Ephesians 5:19

We have here, not only an interesting picture of worship as it was conducted in the early Church, but also apostolic directions for Christian worship that may be applied to all times. Consider some of the chief features of this worship.

I. IT IS PURE. The context shows that this point was of especial interest under the circumstances that obtained when the Epistle was written. The pure and simple observances of the Christian assembly at Ephesus must have stood in striking contrast to the riotous orgies that characterized the heathen festivities. In those pagan ceremonies intoxication and licentiousness were recognized accompaniments. Instead of indulging in drunkenness, the Christians seek to be filled with the Spirit; abandoning immoral practices, they occupy themselves in social worship by singing and making melody in their hearts. Pagans separated morality from religion. To Christians neither is possible without the other. Christian worship must be offered up in the beauty of holiness. Christian conduct is purified and elevated by the inspiration of worship.

II. IT IS SPIRITUAL. We are to make melody with our "heart." The heart stands, not for the feelings only nor chiefly, but generally for the inner life. Worship must begin here, or the richest music and the sweetest song will be an empty mockery. Whatever be our forms of worship, we have constantly to remember that the spiritual God can only be really worshipped in spirit, in inward thoughts and feelings of devotion.

III. IT IS EMOTIONAL. Religion is not all feeling. It is based on convictions, and it develops into actions. But religion does not dispense with emotions. It touches our whole nature - the emotional part with the rest. It makes great use of feelings as springs of active and sympathetic influences. We ought to cherish feelings of love and adoration. In worship this element of religion finds its natural scope and exercise.

IV. IT IS JOYOUS. Instead of gloomy rites and bloody sacrifices Christians have music and song in their worship. They are living under a gospel and should echo back the glad tidings of God's love. They are coming to a Father and should approach him with happy home-confidence. They are following Christ, who gives his joy to his people (John 15:11).

V. IT IS VOCAL. It begins in the heart, but it does not remain hidden there. Deep feeling naturally wells out in strong utterance. Religious emotion is encouraged and assisted by adequate expression. Of all parts of religion thanksgiving should be least reserved.

VI. IT IS MUSICAL. "Making melody." We cannot make the service of praise too beautiful, because we should offer to God what is best in form as well as in substance, and because the music of song assists the feeling that it expresses. Slovenly singing is a mark of indifference and irreverence.

VII. IT IS CONGREGATIONAL. "Speaking one to another." This is probably an allusion to antiphonal congregational singing. But whatever be the method adopted, and though a choir may take its part in the service, it is plainly the intention of St. Paul that all the people should sing, and that thus one should exhort and encourage another. We cannot praise God by proxy.

VIII. IT IS ADDRESSED TO GOD IN CHRIST. "To the Lord." Pliny writes how the Christians in his time met in the early morning to sing hymns to one Christ. We are not to sing simply for our own delectation or spiritual culture, or merely to attract and interest others, but mainly as addressing God and Christ in praise and communion. - W.F.A.

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
I. 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 express our thoughts, but we do not always use words to express our feelings. These we can clearly and forcibly express by simple sounds. How often do we see this exemplified in the case of little children! Before they are capable of speaking, or even understanding a single word, they can express their joy and sorrow, their love and hatred, and all the variety of their feelings, by merely varying the tones of their voice. This language of the heart grows up with every person, and would be as commonly used as the language of the understanding, were it not restrained by the force of example, or by the sense of propriety. Accordingly we find that music has always been much more in use among those people, who have been left to follow the mere dictates of nature, than among others who have been governed by the customs and manners of civil society.

II. THE DESIGN OF SACRED MUSIC IN PARTICULAR. General music becomes particular when it is applied to one particular purpose. The first purpose to which mankind naturally apply music is to cheer and exhilarate their spirits. The design of another kind of music is to inspire men with a spirit of courage, fortitude, and patriotism. This is the music of the army. But the great design of sacred music is to awaken and express every holy affection of the heart towards God.


1. That sacred music should be constructed with great simplicity.

2. It is highly proper that sacred music should be connected with poetry, in order to promote private and public devotion. Melodious sounds have only a mechanical operation on the mind; but when they are united with appropriate language, they produce a moral effect. The apostle directs Christians not only to sing, but to sing in psalms, or hymns, or spiritual songs. This is always proper in devotional music, which has immediate reference to God, who is the only proper object of religious worship. How absurd would it be, for instance, to celebrate the birthday of Washington by mere music, without any ode or hymn adapted to the occasion! And how much more absurd would it be to celebrate the character, the works, and the ways of God, by mere music, without using any psalm or spiritual song, to bring those great and glorious objects into view! There can be no religious affection without the perception of some religious object. Some part of the Divine character or the Divine conduct must be seen, in order to exercise any right affection towards God. And since it is the sole design of sacred music to excite or express devout and holy affections towards the Divine Being, it should always be connected with some significant and appropriate language, either in prose or poetry.

3. Sacred music should not only be connected with words, but adapted to their sense, rather than to their sound. When music is adapted to the mere sound of words, it can serve no other purpose than to please the ear; but when it is adapted to the proper meaning of a psalm or hymn, it not only pleases the ear, but affects the heart. It is here that both composers and performers of sacred music are most apt to fail. How often do composers appear to pay more regard to the sound than to the sense of the words which they set to music!

4. Sacred music can never produce its best effect unless it be performed with true sincerity. There ought to be a perfect concord between the music, the words, and the heart.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

1. The singers. — Christians.

2. The song itself. Three divisions.(1) Psalms. — They are the composures of holy David.(2) Hymns. — They are the songs of some other excellent men recorded in Scripture, as Moses, Heman, Asaph, etc.(3) Spiritual songs. — They are odes of some other holy and good men not mentioned in Scripture, as the song of , Nepos, and others.

3. Some aver that these several speeches mentioned in the text, answer the Hebrew distinction of psalms. But I may add, Are not all these several species mentioned to prefigure the plenty and the joy which is reserved for the saints within the veil, when they shall join in concert with the glorious angels in singing their perpetual hallelujahs to their glorious Creator?

3. The manner of singing. Our text saith, "making melody"; with inward joy and tripudiation of soul; if the tongue make the pause, the heart must make the elevation.

4. The master of the choir, the preceptor. That is, the "heart."

5. The end of the duty — "To the Lord." Our singing must not serve our gain, or our luxury, or our fancy; but our Lord. The several parts of the text being thus opened, they may be set together again in this Divine and excellent truth: In the ordinance of singing, we must not make noise, but music; and the heart must make melody to the Lord. In this service we must study more to act the Christian than the musician. We must sing David's psalms with David's spirit.

I.We will show the Divine authority of this ordinance.

II.We will show the sweetness of it.

III.The universal practice of it.

IV.We shall show the honours God hath put upon this ordinance.

V.And then come to the main case.

VI.And make application.


1. From Scripture precept. And here we have divers commands laid upon us, both in the Old and New Testament. David, who among his honourable titles obtains this, to be called "the sweet singer of Israel" (2 Samuel 23:1) — he frequently calls upon himself: "I will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high" (Psalm 7:17). And sometimes he calls upon others: "Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him, talk ye of all His wondrous works" (1 Chronicles 16:9). Nay, sometimes He summons the whole earth to join in this duty: "Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; show forth from day to day His salvation " (1 Chronicles 16:23; Psalm 68:32). And holy Hezekiah — he propagated this service (2 Chronicles 29:30). Nay, in their times when the royal majesty was lodged in Judah, singers were a peculiar office enjoined constantly to sing the praises of the Lord (1 Kings 10:12). And Jehoshaphat "appointed singers "(2 Chronicles 20:21). Nay, and Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and Ethan, men eminent and holy, were employed in this holy service (2 Chronicles 5:12). But why should I light a candle at noon day? Thus this harmonious service was most usual and most acceptable in the times of the law.

2. From Scripture argument. And I shall only take out one shaft out of the whole quiver. I shall use one argument among many, which is this, namely, we always find this duty of singing psalms linked to and joined with other moral duties (Psalm 95:1, 6; James 5:13).

3. From Scripture pattern. Moses both pens a psalm, namely, the ninetieth; and sings a holy song, and Exodus 15. is the record of it. So David tripudiates in the practice of this delightful service (Psalm 104:33).

4. From Scripture prophecy. Divers prophecies in the Old Testament concerning this ordinance in the New. So in Psalm 108:3; upon which Mollerus observes, that in that text David pours forth ardent prayers and wishes for the kingdom of Christ. And so divines observe that the first and second verses of Psalm 100 are prophetical: "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing." To which may be added that pregnant prophecy recorded in Isaiah 52:8.

II. WE MAY TAKE NOTICE OF THE SWEETNESS OF THIS DUTY. Singing is the soul's jubilee, our spiritual recreation, the shout of the heart, our tuning of our hallelujahs, the sweetest solace of a sanctified soul.

1. Singing is the music of nature (Isaiah 44:23; Psalm 65:13).

2. Singing is the music of ordinances. reports of himself, that when he came to Milan and heard the people sing, he wept for joy.

3. Singing is the music of saints.

(1)They have performed this duty in their greatest numbers (Psalm 149:2).

(2)In their greatest straits (Isaiah 26:19).

(3)In their greatest flight (Isaiah 42:10, 11).

(4)In their greatest deliverances (Isaiah 65:14.

(5)In their greatest plenties.

4. Singing is the music of angels (Job 38:7; Luke 2:13).

5. Singing is the music of heaven (Revelation 15:8).


1. By all varieties of persons.

(1)By Christ and His apostles (Matthew 26:30).

(2)By godly princes (2 Chronicles 29:30).

(3)Worthy governors (2 Chronicles 5:12).

(4)Holy prophets (Psalm 156:2. Deuteronomy 32).

(5)The body of the people.As singing is not too low for kings, so not too choice for subjects. The whole multitude sometimes engaged in the harmony: "Then Israel sang this song" (Numbers 21:17). The people's voice may make melody, as the lesser birds contribute to the music of the grove, their chirping notes filling up the harmony.

2. In all ages. This service of singing to God was soon started in the world. Moses, the first penman of Scripture — he both sung a song and penned a psalm, as we hinted before. In the Judges' times, Deborah and Barak sang a triumphant song (Judges 5:1, 2, etc.). During the time of the kings of Judah, the Levites sang the praises of God in the sanctuary. A little before the captivity, we find the Church praising God in singing (Isaiah 35:2). In the time of the captivity, Israel did not forget the songs of Zion, though they were in Babylon (Psalm 126:2). After their return from captivity, we soon find them return to this joyous service (Nehemiah 7:1). Their long exile had not banished this duty. Towards the close of their prophet's prophesying, the Church is again engaged in this part of God's worship (Zephaniah 3:15, 17).

3. In all places. Moses praiseth God by singing in the wilderness, throughout Exodus 15. David practises this duty in the tabernacle (Psalm 47:6); Solomon in the temple (1 Kings 10:12); Jehoshaphat in the camp (2 Chronicles 20:21); Christ and His apostles in a particular chamber (Matthew 26:80); and Paul and Silas in an uncomfortable prison (Acts 16:25). We may say of singing, as the apostle speaks of prayer: "I will," saith he, "that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands" (1 Timothy 2:8).

4. In all conditions.(1) In a time of cheerfulness and inward joy. The Apostle James commands us then to take the advantage of singing psalms (James 5:13). Joy may excite, must not stifle, this duty.(2) In a time of affliction. Paul and Silas sang in prison, a place of sorrow and confinement (Acts 16:25). A chain might bind their feet, but not their tongue; while others sleep, they sing, and turn their dungeon into a chapel.(3) In a time of fear. When some would press Luther with the dangers the Church was in, and what a black cloud hung over Zion, he would call for Psalm 46 to be sung; and he thought that psalm was a charm against all fears whatsoever. And since, this psalm is called "Luther's psalm," his sacred spell against invading fears.

5. By all sexes. Miriam sings a song to God, as well as Moses (Exodus 15:21). Rivet well observes, "God is the Lord of both sexes." Women, though they are removed by apostolical command from the desk or pulpit, yet they are not debarred the choir, to join in that harmony where God's praises are elevated.


1. God hath honoured this duty with glorious appearances. This we find upon record in 2 Chronicles 5:13.

2. With eminent victories (2 Chronicles 20:21, 22).

3. With evident miracles (Acts 16:25, 26).


1. We must sing with understanding. We must not be guided by the tune, but the words, of the psalm; we must mind the matter more than the music, and consider what we sing, as well as how we sing.

2. We must sing with affection. Love is the fulfilling of this law. It is a notable saying of St. : "It is not crying, but loving, that sounds in the ears of God." The pretty child sings a mean song; but it delights the mother, because there is love on both sides.

3. We must sing with real grace. This the apostle admonishes us (Colossians 3:16). It is grace, not nature, sweetens the voice to sing. We must draw out our spices, our graces, in this duty.

4. We must slug with excited grace. Not only with grace habitual, but with excited and actual. The musical instrument delights not but when it is played upon. The clock must be plucked up before it can guide our time; the bird pleaseth not in her nest, but in her notes; the chimes only make music while they are going. Let us therefore beg the Spirit to "blow upon our garden, that the spices thereof may flow out," when we set upon this joyous service (Song of Solomon 4:16). God loves active grace in duty; that the soul should be ready trimmed, when it presents itself to God in any worship.

5. We must sing with spiritual joy. Indeed, singing only makes joy articulate; it is only the turning of bullion into coin; as the prophet speaks to this purpose (Isaiah 65:14). Singing is only the triumphant gladness of a gracious heart, a softer rapture.

6. We must sing with faith.

7. We must sing in the Spirit.

8. Purify thy heart.

9. Neglect not preparatory prayer.

1. Those who despise this ordinance do not consider the holy ends of this duty; namely —

(1)Psalms are sung for instruction.

(2)Psalms are sung for admonition.

(3)Psalms are sung for praise and thanksgiving.

2. Nor do such consider the rare effects of this duty, namely, of singing to the Lord: and they are —(1) Singing can sweeten a prison. Thus Paul and Silas indulcorated their bondage by this service (Acts 16:25).(2) Singing can prepare us for sufferings. When Christ was ready to be offered up, He sang an hymn with His disciples: Christ sups and sings, then dies.(3) Singing lightens and exhilarates the soul.

3. Nor do such consider the sweet allurements which draw us to this duty. And if we inquire what it is that puts us upon rejoicing in God by singing, I shall tell you —(1) The good Spirit. That heavenly principle both leads us to this duty, and helps us in it.(2) The joyous heart. Holy singing is both the sign and vent of joy. The little child is pained, and then it cries; the saint is surprised with joy, and then it breaks out into singing.(3) A sense of obedience. To sing praises to the Lord is a duty which the saints know not how to wave or respite.

I. This checks those who scruple this ordinance. Surely this must proceed from the evil one, turning himself into an angel of light.

II. Let this check those who suspend and neglect this heavenly ordinance.

III. This likewise checks those who formalize in this duty; who act a part, not a duty. They make a noise, and not music; and more provoke the eyes, than please the ears, of God. Bernard makes two conditions of grateful singing.

1. "We must sing purely, minding what we sing; nor must we act or think anything besides; there must be no vain or vagrant thoughts; no dissonancy between the mind and the tongue.

2. "We must sing strenuously, not idly, not sleepily or perfunctorily."

IV. Let us get an interest in Christ. If we are not in Christ, we are certainly out of tune. The singing of a sinner is natural, like the singing of a bird. But the singing of a saint is musical, like the singing of a child. We are accepted in Christ in this offer of love. Therefore let us get into Christ: He can raise our voice in singing to a pleasing elevation.

V. Let us sometimes raise our hearts in holy contemplation. Let us think of the music of the bride chamber. There shall be no cracked strings, displeasing sounds, harsh voices, nothing to abate or remit our melody; there shall be no willows to hang up our harps upon.

(J. Wells, M. A.)

This is but one of hundreds of passages in which the inspired writers, both of the Old and the New Testaments, dwell on the sacredness of music. "Joy and gladness shall be found therein," says David of the redeemed Zion, "thanksgiving, and the voice of melody." Music is in our Lord's parable the fit sign of joy for the returning prodigal. "Is any merry," says St. James, "let him sing psalms." Not only the psalms which we have just been singing, but it is not too much to say that even the whole Bible rings with music. There is an heavenly music in it and an earthly music. For in the very beginning when the earth was made we are told that "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." And in the very beginning of the gospel also, when the gospel was revealed, there was with the herald angel "a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, goodwill towards men." And as music is the earliest, so is it the last glimpse we have of heaven, when, before its azure curtain was closed forever to mortal eyes, we see myriads of angels shouting Hallelujah; and "harpers harping with their harps," and the redeemed in their countless multitudes as with "the sound of many waters, and as with the voice of great thunder," "singing the song of Moses and the Lamb." And so, too, from first to last, there is in the Bible an abundance of earthly music. In the fourth chapter of Genesis, you have the first instruments invented by Jubal — "the father of all such as handle the harp and organ." In the thirty-first chapter of Genesis you have the first choir, when Laban says that he would have sent Jacob away with mirth and with songs, with tabret and with harp. And after that the whole Bible thrills with song. There is Miriam with her timbrels shaken over the rolling waves which have drowned the enemies of God. There are the silver trumpets of the new moons and the solemn feast days. There is David with his psalms, now sad as the wail over Saul, and Jonathan lost upon the mountains of Gilboa; now rapturous as the paeans which tell of the triumph of the Lord. There are the Levites in their white robes on the temple steps, the one choir singing aloud, "Oh, give thanks unto the Lord," and the other replying as with thunderous antiphone — "for His mercy endureth forever." The exiles march home from Babylon with rivers of music; the disciples break forth into hymns after Pentecost; our Lord and His apostles sing a hymn before that last walk under the olive trees to the Garden of Gethsemane; Paul and Silas, their backs bleeding with Roman rods, turn their prison into an edeum, and God gives them songs in the night. Even in the Epistles, as far back as these early days of Christianity, we find more than one fragment of the earliest Christian hymns. And lastly, the Apocalypse, as Milton said, "shuts up the stately acts of its awful tragedy, and fitly concludes the whole volume of Scripture with a seven-fold chorus of Hallelujahs and harping symphonies."

(Archdeacon Farrar.)

There is, indeed, little of what can be accurately called music in nature, for music is the Divine prerogative of human and angelic beings, and nature furnishes only the rude elements of music, the uncut diamonds, as it were, of sound. We may, indeed, say that the winds of God make music under the blue dome of His temple, "not made with hands"; music, sweet sometimes and soft as the waving of angel wings, or weird as when it sweeps the wild moors and mingles the multitudinous murmurs of the withered heather bells, or awful as when it roars among the mountain pines. And you may say that the sea makes music; now in the ripples that flash upon the shore, and now in the bursting of its stormy billows. And you may say that the thrush and the nightingale make music, or the lark when it becomes a singing speck in the summer heaven. And so the poets have sung of the music of nature; but, my brethren, the music is not in these outward things; where they sound to us like music it is because we are "making melody" of them in our hearts; happy for us if that melody be always "to the Lord." It is thus that David says, "Praise the Lord upon earth: ye dragons, and all deeps; fire and hail, snow and vapours: wind and storm, fulfilling His word," etc. Yet David knew that the music of heaven and earth was in itself deep silence. It was only the music of the cosmos, the music which the beauty and order of the universe awaken in the heart of man, and none had ever heard it, though the Jewish legend said that Moses was solely sustained by that music of the spheres when he spent those forty days upon the mount of God.

(Archdeacon Farrar.)

The man who makes melody in his heart to the Lord will make it in his life. "Making melody." What is melody? Is it not the arrangement of notes, the sequence of the same or different sounds, so following one another as to give us pleasure? Unless there be melody in your hearts there will be no true music, neither Christmas music, nor Lenten music, nor Easter music, in your worship. Believe me, we may be able to make little music, or none at all, with our hands or our voices; but oh! what music we can make of the sweet, solemn, sacred human life of every one of us! And how beautiful is a musical life; but how many of us spoil it!

"How sour sweet music is when time is broke

And no proportion kept."So is it with the music of men's lives. When do we "break the time"? When there is no rhythm, no due order, no regulated sequence in our lives; when "reckless youth makes rueful age"; when we waste, squander, defile, throw away our early years, and are never able to be again what once we might have been; when we have sudden pauses and backslidings, and breaks and stoppings short in the wholesome continuity of righteous purposes and righteous actions; above all, when we sacrifice the vast future to the fleeting present; when we sell our eternity for a little hour — ah! then we ruin the melody; for we "break the time." And when is there "no proportion kept"? Is it not when some evil passion or some base desire utterly subdues and masters us, raises above the rest its dominant and screaming voice, makes of our lives a foolish and fussy egotism, or a harsh and agonizing jar? Ah! what broken music there is in the individual character of many of us. When the unruly wills and affections of sinful men snatch up in their lives each its several instrument, or when they lay their tainted and raging hands upon the sacred strings; pleasure, with its corrupt under song; pride, with its jangling cymbals; hate, with its fierce trumpet; malice, with its ear piercing fife. What horrible discord there is in the lives of the drunkard, the cheat, the gambler, the debauchee! You have all heard of that point on the strings of the violin, which, if touched, produces a harsh and grating dissonance called the wolf note. Alas! how often do we hear in our own lives, and in the lives of others, that hideous jarring wolf note — the wolf note of envy, of virulent hatred, of vile, selfish lust, from the stringed instrument of what should be a man's sacred life! Only, my brethren, if there be melody in your hearts to the Lord can you make life and death and the forever one grand, sweet, song. For the potentiality of music is everywhere. The heart of every one of you is a harp of God. Yield it to the music of furious passions, and it will disgust and horrify; but let it be swept by the Holy Spirit of God, and it will give forth Divine and solemn sounds. Then, lastly, for the music of life harmony is no less necessary than melody. We must learn the united chorus no less than the individual hymn. The sounds of our lives must not only be sweet in themselves, but they must be subordinated to each other. If melody be the due sequence, is not harmony the due inter-relation of sounds? the combination of different sounds uttered at the same time, but so related to each other as to give us pleasure? A self-willed musician, one who only cares to hear his own voice, one who from carelessness or from vanity will introduce his own eccentric or special variation, one whose voice is always ringing false or falling flat, does not he ruin the harmony and so spoil the chorus? Where there is not God's peace in the life, where selfishness rules in place of self-denial, where pride asserts itself at the expense of considerateness, where violence overleaps the barriers of law, there, for the music of life's sweet and solemn chorus, you have got the screeching discords of anarchy and an anticipated hell. As the hideous sounds of war break up the unity and spoil the chorus of nations, so the quarrels, hatreds, envies, selfishness of individual men, spoil God's choir of human society. These it is which keep us out of tune with heaven. When the breath of the Holy Spirit of God breathes through the organ of noble natures, then, indeed, the world hears music as Divine as it is rare; but when a man has nothing to offer to that high influence of the Holy Spirit of God but the "scrannel pipes" of an individuality which he has degraded by egotism and by mean alms, then all his life becomes a lean and flashy song. There can be no harmony in ourselves, no harmony in societies where there is no melody in our individual lives. Only by self-repression, by obedience, by humility, by purity, by common sympathy, can we get that music which one day shall be when the sound of every several voice, of every several instrument in God's great orchestra of human communities is dominated over by the Divine keynote — shall I sadly say by the last chord of heavenly love. So, and so only, can any one of us hope to be joined to that choir, visible and invisible —

"The noble living and th' immortal dead.

Whose music is the gladness of the world."But we can all strive to be like Christ, and Christ is the music of the world. In Him only do music, chorus, worship find their meaning. Only in unison with Him can you hope for individual melody or for harmony. The time for perfect music, the time when these discords which we hear all around us shall cease to be in all the world — that time is not yet. We may hope that at some day it shall be. We may hope that He who died for the world will, we know not how, in some way or other, at last make life's broken music whole. It is the nature of evil to perish, it is the nature of good to live forever; it partakes, and it alone partakes, of God's eternity.

(Archdeacon Farrar.)

Joy in God opens a thousand gates at once. There are gates in the heart, gates in the mind, gates in the nerves and muscles of the body, and gates in the atmosphere, which may be either open to Heaven's tide of sweet influence, or shut against it. Unbelief and gloom shut the gates: hope and joy open them. But the gates are very secret, and when heaven is pouring itself in, whether upon souls in their closets, or upon congregations, no one suspects how, or by what channels, the tide has come. The joy in God, of a single soul in private, may let loose a blessing that shall run round the whole earth in its mission of comfort, and carry in its glance the break of day to numberless sad hearts. In the world, the Divine life finds prose enough; but in himself, every child of God is a new Divine poem and temple of psalmody. The understanding is not able always to appreciate the melody which is made unto the Lord, in the inmost chambers of the soul. The understanding misjudges it, and calls it groaning, because it has no ear to hear the purest music of the heart. "Blessed are they that mourn." God joys with singing, and rests in His love, over His mourners. In the "bitterest cry of His best beloved: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" the Father hears the midnight singing in the morning to all broken hearts.

(J. Pulsford.)

Old Thomas Fuller, who was as noted for his quaintness as for the wisdom of his remarks, had a defective voice; but he did not refuse to praise on this account. "Lord," he said, "my voice by nature is harsh and untunable, and it is vain to lavish any art to better it. Can my singing of psalms be pleasing to Thine ears, which is unpleasant to my own? Yet, though I cannot chant with the nightingale, or chirp with the blackbird, I had rather chatter with the swallow than be altogether silent. Now what my music wants in sweetness, let it have in sense. Yea, Lord, create in me a new heart, therein to make melody, and I will be contented with my old voice, until in due time, being admitted into the choir of heaven, I shall have another voice more harmonious bestowed upon me." So let it be with us. Let us ever sing in the same spirit and in the same joy and hope.

1. A duty prescribed, and that is, "singing of psalms."

2. It is amplified, and set forth in its parts or necessary branches, outward and reward.(1) The outward part; there we have —(a) The subject matter, "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." (b) The actions conversant about it —


(ii)singing.(2) The inward part, "Making melody in your hearts to the Lord."Doctrine: That singing of psalms is an ordinance of God's worship under the gospel.

I. Before I come to prove it, let me observe something out of the words, to fix and state the duty. Observe that singing of psalms is made to be a fruit of being filled with the Spirit.

II. Having thus stated the duty as it is here recommended to us, I shall here prove —

1. That it is a clear and unquestionable duty.

2. That it is a delectable duty.

3. That it is a very profitable duty. It is a profitable ordinance.(1) It subdueth the lusts and passions of the flesh by diversion, or directing us to a purer and safer delight. Spiritual joy is the best cure of carnal, for we keep our joy pure, and our delights are safe and healthful.(2) It inspireth us with fortitude, courage, and constancy in wrestling for the truth; for singing of psalms is our exultation in God.(3) It is profitable, as the psalm not only holdeth forth what the word read doth, but it stayeth and fixeth the heart upon the sweet and lively meditation of what we sing.Use 1. To show us what a good God we serve, who hath made our delight a great part of our work. God is much for His people's pleasure and holy joy.Use 2. To show how much we overlook our profit when we deal slightly in this ordinance. It is a means, as other duties are, not a task; and a means to make our lives both holy and comfortable; therefore let us not contemn it. The same graces which are necessary for other parts of worship, which we make greater reckoning of, are necessary here also.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

I. THE DESIGN OF PUBLIC WORSHIP MAY BE LEARNED FROM THE WORD "WORSHIP" ITSELF. Good etymologists are agreed that it is composed of the noun "worth" and the suffix "ship," forming worth-ship; contracted, "worship." The verb "to worship," accordingly, signifies to ascribe worth. John describes an act of worship, when he represents the elders falling down before the throne and saying, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power." Worship essentially consists of holy emotions inspired in the soul by the contemplation of God. Worship is complete when these emotions are expressed in the most natural and suitable form.

1. There is in the constitution of our nature a necessity for the expression of emotion. We cannot subdue expression any more than we can subdue emotion.

2. Audible worship is enjoined.

3. We have Divine example. Jesus prayed audibly. He sang with His disciples at the Holy Supper.

4. We have example furnished by the apostles in their writings, and in the records of early Church historians, and profane writers.

5. We have the continued example of the early Church for centuries, and the unbroken observance of vocal worship by the universal Church unto this day.

6. There is, however, a reason for audible worship that is alone decisive. Without audible prayer and praise, there can be no social worship.

II. WHAT PART DOES MUSIC PERFORM IN THIS WORSHIP? We have seen that worship is the expression to God of holy affections. Music is the highest form of emotional utterance, and therefore becomes a necessary instrument of worship. The child sings as naturally as it talks — it often sings before it can speak. Man everywhere has made for himself the art of song, however rude and imperfect. Religious emotion is the highest that fills the soul. Its inspiring source is the grandest, the sublimest, the only perfect, the infinite object of contemplation. Religious feeling, therefore, demands the most expressive form of utterance. The worship which consists of the speaking forth to God of oar highest and holiest affections, must have the service of song.


1. Preparation is needful to the proper employment of this part of worship. If you do not meditate upon God as He is revealed, your soul will.

2. The psalms and hymns that we sing should express correct thought and true feeling, and we should use such of these as truthfully express our own sentiments and emotions. To remedy the evil of untruthful singing, the hymn book should be made a study.

3. Sacred music should be simple and familiar.

4. All the worshippers should unite in the singing.

(J. T. Duryea.)

But whilst we believe that there is some expression of joy and praise which God peculiarly desires, and which in His Word is called "singing," yet we shall fall into most serious and fatal errors, unless we strictly understand what is principally meant by the term. And here our text will altogether assist us. It must, first, be an expression of joy having the heart as its source of utterance. "Making melody in your heart," says Paul. But this "singing" must not only come from the heart, and a new heart too, but it must also come from a believing heart in a particular state's state of joy. The very term indicates the required temperament of the soul. Singing implies gladness. "The ransomed of the Lord," says the prophet, "shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting icy upon their heads." True, there are such things as dirges; but the Christian must never attempt them. His work is "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." But, yet further, this song of the heart must have for its constant and invariable theme its Lord and Redeemer. Music is often very varied. You will often find page after page of notes all as different and widely distinguished each from each as possible. There are a thousand chords, and runs, and combinations, and movements; and yet all are variations on one short air, included perhaps in two or three lines. Just so with your Redeemer. He must be your theme, running through all the variations of business, or pleasure, or domestic cares. But, lastly, in this song you must remember, that it is only the Spirit who can teach you either the love of spiritual music, or its true expression. "Man is born to sorrow as the sparks fly upward." So many tears, so many evils, so many sins around us — oh! what a place for song! Not Babel's stream, all lined with willows, was half so unsuitable a place as this wilderness of a world, Not they that led the chained captive of Judah from his dear home were half so unreasonable in their demand for melody, as are men who can expect songs from the sin and trouble-choked sons of Adam. How can we sing the Lord's song? We are in a strange land, and a land of darkness and sorrow. Yea, we ourselves are voiceless and tuneless as the dull clay itself. Sin has taken away our faculty of song, and sorrow has put us out of heart for music. What can we sing? We can mock song it is true; we can excite ourselves to an unnatural and bacchanalian imitation of melody. Paul alludes to something of this kind, when he says, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be ye filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." As though he had said, "Go to the true source of joy; drink in the spirit of song from Him who is the Lord of bliss; be filled with the Spirit; and avoid the false, excited, drunken mirth of the world. It is only music created by the fumes of wine, and doomed to expire in weeping and wailing." What a delusion is such mere noise! What a counterfeit of the heart's music! We had intended to show you that this music must not be confined to the heart, though it must commence there. You must let others hear it, and be cheered by its cadence. "Speaking to" or among "yourselves," says Paul, "in psalms." He makes his meaning still clearer in a parallel passage. "Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." Your singing must always be designed to influence others.

(D. F. Jarman, M. A.)

Christians, Ephesians, Paul
Addressing, Chanting, Deeply, Drink, God's, Heart, Hearts, Holy, Hymns, Joining, Making, Melody, Music, Offer, Praise, Psalms, Sing, Singing, Songs, Speak, Speaking, Spirit, Spiritual, Using, Voice, Yourselves
1. After general exhortations to love;
3. to flee sexual immorality;
4. and all uncleanness;
7. not to converse with the wicked;
15. to walk carefully;
18. and to be filled with the Spirit;
22. he descends to the particular duties, how wives ought to obey their husbands;
25. and husbands ought to love their wives,
32. even as Christ does his church.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ephesians 5:19

     7925   fellowship, among believers
     7927   hymn
     7943   ministry, in church
     7963   song

Ephesians 5:18-19

     5015   heart, and Holy Spirit

Ephesians 5:18-20

     3218   Holy Spirit, and praise
     3251   Holy Spirit, filling with
     7028   church, life of
     8666   praise, manner and methods

Ephesians 5:19-20

     5420   music
     7960   singing
     8352   thankfulness
     8609   prayer, as praise and thanksgiving
     8627   worship, elements
     8676   thanksgiving

January 1. "Redeeming the Time" (Eph. v. 16).
"Redeeming the time" (Eph. v. 16). Two little words are found in the Greek version here. They are translated "ton kairon" in the revised version, "Buying up for yourselves the opportunity." The two words ton kairon mean, literally, the opportunity. They do not refer to time in general, but to a special point of time, a juncture, a crisis, a moment full of possibilities and quickly passing by, which we must seize and make the best of before it has passed away. It is intimated that there are not
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

June 27. "Be Filled with the Spirit" (Eph. v. 18).
"Be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. v. 18). Some of the effects of being filled with the Spirit are: 1. Holiness of heart and life. This is not the perfection of the human nature, but the holiness of the divine nature dwelling within. 2. Fulness of joy so that the heart is constantly radiant. This does not depend on circumstances, but fills the spirit with holy laughter in the midst of the most trying surroundings. 3. Fulness of wisdom, light and knowledge, causing us to see things as He sees them.
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

April 22. "Christ is the Head" (Eph. v. 23).
"Christ is the head" (Eph. v. 23). Often we want people to pray for us and help us, but always defeat our object when we look too much to them and lean upon them. The true secret of union is for both to look upon God, and in the act of looking past themselves to Him they are unconsciously united. The sailor was right when he saw the little boy fall overboard and waited a minute before he plunged to his rescue. When the distracted mother asked him in agony why he had waited so long, he sensibly replied:
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Third Sunday in Lent
Text: Ephesians 5, 1-9. 1 Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints; 4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

Twentieth Sunday after Trinity the Careful Walk of the Christian.
Text: Ephesians 5, 15-21. 15 Look therefore carefully how ye walk [See then that ye walk circumspectly], not as unwise, but as wise; 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit; 19 speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 giving thanks always for all things
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

God's Imitators
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children'--Eph. v. 1. The Revised Version gives a more literal and more energetic rendering of this verse by reading, 'Be ye, therefore, imitators of God, as beloved children.' It is the only place in the Bible where that bold word 'imitate' is applied to the Christian relation to God. But, though the expression is unique, the idea underlies the whole teaching of the New Testament on the subject of Christian character and conduct. To be like God, and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Pleasing Christ
'Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.'--Eph. v. 10. These words are closely connected with those which precede them in the 8th verse--'Walk as children of light.' They further explain the mode by which that commandment is to be fulfilled. They who, as children of light, mindful of their obligations and penetrated by its brightness, seek to conform their active life to the light to which they belong, are to do so by making experiment of, or investigating and determining, what is 'acceptable
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Unfruitful Works of Darkness
'And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.'--Eph. v. 11. We have seen in a former sermon that 'the fruit,' or outcome, 'of the Light' is a comprehensive perfection, consisting in all sorts and degrees of goodness and righteousness and truth. Therefore, the commandment, 'Walk as children of the light,' sums up all Christian morality. Is there need, then, for any additional precept? Yes; for Christian people do not live in an empty world. If there were
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Sleepers at Noonday
'Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light,'--Eph. v. 14. This is the close of a short digression about 'light.' The 'wherefore' at the beginning of my text seems to refer to the whole of the verses that deal with that subject. It is as if the Apostle had said, 'I have been telling you about light and its blessed effects. Now I tell you how you may win it for yours. The condition on which it is to be received by men is that they awake
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

What Children of Light Should Be
'Walk as children of light.'--Eph. v. 8. It was our Lord who coined this great name for His disciples. Paul's use of it is probably a reminiscence of the Master's, and so is a hint of the existence of the same teachings as we now find in the existing Gospels, long before their day. Jesus Christ said, 'Believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light'; and Paul gives substantially the same account of the way by which a man becomes a Son of the Light when he says, in the words preceding
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Fruit of the Light
'The fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.'--Eph. v. 9 (R.V.). This is one of the cases in which the Revised Version has done service by giving currency to an unmistakably accurate and improved reading. That which stands in our Authorised Version, 'the fruit of the Spirit' seems to have been a correction made by some one who took offence at the violent metaphor, as he conceived it, that 'light' should bear 'fruit' and desired to tinker the text so as to bring it into
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Paul's Reasons for Temperance
'And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16. Redeeming the time, because the days
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Redeeming the Time
'See, then, that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.'--Eph. v. 15, 16. Some of us have, in all probability, very little more 'time' to 'redeem.' Some of us have, in all probability, the prospect of many years yet to live. For both classes my text presents the best motto for another year. The most frivolous among us, I suppose, have some thoughts when we step across the conventional boundary that seems to separate the unbroken sequence
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

On Marriage.
TEXT: EPH. v. 22-31. IN completing lately the annual round of our Christian holy-days, I expressed to you the wish that the holy emotions which our hearts experience at such seasons might not pass away with them; but that the impressions then made might accompany us during the other half of the year, so that without any extraordinary festival incitement we might constantly retain a more lively sense of communion with the Redeemer, and a fuller enjoyment of what the eternal Father has done through
Friedrich Schleiermacher—Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher

The Light of God
Preached for the Chelsea National Schools.] Ephesians v. 13. All things which are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever is made manifest is light. This is a noble text, a royal text; one of those texts which forbid us to clip and cramp Scripture to suit any narrow notions of our own; which open before us boundless vistas of God's love, of human knowledge, of the future of mankind. There are many such texts, many more than we fancy; but this is one which is especially valuable
Charles Kingsley—Sermons for the Times

Against Foolish Talking and Jesting.
"Nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient."-- Ephes. v.4. Moral and political aphorisms are seldom couched in such terms that they should be taken as they sound precisely, or according to the widest extent of signification; but do commonly need exposition, and admit exception: otherwise frequently they would not only clash with reason and experience, but interfere, thwart, and supplant one another. The best masters of such wisdom are wont to interdict things, apt by unseasonable
Isaac Barrow—Sermons on Evil-Speaking, by Isaac Barrow

Sensual and Spiritual Excitement.
Preached August 4, 1850. SENSUAL AND SPIRITUAL EXCITEMENT. "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."--Ephesians v. 17, 18. There is evidently a connection between the different branches of this sentence--for ideas cannot be properly contrasted which have not some connection--but what that connection is, is not at first sight clear. It almost appears like a profane and irreverent juxtaposition
Frederick W. Robertson—Sermons Preached at Brighton

Members of Christ
"For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones."--Ephesians 5:30. YESTERDAY, when I had the painful task of speaking at the funeral of our dear friend, Mr. William Olney, I took the text which I am going to take again now. I am using it again because I did not then really preach from it at all, but simply reminded you of a favorite expression of his, which I heard from his lips many times in prayer. He very frequently spoke of our being one with Christ in "living, loving, lasting
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

Living, Loving, Lasting Union
With new portraits of Pastor C. H. Spurgeon and Mr. William Olney "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones--Ephesians 5:30. BEFORE the funeral, at Norwood Cemetery, of the late Mr. William Olney, senior deacon of the church at the metropolitan Tabernacle, a service was held in the Tabernacle. The building was crowded with sympathizing friends, who came to testify the affection they bore to the beloved deacon who had been so suddenly called from their midst. The senior Pastor
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

Wary Walking.
(Twentieth Sunday after Trinity.) EPHESIANS v. 15. "See then that ye walk circumspectly." Some people tell us that salvation is the easiest thing in the world. We have only to feel that we believe in Jesus Christ, and all is done. Now neither Jesus Christ Himself, nor the Apostles whom He sent to teach, tell us anything of the kind. On the contrary, our Saviour, whilst He dwells on the fulness and freedom of salvation, offered to all without money, and without price, tells us that many are called,
H. J. Wilmot-Buxton—The Life of Duty, a Year's Plain Sermons, v. 2

Tenth Day. Love to the Brethren.
"And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us."--Eph. v. 2. "Jesus," says a writer, "came from heaven on the wings of love." It was the element in which he moved and walked. He sought to baptize the world afresh with it. When we find Him teaching us by love to vanquish an enemy, we need not wonder at the tenderness of His appeals to the brethren to "love one another." Like a fond father impressing his children, how the Divine Teacher lingers over the lesson, "This is My commandment!" If
John R. Macduff—The Mind of Jesus

"For to be Carnally Minded is Death; but to be Spiritually Minded is Life and Peace. "
Rom. viii. 6.--"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." It is true, this time is short, and so short that scarce can similitudes or comparisons be had to shadow it out unto us. It is a dream, a moment, a vapour, a flood, a flower, and whatsoever can be more fading or perishing; and therefore it is not in itself very considerable, yet in another respect it is of all things the most precious, and worthy of the deepest attention and most serious consideration;
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"If So be that the Spirit of God Dwell in You. Now if any Man have not the Spirit of Christ, He is None of His. "
Rom. viii. 9.--"If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." There is a great marriage spoken of, Eph. v. that hath a great mystery in it, which the apostle propoundeth as the sample and archetype of all marriages or rather as the substance, of which all conjunctions and relations among the creatures are but the shadows. It is that marriage between Christ and his church, for which, it would appear, this world was builded, to be
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"The Truth. " Some Generals Proposed.
That what we are to speak to for the clearing and improving this noble piece of truth, that Christ is the Truth, may be the more clearly understood and edifying, we shall first take notice of some generals, and then show particularly how or in what respects Christ is called the Truth; and finally speak to some cases wherein we are to make use of Christ as the Truth. As to the first. There are four general things here to be noticed. 1. This supposeth what our case by nature is, and what we are all
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

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