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not for ridiculous and profane trifling, but for our advantage and that of our brother. Thus much of the first
2. Admonishing, VOUDETOŪVTES.] This is the second use, and relates to manners. The Apostle, then, wishes that Christians imbued with the knowledge of the Scriptures, should from thence derive the rule of manners ; and (when it is necessary) advise their brethren according to it, about the exercise of virtues, the avoiding of faults, and breaking off their sins. For this duty of mutual admonition and correction devolves upon all the pious. I will teach sinners thy ways, &c. Psal. li. 13. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart; thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him, Levit. xix. 17; If any man obey not our word by this Epistle,- yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother, 2 Thess. iii. 14, 15. They who neglect this even participate in other men's sins : For truly says Prosper, De vita contemplat. 3. 23, I sin among all sinners, when from a certain cruel malignity of mind I do not reprove them whom I know io have sinned, or to sin. The Schoolmen lay down many conditions of legitimate correction. In correcting or admonishing another, they require aptitude for correction, meekness in correcting, a certain knowledge of the fault, a probable hope of the amending of the offender, suitability of the time, and weight of offence. But the Scriptures require before all other things, charity and meekness in instructing and admonishing brethren. If any one be overtaken in a fault, ye who are spiritual restore such a man in the spirit of meekness, Gal. vi. 1. To this that rule of Augustine in Expos. epist. ad Gal. has respect: The office of reproving another's sin is never to be undertaken, unless our conscience shall clearly answer before God, that we do it from love : for whatever you shall say with bitterness of spirit, is the attack of one who punishes, not the charity of a corrector.
Corollaries. 1. A true Christian not only directs his own ways according to the commands of God, but, as far as in him
lies, those also of his brethren. That diabolical speech of Cain, (Gen. iv. 9) therefore,. never comes into his mind; Am I my brother's keeper ?
2. That haughtiness which is wont to bear any correction or brotherly admonition with an evil mind, is to be rejected; for it is the direct road to destruction, as Solomon forewarns, Prov. xxix. 1.
3. These mutual admonitions are more grateful to the godly and prudent, than flatteries are to fools : He that rebuketh a man, afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue, Prov. xxviii. 23. Thus much of the other use of the Scriptures, in admonishing.
3. In psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing, &c.] This is the third use of the Scriptures, and regards the celebration of the Divine name, and our mutual comfort. Some join these words, psalms, and hymns, and spiritual song's, with those preceding, teaching and admonishing one another. But others, and with not less probability, with those following, singing unto the Lord, namely, in psalms, &c. The point is of little moment: For if they are referred to the preceding, they are not to be understood as though the materials of teaching and adnionishing were to be derived from psalms and hymns alone; but the Apostle thereby wished to intimate, that even when we mean to promote hilarity, we ought to be mindful of mutual edification and utility.
As to the understanding of the words themselves : psalms (as it seems to Jerome) are what treat of morality, and shew what is to be done, and what avoided ; hymns, what set forth the greatness and the majesty of God, and extol his goodness and his works; song's or odes, those which artificially unfold the harmony of the world and the order of all creatures. Beza on this passage speaks somewhat differently: he calls psalms whatever verses are written with various arguments (which among the Hebrews are termed mizmorim): he calls those hymns, which contain the praises of God only (which the Hebrews call tehillim); those songs or odes, which are peculiar and more artificial, which also embrace the same praises, but in a certain form more august than psalms or hymns (which the Hebrews call schirim). The Apostle would have us to entertain and promote our hilarity by these, according to that direction of St. James, v. 13, If any be merry, let him sing psalms. But in these psalms and hymns, or songs of believers, four conditions are required :
1. That they must be spiritual] and that in a twofold respect; as well in regard to the origin, as in regard to the matter. As to the origin : like as Moses, David, and others, under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, composed and sang their hymns, psalms, and songs; so we, whether we sing the same or others, ought to do it by the influence and direction of the Holy Spirit. That the psalms and bymns of the godly flow as it were from the primary author, is gathered from Ephes. v. 18, 19, Be not drunk with wine, says the Apostle, but be filled with the Spirit: Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, &c. As though he had said, As wine is wont to excite the drunkards to foolish, silly, and lascivious airs; so does the Spirit inspire the godly to psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. We have examples in the New Testament, of the blessed Virgin, Zacharias, and Simeon : and also in the primitive Church, certain of the holy fathers composed hymns, remains of which we retain even to this day. These psalms, hymns, and songs are also spiritual as to the matter: For they treat of spiritual things, relating to the glory of God and our salvation; not of secular, vain, and earthly matters. This is the first condition.
2. They must be sung with grace.] Some explain grace in this passage to mean gratitude, or thanksgiving, The word grace is sometimes taken in this sense. In 1 Cor. xv. 57, But thanks, xapis, be to God, who giveth us the victory; and in 2 Cor. ii. 14, But thanks, xapis, be to God, who always causeth us to triumph in Christ. Gratitude is not improperly joined to songs; because we are for the most part moved to sing in joyous and prosperous circumstances, in which condition the affection of gratitude is binding and plainly necessary. But others explain these words with grace, with a certain gracious affubility, which conveys buth pleasure and utility to the hearers : so that what Horace says concerning poets, the same may be said of these spiritual songs,
They would both profit and delight. In this same sense the word grace, xapis, is sometimes taken, as afterwards in Chap. iv. vers. 6, Let your speech be always with grace, 'ev yapıtı; and in Ephes. iv. 29 ; Let your speech be such, as shall minister grace to the hearers.
3. They must be sung in their hearts] that is, from the inmost affection of the heart: for he does not exclude the voice, but advises that the affection of the heart be always joined with the voice. And rightly indeed is a certain ardent motion required in the heart itself by the Apostle : for the action of singing declares as it were the internal exultation of the heart. He therefore acts the hypocrite, who sings with the heart asleep. Hence the Royal Psalmist, when he addresses himself to sing, not only tunes his voice to the harp, but his heart in preference to either and before either. My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed : I will sing and give praise unto the Lord. Awake up my glory; awake, psallery and harp, &c. Psal. lvii. 7, 8. So the blessed Virgin, Luke i. 46, 47, My soul doth mugnify the Lord; and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. The exultation of the heart, therefore, preceded; whereupon the tongue brake forth into that divine song. Hence Bernard, in his Serm. 52 De modo bene vivendi, says, When in the presence of God you sing psalms and hymns, revolve in your mind what you sing with your voice ; do not Think one thing, and sing another.
4. They must be sung unto the Lord] namely, to Christ the Saviour, our God and our Lord. The songs of Christians ought not to aim at promoting dissoluteness or gain; but to be employed in celebrating the praises of Christ the Redeemer. We do not without cause celebrate Christ as true God in hymns, when the heathen are accustomed to extol their false and senseless gods, Jupiter, Neptune, Apollo, and the rest, in hymns: in this retaining, indeed, a right opinion, because they judged this spiritual worship to be rendered to the divine nature; but yet erring inost perniciously in that they enrolled these monsters of men in
the calendar of gods. That there was a yearly custom of the primitive church, to sing hymns in their assemblies to Christ the Lord, is collected from that epistle of Pliny the Second to the Emperor Trajan, which is still extant, Lib. 10. epist 97, in which he writes, that the Christians were accustomed on a particular day to meet before light, and to sing together by turns a hymn to Christ as God. Of which epistle, and also of the manner of the Christians in worshipping Christ, Tertullian, in his Apologet, and Eusebius in Hist. eccl. lib. 3, cap. 30, make mention. But here it is proper to advise by the way, That when we assert that Christ our Lord is to be extolled in hymns, we do not exclude the Father or the Holy Spirit, nay, we call them into a participation of the same honour: for he who extols Christ the Redeemer, at the same time extols both the Father, who sent him to redeem the world ; and the Holy Spirit, who renders this redemption efficacious to all the elect and believers.
Corollaries. 1. The custom of singing is useful, and is to be adopted in the assemblies of Christians, as well in public as in private. For it has (as you see) the approbation of the Apostles ; and also that of the more antient Fathers; of Justin Martyr, in Quæst. a Gentibus positis, quæst. 107: of Augustine, Confess. lib. 9, cap. 6 and 7; and lib. 10, cap. 33 : in which places this same seems to have been the opinion of Ambrose and Athanasius.
2. It is so to be performed, that they who hear may from thence derive spiritual pleasure and edification. Therefore, farewell to all nugatory, and much more to impure sons: farewell to the superstitious bawlings of the Papists, who bellow out psalms in their temples, but in an unintelligible language, and with so much noise and tumult, that if they should use a vernacular language, yet no one would perceive what is sung by them.
3. In singing psalms it ought to be the especial care of a Christian, that his heart be rightly affected: they who neglect this, may perhaps please men by an artificial sweetness of voice, but they will displease God by an odious