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The Church's Service of Sacred Song.

The Church's Service of Sacred Song.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
REV. HOKATIO SOUTHGATE, D. D.,


"LET the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wis-
dom; teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms
and Hymns and sinritual Songs, singing with grace in
your hearts to the LordP — Colossians, iii. 16.
REV. HOKATIO SOUTHGATE, D. D.,


"LET the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wis-
dom; teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms
and Hymns and sinritual Songs, singing with grace in
your hearts to the LordP — Colossians, iii. 16.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 18, 2014
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THE CHURCH'S SERVICE OF SACRED SOG. REV. HOKATIO SOUTHGATE, D. D., "LET the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wis- dom; teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms and Hymns and sinritual Songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the LordP — Colossians, iii. 16. rpHIS passage leads us to the consideration of one of the most subHme and noble duties of the Christian life ; a duty which, above all others, dis- plays the benign influence of our Holy Religion, and yet, one which, above all others, is unappreci- ated and neglected. Let us, then, turn our thoughts, for a time, from the low and carking cares of earth, and dwell upon the cheering theme which the words of the text open before us. The question is sometimes asked, and still oftener does it arise in the mind when it is not heard from the lips, why it is that the Church has devoted so large a portion of her Services to Praise and Sa- SER. XVI.] SACRED SOG. 257 cred Song. Her Chants and lier Psalms of Tlianks- giving occur, at frequent intervals, tliroughout lier Liturgy ; and, to those who are accustomed to hear hardly any other addresses to the Almighty, in public worship, than direct supplications and peti- tions for blessings, the arrangement of our Service, in this particular, seems novel, if not unprofitable ; while, even among ourselves, the reasons for it are not always fully appreciated. I propose, therefore, with God's blessing, to pre-
 
sent to you a just view of the duty inculcated in the text, by showing why so ample a provision has been made for its performance in the Public Wor- ship of the Church, and upon what grounds she calls us to it in the Order of her Daily Service. The duty itself is the sublime and holy act of Praise. Could we go back beyond the bounds of time, and penetrate into the abodes of the upper world, we should hear the Song of Praise rolling its cho- rus along the pathless course of Eternity, never be- ginning, never ceasing, but pouring in one unbroken strain from the glowing lips of ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of pure and blessed Spirits, until it burst upon the world at the glorious dawn of Creation, " when the morn- ing stars sang together, and all the Sons of God 258 THE church's service [serm. shouted for joy."'^ Thence, tracing it down along tlie track of ages, we should hear its protracted sound in the lofty worship of the Temple, and the inspired praises of the sweet Psalmist of Israel,- until the parent note again breaks upon the earth at the Birth of the Saviour, and choirs of Angels sing, " Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."f Hence again, it rises, in new and higher strains, from the Altars of the Church, and breathes from the lips of Martyrs and Confessors, and spreads through the world with the spreading Faith, and sustains its triumphant note amidst persecution and death, and swells upon the ear in the lofty aisles and along the time-honored walls of old Cathedrals, and rises from the heart of humbler Sanctuaries, until at length it breaks from
 
our lips, and pours itself forth in our Praises. The voice of Praise is the voice of ature. We hear it in the matins of the birds, which carol forth their Maker's goodness, in the gentle whispers of the breeze, and in the heavy roar of the solemn main. The sights and sounds of the material world are like a song of calm delight in the Creator's love and power ; and hence it is, that the heart of the pious wanderer among the beauties of creation, rises, almost involuntarily, into reverent adoration. * Job, xxxviii. 7. t St. Luke, ii. 14. XVI.] OF SACRED SOG. 259 It is an act in nnison with the spirit of tlie scene. Each happy sound, every stirring leaf, the gently rippling stream, the flocks reposing in the shade, or feeding upon the hill-side, seem all to compose a choir of gentle, yet expressive, Praise. And, is the heart of man so dull that it cannot  join the loud chorus of creation? Or, is he so fallen that no chord within him responds to the touch of ature's melody ? ay ; for we see, even in the untutored son of the forest, and in the wild inhab- itant of the mountain, the native sympathies of man with the outer world, which have led him, now to find the object of his adoration in the rising sun, and now to hear the voice of the Great Spirit in the rushing wind. Praise seems natural to every state of innocence and pnrity ; and, therefore, it is so often pictured to us as the employment of An- gels in Heaven, whose " Songs "And choral symphonies, day without night,

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