« PreviousContinue »
have discovered remarkable mutability and ficklenes: in their opinions and practice. Rosseau, with all his splendid talents, was as unstable as water. At ode time he ridiculed and opposed the Bible; but at another time, he wrote in favor of Christianity, and painted the character of its divine Author, in the most amiable and glowing colors. Voltaire professed to be a Christian in one place, but a Deist in another. In health, he despised and blasphemed every thing sacred and divine; but in sickness and death, he trembled in the view of eternal and invisible realities. Bonaparte could be a Roman Catholic, or an infidel, or a mus. selman, just as places and circumstances required. He could overturn all religious institutions, and then establish them. He could dethrone one Pope, and then raise up another. He could swear everlasting hatred to Monarchy, and then proclaim himself Emperor of the French. Do we not see the same instability in some of our American politicians? and may we not ascribe it to the same cause? Have they not imbibed the principle of universal philanthropy, which allows them to pierce the breasts of their rivals—to undermine a Constitution which they have sworn to supporto-to turn into any shape, and act any part, to gain popularity and power? How deplorable would our situation be, if the majority of our Rulers should deem it political justice, or an act of duty, to break their promises, to betray their trusts, and to throw off all divine and human restraints!
4. Since so many, at this day, are exposed to embrace the absurd and destructive sentiment, that yirtue consists in utility, we have peculiar reason to be thankful for the Bible, which God has put into our hands. and which is an infallible rule of faith and practice. In this respect, we are more highly favored than the
people of France, when they were led astray by corrupt and artful sophisters. The Bible was generally, locked
up from them; but to us it constantly lies open for our daily perusal and instruction. And if we im. partially consult it, we may discover and avoid every fatal error, however, plausibly taught and recommend ed. The present state of things ought to endear Divine Revelation to us, and induce us to esteem it in, measure according to its infinite importance. It is, at this critical juncture of affairs, the grand palladium not only of our religion and virtue, but of all our civil rights and privileges. It is by this medium, if by any, that we must detect, oppose, and restrain those errors, which are coming in like a flood, and threaten to ruin
Unless we adhere to this sacred guide, and the sound principles in which we have been educated, we cannot save ourselves from the fatal errors and delu, sions of this untoward generation. But if we withdraw ourselves from such as teach and propagate error,
proper means to make their folly manifest, there is ground to hope, that truth will prevail, and corrupters be defeated and disappointed. Let us be as zealous in circulating good books, as seducers are in circu, Jating bad ones. Let us take as much pains to diffuse good sentiments, as corrupters do in sowing the seeds of error and delusion. Let parents give their children a pious education, and guard them against the prevailing errors of the times. Let instructors in schools, academies, and higher seats of learning, admonish: their pupils of their danger, and teach them the pure principles of morality, religion, and good government. Let ministers of the gospel contend earnestly for that faith which is so violently attacked, and which they are set to defend against all gainsayers. In a word, let all men of piety, knowledge, and influence, unite
their exertions to suppress the progress of every demoralizing and disorganizing principle. And if we really feel and express thạt gratitude which we owe to God, for the innumerable benefits we have derived from our civil and religious institutions, it will constrain us to preserve them, by promoting that true godliness, which has the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. AMEN.
Delivered April 11, 1806, at a Public Meeting of a number of Singers who were
improving themselves in Church Music.
EPHESIANS V, 19. Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and
spiritual songs; singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
THOUGH the art of music and all the other fine arts were first cultivated for the sake of mere amusement, yet God has been pleased to sanctify them to a more noble and pious purpose. When he set up his public worship at Jerusalem, he qualified and selected the most ingenious and skilful artificers, to build the tem ple, to prepare its furniture, and to perform its sacred psalmody,in the highest style of elegance and grandeur. That magnificent structure displayed all the beauties of architecture; the two cherubims, which overspread the
mercy-seat, exhibited all the beauties of sculpture; the breastplate of Aaron, which contained the Urim and Thummin, was a master piece of engraving; and the sacred songs to be sung, in ascending the steps of the sanctuary, were the perfection of poetry and mu. sic. These productions of art were employed in and about the temple, for the important purpose of attaching the people of God to his peculiar worship, and of guarding them against the idolatry of the heathen world. But ever since the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles has been broken down, there is no further occasion for exterior pomp and splendor in public worship, God now requires nothing more of his people, than to worship him in spirit and
in truth, at such places and in such houses, as they
It is proposed,
If. To consider the design of sacred music in particular.
III. To consider what is necessary to render sacred music the most useful in religious worship.
1. We are to consider the design of music in general.
Singing is no less natural to mankind than speaking. They are naturally disposed to speak, because they wish to communicate their thoughts, and they are naturally disposed to sing, because they wish to communicate their feelings. Speaking is the natural language of the understanding, and singing is the natural language of the heart. We always use words to ex