Hymn Singing

Throughout the history of the Jewish people and that of the Christian era, the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, the making of melody in the heart to the Lord, has always been an essential element of worship. The praise of God, whose glory, beauty, and majesty are but faintly glimpsed by even the most consecrated and devotional heart, is an exercise as spiritually stimulating as it is inspiring and health-bringing. In spite of the false evidence of the material, personal senses, the glory of God is above, beneath, around us always, and the humble, grateful, and obedient heart overflows in song, praise, and thanksgiving in recognition of it.

When we seem heavy, unresponsive to the inspiring and quickening effect of God's presence, what can better open the doors of our receptivity and hospitality to His Christ than the singing of hymns that declare and praise God's perfection, beauty, glory, and power? Earnest longings and desires, wedded to suitable melodies, are, as it were, lifted on wings of song to reach a higher, holier sense and appreciation of our heavenly Father's great love for His children. What happier, gentler, or more powerful weapon can we enlist to draw back the bolts of prison cells than the singing of praises to God for the inspired understanding of the good that was and is and evermore shall be, so forgetting self and remembering something of God's goodness, allness, and perfectness?

What did those brave apostles, Paul and Silas, fresh from unjust scourging, and held by stocks in the innermost prison—what did they do at the darkest hour? They did the very last thing that unredeemed human hearts would think of doing: they sang praises to God! And we are familiar with the glorious results. Not only did they gain their own freedom, but it is recorded that all within the prison found their bonds loosed. "I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised," sang David, "so shall I be saved from mine enemies." There is a divine and practical significance in this declaration. The more genuine and full are our appreciation of and gratitude for the truth about God and for the exposure of the falsity and unreality of evil, the sooner shall we be freed from fear and self-consciousness, and the clearer and stronger will our voices sound in praise of God's allness. Hence the singing of hymns in church or elsewhere helps to banish fear and self-consciousness, and brings health, harmony, and happiness to all whose hearts are not strangers to the song they sing.

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Thanksgiving Service
November 22, 1930

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