“The new song” by Jonathan Edwards

“The new song that is sung by the redeemed from the earth is more excellent than anything that preceded. It is the most excellent song that ever is sung by any of the children of men. We often read in Scripture of a new song. And whenever it is mentioned, there is evidently respect to its excellency in its being so called. (See Psalm 33:1-3; 96:4; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1).

This song is more excellent than anything that was before the fall. The matter of the song is more glorious. The subject matter of the new song is principally the glorious salvation of Christ and God’s infinite grace and love in that work (cf. Revelation 5:9). This work of God is more wonderful and more glorious by far than anything that Adam in innocence had to praise God.

Yea, this is the most glorious subject that the angels in heaven themselves have for their songs. They once sang praises to God for the work of creation, when God laid the foundations of the earth and the morning stars sang together. But now, since they have seen the work of redemption, these morning stars sing a new song, and the work of redemption is principally the subject of their praises.

Now their tune is, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:11-12). The benefits that the saints receive by Christ are far beyond anything that our first parents enjoyed in innocence. They had happiness indeed, but they had no confirmation of it.

They had no promise that they should never lose it, but rather a threat they should lose it. And besides, the privileges of the saints are also greater in other respects. They have a more excellent union with God, a greater manifestation of the love of God, and a better inheritance.

So their song is far more excellent than anything that was before their conversion, as much more excellent than all their external formal praises that they offered to God before conversion as light is more excellent than darkness, or as gold is more precious than the dirt.

One word or note of this new song, as sung by a sincere heart, is worth more in God’s account than all the praises of all the formal professors of religion from the beginning of the world to the end of it.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “They Sing a New Song,” Sermons and Discourses: 1739-1742, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 22, Ed. Harry S. Stout (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 234-235.

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