The Power of Praise in the Midst of Persecution & Peril

Psalm 40:3; Psalm 146:2

He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): A Christian is a bird that can sing in winter, as well as in spring.

JOHN FOXE (1517-1587): In the year 1527, there happened a rare and marvellous example, and spectacle, in the town of Munich in Bavaria; a certain man, named George Carpenter, of Emerich, was there burnt—he was desired by certain Christian brethren, that as soon as he was cast into the fire, he should give some sign or token what his faith or belief was. To whom he answered, “This shall be my sign and token; that so long as I can open my mouth, I will not cease to call upon the name of Jesus.”

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): The first that were burnt for religion, since the Reformation began, are said to be Henry and John, two Augustinian monks at Brussels, in 1523, under James Hogostratus the Dominican Inquisitor. The executioner, asked if they had recanted in the flames, denied there was any such thing, but said that when the fire was put to them, they continued singing the creed, and Te Deum, till the flame took away their voice. All this Erasmus testified, though he was no Lutheran.

J. C. PHILPOT (1802-1869): Martin Luther wrote a hymn upon their death, full of fire and energy which, in a short time, was sung everywhere in Germany and the Netherlands, the beginning of which has been thus translated:

No, their ashes will not die;

Abroad their holy dust will fly,

And scatter’d o’er earth’s farthest strand,

Raise up for a God a warlike band.

Satan, by taking life away,

Make keep them silent for a day;

But death has from him a victory rung

And Christ in every clime is sung.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): Let us sing Psalms and spite the devil.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Luther’s translations of the psalms were of as much service as Luther’s discussions and controversies―his translation of the Psalms and his chorales did more, perhaps, to make the Reformation popular than even his preaching, for the ploughman at his field-labour, and the housewife at the cradle, would sing one of Luther’s Psalms; so, too, in our own country, in John Wycliffe’s day, fresh psalms and hymns were scattered all over the land.

J. H. M. d’AUBIGNÉ (1794-1872): From the days of Luther the people sang; the Bible inspired their hymns. It was impossible, in celebrating the praises of God to be confined to mere translations of the ancient hymns. Luther’s own soul, and that of several of his contemporaries, raised by faith to the sublimest thoughts, and excited by the battles and perils which incessantly threatened the rising church, soon gave utterance to their feelings in religious poems, in which poetry and music were united and blended.

MARTIN LUTHER: After theology, it is to music that I give the first place and the highest honour.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN (1826-1910): All intense emotion seeks expression in poetry, and music is the natural speech of a vivid faith. Luther chanted the Marseillaise of the Reformation, “A safe stronghold our God is still,” and many another sweet strain blended strangely with the fiery and sometimes savage words from his lips. The Scottish Reformation, grim in some of its features as it was, had yet its “Gude and Godly Ballads.”

C. H. SPURGEON: Methinks, in a spiritual sense, when Martin Luther first bowed his knee, the Church began to chant, “Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered,” Psalm 68:1. When John Knox in Scotland upheld the glory of Jesus’ name, was it not once again, Psalm 68:1, “O God arise, let them that hate Him, flee before Him?

WILLIAM TAYLOR (1821-1902): Praise and power go ever hand in hand. The two things act and react upon each other. An era of spiritual force in the Church is always one of praise.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): It is said of Luther, that when he heard any discouraging news, he would say, “Come, let us sing the 46th psalm.”

C. H. SPURGEON: Do you desire a far nobler example? Your great Lord and mine, when He went to His last tremendous conflict where the powers of darkness marshaled all their strength against Him, and He strove until He sweat, as it were, great drops of blood—how did He go? Here is the answer: After supper, they sang a hymn, Mark 14:26; “After they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives,” that is, to Gethsemane—He went to His agony singing! He was about to be deserted by His friends and even forsaken of His God, but into that deadly contest, wherein He must be cast into the disgrace and dishonour of scourging and shameful spitting—even to that, our Champion went with a song upon His lips because the LORD was His song! So, my friends, while we are working, let us sing! You will do your work much better if your hands keep time to a cheery strain. While we are fighting let us sing and plant our blows while we chant our hallelujahs.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1901): This is the greatest challenge that comes to us. We are standing for the truth, we are fighting for the truth, but are we rejoicing?―If we really believe what we read we must praise Him…His high praises should be on our lips because of what He has done in His Son. We must praise Him for whatever may be happening to us. We do not wait for a mood or a state, we do not wait for results; we praise Him for what He has done, and for the wonderful works of God. What are we? We are sons of God! We are the children of the living God! And the exhortation that comes to us is this:

“Children of the heavenly King,

As ye journey sweetly sing…”

MARTIN LUTHER: The Christian ought to be a living doxology.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Nothing tends so much to animate to courage and confidence, and therefore it has always been employed in warfare. On a similar principle, there has never been a revival of religion, in any country or in any neighbourhood, but has been attended with a fondness for psalmody. Luther knew the force of it, and much and successfully encouraged it in the beginning and progress of the Reformation in Germany. It is also a very enlivening exercise. Nothing is so adapted to excite holy affections. Let any one, in order to prove this, read only, and then sing the very same words, and what a difference will he feel in the effects of the two.

 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.



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