My tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips: and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
BENJAMIN KEACH (1640-1704): The tongue is the instrument, but it must be tuned with grace, or the music will not be sweet in Christ’s ears.
J. C. PHILPOT (1802-1869): Song is the only mode of vocal utterance in which multitudes can simultaneously and intelligibly join. Speech must necessarily be confined to one voice. “Speak one at a time” is an indispensable command when even two individuals attempt to talk at once. But song may unite the voices of thousands in one intelligible harmonious chorus. It is, therefore, the only means whereby, without discord and confusion, numbers can unite in openly and loudly praising the Lord, and thus it stands alone as an act of public worship in blending together the hearts and voices of the assemblies of saints.
AMY CARMICHAEL (1867-1951): I wonder if you feel as I do about the heavenliness of song. I believe truly that Satan cannot endure it, and so slips out of the room—more or less!—when there is true song. It leads to a sort of sweetness too.
C. H. SPURGEON: Let us think more of sacred song then we sometimes do. When the song is bursting in full chorus from the thousands in this house, it is but a noise in the ears of some men; but inasmuch as many true hearts, touched with the love of Jesus, are keeping pace with their tongues, it is not mere noise in God’s esteem, there is a sweet music in it that makes glad His ear.
W. Y. FULLERTON (1857-1932): To anyone who has not been in a similar scene, a hymn sung by a full congregation at the Metropolitan Tabernacle has a thrilling effect. It is no ordinary thing to see 4500 people rise simultaneously to their feet, still less to hear them sing. For a moment during the giving out of the hymn it occurred to us to look wildly round for the organ, which surely must be the only instrument which could lead all those voices. There is none; and we are sensible of a pang of hurried misgiving as we nerve ourselves to the endurance of all the excruciating torments of an ill-regulated psalmody. A gentleman steps forward to Mr. Spurgeon’s side as the last verse is being read, and at once raises a familiar tune. What is our delight when not only is the tune taken up in all its harmonies, but with perfect time and expression! The slight waving of the precentor’s book regulates that huge chorus, as a tap will regulate an engine.
C. H. SPURGEON: This is the sweetest and best music. No instrument like the human voice.
W. Y. FULLERTON: The thing is simply wonderful! We feel that tight sensation of the scalp and that quiver down the spine which nothing but the combination of emotion and excitement can produce. We are scarcely able for a while to add our voices to that huge sea of melody which rises and falls and surges and floods the place. If Mr. Spurgeon’s powers of voice are remarkable, those of his precentor are, to our thinking, marvellous. His voice can be heard above all the others, he holds his own, and is not to be run away with, and in the closing hymn he is as unflagging as in the first. “Now, quicker,” cries Mr. Spurgeon, as we reach the last verse; and it is wonderful to notice the access of spirit which this produced. We sit down, deeply impressed. After all, what instrument or orchestra of instruments can equal in effect the concert of the human voice, especially in psalmody?
JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): No music is to be heard upon earth comparable to the sound of many thousand voices, when they are all harmoniously joined together, singing praises to God and the Lamb.
RICHARD BAXTER (1615-1691): For myself I confess that harmony and melody are the pleasure and elevation of my soul.
MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): When natural music is sharpened and polished by art, then one begins to see with amazement the great and perfect wisdom of God in His wonderful work of music, where one voice takes a simple part and around it sing three, four, or five other voices, leaping, springing round about, marvellously gracing the simple part, like a square dance in heaven with friendly bows, embracings, and hearty swinging of the partners…I have no pleasure in any man who despises music. It is no invention of ours; it is the gift of God.
J. C. PHILPOT: Singing, when heart and voice go together is certainly a most delightful part of the worship of God here below. In bestowing upon man the power of singing, as a vocal utterance distinct from speech, the Lord, who made all things for His own glory, doubtless intended that this gift should be a means of showing forth His praise…Thus the power to sing, the faculty of producing musical notes in melody, and combining them in harmony, was as much the gift of God to Adam as the power of speech.
FANNY J. CROSBY (1820-1915): To God be the glory, great things He has done!
And great our rejoicing thru Jesus the Son…
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Let the people rejoice!
C. H. SPURGEON: “Music hath charms.” I am sure sacred music has; for I have felt something of its charms whilst we have been singing that glorious hymn just now. There is potency in harmony; for there is a power in melody, which either melts the soul to pity, or lifts it up to joy unspeakable. I do not know how it may be with some minds; they possibly may resist the influence of singing; but I cannot. When the saints of God, in full chorus, “chant the solemn lay,” and when I hear sweet syllables fall from their lips, keeping measure and time, then I feel elevated; and, forgetting for a time everything terrestrial, I soar aloft towards heaven.
JOHN CHRYSOSTOM (347-407): Nothing so lifteth up the soul, so looseth it from the chains of the body, and giveth it a contempt for all earthly things.
C. H. SPURGEON: If such be the sweetness of the music of the saints below, where there is much of discord and sin to mar the harmony, how sweet must it be to sing above, with cherubim and seraphim. O what songs must those be which the Eternal ever hears upon His throne!
MARY WINSLOW (1774-1854): What will the music of heaven be!
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The melody and harmony of heaven are far above our conceptions. The music of that happy land has no dependence upon the vibrations of the ear, or the admirable structure of the human ear. But we have reason to believe there is in the world of light and love, something analogous to what we call music, though different in kind, and vastly superior in effect, to any strains that can be produced by the most exquisite voices or instruments, upon earth.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): In heaven our harps will never be hung on the willows―our hearts will never be untuned. We shall perfectly and for ever sing the song of Moses and the Lamb.
C. H. SPURGEON: Let us sing to our Well-beloved a song.
MARTIN LUTHER: Let us sing Psalms and spite the devil!
THOMAS KEN (1637-1711): Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly hosts:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.