest degree of artistic excellence? Such questions have received various answers at various times, but for a proper answer, it is necessary to look at the one great object which church music properly has in view, which is this: to aid the devout worshipper in expressing his emotions of praise to God. Church music, then, is not properly a thing by itself, to be simply listened to as an entertainment. Taste and skill may be required properly to execute it; yet it does not have in view the exhibition of taste and skill. No; taste and skill are to be lost sight of, and that church music is best which most moves the hearts of true worshippers while they contemplate the truths expressed in the words sung, and which affords them the easiest and most perfect vehicle for uttering their devout feelings. Why should important truth be thrown into the form of hymns and then be sung? Why is it not enough that we simply read the truth as written in prose? Is not the object in view a more ardent and intense expression of feeling in connection with the truth? And is not music properly used to gain the same object? Then, of course, that church music is the best, which loses sight of everything else but this, or which subordinates all else to this, and aids the true worshipper in “making melody in his heart unto the Lord.”

This ideal of church music and public praise demands that not merely a few sing—as in a choir—but also, that all the people sing—tastefully and heartily. Good congregational singing is that which is most desirable. Not to speak of what the Scriptures intimate on this point, let us consider some of the obvious arguments in its behalf, suggested by the very nature of the case.

In the first place: As the heart is more deeply moved by hearing devotional language sung than it is by hearing the same language read, so, in general, the heart is more deeply moved when a person himself sings than when he simply listens to the singing of others. Surely this will not be denied. It is true, we may listen with great admiration to the skillful singing of others—our taste may be gratified; but when we directly engage in uttering for ourselves the words of praise in familiar, sacred song, the heart is much more frequently, and much more deeply enlisted in the exercise. If this be so, it is desirable that each worshipper, for his own sake, to engage in the public singing so that all the people sing.

But another reason may be given why all should sing. If the heart be at all moved by hearing a few persons sing the words of devout truth, it will, in general, be more deeply moved by hearing many persons thus sing. And when the singing in a congregation is general, hearty, and intelligent, the influence of devout sympathy is most fully felt. Each person aids all the rest and in turn is aided by all the rest; and thus, the ends of social worship are most fully gained. It is desirable, then, that every person in the congregation sing, not only for his direct personal benefit, bur for the general good. Just enter one of our German Protestant churches and hear one thousand voices of the old and the young singing in lively concert, and see if, for all devotional ends, the effect on each and all is not far superior to that of a few voices, however well trained and managed.

It might be added that congregational singing is especially desirable in our Presbyterian churches. It is so for this reason. Without it the people have no part which they can outwardly and actively take in our public services. They are passive in these services. The minister reads, and preaches, and prays, and the choir sings, and the people have nothing to do. And for this reason our services want life and spirit. The people ought to take some active part in the worship. Our Methodist brethren have their voluntary responses, and it is stirring to hear these ascending from this and that quarter of the assembly. It shows that an interest is taken in the service. And our Episcopal brethren have their Scripture selections, and the [antiphonal] reading of the people and the minister; and they have response provided for and brief prayers in concert—and this has its advantages. It is true, there are drawbacks in each of these cases. The voluntary responses often violate decorum; and the arranged and set readings and prayers sacrifice a desirable freedom of worship. None of us may wish to see either peculiarity adopted by our Church. Yet who does not wish for more vivacity and activity in our worship on the part of the people? But this might be had, without any drawback, in hearty and intelligent congregational singing.

But now we come to the question—what is necessary in order to achieve such singing? Very much has been written and spoken within the past few years on this question, as we suppose most of our readers can testify. A great proportion of what has been written and spoken has been in the way of complaint, railing, and accusation against what is conceived to hinder congregational singing. And when this has not been the case, it yet has been very seldom that we have had any full and sensible view of the question taken, and any intelligible and practical plan proposed for the attainment of the desired end. We have in general merely had, here and there, a valuable hint or suggestion. It is not without hesitation that we attempt a somewhat full answer to the question proposed. Yet we invite our readers to consider well our answer and improve upon it as best they may.

Three things are necessary in order to achieve hearty and intelligent congregational singing.

First, The people must be disposed and prepared to engage in this part of public worship. This statement is very indefinite, but we proceed to say that the matter of church music must be brought to secure the attention of the people. Then, their attention being had, their minds must be filled with right ideas and their hearts imbued with right sentiments concerning the duty and privilege of sacred praise. The desire to praise God in song being excited and some assurance being given of the practicability of this desire being fully gratified, the people must next have the opportunity of some actual practice in singing such tunes as are generally familiar, under a competent leader, and in circumstances which permit faults being indicated and corrected. No large number of persons can do anything in perfect concert at the first attempt. Soldiers march with perfect step only after patient drilling. And there must be some drilling of a congregation, if they would sing well together. It is not necessary, by any means, that they learn to sing from books. To attempt this would be vain. If singing ever becomes universal, it will doubtless become so through imitation, as in the case of language. And congregational singing, in all ordinary cases, must be mainly singing by ear and rote. The first requisite, then, for congregational singing is this: the spirit of singing [must generally be excited] among the people, and some practice in singing by ear undertaken using the familiar tunes of the church.

Second, But supposing the people disposed and reasonably prepared to unite in singing, a second thing, which yet is absolutely necessary to their success, is this: the systematic selection and use in ordinary worship of simple and familiar tunes. Now here a great mistake is very often made; and very often, perhaps, it is unwittingly made. Music that may be very suitable for a choir, is wholly unsuited to a congregation. Choir music is distinctively one thing, and congregational music is distinctively another thing. The members of a proper choir are acquainted with music as a science and as an art. They sing by note; they can sing a new piece of music together with very little practice by reading the notes. The piece may be a complicated one—some of the parts may rest at intervals, while others move on; solo passages, duets, fugues, running passages, chromatic passages, accelerandos and ritardandos, crescendos and dimenuendos may occur; yet a good choir will soon master the piece; and it may be an excellent choir piece; the difficult passages may constitute so many beauties, but such a piece is wholly unsuited to the congregation when they would join in the singing. They sing mainly by ear and rote, and with so many of them together having only a small amount of training, it is out of the question for them to sing together any other than simple and familiar tunes with even and easy movements. Now such tunes may be had, and that in sufficient numbers. In their place, too, they are as beautiful as any. They admit of a most pleasant melody and a most delightful choral harmony. We do not mean that new tunes should never be introduced into the church. All tunes were once new. Each generation must have, to some extent, its own music. But a new tune should be introduced rarely, as occasion really requires, or as the superior excellence of the new tune demands; and then if it is excellent, it will possess those popular attributes which will enable the people soon to catch on and use it, and thus no serious embarrassment will follow. Probably not one half the tunes found in our ordinary collections of church music, however suitable they may be for choir singing, are of such a character that it would be possible for a congregation ever to learn them and sing them well together however diligently and perseveringly they might make the attempt. Choir music and congregational music are now mixed and confusedly attempted together. The two ought by all means to be separated. Let the choir sing a choir piece of music, of their own selection, by way of introduction to each public service and let the people devoutly listen to that; but let the choir sing congregational tunes to the hymns announced from the pulpit and let the people unite with the choir in singing these. It is absolutely essential to congregational singing that not only the people be motivated and reasonably prepared to sing together but also that easy and familiar music be afforded them.

Third, But further than this, a congregation must be suitably led in singing. This is another essential requisite. Great diversity of opinion exists in regard to the leading of church singing. Some advocate leading by a single precentor. Others prefer choirs. And others, still, prefer choirs with instrumental accompaniments. We know not why a small assembly may not be well led by a single precentor. One strong and prompt voice, taking the leading part—the person occupying a central position in the assembly—will be sufficient. Such leading seems very appropriate in the weekly meetings of the lecture room, although even there, as we incline to think, several voices together would lead the singing better than one precentor. But a large congregation cannot be for a long time well led by a single precentor unless they have [already been adequately trained, and unless they preserve that training with considerable attention and diligence]. A single voice is not sufficiently commanding to lead a large assembly. Those remote from the leader will go astray in time and tune. A choir of voices is needed to bind into one all the different sections of the assembly, causing them to move together. The musical arrangements of a congregation, too, may be much more uniform and permanent under the leading of a choir, than is possible under the leading of a precentor. The occasional absence of the precentor from his post, or his entire removal by any of the numerous providences which may at any time occur, will throw the singing of the congregation into great confusion; while a well constituted choir can sing in the absence of their leader, or in the absence of some of their number, and can repair the losses made by removal or death without any breaking up of their organization.

Just here it may be observed, that a choir of voluntary singers is far preferable to a choir of paid singers. A choir constituted out of the members of the congregation will more fully sympathize with the people, and more readily and cheerfully enter into arrangement made to secure congregational singing. And a choir largely made up of professing Christians will have in view the true objects of church music and will not be guilty of performing the part of mere functionaries impersonating devotion, but will instead themselves devoutly praise God in song while seeking to aid and guide the devotions of God’s people.

Concerning the vexed question of instrumental accompaniments, it is not now proposed to say anything. The discussion of this question is by no means vital to the objects we have in view. Yet it may not be amiss to observe in this connection that the opinion, extensively prevalent in the Christian community, that choirs and instruments are naturally and necessarily hostile to congregational singing—an opinion, the correctness of which, has seldom been questioned—is utterly without foundation. We may be pointed to frequent instances, it is true, in which the introduction of choirs and instruments has been followed by a cessation of congregational singing. However, the only satisfactory way of accounting for the fact is this: the choir and musicians, having had the responsibility of conducting the music devolved on them, without instructions in regard to the needs of the people, very naturally have conducted the music with a view of pleasing themselves; have introduced new music, and choir music, such as the people could not sing. The problem has been the sort of tunes selected by the performers, and not the fact that such performers have conducted the music. This fault might readily be prevented. A properly constituted choir will sing, if permitted to sing one choir piece of their own selection at each public service by way of introduction, familiar tunes in which the congregation may be united in the other parts of the service. If anyone supposes that instruments are peculiarly hostile to congregational singing, how will he account for the fact that in Germany all the people sing while in every church an organ leads the singing?

These three things, just specified, we regard as essential to hearty and intelligent congregational singing. And these seem to us all that are essential. We do not mean that these will secure perfection. Nothing can compensate for the want of early individual instruction, and continual exercise in singing. Without this the ear will become dull and the voice intractable. And in the general neglect of musical cultivation in our land, there will be found in every congregation where general singing is attempted only a partial approximation on the part of many toward correct or tasteful singing; while, with a few, the case may be even worse—the voice hopelessly harsh and discordant. Yet, in every congregation, we would encourage all to sing to the best of their ability believing that in the power of united song minor inaccuracies and discordances will be sufficiently overborne so that general edification will not be hindered. Yet it is not always easy to secure all the requisites named, and hence the possible failure to obtain the desired end, even when a vigorous effort is made. But now, how often is no attempt made to provide or preserve good church music? How often is the music just left to take care of itself? The whole subject was sadly neglected in our churches during the early history of our county, and the fruits of that neglect are abundantly and sadly visible at the present time.

The following sketch will, we believe, be found correct. Our churches formerly insisted on having their music led by a precentor. The natural tendency of such leading, as might be shown, is backward [counterproductive]. Under this leading, the people neglected to cultivate music, and it degenerated until it became intolerable. A reaction from this condition followed. A few persons in each church would be found, who, with strong tastes for music, desired to cultivate the art. Music teaching then became a profitable business, as also the manufacture of church music books. The few in each church who cultivated music were deputed by the congregation to lead the singing, which they did under the guidance of their hired teachers using the newly manufactured tune books and tunes. These choirs, aiming to please themselves in respect to the character of the music sung, the people were generally unable to unite with them, however imperfectly, until at last the semblance of congregational singing disappeared in a great proportion of our churches. At the present time, what do we see as the fruits of this process? Look in our churches. The congregation praises God through a delegated committee. New tune books have continued to flood the land. Some of these are used in one church, some in another; and many are used in rapid succession in the same church—new music being introduced to supplant that which is not yet old, and introduced for no other reason than that it is new. And the people—the music being removed out of their reach—have, in general, apparently lost all sense of responsibility toward it and all interest in it. They have become dumb to God’s praise. Some try to follow the choir in the words sung and use their hymnbooks for the purpose, while others, without hymnbooks, and apparently without occupation during the singing, sit gazing at the choir, or gazing at their neighbors, or gazing into vacuity, as the case may be. All this is particularly true of our city churches, and it is further true of many of our city churches that not being able to secure a choir from among themselves to execute music respectably, they feel compelled to resort to professional musicians, not only to play their organs, but also to perform their singing. And thus, it frequently comes to pass in our churches that a few paid singers mock God for the professed benefit of his people, seeking to display themselves and please critical ears, while the organ finishes the farce with almost interminable voluntaries, and preludes, and interludes—all as much out of character as a wretched ingenuity can devise. It seems to be more and more the case, that the opera gives tone to church music. Things are perhaps not quite so far gone in this direction here in Baltimore as in some of our sister cities. Yet it is very easy for the practiced ear to perceive that the highest achievement of our fashionable and fancy choir-singers is a peculiarity of operatic slurring and whining, governing all their tones, evidently supposed to be very moving and affecting, but which really is very grotesque and ridiculous.

This state of things ought surely to be a great grief to those who have any desire for God’s true worship. With all our resorts to expedients, and our determination to have good music, even though upon a basis of very doubtful propriety and by means not unlikely to provoke God’s sore displeasure, we have failed to obtain good music. Very few of our churches afford even tolerable music. And shall this state of things be quietly endured? Shall we continue to miss the benefits of true sacred praise and go on from worse to worse in our wretched substitutes for it without an effort in the right direction? Most persons are ready to complain of the existing evil, but few seem ready to try any remedy. Indeed, perhaps most are hopeless of the success of any proposed remedy. The evil has no remedy; its continued existence is inevitable. Thus they seem to think. Some churches have tried to profit by past experiences and have sought to improve the condition of their music. And what is more, instances are not wanting in which churches have succeeded in their efforts beyond expectation. Instances might be named in which well-directed effort, commonly beginning with the pastor and heartily seconded by the people, have brought the music to a condition of real excellence. No! it is our shame, if we understand the evil and complain of it but are not ready to cooperate with others for its removal. We may be sure that if God has appointed the singing of sacred song as an ordinance of His house, there is a way in which such singing may be performed, so as to please God and profit our own souls; and we are verily guilty before God, if we do not seek to know and pursue that way.

Whatever others may think, it is our abiding conviction that much might be done in most of our well-established churches for the improvement of singing. The case is very rare, we suppose, in which any one of the requisites for good congregational singing named is really beyond attainment. All might be had, in most cases, if diligently sought after.

Pastors might do much in drawing the attention of their churches to this subject and in inciting the desire to praise God by united singing. Then, in most cases, it would not be difficult to procure the services of a competent and devout professional singer for forming and training a suitable choir and for drilling the congregation in the singing of the familiar tunes of the church. A half hour might be profitably spent in this general exercise every week, for any given number of weeks, at the close of the weekly sermon. Then this person, or the leader of the choir, in concert with the pastor might carefully select a sufficient number of tunes suitable for congregational singing that are adapted to the hymns in most frequent use and already more or less familiar to the people with the understanding that these would, for a time, be exclusively used in the ordinary services of the church. By such simple means, the general desire being excited worthily to celebrate the praises of God and a perfect understanding being had between the pastor, choir, and congregation, a trial for a few months would witness, we are persuaded, the inauguration of a new era in the music of many of our churches. The choir being invited to sing a piece of their own selection to introduce each of the Sabbath services would have continued occasion for a weekly rehearsal and by means of this rehearsal they would preserve whatever vantage ground they had obtained under the temporary and special instructions of the musical professor; and possibly the singing of the congregation, under the guidance of a choir preserving its excellence, might improve rather than decline.

It ought also to be observed, that, in most of our established congregations, there are many young persons who have some knowledge of the rudiments of music, whose knowledge yet does not avail them much for church purposes. They have learned music in connection with instruments for drawing room purposes, and they sing and play well for their friends. Yet they do not read church music and scarcely attempt to sing in church. And by the by, it is a very significant fact, that so little of the actual cultivation of music, even in Christian families, has any reference to the praises of God as sung in his sanctuary. But now, with the aid of a competent instructor, these persons meeting together in a class might readily bring their taste and cultivation to church music, and make them available for church purposes. And how much would it aid the singing of the congregation to have a number of such singers scattered throughout the house, not merely following the leading of the choir but singing promptly with the choir. From these, moreover, the choir could draw its recruits as occasion demanded.

We are strongly inclined to believe that the prime responsibility for the continued deplorable condition of our church music, generally, rests upon our pastors. We believe that if our pastors could be brought to take a lively and intelligent interest in the matter, they could readily secure the necessary cooperation of their congregations in executing those plans, which would radically improve our church music. To pastors, especially, we commend the foregoing very imperfect observations.

In every organized church it is surely desirable that every department of duty and privilege be so cared for—so ordered and conducted—as to perform its full share in glorifying God and promoting the Church’s prosperity. No church should be willingly suffered to fail in any respect of her full duty, her full usefulness, her full beauty. Her services should be such as most fully edify her own members and attract and profit the occasional worshipper. Why should we not, in the fear of God, seek to have our churches discharge their full duty and enjoy their full privilege in the department of sacred praise? God has called us, as Christians, out of the world and has gathered us into churches with the object prominently in view of our publicly worshipping Him with our praises and our songs of praise. And this service, if properly considered, is one of the most reasonable, one of the most delightful, as well as one of the most dignified and becoming in which we can possibly engage. When we consider what God is in all his glorious perfections; when we consider what He has done for us in Creation, in Providence, in Grace—forming us, upholding us, blessing us—aye, in his wonderful mercy, saving us; Oh, how can we help praising God? How can we help calling upon our souls and all that is within us to bless and magnify His great and holy name? And when, as God’s people—as the children of his mercy in Christ Jesus—we assemble for His worship, how can we help unitedly thus praising His name? Will not each of us cry to all his Christian companions, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together! God is preparing us here for serving Him hereafter. But in what services shall we engage in Heaven? Shall we not with the Angels stand before God’s throne and praise Him day and night? And shall we not sing the new song, which even Angels cannot sing—the song of our redemption? Ah yes, the most we know of heaven is its music! Should we not desire, as in our earthly assemblies we sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, to sing the songs of heaven in heavenly music? Would that our sanctuaries might be found none other than the house of God and the gate of heaven! Would that by God’s own Spirit our hearts might be inspired, and our tongues unloosed to give Him worthy and noble praise!

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