"Sing unto the Lord"

"It is a good thing," declared the psalmist, "to sing praises unto thy name." To "make a joyful noise" was the glad service of those who came with singing into the presence of the Most High. The people sang their joys and griefs in all the great crises of their history,—now the rolling paean of triumph and again the sobbing murmur of inglorious defeat. Standing on the troubled shores of the protecting sea, Miriam sounded her joyous timbrel to celebrate the deliverance of her people. "Sing unto the Lord, all the earth," exhorted the psalmist, "honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary." "Break forth into joy," cried the rapt Isaiah, "sing together . . . for the Lord hath . . . redeemed Jerusalem." "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion," commanded Zechariah, "for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord." Paul and Silas sought solace by singing hymns in the gloomy prison and won courage to their lonely hearts. On the solemn night of Gethsemane, "when they had sung an hymn," the Master went out into the Mount of Olives to meet the traitor and to be delivered up to the enemy.

It was a wise man who desired to write the hymns of a nation, for a good hymn will sing its message of courage and consolation to wistful humanity when tedious volumes of theology lie forgotten in the dusty years. A good hymn voices all the aspirations of the heart, it gives courage to the timid, brings consolation to the desolate, binds up the wounds of the broken soldier of circumstance, sets free the captive of sinful sense, and breathes the adoration of the saint.

April 10, 1920

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