Tag Archives: Singing

“On the birthday of the church” by Herman Bavinck

“At the creation the morning stars sang together and all the children of God rejoiced.

At the birth of Christ the multitude of heavenly hosts raised the jubilee of God’s good will.

On the birthday of the church that church itself sings the wonderful works of God in myriad tones.”

–Herman Bavinck, The Wonderful Works of God (trans. Henry Zylstra; Glenside, PA: Westminster Seminary Press, 1909/2019), 373.

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“Do you hear the melody of the voice of Christ in the gospel?” by Jonathan Edwards

“In order to learn the new song, you must hear the melody of the voice of Christ in the gospel.

You have heard that the glorious gospel is that out of which this song is to be learned, and that ’tis Christ that must teach it. And this is the way that He teaches it: by causing the soul to hear the melody of His own voice in the gospel.

’Tis Christ that speaks to us in the gospel. Many hear His words, but they perceive no sweetness in them. They perceive no pleasantness in His voice, in the doctrines and invitations and promises of the gospel. ’Tis all an insipid thing and dead letter to them.

But to the godly, Christ’s mouth is found to be most sweet. You must perceive the sweetness of the voice. You must see the glory of those doctrines, and the sweetness of those invitations, and the exceeding preciousness of those promises.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “They Sing A New Song (Revelation 14:3)” in Sermons and Discourses, 1739–1742 (ed. Harry S. Stout, Nathan O. Hatch, and Kyle P. Farley; vol. 22; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2003), 22: 243-244.

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“It’s His song, not mine, that I’m here to sing” by Elisabeth Elliot

“There are sometimes spaces in our lives that seem empty and silent. Things grind to a halt for one reason or another. Not long ago, the ‘music’ in my life seemed to stop because of a rejection, a loss, and what seemed to me at the time a monumental failure.

I was feeling rather desolate when I came across a paragraph written more than a hundred years ago by the artist John Ruskin:

There is no music in a rest, but there is the making of music in it. In our whole life-melody, the music is broken off here and there by ‘rests,’ and we foolishly think we have come to the end of time. God sends a time of forced leisure– sickness, disappointed plans, frustrated efforts– and makes us a sudden pause in the choral hymn of our lives and we lament that our voices must be silent, and our part missing in the music which ever goes up to the ear of the Creator. How does the musician read the rest? See him beat time with unvarying count and catch up the next note true and steady, as if no breaking place had come between. Not without design does God write the music of our lives. But be it ours to learn the time and not be dismayed at the ‘rests.’ They are not to be slurred over, nor to be omitted, not to destroy the melody, not to change the keynote. In the end we will see that in order to have a complete song, we must have the ‘rests’ in between the notes. If we look up, God Himself will beat time for us. With the eye on Him we shall strike the next note full and clear.

So the Lord brought to me precisely the word I needed at the moment: There was ‘the making of music’ in what seemed a hollow emptiness.

It’s His song, not mine, that I’m here to sing. It’s His will, not mine, that I’m here to do. Let me focus my vision unwaveringly on Him who alone knows the complete score, ‘and in the night His song shall be with me,’ (Psalm 42:8).”

–Elisabeth Elliot, Secure in the Everlasting Arms (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2002), 161-162.

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“My soul is very sick, but my Physician is infallible” by John Newton

“I see, I know, I cannot deny, that Jesus Christ is all-sufficient. He can, and does pity and help me, unworthy as I am.

And though I seldom enjoy a glimpse of sunshine, yet I am not wholly in the dark. My heart is vile, and even my prayers are sin.

I wish I could mourn more, but the Lord forbid I should sorrow as those that have no hope. He is able to save to the uttermost.

His blood speaks louder than all my evils. My soul is very sick, but my Physician is infallible.

He never turns out any as incurable, of whom He has once taken the charge. That would be equally to the dishonour of His skill and His compassion.

Had He been willing I should perish, He would not have wrought a miracle (for I account it no less) to save me from sinking into the great deep, when He first put it in my heart to cry to Him for mercy.

And, oh, what astonishing goodness has followed me from that day to this! Help me to praise Him.

And may He help you to proclaim the glory of His salvation, and to rejoice in it yourself.

I am affectionately your servant,

John Newton”

–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Vol. 6 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 6: 180.

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“Singing the triumphant song of Moses and the Lamb forever” by John Newton

“However the Lord may be pleased to indulge us with comforts and mercies here, still this is not, and cannot be, our rest.

In-dwelling sin, the temptations of Satan, changing dispensations, and the vanity which is inseparably entwined with every earthly connexion, will more or less disturb our peace.

But there is a brighter world, where sin and sorrow can never enter. Every moment brings us nearer to it.

Then every imperfection shall cease, and our best desires shall be satisfied beyond our present conceptions.

Then we shall see Him whom having not seen we love: we shall see Him in all His glory, not as now, through the medium of ordinances, but face to face, without a veil.

We shall see Him, so as to be completely transformed into His perfect image.

Then likewise we shall see all His redeemed, and join with an innumerable multitude of all nations, people, and languages, in singing the triumphant song of Moses and the Lamb forever!

Then we shall look back with wonder on all the way the Lord led us through this wilderness, and shall say, ‘He hath done all things well.’

May this blessed hope comfort our hearts, strengthen, our hands, and make us account nothing dear or hard, so that we may finish our course with joy.

Pray for us and believe me to be your affectionate friend and servant,

John Newton”

–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Vol. 6 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 6: 47–48.

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“There is never enough singing” by Martin Luther

“As long as we live, there is never enough singing.”

–Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 16: Lectures on Isaiah: Chapters 1-39 (ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann; vol. 16; Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 76.

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“When the glorious morning comes” by Jonathan Edwards

“Is Christ Jesus the light of the world? What glorious times will those be when all nations shall submit themselves to Him, when this glorious light shall shine into every dark corner of the earth, and shall shine much more brightly and gloriously than ever before.

It will be like the rising of the sun after a long night of darkness, after the thick darkness had been ruling and reigning over all nations and poor mankind had been groping about in gross darkness for many ages.

When this glorious morning comes, then those that never saw light before shall see it and be astonished at its glory.

Then the world, which has been in a kind of dead sleep for this many ages, shall rouse up and begin to open their eyes and look forth to behold this glorious light of the world.

Then will the sweet music of God’s praises begin to be heard.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Christ, the Light of the World,” in Sermons and Discourses 1720-1723, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 10, Ed. Wilson H. Kimnach (New Haven: Yale, 1992), 544. Edwards was 18 years old when he preached this sermon. It may be read here in its entirety.

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