The Importance of Singing
1. Singing is the music of nature
The Scriptures tell us the mountains sing (Isa. 44:23); the valleys sing (Psa. 65:13); the trees of the wood sing (1 Chron. 16:33). No, the air is the birds’ music-room, where they chant their musical notes.
2. Singing is the music of ordinances
Augustine reports of himself that when he came to Milan and heard the people sing, he wept for joy in the church to hear that pleasing melody. And Beza confesses that at his first entrance into the congregation, and hearing them sing Psalm 91, he felt himself exceedingly comforted and retained the sound of it afterwards in his heart. The rabbis tell us that the Jews, after the feast of the Passover was celebrated, sang Psalm 111 and the five following psalms; and our Saviour and his apostles ‘sang an hymn’ immediately after the blessed supper (Matt. 26:30).
3. Singing is the music of saints
i. They have performed this duty in their greatest numbers (Psa. 149:1).
ii. In their greatest straits (Isa. 26:19).
iii. In their greatest flight (Isa. 42:10, 11).
iv. In their greatest deliverances (Isa. 65:14).
v. In their greatest plenties.
In all these changes, singing has been their stated duty and delight. And indeed it is fitting that the saints and servants of God should sing forth their joys and praises to the Lord Almighty; every attribute of him can set both their song and their tune.
4. Singing is the music of angels
Job tells us, ‘The morning stars sang together’ (Job 38:7). Now these morning stars, as Pineda tells us, are the angels; to which the Chaldee paraphrase accords, naming these morning stars, ‘a host of angels.’ Nay, when this heavenly host was sent to proclaim the birth of our dearest Jesus, they delivered their message in this raised way of duty (Luke 2:13). They were delivering their messages in a ‘laudatory singing,’ the whole company of angels making a musical choir. No, in heaven there is the angels’ joyous music; they there sing hallelujahs to the Most High and to the Lamb who sits upon the throne (Rev. 5:11, 12).
5. Singing is the music of heaven
The glorious saints and angels accent their praises this way, and make one harmony in their state of blessedness; and this is the music of the bride-chamber (Rev. 15:3). The saints who were tuning here their psalms are now singing hallelujahs in a louder strain and articulating their joys, which here they could not express to their perfect satisfaction. Here they laboured with drowsy hearts and faltering tongues, but in glory these impediments are removed, and nothing is left to jar their joyous celebrations.
John Wells (1623-1676) was the Puritan pastor of St. Olave’s, Jewry, in the City of London. The church survived the Great Fire of London (1666) and still stands. Thomas Watson preached at Wells’ funeral.
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