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II. Argument from the Old Testament.


II. Argument from the Old Testament.

James Dodson

IN the Jewish dispensation God was pleased to proceed in accordance with the great principle which has been signalized, in regard to the introduction of instrumental music into the public worship of his people. He kept the ordering of this part of his formal and instituted worship in his own hands. There is positive proof that it was never made an element of that worship except by his express command. Without his warrant it was excluded; only with it was it employed.

1. Let us notice the operation of this principle with reference to the tabernacle-worship.

Moses received the mode of constructing the tabernacle and the order of its worship by divine revelation. “See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.” It will be admitted that the instructions thus divinely given descended to the most minute details—the sort of fabrics and skins to be used, and their diverse colors, the pins, the ouches and the taches, the ablutions, the vestments and the actions of the officiating priests and Levites, the ingredients of the holy ointment and the incense, the parts, the arrangements, the instruments of worship,—to everything connected with the tabernacle these specific directions referred. Of course, if God had intended instrumental music to be employed, it would have been included in these particular directions; the instruments would have been specified for its performance, and regulations enjoined for its use.

What, now, are the facts? No directions are given respecting instruments of music. Two instruments of sound are provided for, but they were of such a character as to make it impracticable to use them ordinarily as accompaniments of the voice in singing. The record is: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.” “And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, thou shalt blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the days of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt-offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace-offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the Lord your God.” The blowing of these trumpets as a signal for marching, or for going to war, had certainly nothing to do with worship, neither did the call of the congregation to assemble belong to the performance of worship, any more than a church bell now, the ringing of which ceases when the services begin. There is nothing to show that the blowing of the trumpets, on festival days and at the beginning of months, over the offerings was accompanied by singing on the part of priests and Levites. There is no mention of that fact, and Jewish tradition opposes the supposition. Moreover, it is almost certain that the blowing of trumpets on such occasions was a representative act performed by the priests, and that consequently it was not accompanied by the singing of the congregation. It is true that there is one recorded exception (2 Chron. 5:12, 13) which occurred, however, when the tabernacle had given way to the temple. At the dedication of the latter edifice, the priests blew the trumpets at the same time that the Levites sang and played upon instruments of music, so as “to make one sound;” but it is evident that on that great occasion of rejoicing, what was aimed at was not musical harmony, but a powerful crash of jubilant sound. We are shut up to the conclusion that there was nothing in the tabernacle-worship, as ordered by Moses, which could be justly characterized as instrumental music.

This absence of instrumental music from the services of the tabernacle continued not only during the wanderings of the Israelites in the desert, but after their entrance into the promised land, throughout the protracted period of the Judges, the reign of Saul, and a part of David’s. This is a noteworthy fact. Although David was a lover of instrumental music, and himself a performer upon the harp, it was not until some time after his reign had begun that this order of things was changed, and, as we shall see, changed by divine command. Let us hear the scriptural record (1 Chron. 23:1-6): “So when David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel. And he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites. Now the Levites were numbered by the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was fifty and eight thousand; of which twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the Lord; and six thousand were officers and judges: moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the Lord with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith. And David divided them into courses among the sons of Levi, namely, Gershon, Kohath and Merari.” Now, how did David come to make this alteration in the Mosaic order which had been established by divine revelation? For the answer let us again consult the sacred record (1 Chron. 28:11-13, 19): “Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the inner parlors thereof, and of the place of the mercy-seat, and the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit, of the courts of the house of the Lord, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the Lord, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the Lord . . . . All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, and all the works of this pattern.” 2 Chron. 29:25, 26: “And he [Solomon] set the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the Lord by his prophets.”

In the light of these statements of God’s Word several things are made evident, which challenge our serious attention. First, instrumental music never was divinely warranted as an element in the tabernacle-worship until David received inspired instructions to introduce it, as preparatory to the transition which was about to be effected to the more elaborate ritual of the temple. Secondly, when the temple was to be built and its order of worship to be instituted, David received a divine revelation in regard to it, just as Moses had concerning the tabernacle with its ordinances. Thirdly, this direct revelation to David was enforced upon Solomon, and upon the priests and Levites, by inspired communications touching the same subject from the prophets Gad and Nathan. Fourthly, instrumental music would not have been constituted an element in the temple-worship, had not God expressly authorized it by his command. The public worship of the tabernacle, up to the time when it was to be merged into the temple, had been a stranger to it, and so great an innovation could have been accomplished only by divine authority. God’s positive enactment grounded the propriety of the change.

Is it not clear that the great principle, that whatsoever is not commanded by God, either expressly or impliedly, in relation to the public worship of his house, is forbidden, meets here a conspicuous illustration? The bearing of all this upon the Christian church is as striking as it is obvious. If, under a dispensation dominantly characterized by external appointments, instrumental music could not be introduced into the worship of God’s sanctuary, except in consequence of a warrant furnished by him, how can a church, existing under the far simpler and more spiritual dispensation of the gospel, venture, without such a warrant, to incorporate it into its public services? and that no such warrant can be pleaded will be made apparent as the argument expands.

2. Against the conclusiveness of this argument it is objected, that the Israelites were accustomed to use instrumental music at their option, and that especially was this the case on occasions of public rejoicing, when thanksgivings were, by masses of the people, rendered to God for signal benefits conferred by his delivering providence. So far as the allegation concerns the employment of that kind of music in private or social life, it is irrelevant to the scope of an argument which has reference explicitly and solely to its use in the public worship of God’s house. This will rule out many of the instances which are cited to prove the untenableness of the principle contended for in this discussion.

There remains, however, another class of cases to which attention may be fairly directed, cases in which public worship appeared to be offered. Into this class fall the instances of Miriam’s playing upon the timbrel at the Red Sea, the welcome of Saul and David by the women with singing, dancing and instrumental music, the like instance of Jephthah’s daughter, the accompanying of the ark by David and Israel with bands of music, and the minstrelsy of the prophets to whom Saul joined himself. In reply to the objection based upon these instances, the general ground may be taken that they are examples not of church-worship, but of public rejoicing on the part of the nation or of communities, with the exception of the prophets’ minstrelsy, which will be separately considered. Some special remarks are, however, pertinent in regard to them.

In the first place, it will be noticed from the account of the triumphant rejoicing on the shore of the Red Sea that the men sang only: “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying,” etc. What can be gathered from this simple singing of the males of Israel, in praise of God for their great deliverance, in favor of instrumental music in worship, it is rather difficult to see.

In the second place, it was Miriam and the women who used instruments of music on the occasion: “And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went after her with timbrels and with dances.” The argument of the objector proves too much. If from this instance the legitimacy of employing instrumental music in the public worship of the Jewish Church is to be inferred, so may the legitimacy of its use by women in that worship. But the history of the appointments of that worship furnishes no evidence of the tenableness of the latter inference. The contrary is proved. Women were excluded from any prominent, at least any official, function in the services of God’s house in the Mosaic dispensation. [1] It was the males of Israel who were commanded to repair to Jerusalem on those festival occasions when bursts of instrumental music were united with the singing of praise in the temple-worship. Indeed, so far from the women taking an active part in that worship, it would seem to have been limited, as to its outward expression in sounds, to the priests and Levites, who, as the divinely appointed official representatives of the congregation, sang and played on instruments of music. The argument might do for a modern advocate of woman’s rights, but it will hardly answer for the Jewish dispensation. It is as barren of results as was Miriam herself of issue.

In the third place, it again proves too much, if the word rendered “dances” is correctly translated. It would prove that religious dancing was an element in the prescribed worship of God’s people. The consequence refutes the argument.

But to return to the general position, that the instances mentioned in the objection were those not of ecclesiastical worship, but of national rejoicing. Against this general view it is urged, in reply, that an unwarrantable distinction is made between the Jewish church and the Jewish nation. This raises the question whether such a distinction is valid. Were state and church identical? Did the members of the state act as members of the church? Did the members of the church act as members of the state? It may be admitted that, in the main—that is, with certain exceptions, such as the proselytes of righteousness, for example—the nation and the church were numerically coincident. Ordinarily—that is, with certain exceptions—the rite of circumcision designated one alike a member of the state and of the church. But that these two institutes were identical; that the functions of the one were the functions of the other, considered as organisms, is to my mind not susceptible of proof. It would be unsuitable here to enter at large into this question, but it lies across the track of the argument in hand, and a brief consideration of it, as it is not illogically interjected, will not be regarded as impertinent. The question is acutely and ably discussed by that great man, George Gillespie, in his Aaron’s Rod Blossoming. I shall give a mere outline, the bare heads, of a part of his argument to prove that the Jewish state and church, although in the main the same materially, that is, as to personal constituents, were organically and formally distinct institutes; and I do this the more readily because Gillespie’s valuable work is now rare and difficult of access. They are distinct:

(1.) In respect of laws. The judicial law was given to the state; the ceremonial law to the church.

(2.) In respect of acts. The members of the state did not, as such, worship God and offer sacrifices in the temple, etc.; and the members of the church did not, as such, inflict physical punishments.

(3.) In respect of controversies to be decided. Some concerned the Lord’s matters, and were to be ecclesiastically settled; some the king’s matters, and were to be civilly decided.

(4.) In respect of officers. The priests and Levites were church officers; magistrates and judges were state officers.

(5.) In respect of continuance. The Romans took away the Jewish state and civil government, but the Jewish church and ecclesiastical government remained.

(6.) In respect of variation. The constitution and government of the Jewish state underwent serious changes under different civil administrations; but we cannot say that the church was remodelled as often as the state was.

(7.) In respect of members. There were proselytes, the proselytes of righteousness, who were admitted to membership in the church with its privileges, but were not entitled to the privileges of members of the state.

(8.) In respect of government. In the prosecution of this argument to prove the distinctness of the Jewish church and state, Gillespie takes the ground that there were two Sanhedrims, one civil, the other ecclesiastical; and he cites, as maintaining that view, Zepperus, Junius, Piscator, Wolfius, Gerhard, Godwin, Bucerus, Walaeus, Pelargus, Sopingius, the Dutch Annotators, Bertramus, Apollonius, Strigelius, the professors of Groningen, Reynolds, Paget, L’Empereur, and Elias, cited by Buxtorf.

[This special argument Gillespie presses elaborately and acutely by more than a dozen separate considerations derived from Scripture. But as the question has been ably debated on both sides by men learned in Jewish affairs, no positive opinion is here expressed as to the conclusiveness of the proofs presented by the great Scotch divine.]

(9.) There was an ecclesiastical excommunication among the Jews different from the penalties inflicted by the criminal law of the state.

Such are the ribs merely of a powerful argument in favor of the distinction between the Jewish state and church, by one who had the reputation of being one of the astutest debaters in the Westminster Assembly of Divines. That distinguished scholar, Dr. Joseph Addison Alexander, expresses the opinion, in his Primitive Church Offices, that the Jewish state and church were one organization, with two distinct classes of functions, one civil and another ecclesiastical. But Gillespie shows that the numerical components of some of the courts were different; they consisted of different men. Take either view, however, and the ends of this argument are met, more conclusively upon Gillespie’s, it is true, but conclusively upon both. What the state as such did, the church as such did not do, and vice versa. And if this be so, it follows that the same thing holds in regard to the people. What they did in a national capacity they did not necessarily do in an ecclesiastical. When, then, Miriam and the women with her, the women who welcomed Saul and David returning home in triumph, the daughter of Jephthah celebrating her father’s victory, and the mass of people who accompanied the ark in its transportation to Jerusalem, played on instruments of music, they were commemorating national events with appropriate national rejoicings. They were not acting worship as the church or as the members of the church.

In regard to the company of prophets whom Saul joined, it is sufficient to say that they were, in part, the poets and minstrels of the nation, and that as the incident occurred during the existence of the tabernacle, the incontestable proof which has been already exhibited, that instrumental music such as that which they employed was not allowed in its worship, is enough to sweep all ground from beneath the objection now considered against the operation of the great principle of limitation upon church worship for which I have contended. This holds good whether or not the view which has been presented as to these prophets be correct. Their playing on instruments had nothing to do with the public, formally instituted worship of the house of the Lord.

It has thus been shown, by a direct appeal to the Scriptures, that during all the protracted period in which the tabernacle was God’s sanctuary the great principle was enforced, that only what God commands is permitted, and what he does not command is forbidden, in the public worship of his house. Moses with all his wisdom, the Judges with all their intrepidity, Saul with all his waywardness and self-will, David the sweet Psalmist of Israel with all his skill in the musical art, did not, any of them, venture to violate that principle, and introduce into the public services of God’s house the devices of their imagination or the inventions of their taste. The lesson is certainly impressive, coming, as it does, from that distant age; and it behooves those who live in a dispensation this side of the cross of Calvary and the day of Pentecost to show cause, beyond a peradventure, why they are discharged from the duty of obedience to the divine will in this vitally important matter.

3. The next step in this argument is to show that no musical instruments were used in the synagogue-worship.

As this is almost universally admitted, no extended argument is needed to prove it. It might have been expected from the jealousy which God had always peculiarly manifested in enforcing the principle that without an express warrant from him nothing was to be introduced into the public worship of his people, and especially from the facts already emphasized that no instruments of music were allowed to be employed in the tabernacle, and that they were included in the service at the temple only in consequence of explicit divine instructions to that effect, it might have been expected that instrumental music would not have been incorporated into the worship of the Jews on ordinary Sabbath days not embraced in the three national festivals. This presumption is confirmed by the facts of the case.

The writers who have most carefully investigated Jewish antiquities, and have written learnedly and elaborately in regard to the synagogue, concur in showing that its worship was destitute of instrumental music. What singing there was, and there was not much of it in proportion to the other elements of worship, was plain and simple. In his great work On the Ancient Synagogue, Vitringa shows [2] that there were only two instruments of sound used in connection with the synagogue, and that these were employed, not in worship or along with it as an accompaniment, but as publishing signals—first, for proclaiming the new year; secondly for announcing the beginning of the Sabbath; thirdly, for publishing the sentence of excommunication; and fourthly, for heralding fasts. These were their sole uses. There were no sacrifices over which they were to be blown, as in the tabernacle and temple. And from the nature of the instruments it is plain that they could not have accompanied the voice in singing. They were only of two kinds—trumpets (tubae), and rams’ horns or cornets (buccinae). The former were straight, the latter curved. Nor is it to be supposed that the cornet, like the modern instrument of that name, was susceptible of modulation, and therefore of accompanying vocal melody. It had but one note, and was so easy to be blown that a child could sound it. Further, they were, for the most part, used not even in connection with the synagogue buildings, but were blown from the roofs of houses, so as to be heard at a distance. Enough has been said to prove that no instrumental music entered into the services of the Jewish synagogue. [3]

The elements of worship in the Mosaic dispensation were of two kinds:

(1.) The generic or essential. Those observed in the synagogue were the reading and exposition of God’s Word, exhortation, prayers, accompanied with singing, if the common recitation by the people of parts of the Psalms can be so characterized, and the contribution of alms. Without here raising the question whether synagogues had an existence prior to the Babylonian exile, one would risk little in taking the ground that, during all the time of the church’s development in the past, God’s people had been accustomed to meet on Sabbath days for engagement in these essential parts of divine worship. The patriarchal dispensation being left out of account, in which, however, every sentiment of piety and reverence, the original institution of the seventh day as one of rest, and the acquaintance of the Israelites with the law of the Sabbath before the promulgation of the Sinaitic law, render it highly probable that such a practice was maintained, a few reasons will be intimated in favor of its maintenance during the period of the Jewish economy:

First, The fourth commandment made the sacred observance of every Sabbath day obligatory. It is not reasonable to suppose that the law contemplated the merely individual and private keeping holy of the day.

Secondly, The Israelites, during their sojourn in the wilderness, were accustomed to worship every Sabbath day in mass at the tabernacle. It was accessible from every part of the encampment which was around it on every side. The proof of this is given in Lev. 23:3: “Six days Shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation.” The prescriptive usage of meeting for worship on every Sabbath was thus established during their forty years’ pilgrimage in: the desert. In all that time during which they held weekly assemblies, let it also be observed, they knew nothing of instrumental music. It is altogether unreasonable to suppose that this habit, ingrained into them in the early period of their national existence and consecrated by innumerable sacred and splendid associations, would have ceased to be influential after their wanderings had ceased and they had been permanently located in the land of rest. Such an innovation upon their customs could only have occurred in consequence either of a divine command enforcing the change, or of a serious defection from their religious principles. We know that neither of these causes operated to produce the supposed revolution in their habits of worship. Upon their settlement in Canaan, they were of course dispersed in consequence of their tribal distribution throughout the length and breadth of the country from Dan to Beersheba, and, as the tabernacle was necessarily at any particular time confined to one spot, it was not accessible to congregations representing all Israel, except upon the occasions of the prescribed national festivals. What, then, were they doing on all the other Sabbaths of the year in their cities and towns, villages and rural neighborhoods? It cannot be supposed that on those Sabbaths they never met for worship. [4] This consideration is mightily enhanced by the fact that only the males of Israel were enjoined to attend the great annual festivals. Were the women, the mothers of Israel, the trainers of children and youth, left destitute of all public worship? The supposition cannot be entertained. Provision must have been made for their engagement in the stated public worship of their God.

Thirdly, The priests and Levites, when not occupied in the discharge of their formal, official duties at the temple, were distributed through the land, and there is evidence to show that they acted as teachers of schools. Is it likely that ministers of religion would have educated the people in everything but the divine law, or that they would have failed to assemble them on Sabbath days for the reception of religious instruction, or that such instruction would have been unattended by worship? It may be said that this amounts to no more than a presumption. But if so, it is a powerful presumption, and is strongly confirmed by other considerations, such as those that follow.

Fourthly, The Israelites were commanded to proclaim the incoming of the Sabbaths and the new moons by the blowing of trumpets. That these seasons were observed with the solemn worship of assemblies is rendered almost certain by the passage in 2 Kings, chapter 4., in which it is intimated that on those occasions the prophets were accustomed to hold meetings for instruction and worship. The Shunammite, whose son had been restored to life by Elisha, having lost the child by death, proposed to her husband to provide her with the necessaries for a journey to the prophet at Mount Carmel. His reply was, “Wherefore wilt thou go to him to-day? It is neither new moon, nor Sabbath?” The answer cannot be understood except upon the supposition here contended for—namely, that the Sabbaths and new moons were seasons of gathering for instruction and worship; and it is certain that Carmel was not Jerusalem, and that weekly Sabbaths and the beginnings of months did not occur only three times a year.

Fifthly, In Psalm 74:8, the Psalmist, in view of the devastation of the country by its enemies, thus laments: “They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.” It is not necessary to suppose that the buildings here rendered synagogues exactly corresponded with those erected for worship after the return from the Babylonish captivity, but they were places for worship, [5] Possibly they were, as Prideaux and others suggest, uncovered places of worship, proseuchae, but they were buildings, else how could they have been burned? And that they were not the halls adjoining the temple, as some conjecture, is proved by the statement that they were throughout the land: “All the synagogues of God in the land.” Were the temple buildings ubiquitous? In this exposition not a few eminent commentators agree. Dr. McCurdy, in Lange’s Commentary on the place, says that these buildings were places of meeting in different parts of the land. Calvin remarks: “I readily take the Hebrew moadim in the sense of synagogues, because he says all the sanctuaries, and speaks expressly of the whole land.” Adam Clarke observes: “The word moadey, which we translate, synagogues, may be taken in a more general sense, and mean any places where religious assemblies were held; and that such places and assemblies did exist long before the Babylonish captivity is pretty evident from different parts of Scripture.” [6]

Dr, Plumptre, in the article, on synagogues in Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, citing Vitringa On the Synagogue (pp, 271, ff.), says: “Jewish writers have claimed for their synagogues a very remote antiquity. In well-nigh every place where the phrase “before the Lord” appears they recognize in it a known sanctuary, a fixed place of meeting, and therefore a synagogue.” This view is taken in the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan. “On the one hand,” says Dr. Plumptre, “it is probable that if new moons and Sabbaths were observed at all [it was shown above that they were], they must have been attended by some celebration apart from as well as at the tabernacle or the temple. . . On the other, so far as we find traces of such local worship, it seems to have fallen too readily into a fetich religion, sacrifices to ephods and teraphim, in groves and on high places, offering nothing but a contrast to the ‘reasonable service,’ the prayers, psalms, instruction in the law, of the later synagogue.” This, to some extent not universally, is lamentably true; but the abuse proves the legitimate use of these stated seasons and places of public worship separately from the tabernacle and temple services.

The gatherings of the elders during the exile for instruction by the prophet, which are repeatedly mentioned in Ezekiel, infer that the practice of holding assemblies for worship and the hearing of the law antedated the captivity. The exiles carried the custom with them. The words in Ezek. 11:15, 16, seem to imply that God manifested his gracious presence in these meetings of his people as in little sanctuaries, somewhat as in former and better times he had done at the greater sanctuaries in their native land. “This view is supported,” remarks the learned author who has been quoted, “by the LXX., the Vulgate, and the Authorized Version. It is confirmed by the general consensus of Jewish interpreters.”

If these arguments have availed to prove that the people of Israel were accustomed to hold stated meetings for worship apart from the services of the tabernacle and the temple, the well-ascertained practice of the post-exilian synagogues clearly establishes the absence of instrumental music from those weekly assemblies. For had that kind of music been employed in those meetings, it would inevitably have been continued in the synagogue-worship. Every conceivable consideration would have opposed its elimination—the powerful force of long-continued precedents, the prescriptive usages of the past hallowed by sacred associations, the conservative sentiment which resists a revolutionary innovation, and more than all the demands of human taste and the requirements of an acknowledged artistic standard. But it is certain that no instrumental music was used in the worship of the later synagogue. The argument is well-nigh irresistible.

If it be contended that instrumental music, which had previously existed, was purged out of the regular worship of the Jews by the post-exilian reformation, the question at issue is given up. For if the Jews reformed the worship of the church by abandoning instrumental music, much more should it have been discarded at the greater reformation inaugurated by Christianity. Otherwise it would be conceded that the Christian Church was less pure in its worship, less thoroughly reformed, than was the Jewish Church in its later and better state.

It has thus been shown that the essential parts of divine worship were maintained by the people of God in their ordinary Sabbath-day worship during the Jewish dispensation; and it is the purpose of this discussion, as it shall be developed, to evince the fact that only these essential elements of worship passed over into the Christian dispensation. They are permanent, and like the covenant of grace in its generic and essential features as contradistinguished to the specific and accidental, were designed to endure unchanged through all dispensations.

(2.) The second kind of elements of worship in the Mosaic economy was the Specific or Accidental, which was Typical and Symbolical, and as such temporary in its nature. [7] Warburton says that types and symbols are generically the same in that they are both representations, but they are specifically different in that the type represents something future, the symbol something past or present. Hence he regarded the sacraments of the New Testament as symbols. Thornwell observes that they differ from each other in the circumstance that types teach by analogy, and symbols by expressive signs. Without pausing to discuss the nature of the specific differences between them, or to consider the question whether some of the elements in the Jewish ritual service were not at the same time both typical and symbolical, I proceed to show that the types of the temple-worship did not, as is too often carelessly assumed, have exclusive reference to the sacrifice of Christ, but that some of them represented beforehand the effects to be produced in the New Testament dispensation by the Holy Ghost; and I will then attempt further to show, that the instrumental music of the temple-worship fell into the latter class, and therefore, as having fulfilled its typical and temporary office, passed away and vanished upon the introduction of the Christian economy. But before these points are developed, it is requisite that a few things be premised.

In the first place, no element in the synagogue-worship was typical and temporary. This is too evident to require argument. The reading and exposition of the divine Word, hortatory addresses, the singing of psalms, and the contribution of alms, are elements of worship which cannot be regarded as types foreshadowing substantial realities to come. They belong to the class essential and permanent.

In the second place, the essential and permanent elements of worship, as fundamental to all public religious service, entered of course into the temple-worship. In this respect there was no difference between the worship of the temple and that of the synagogue.

In the third place, whatever element of worship was absent from the synagogue and present in the temple was typical or symbolical in its character. Having in common what was essential and permanent, the specific difference between them lay in the possession by one of the accidental and temporary, and the non-possession by the other of the same. Now the only elements falling into this latter class were the typical and symbolical. These were embraced in the service of the temple and excluded from that of the synagogue. Consequently, as instrumental music was not included in the worship of the synagogue, but was in that of the temple, it must be regarded as having been either typical or symbolical. Symbolical it cannot be considered; it must therefore have been typical. If so, the necessity is recognized of attempting, in the progress of this discussion, to show of what it was typical.

In the fourth place, some of the elements of the temple-service were directly and solely typical of Christ, especially as a priest and as the atoning sacrifice to be offered for sin. Others were typical only of the Holy Ghost; and still others were typical, at one and the same time, both of Christ and the Holy Spirit. To use the technically accurate language of theology, the impetration or acquisition of salvation is attributed to Christ, the application of it to the Holy Spirit. But the grace which applies the benefits secured by the work of Christ is closely related to the work by which they were acquired. Indeed it is itself acquired by the merit and intercession of the Redeemer. They therefore suppose and implicate each other. Consequently some of the types have a double reference to both. When they immediately represent the Holy Spirit they at the same time mediately represent Christ. Some of the positions taken in these preliminary remarks may be justly regarded and carried along with the discussion as assumptions demanding no proof, and others will be substantiated as the argument proceeds.

First, The offices and work of the Holy Spirit were as clearly and definitely predicted and promised in the Old Testament Scriptures as were those of Christ. The truth is that they cannot possibly be disjoined. Neither would be operative to salvation without the other. The whole Old Testament revelation, so far as it was evangelical, bore a twofold reference to the blood and the water, to the meritorious acquisition of salvation by the righteousness and atoning death of Christ and its efficacious application by the grace of the Holy Ghost. In the conception of redemption which we find everywhere in the Bible justification and sanctification are never dissociated. They are ever represented as the complementary and equally necessary factors of one whole and complete salvation. This is the very genius of the gospel as well before as after the death of the Son of God. As it was proclaimed to our first parents, revealed to Abel, Enoch and Noah, and, as the apostle expressly testifies, “preached before to Abraham,” it was essentially promissory in its nature. The same promissory character was still more fully disclosed in the features of the Mosaic dispensation, in the Psalms and Prophets, and, as I hope to show, in the typical rites and ceremonies of the temple-service. That the person and offices of the Holy Spirit were distinctly known to believers under the old dispensation is proved by utterances in the Psalms, a book which represents the experience of God’s true people in every condition of their history. In the 51st Psalm we have the prayers: “Take not thy Holy Spirit from me;” “Uphold me with thy free Spirit;” and in the 143rd, “Thy Spirit is good; lead me to the land of uprightness.” Isaiah (chap. 63:10) says: “They rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit,” which words, as they were spoken of the “house of Israel,” suppose that they knew, or ought to have known, the Holy Spirit as their guide. It may be added that the sacred historians of the Old Testament over and over again assert, with reference to the heroic worthies of that dispensation, that the Spirit of the Lord came upon them. All this goes to show that the promises which related to the work of the Holy Spirit at a future period of the church’s development were not unintelligible by those to whom they were delivered.

Let us cite some of those declarations which point to the work of the Spirit in the new dispensation. Isa. 32:15-17: After describing the desolation that would be visited upon the land of Israel, the prophet says: “Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be counted for a forest. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.” Isa. 42:1: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my Spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” Isa. 44:3, 4: “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring; and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.” Isa. 59:19, 20, 21: “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; my Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever.” This prophecy in regard to the Spirit resisting a flood of enemies is referred by the Rabbins to the coming of the Messiah. Ezek. 36:25-27: “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them.” Ezek. 37:13, 14: “And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.” Joel 2:28, 29: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.” For the reference of this glorious promise to New Testament times we have the inspired testimony of the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost, when it was measurably but remarkably fulfilled. In close connection with the promise that a fountain shall be opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness, Zechariah utters also the promise, 12:10: “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications.” It matters little whether or not with some we take the word spirit here to indicate a disposition. That disposition can be produced only by the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul, it deserves to be considered, terms the Spirit “that holy Spirit of promise,” Eph. 1:13; and in Gal. 3:13, 14, he speaks very explicitly about this matter: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” How closely does he couple the atoning work of Christ and the applying work of the Spirit! And how clearly does he enounce the fact that the Spirit, as well as Christ, was promised in the ancient Scriptures and the early revelations made to the people of God!

Secondly, The offices of the Holy Ghost, together with their saving and joy-imparting effects, were typified, as well as the priestly work and expiatory death of Christ, in the services which were peculiar to the temple. In view of what has been shown concerning the clearness and fulness with which the work of the Spirit in New Testament times is announced in the prophetical writings we would be prepared to find this true upon an examination of the temple types; nor will we be disappointed by such an investigation. Those types, as well as the prophecies, proclaimed the gospel. They powerfully preached the whole salvation of the gospel,—the blood and the water, justification and sanctification. How could it be otherwise? As God intended by these typical elements to represent, as by object-lessons, the scheme of redemption to his ancient people who lived before its actual achievement, is it reasonable to suppose that he would have furnished an imperfect and inadequate pre-figuration of its essential parts? Would he have omitted all instruction beforehand in regard to the mode of its application? It is difficult to conceive how any theologian can fail to see the obvious foreshadowing in the temple furniture and service of the grace and work of the ever-blessed Spirit. I shall select for comment only those elements which appear with the greatest clearness to typify the offices of the Holy Spirit.

The Washing with Water. Why was water employed as a type, if not to signify what the New Testament Scriptures so unmistakably characterize under that figure? “Except a man,” said the Lord Jesus, “be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (Jno. 3:5). The preposition here is omitted before the Spirit in the original, and the words may well be rendered “of water even the Spirit.” At least this must be the meaning in the judgment of any one who would not co-ordinate external water with the almighty grace of the Holy Ghost in the new creation of the soul. And to talk of one’s being spiritually born in part of an outward symbol is to speak unintelligibly. Paul several times uses washing and water to signify cleansing by the Holy Spirit. Eph. 5:26: “That he might sanctify and cleanse it [the church] with the washing of water by the word.” I Cor. 6:11: “And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Tit. 3:5: “According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and [or, even the] renewing of the Holy Ghost.” John emphasizes the issue of water and blood from the side of Jesus on the cross, and declares, “This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one.” (Jno. 20:34; I Jno. 5:6, 8.) The Spirit bears witness both to justification and sanctification. It is he who sanctifies and he who bears witness with his own work in the soul. The analogy, then, between the type and the anti-type, as to the offices respectively discharged, leads to the conclusion that the lavers and ablutions of the temple typified the grace of the Holy Spirit. This view is far from being singular. It has the support of the illustrious Lightfoot. “The end of it [the laver] was,” he says, “to wash the hands and feet of the priests; but the most ultimate end was to signify the washing and purifying by the Spirit of grace, which is so oft called water in the Scripture. And so the sprinkling of the blood of the sacrifice, and the washing in the water of the laver, did read the two great divinity lectures, of washing by the blood of Christ from guilt, and by the grace of God from filthiness and pollution.” [8] This witness is true, and his learning and piety render it superfluous to cite the testimony of others to the same purpose.

The Anointing Oil. Is it not clear from Scripture that this typified the Holy Spirit? Under the Old Testament economy priests, prophets and kings were anointed. Did the anointing oil of the temple signify that Christ would anoint himself? or rather, did it not prefigure his anointing by the Holy Ghost? He is the Christ, God’s anointed One, and the holy Unction was the Spirit of wisdom, power and grace. Acts 10:38: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.” This direct testimony is sufficient. The anointing oil of the temple discharged the typical office of prefiguring the holy Unction with which Jesus was anointed, and who, coming from him upon all his people, teacheth them all things. (1 Jno, 2:27.) This view also is sustained by the authority of the distinguished scholar who has already been cited. “The oil and anointing,” he observes, “wherewith the priests and the vessels of the Lord’s house were sanctified, did denote the Word and the Spirit of God, whereby he sanctifieth the vessels of his election, even persons of his choice, to his service and acceptance.” [9]

The Oil in the Golden Candlestick. Taking into view the analogy of Scripture teaching, one cannot doubt that this oil typified the Holy Spirit. I cite the remarks upon this point of the Rev. Patrick Fairbairn, in his Typology of Scripture: [10] “This symbol has received such repeated illustration in other parts of Scripture, that there is scarcely any room for difference of opinion as to its fundamental import and main idea. In the first chapter of Revelation, the image occurs in its original form, ‘the seven golden lamps’ (not candlesticks, as in our version, but the seven lamps on the one candlestick) are explained to mean ‘the seven churches.’ These churches, however, not as of them-selves, but as replenished by the Spirit of God, and full of holy light and energy; and hence in the fourth chapter of the same book we again meet with seven lamps of fire before the throne of God, which are said to be ‘the seven Spirits of God’—either the one Spirit of God in his varieties of holy and spiritual working, [11] or seven presiding spirits of light fitted by that Spirit for the ministrations referred to in the heavenly vision. Throughout Scripture, as we have already seen in chapter three of this part, oil is uniformly taken for a symbol of the Holy Spirit. It is so, not less with respect to its light-giving property, as to its qualities for anointing and refreshment; and hence the prophet Zechariah (chap. 4.) represents the exercise of the Spirit’s gracious and victorious energy in behalf of the church under the image of two olive trees pouring oil into the golden candlestick, the church being manifestly imaged in the candlestick, and the Spirit’s assisting grace in the perpetual current of oil with which it was supplied.” [12]

The Feast of Pentecost. “This festival,” says Horne, in his Introduction, [13] “had a typical reference to the miraculous effusion of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and first-fruits of the Christian Church on the day of Pentecost, . . . on the fiftieth day after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” He refers, in support of this view, to Schultz, Lamy, Lightfoot, Michaelis, Reland and Alber.

Horne further says: [14] “One of the most remarkable ceremonies performed at this feast, in the later period of the Jewish polity, was the libation or pouring out of water, drawn from the fountain or pool of Siloam, upon the altar. As, according to the Jews themselves, [15] this water was an emblem of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ applied the ceremony and the intention of it to himself when he cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. (Jno. 7:37-39.)”

Treating of this feast, Fairbairn makes the following instructive remarks: [16] “The rite that commemorated the typical redemption had to take precedence of anything belonging to the coming harvest, even of the presentation of its first ripening sheaf. But the work of redemption being finished, and the feast of fat things so long in preparation being ready, then the freest welcome is given to come and be satisfied with the loving-kindness of the Lord. And Christ having suffered and been glorified, what day could be so fitly chosen for the descent of the Holy Ghost as the day of Pentecost? For to what end was the Spirit given? To take of the things of Christ, and show them to Christ’s people; that is, to turn the riches of his purchased redemption from being a treasure laid up among the precious things of God, into a treasure received and possessed by his people, so that they might be able to rejoice, and call others to rejoice with them, in the goodness of his house. Now the work of God is finished, henceforth the fruitful experience of it among his people proceeds; and the first-fruits of the Spirit having assuredly been given, he can never withdraw his hand till the whole inheritance of blessing is enjoyed.”

Instrumental Music.

In the first place, it has already been shown that neither by God’s direction nor in the actual practice of his people in the old dispensation were instruments of music, susceptible of modulation, employed elsewhere in public worship than in the temple. They were not used in the tabernacle until David was preparing to build the temple, or in the synagogue.

In the second place, it has also been shown that whatever element of worship was embraced in the temple-service, and was absent from that of the synagogue, was typical in its character. This was true of instrumental music. Therefore, as an element of the temple-worship, it was typical.

In the third place, it has been proved that some of the elements contained in the temple-service were typical of the Holy Spirit and of the effects to be produced by him in the New Testament dispensation, such as consecration, illumination, purification, and the conversion of souls; and now,

In the fourth place, I lay down the proposition that the instrumental music of the temple-worship was typical of the joy and triumph of God’s believing people to result from the plentiful effusion of the Holy Ghost in New Testament times.

It was suited to discharge such a significant office in the age in which God saw fit to prescribe its employment as a part of a typical ritual. It produces an exhilaration of the senses, and that is about all that it does produce. We have seen that the Israelites, like all other peoples, employed it in their national and secular rejoicings. Now, the Mosaic dispensation was not peculiarly a dispensation of the Spirit. It is a distinctive glory of the Christian economy that it is “the ministration of the Spirit.” “But,” says Paul, “we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as ii is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” 1 Cor. 2:7-10. This revelation, partially made in the old dispensation, is far more fully unfolded even in this life in the present, and will be still more amply and gloriously in the heavenly. “But if,” also says the same apostle, “the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.” (2 Cor. 3:7-10.) In the New Testament we are dearly taught the reason of this. It was not meet that the Holy Spirit should be copiously poured out before the actual offering up of the great atoning sacrifice and the entrance of the true high priest into the heavenly holy of holies. “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”) (Jno. 7:37-39.) As, then, in the ancient dispensation, the veil of the temple was not rent in twain, as the full liberty of adoption and boldness of access into the presence of God, with the assurance of faith and hope, which makes heaven begin on earth, were not granted to the worshipper, it pleased God to typify the spiritual joy to spring from a richer possession of the Holy Spirit through the sensuous rapture engendered by the passionate melody of stringed instruments and the clash of cymbals, by the blare of trumpets and the ringing of harps. It was the instruction of his children in a lower school, preparing them for a higher. Meanwhile, it must not be forgotten, they were habitually recalled, even in that dispensation, by the simpler and more spiritual worship of their weekly assemblies, to a service of God which, as it had always existed in the past, contained in itself a prophecy of permanence through the whole future development of the church.

That the instrumental music of the temple, which, as we have seen, was introduced into its services only by express divine warrant, was typical, and therefore temporary, is further proved by the fact that it was not practised in the apostolic church. This, it is true, remains to be established in the progress of the argument, but it is so generally admitted that it may here be assumed. Most certainly if the King and Law-giver of the church had intended that kind of music to accompany its singing of praise under the New Testament, he would have instructed its inspired organizers to that effect. That they did not sanction it is evidence that he did not command it, and that in turn proves that it was designed to be merely typical during the continuance of the temple-worship.

Now, it must have been typical, either of Christ in his person or offices, or of the use of instrumental music by the church in the-New Testament dispensation or some other outward action, or of the Holy Spirit in his person or offices, or of an effect produced by his grace. There is no other supposition I can think of. There is no conceivable sense in which it could have typified the person or offices of Christ. There is no sense in which it is supposable that it typified any other external action of the church than the use of instrumental music. It could not have typified the use of instrumental music itself, for that would involve the absurdity of a thing typifying itself—of an identity of the representation with the thing represented, of a type with its antitype. We cannot imagine any way in which it could have typified either the invisible person or the offices of the Holy Ghost. We are shut up, then, to the position that it was typical of an effect to be produced by the grace of the divine Spirit; and I but echo the opinion of eminent and godly divines in maintaining that it was designed to be a type of that spiritual and triumphant joy which is engendered by the plentiful effusion of the Holy Ghost upon believers under the Christian dispensation. The Spirit having been poured out, and that abundant joy of believers having been experienced, the shadow gave way to the substance, the type to the antitype.

In order to evince the fact that this view is not novel or singular, I adduce the testimony of a few distinguished theologians, showing, in general, that instrumental music was typical, and, in particular, that it was typical of the graces of the Holy Spirit.

“To sing the praises of God upon the harp and psaltery,” says Calvin, “unquestionably formed a part of the training of the law and of the service of God under that dispensation of shadows and figures; but they are not now to be used in public thanksgiving.” [17] He says again: “With respect to the tabret, harp, and psaltery, we have formerly observed, and will find it necessary afterwards to repeat the same remark, that the Levites, under the law, were justified in making use of instrumental music in the worship of God; it having been his will to train his people, while they were yet tender and like children, by such rudiments until the coming of Christ. But now, when the clear light of the gospel has dissipated the shadows of the law and taught us that God is to be served in a simpler form, it would be to act a foolish and mistaken part to imitate that which the prophet enjoined only upon those of his own time.” [18] He further observes: “We are to remember that the worship of God was never understood to consist in such outward services, which were only necessary to help forward a people as yet weak and rude in knowledge in the spiritual worship of God. A difference is to be observed in this respect between his people under the Old and under the New Testament; for now that Christ has appeared, and the church has reached full age, it were only to bury the light of the gospel should we introduce the shadows of a departed dispensation. From this it appears that the Papists, as I shall have occasion to show elsewhere, in employing instrumental music cannot be said so much to imitate the practice of God’s ancient people as to ape it in a senseless and absurd manner, exhibiting a silly delight in that worship of the Old Testament which was figurative, and terminated with the gospel.” [19]

“The first question,” says Ames (Amesius) in his Church Ceremonies, [20] was, If the primitive church had such chaunting idol-service, as is in our cathedral churches. The Rejoinder [Dr. Burgess] after some words spent about singing (about which he bringeth not the least resemblance of that in question, until the fourth age [century] after Christ) excepteth first, That organall music was God’s ordinance in the Old Testament, and that not significant, or typicall; and therefore is sinfully called idol service . . . . To this I say (1), That his denying of organall music to have been significant or typicall is without reason, and against the current of our divines [N.B.]; taken, as it may seeme, out of Bellarmine (On the Mass, B. 2, C. 15), who useth this evasion against those words of P. Martyr: ‘Musicall organs perteyne to the Jewish ceremonie, and agree no more to us than circumcision.’ So that we may neglect it, and take him as saying, that nothing which was ordained in the Old Testament (no, not sacrificing of beasts) is now an idol-service.”

Yet, Bellarmin, who is here referred to by Ames as evading the judgment of Peter Martyr, himself expresses the same judgment in another place. [21] “Justinus,” he observes, “saith that the use of instruments was granted to the Jews for their imperfection, and that therefore such instruments have no place in the church. We [Bellarmin and the Catholics] confess indeed that the use of musical instruments agreeth not alike with the perfect and with the imperfect, and that therefore they began but of late to be admitted into the church.” Bellarmin lived from 1542 to 1621.

This last mentioned opinion of the great polemic Cardinal had been previously expressed by Thomas Aquinas, the angelic doctor of the Church of Rome, in his Summa Theologica. [22] “Instruments of music,” he says, “such as harps and psalteries, the church does not adopt for divine praises, lest it should seem to Judaize.” “Instruments of this sort more move the mind to delight, than form internally a good disposition. Under the Old Testament, however, there was some utility in such instruments, both because the people were more hard and carnal, and needed to be stirred up by instruments of this kind as by promises of earthly good, and also because material instruments of this sort figured something.”

“It is evident,” says Zwingle, [23] “that that same ecclesiastical chanting and roaring in our temples (scarce also understood of the priests themselves) is a most foolish and vain abuse, and a most pernicious let to piety. In the solemn worship of God, I do not judge it more suitable than if we should recall the incense, tapers and other shadow of the law into use. I say again, to go beyond what we are taught is most wicked pervicacity.”

Voetius, in his great work, the Ecclesiastical Polity, elaborately argues against the use of instrumental music in the Christian church, and among the arguments which he advances employs this: “Because it savors of Judaism, or a worship suited to a childish condition under the Old Testament economy; and there might with equal justice be introduced into the churches of the New Testament the bells of Aaron, the silver trumpets of the priests, the horns of the Jubilee, harps, psalteries and cymbals, with Levitical singers, and so the whole cultus of that economy, or the beggarly elements of the world, according to the words of the apostle in the fourth chapter of Galatians.” [24]

Suicer, in his Thesaurus, [25] argues at length to vindicate Clement of Alexandria from the representation that he favored the use of instruments in the church, and to show that he and Isidore of Pelusium regarded the instrumental music of the Old Testament as typical of the joyful praise of the New Testament church for the rich benefits of an accomplished redemption. He cites a canon of one of the Councils of Carthage to this effect: “On the Lord’s day let all instruments of music be silenced;” and remarks that but few in his own time favored the use of instruments in the church.

George Gillespie, in his Assertion of the Government of the Church of Scotland, [26] a says: “The Jewish Church, not as it was a church but as it was Jewish, had an High Priest, typifying our great High Priest, Jesus Christ. As it was Jewish, it had musicians to play upon harps, psalteries, cymbals and other musical instruments in the temple.”

David Calderwood, the author of the celebrated work, Altare Damascenum (Altar of Damascus) and of a valuable History of the Church of Scotland, says in his book, The Pastor and the Prelate:[27] “The Pastor loveth no music in the house of God but such as edifieth, and stoppeth his ears at instrumental music, as serving for the pedagogy of the untoward Jews under the law, and being figurative of that spiritual joy whereunto our hearts should be opened under the gospel. The Prelate loveth carnal and curious singing to the ear, more than the spiritual melody of the gospel, and therefore would have antiphony and organs in the cathedral kirks, upon no greater reason than other shadows of the law of Moses; or lesser instruments, as lutes, citherus and pipes might be [to be] used in other kirks.”

“As good an argument,” remarks Dr. James Begg, “can he made for the use of incense, priests, sacrifices, indeed of the whole temple system, as for the use of instrumental music in Christian worship.” [28]

Dr. Killen, in his Ancient Church, says: [29] “As the sacrifices, offerings and other observances of the temple, as well as the priests, the vestments, and even the building itself, had an emblematic meaning, it would appear that the singing, intermingled with the music of various instruments of sound, was also typical and ceremonial.”

In a striking argument against the use of instrumental music in the worship of the Christian church, the Rev. Dr. Alexander Blaikie, an American minister, says: [30] “These [musical instruments] continued in the temple-service of Jehovah so long as ‘the first tabernacle was yet standing,’ and no longer; for so soon as the way into the holiest of all was made manifest (Heb. 9:8,) the bondage (beloved by ever), Jew) of these ‘weak and beggarly elements’ was in the worship of God forever done away. He, ‘in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,’ took the whole ‘hand-writing of ordinances out of the way, nailing it to his Cross.’ Instruments of music in the worship of God had there fulfilled their mission, in common with the blood of bulls, of goats, and the ashes of heifers, and they finished their course when Jesus died. No blast of ‘rams’-horns,’ nor other ‘things without life-giving sound’ had any longer a place with acceptance in the worship of Jehovah. The ceremonial, sensual, and ritual in his worship there forever ceased to be appointed by and acceptable to God, when he who ‘spake as never man spake’ exclaimed, ‘It is finished.’”

In his reply to the statement of the Rev. Dr. Ritchie, submitted to the Presbytery of Glasgow in favor of the introduction of an organ in St. Andrew’s church, Glasgow (the case was decided in May, 1808, adversely to Dr. Ritchie), the Rev. Dr. Porteous remarks: “It seems to be acknowledged by all descriptions of Christians, that among the Hebrews instrumental music in the public worship of God was essentially connected with sacrifice—with the morning and evening sacrifice, and with the sacrifices to be offered up on great and solemn days. But as all the sacrifices of the Hebrews were completely abolished by the death of our blessed Redeemer, so instrumental music . . . being so intimately connected with sacrifice, and belonging to a service which was ceremonial and typical must be abolished with that service; and we can have no warrant to recall it into the Christian church, any more than we have to use other abrogated rites of the Jewish religion, of which it is a part.” [31]

That able and judicious theologian, Dr. Ridgley, speaks very expressly, not only of the typical nature of the instrumental music employed in the temple, but of that which it was designed to typify. He says: “It may be observed, that how much soever the use of musical instruments which were in this worship may be concluded to be particularly adapted to that dispensation, as they were typical of that spiritual joy which the gospel church should obtain by Christ; yet the ordinance of singing remains a duty, as founded on the moral law.” [32]

To the objection that “those arguments that have been taken from the practice of the Old Testament church to prove singing an ordinance may, with equal justice, be alleged to prove the use of instrumental music,” he replies: “Though we often read of music being used in singing the praises of God under the Old Testament, yet if what has been said concerning its being a type of that spiritual joy which attends our praising God for the privilege of that redemption which Christ has purchased be true, then this objection will appear to have no weight, since this type is abolished together with the ceremonial law.” [33]

I have heard the view maintained that the reason why this music was not in use in the synagogue worship was that it would have involved a violation of the law commanding the Sabbath day to be kept holy; that it required a species of labor which, as it was not necessary, would have violated the commandment enjoining abstinence from all unnecessary work on that day. And in support of this view, it is claimed that instrumental music was permitted, and was actually employed on the week-days between the Sabbaths. In reply I would say:

In the first place, the allegation, that instrumental music was used on week-days in the synagogue before the Christian dispensation began, needs to be confirmed. The fact that such a practice now exists, or has existed for a long time, proves nothing. The rationalism and indifferentism of many of the modern Jews would be sufficient to account for the fact, just as that heterodox temper affords an explanation of the employment of organs in the synagogue-worship even on the Sabbath.

In the second place, if the allegation were true, it would establish nothing in opposition to the view maintained in this discussion. For, during the Mosaic dispensation, the Jews ever manifested a tendency to disobey divine commands and contemn divine ordinances, in the assertion of their own will and the gratification of their own taste—a disposition which frequently incited them to flagrantly idolatrous worship. And although, after the Babylonian captivity open idolatry ceased, the same disposition continued, and called forth the rebuke administered by Christ to the Scribes and Pharisees for making void the commandments of God by human traditions. The oral law overlay the written, tradition superseded the Bible.

Furthermore, it may be questioned, whether this reputed worship of small numbers of persons in a synagogue on the days of the week could be put into the category of solemn, formal, public worship, such as that which obtained on Sabbath days.

In the third place, it is admitted that instrumental music was not employed in the synagogue on the Sabbath. The reason assigned is, that it would have infringed the law of the Sabbath requiring a cessation of all unnecessary work. Now, the question arises, how, in view of that law, it was employed in the temple on the Sabbath? The answer given is, that God, in that case, by his authority relaxed the rigor of the fourth commandment, and warranted work which otherwise would have been unjustifiable. I rejoin:

A relaxation of the Sabbatic law, in favor of the temple-services, is not granted. Whatever was necessary or proper, according to God’s appointment, in order to the observance of his worship, was provided for in that law. It was not requisite for God to dispense with his own authority to secure compliance with it.

Further, if, according to the supposition, God relaxed his law in one case, the question is, Why did he not relax it in the other? If for the temple, why not for the synagogue? The same authority was sufficient for the relaxation in the latter case as well as in the former.

But this hypothesis of a relaxation of the law being discharged, the question returns, Why was not instrumental music employed on the Sabbath in the synagogue as well as in the temple? The answer is, Because God did not so command. He commanded it to be used in the temple; he did not, as he might have done, command it to be used in the synagogue. Now, why? There must be an adequate reason for the difference. What was it? The only reply which appears to furnish a solution of the difficulty is, that the temple-worship was typical, that of the synagogue not. The employment of types in the synagogue would have contradicted the very idea of the temple. The reason of the singular and exceptional existence of the latter was that it embraced a typical service. To have made the types common would therefore have subverted the temple.

The argument may be made still clearer by testing it upon the instance of sacrifices. They were offered at the temple on the Sabbath. Why were they not offered in the synagogue on that day? Will the Jew himself contend that the reason was that the law of the Sabbath would have been violated? He himself will concede that sacrifices, as typical, could only have been offered at the temple. If he deny, he denies the meaning of sacrifices and the genius of the Jewish religion. So was it with all the types, including instrumental music. Would he say that sacrifices were permissible in the synagogue on other than Sabbath days? Would he say that such a practice ever actually obtained? He must find, then, another reason why sacrifices were not offered in the synagogue on the Sabbath, than the infraction of the Sabbatic law which they would have involved. The same argument holds good in relation to instrumental music. But the question here is with the Jew, and the attempt to convince him, without the concurrence of almighty grace, would be as operative as an effort to reduce Gibraltar with an argument.

It has been proved by this special line of argument that, in consequence of the absence of a divine command justifying its use, instrumental music was not included in the synagogue-worship; that, as Christ, the procurer of redemption, was promised, so also the Holy Spirit, the applier of redemption, was promised, in the Old Testament—that a whole salvation by blood and by water was revealed in its didactic statements, its prophecies, and its types; that the elements in the temple service, which were not embraced in that of the synagogue, were typical; that some of these were typical of the Holy Ghost and the effects to be produced by his grace in New Testament times; and that among them instrumental music must be classed. From all this it follows, first, that to bring over into the new dispensation the features of worship which belonged to the temple, and not to the synagogue, is more unwarrantable in us than the importation of the distinctive elements of the temple-worship into the synagogue would have been to the Jews; secondly, that, as the types of the Holy Spirit in the temple-service are fulfilled in his application to believers of the benefits of a purchased redemption, to retain them in the Christian church is as much to dishonor him as to retain bloody sacrifices would dishonor Christ; and thirdly, that therefore, as instrumental music in the temple-worship was one of those types, its employment in the public services of the Christian church is at once unwarrantable and dishonoring to the ever-blessed Spirit.

4. To all this argument derived from the Old Testament it is triumphantly objected that the Psalms exhort all men to praise God with instruments of music, and that they were designed to be sung in every age of the church. The objection is as futile as it is popular.

In the first place, why did not David, who was one of the principal authors of the Psalms, introduce at an earlier period than he did instrumental music into the tabernacle worship? The reply is, that he was not divinely commanded to do it. Why did not Moses, who was an accomplished psalmist, and who heard the thrilling sound of timbrels in the great rejoicing over the discomfited host of Pharaoh on the shore of the Red Sea, incorporate this kind of music as an accompaniment of singing into that worship? The answer is, Because he had no divine warrant for such a measure. We have seen that David, by divine command, prepared instruments of music, and directed them to be used in the temple when that edifice should be erected. He would have had no right to take that step had he not been inspired and commanded to do so by God, who alone possessed the prerogative to dictate the mode in which he should be worshipped. It deserves inquiry, too, whether any of the Psalms which are ascribed to David, in which musical instruments are mentioned, have any reference to their employment in the public worship of God’s house. Let those who are wont to plead the authority of his name examine the 57th, 108th, and 144th Psalms, and discover in them, if they can, anything more than references to his individual worship. The 81st is attributed to Asaph, and may well have been composed after the dedication of the temple.

It may also be observed, while this Psalm is under notice, that the argument derived from it in favor of the early use of musical instruments by the Israelites has no value. The words are: “Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob. This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt.” The statute, law, ordinance here mentioned manifestly relates especially to the feast of the Passover, which, when it occurred at the new moon, was attended with the solemn blowing of trumpets, as the parallel passage shows: Ex. 13:8, 9, 14-16. If this is not deemed satisfactory, let the statute, law or ordinance be pointed out which enforced the use of timbrels, harps and psalteries upon the Israelites in connection with their exodus from Egypt. Until that is done loose assertion will avail nothing.

The ninety-second Psalm is anonymous, and refers to individual worship. The fifty-third, which is anonymous, does not necessarily relate to public worship. The ninety-eighth, one hundred and forty-ninth and one hundred and fiftieth are also anonymous, and, while they summon all creatures to praise God, cannot be proved to have reference to the public worship of his house. But if they do, so far as they inculcate the use of instruments they relate to a ceremonial and typical worship.

Unless, therefore, the temple-worship, in which alone that sort of music as an accompaniment of singing in public worship was divinely authorized, can be legitimately brought over into the New Testament dispensation, the appeal to the Psalms in favor of instruments in the public worship of the Christian church is destitute of the slightest force.

In the second place, the argument from the Psalms proves too much, and is therefore worthless. In the fifty-first Psalm, which has been in all ages since its incorporation into the sacred canon a vehicle for expressing the penitential confessions of God’s people, David prays: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” The hyssop dipped into the blood of the paschal lamb was used to sprinkle the lintels and door-posts of the Israelites, as a token of their salvation from the doom which impended over the first-born of Egypt, and as a type of a greater deliverance to be afterwards accomplished by God’s appointed Lamb. (Ex. 12:21-24.) It was also employed in connection with the cleansing of the leper (Lev. 14.), and with the burnt-sacrifice of the red heifer without the camp. (Num. 19.) In the fiftieth Psalm, the Lord, addressing Israel, says: “I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt-offerings to have been continually before me;” and in the conclusion of the fifty-first, David, after praying that God would do good in his good pleasure to Zion, and build the walls of Jerusalem, exclaims: “Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt-offering and whole burnt-offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.” While these passages partly refer to individual cleansing, it cannot be denied that they, far more clearly than those cited in favor of instrumental music, relate to the public worship of God’s house. If, now, the argument holds good, which is derived from the Psalms in support of the use of instruments in the public worship of the Christian church, it equally holds in justification of the offering of bloody sacrifices in that worship. The absurdity of the consequence completely refutes the argument.

The only way in which I can conceive that an attempt may be made to evade the point of this fatal consideration, is by maintaining that the sacrifices of the ancient worship were types which have been abolished in consequence of their fulfilment by Christ, the great expiatory sacrifice, but that instrumental music was not typical, and therefore remains. One can now see why the preceding argument, to prove the typical character of instrumental music as a part of the temple worship, was so elaborately pressed, and sustained by so long a catena of authorities. If that argument was conclusive, this method of escape is nothing worth. Only what was generic, essential, permanent in the worship of God’s ancient people passes over into the new economy; what was specific, accidental, temporary has vanished with the old; and it has been shown by conclusive proofs that to the latter kind of worship instrumental music must be assigned. It was a temporary environment by which it pleased God to surround the singing of his praise, and as typical it has been stripped away by its fulfilment in the copious effusion of the Holy Spirit, and the glorious effects of his grace in applying the accomplished atonement of Christ. We are Christians. Jews we are, if believers, “inwardly,” as Paul declares; Jews as we are the spiritual seed of Abraham, and partake of his faith, as we possess, at least are entitled to possess, and possess more fully, the benefits of that unchanging covenant of grace which, in its essential provisions was administered in the Patriarchal and Mosaic dispensations, is administered in the Christian, and will, in the Heavenly, be administered “throughout all ages, world without end.” Jews we are not, as says the same apostle, “outwardly:” Jews, not; by carnal descent or national lineage, not as bound by the positive enactments of the ceremonial law, not as subject to the accidental provisions, the specific, peculiar, typical elements which constituted the temporary shell of that immutable covenant.

This argument; from the Old Testament Scriptures proves vastly too much. Those who have most urgently insisted upon it; have acted with logical consistency in importing priests into the New Testament church; and as priests suppose sacrifices, lo, the sacrifice of the Mass! Instrumental music may not seem to stand upon the same foot with that monstrous corruption, but the principle which underlies both is the same; and that whether We are content with a single instrument, the cornet, the bass-viol, the organ, or go on by a natural development to the orchestral art, the cathedral pomps, and all the spectacular magnificence of Rome. We are Christians, and we are untrue to Christ and to the Spirit of grace when we resort to the abrogated and forbidden ritual of the Jewish temple.

[go to CHAPTER 3.]


[1] The daughters of Heman, mentioned I Chron. 25:5, were not singers and performers on instruments in the public worship, for they are not included in the enumeration of the courses which follows.

[2] De Synag. Vetere, Lib. I., Pars i, Chap. 10. Lightfoot on Matt. vi. 2. See also Josephus, Ant. Jud., Lib. iii., Chap. 12.

[3] The orthodox Jews, even to the present day [1888], oppose its use in the synagogue. The writer knew a congregation in Charleston, S.C., to be rent in twain in consequence of an attempt to introduce an organ.

[4] “Under every preceding dispensation the sanctity of the Sabbath had been a fundamental part of the revealed religion; the synagogue worship goes back, possibly, to the captivity in Egypt, certainly to the captivity in Babylon.”—Breckinridge’s Subjec. Theology, p. 530.

[5] See Horne’s Introduction, vol. ii. p. 102, for a confirmation of this view. It is there shown to have been advocated by Josephus and Philo, and also by Grotius, Ernesti, Whitby, Doddridge, and Lardner.

[6] George Gillespie says: “After the tribes were settled in the land of promise synagogues were built in the case of an urgent necessity, because all Israel could not come every Sabbath day to the reading and expounding of the law in the place that God had chosen that his name might dwell there.” Eng. Pop. Cerem. p. 116.

[7] Let it be observed that, in making this distinction between essential and accidental elements of worship, by the accidental are meant elements divinely commanded. With the Reformed and Puritan divines, I utterly repudiate the distinction as used by Prelatists to justify such accidental elements as human wisdom or church authority adds, without divine warrant, to the essential elements of worship.

[8] Works, Vol. ix., p. 419: London, 1823. Fairbairn takes substantially the same view: Typology of Scripture, Vol. ii., pp. 212, 213. See also M’Ewen, Types, Bk. iii., § 3.

[9] Ibid., p. 440. This view is also maintained by M’Ewen, Types, Bk. iii. §3.

[10] Vol. ii., pp. 257, 258.

[11] This is probably the true view.

[12] In opposition to Fairbairn, and in agreement with the majority of orthodox commentators, I would regard the golden candlestick as itself a type of Christ, and the lights merely, the lamps of revelation, as representing the Church. The oil, with Fairbairn, I take to typify the illuminating grace of the Holy Ghost; but the true Container of that oil is originally Christ himself, not the church (except, perhaps, derivatively), which receives it from him and manifests it in a world of darkness. See M’Ewen, Types, Bk. iii., § 3.

[13] Vol. ii., p. 126.

[14] Ibid., p. 127. M’Ewen strongly urges this typical significance of the Feast of Pentecost.

[15] In confirmation of this assertion the author quotes the following passage from the Jerusalem Talmud: “Why is it called the place or house of drawing? Because from thence they draw the Holy Spirit: as it is written, and ye shall draw water with joy from the wells of salvation.”

[16] Typol. Scrip., Vol. ii. p. 311.

[17] On Ps. 71:22.

[18] On Ps. 81:3.

[19] On Ps. 92:1.

[20] P. 404.

[21] De Bon. Operibus, Lib. i. Cap. 17. We appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober—from Bellarmin the partisan to Bellarmin the theologian.

[22] II. ii. 2, xci., A. ii., 4, et conclusio: Tom. iv., Ratisbonae, 1884, p. 646.

[23] Act. Disp. ii. p. 106, quoted by Ames.

[24] Lib. ii., Tract. ii., Cap. iii., Tom. i., Amstel., p. 554.

[25] On word, Organ.

[26] Ch. iii., p. 13: The Presbyterian’s Armory, Vol. i.

[27] P. 4, Presbyterian’s Armory, Vol. iii.

[28] On the Use of Organs, etc., p. 18.

[29] P. 216.

[30] The Organ and other Musical Instruments, as noted in the Holy Scriptures.

[31] Dr. Candlish, The Organ Question, pp. 87, 88. It may be said in answer, that on the same ground singing ought to be abolished. But, first, singing was not as peculiarly connected with sacrifice as was the blowing of trumpets; secondly, that the use of instruments was peculiar to the temple service, whereas singing was not. The argument only holds in regard to the specific and temporary elements of worship, not to the generic and permanent.

[32] Body of Divinity, Quest. CLIV., Vol. iv., p. 82, Philadelphia, 1815.

[33] Ibid., pp. 87, 88.