"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Why I am not Psalms-only acapella

I have been in a few churches that are Psalms-only or acapella (no instruments). While I think the Psalms-only churches may have a leg up on other churches in that their learned worship music is all Scriptural and an aid to learning large chunks of Scripture, I don't believe you can demand from Scripture that everyone conform to that in worship. If I did, I would have to:

1. Ignore Paul's adoption (and implicit support) of early hymns

Any New Testament Greek scholar will tell you the form of Phil 2:5-11 and Col 1:15-20 are in the form of early hymns in the early church, most likely that Paul quotes to affirm their accuracy and help him remind his readers of their truth. The NA27 text arranges it that way. So I would have to get an older Greek text that doesn't do that.

2. Change Col 3:16 and Eph 5:19

These seem to suggest the psalms are in the corpus, rather than the exclusive corpus, of the songs of the church. It has been suggested that these refer to three types of psalms, so to have it make more sense, I would have to change them like so:

Col 3:16- Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns psalms and spiritual songs more psalms, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

3. Edit the Psalms

Now that you are singing the Psalms, you will run into a little problem in that they tell you to use instruments and to sing new songs. So to be super true to the word of God, as it seems David was not, I would have to edit these to:

Psalm 150:3-6 -Praise him with trumpet sound; your voice
praise him with lute and harp! your voice
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance; your voice
praise him with strings and pipe! your voice
5 Praise him with sounding cymbals; your voice
praise him with loud clashing cymbals! your voice
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 149:1-4- Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song, psalm
his praise in the assembly of the godly!
2 Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!
3 Let them praise his name with dancing, standing still,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! your voice
4 For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with salvation.

Thus, I cannot be of the camp that submits that all worship music is to be sung without instruments and only from the Psalms. That said, it wouldn't be a bad idea to sing a Psalm every now and again in worship, especially the whole psalm (not just the praise section) and all the types of psalms (praise, lament, etc).


Lewis Churchill said...

Did Paul really quote the early hymns in order to affirm their accuracy and help him remind his readers of their truth? Or were the early hymns quoting Paul because they knew that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”?  2Timothy 3:16-17

Lewis Churchill said...

Matthew 26:17-30 specifically verse 30 where it says "And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives."

First, most scholars agree that the 'hymn' that Jesus and his disciples sang was in fact a compilation of psalms, specifically 113 to 118 (otherwise known as the Hallel). So, both exegetically and historically we can prove that scripturally a hymn can mean a Psalm.

I would challenge you to try and scripturally define a hymn as anything else. Where in scripture do we see any evidence that Paul is suggesting the use of uninspired songs in worship? Where do we see in scripture a definition of spiritual songs that would show us that spiritual songs are uninspired extra biblical works? And on top of this, are not the psalms by their very nature spiritual songs? Or are they unspiritual? Be careful how you answer that.

I've dealt with a similar issue to this before. I'll quote part of the discourse.

"Q) Can it be exegetically proven that "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" means "psalms, psalms and psalms"? No, brother - those three words cannot refer exclusively to the Psalter. Furthermore, it cannot be said that those two verses which are always referenced do not refer to public worship. They are broad enough for either context (private/public).

 A: Yes it can in fact mean psalms only. Look at the introduction to each psalm in the Bible; many start with an introduction such as 'A Miktam of David' (ie 16) or 'A Shiggaion of David' (ie 7) or 'A Song of Ascents' (ie 125) or 'A Maskil of David' (ie 124)  or 'A song of praise' (ie: 145). Also see the introduction to 17, 102, 92, and 32. This shows us evidence that there are different classifications or titles given to psalms. 

In the greek Septuagint (the greek translation of the OT which Paul would have been reading) the Psalms are classified as Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual songs in their title. The key in understanding Colossians 3:16 is in the beginning of the verse; "let the word of Christ dwell in you richly". What is the word of Christ? It is scripture. Amazing Grace and Rock of Ages are great songs, but they are not the word of Christ.

More over if you are to be consistent in viewing hymns and spiritual songs as something distinct from psalms, then what is the difference between a hymn and a spiritual song? If we are to obey the instruction of Colossians 3:16, then our worship must include psalms (which most churches do not sing anyway), hymns and spiritual songs. It must have all three to be consistent with that interpretation. 

Sadly, most (but not all) Christians who have this interpretation abandon psalmody altogether, using man made worship songs over the Word of Christ. Is scripture insufficient for worship that we must add to it? Dare we build a cart to carry the worship of Gods Church? Have we forgotten about Uzzah, or Aaron's sons, Nadab an Abihu?

You are right though in stating that the verse is broad enough to cover both private and public worship. We shouldn't offer strange fire on Gods altar regardless if it is private or public worship." 

Salvation is of the Lord and we come to Him on His terms. Worship belongs to God and yet do we think we can come our own way?

Lewis Churchill said...

Now if I make a claim that the use of such titles (psalms hymns and spiritual songs) is found in the Septuagint, I better be able to back it up. Now I am no historian or greek scholar, but I found the following article pretty convincing. David P Murray came to preach at our church one day and being a professor of Old Testament theology I wanted proof for the claims that titles such as hymns and spiritual songs were found in the Septuagint. One of his research students sent me a quote from "The Testimony of Scripture," pages 83-92. [1993 edition]. Be cause of it's length and the limit of characters I'm allowed to type here, I will have to quote it in chunks.

Lewis Churchill said...

"Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16. These two passages are perhaps the most important and most debated
passages in the New Testament dealing with song in worship. They read as follows: "And do not get
drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms
and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord" (Eph. 5: 18-19).1
"Let the word of Christ dwell richly within you: with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another
with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God" (Col. 3:16).

There are a number of questions that must be dealt with before we can come to any conclusions
concerning the bearing of these passages on worship song.

The first question that confronts us is that of whether these two passages have in view a formal assembly of worship. The commentators seem to be about evenly divided on the question, but we cannot enter here into the various aspects of the debate. It would seem rather apparent, however, that some form of gathering for worship is in view simply from the fact that mutual or corporate edification in the singing of praise to God is at the heart of both passages. Whether Paul has in view stated or regular services of worship or simply a situation in which two or more Christians gather together informally to lift up their voices in praise to God is ultimately beside the point. What is proper or improper to be sung in one instance must be seen as proper or improper to be sung in the other. Worship is still worship, whatever its circumstances and regardless of the number of people involved.

Murray and Young suggest that Paul may well have in mind principles governing Christian intercourse in
general rather than public worship specifically. Their comments on the significance of this observation
are important:

This consideration does not, however, remove these texts from relevancy to the question of the
public worship of God. For, if Paul specifies psalms, hymns and spiritual songs as the media through which believers may mutually promote the glory of God and one another's edification in those more generic Christian exercises, this fact has very close bearing upon the question of the apostolically sanctioned and authorized media of praise to God in the more specific worship of the sanctuary. In other words, if the apostolically enjoined media or materials of song in the more generic exercises of worship are psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, then nothing inferior to psalms, hymns and spiritual songs would be enjoined for use in the more specific exercises of
worship in the assemblies of the church. If psalms, hymns and spiritual songs are the limits of the materials of song in praise of God in less formal acts of worship, how much more are they the limits in more formal acts of worship.

Regardless, then, of the liturgical setting of Paul's exhortations in these two passages, the passages
themselves have great significance for the question of what songs are to be sung in the worship of God.

Lewis Churchill said...

The second question that confronts us in the interpretation of these passages concerns the meaning of the phrase "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs." It almost goes without saying that these three musical terms did not necessarily mean the same thing to Paul and his readers as they do to us now. Their meaning here must be determined by an examination of their use in New Testament times as well as from the contextual considerations of the passages before us. The meanings of the religious terms used in the New Testament were conditioned to a large extent by the usage of those terms in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament in common use at that time. As we have noted, the three terms psalmos, odee and humnos are used very infrequently in the New Testament, and much of the time the content of the songs referred to is not determinable from the context. This makes the study of the use of these terms in the Septuagint all the more important for the determination of how the original readers of the New Testament would have understood them.

a. Psalmos occurs some 87 times in the Septuagint, some 78 of which are in the Psalms themselves, and
67 times in the psalm titles. It also forms the title to the Greek version of the Psalter, translating the
Hebrew tihilah. On rare occasion the term psalmos can have reference to the songs of the ungodly (Job
21:12; Lam. 3:14), but by far the most frequent occurrence of the term is in the Psalter itself. Surely this would have had a determinative effect on the connotation and denotation of the term in New
Testament times.

b. Humnos occurs some 17 times in the Septuagint, 13 of which are in the Psalms, six times in the titles.
In 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Chronicles and Nehemiah there are some 16 examples in which the Psalms are called
"hymns" or "songs" and the singing of them is called "hymning." Philo (d. A.D. 40) frequently designates
certain Psalms as "hymns." The historian Josephus also repeatedly alludes to the Psalms as "hymns.”
According to Trench, humnos occurs nowhere in the Apostolic Fathers or Justin Martyr or the Apostolic
Constitutions, and only once in Tertullian (ad Uxor. II, 8), perhaps because the word had by then taken
on profane associations. But this consideration does not materially affect our understanding of the
usage of the term during New Testament times. Generally bumneo means "to sing praise" or "to praise
in song," but it can mean simply "to praise" without any musical reference at all. There is, however, no
clear instance of the latter usage in the New Testament (Heb. 2:12 and Acts 16:25 are the only possible instances). What we see, then, in the Septuagint and in early theological literature is a pattern of instances in which the noun humnos is used either in connection with or in reference to the inspired Psalms.

c. Odee occurs some 80 times in the Septuagint, 45 of which are in the Psalms, 36 in the Psalm titles.
Josephus (Antiquities 2, 346) refers to Exodus 15 as a "song to God." At a later point odee came to be
used only for biblical songs (apart from the Psalms) used in the liturgy, but usage in New Testament
times is broader, there being no precise differentiation between odee, psalmos and humnos. Philo, for example, in connection with Exodus 15 first uses the term "sea song" and then simply humnos. As we shall see momentarily, the term odee is used quite frequently in conjunction with other musical terms to
denote the biblical Psalms.

Lewis Churchill said...

d. Very important for our interpretation of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 is the consideration that
all three of the terms under consideration are used frequently in various combinations by the biblical
writers as well as by post-Apostolic Sources to refer to the biblical Psalms and canticles. We begin our
survey in this connection with the Psalms themselves. Among the Psalm headings in the Septuagint the
terms psalmos and odee occur together 12 times in a variety of formats: "a psalm of David, a song," “a
song of David among the psalms," “a psalm of a song,” and "a song of a psalm.” Psalmos and humnos
appear conjoined twice as "a psalm of David among the hymns.” Psalm 75 (76 in the Septuagint) contains all three terms together. The heading for that Psalm reads: "For the end, among the hymns, a psalm for Asaph, a song for the Assyrian.” Psalm 136 (137):3 is especially interesting: "For there they that had taken us captive asked of us the words of a song, and they that had carried us away asked a hymn, saying, "sing us one of the songs of Zion." The combination of "singing and psalming," as in Ephesians 5:19, is found in other forms in several places in the psalter (e.g. Ps. 26:6; 56:8; 104:2; 107:2).

We find a similar situation when we turn to the early non-canonical sources. Philo, for instance,
introduces a number of quotations from the biblical Psalms with the phrase "in hymns it is said, it is
sung.” The name Judas is said to be a "symbol of songs and hymns to God.” Philo says that the one
whom God endows with spiritual gifts must respond with the one thing he can give, namely "words and
songs and hymns. Clement of Alexandria defines a "psalm" as a "spiritual song.” Josephus often mixes
the terms. He says, for example, that the Levites, called "hymn singers” stand at sacrifice in the circle
with the musical instruments and "sing hymns and praise to God” as they were taught by David.
Josephus tells us that David composed "songs to God and hymns” in various meters.

In modern times the three terms "psalms," "hymns," and "odes (or canticles)" have taken on rather
definite meanings. "Psalm" is thus taken as a reference to the Old Testament Psalms; "hymn" usually denotes an extra-biblical song of praise to God; and "ode (canticle)" is generally taken as a reference to one of a number of lyrical pieces in the Bible (other than Psalms) that have been used in the liturgy of the Church. The evidence that we have examined, however, indicates that these rigid distinctions did not apply during the New Testament period. Most modern interpreters are therefore agreed that in Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5: 19 Paul is using the three terms, "psalms," "hymns," and "songs," without intending any significant distinction in the terms, such as, for example, Jewish Psalms, Christian hymns, and more formal poems of praise. Paul, in other words, is here calling the same thing by
different names "to give a fuller and more emphatic description of it by specifying its various aspects."
Such rhetorical expansion is a common stylistic device in Scripture, the number three being especially
prominent. The Lord, for example, describes Himself as one who "keeps lovingkindness for thousands,
who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin" (Ex. 34:7). When the Israelites entered the promised land,
the Lord commanded them to "walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and
His judgments" (Deut. 30: 16). Paul vindicated his Apostolic office with "signs and wonders and miracles" (2 Cor. 12:12). He urges that "entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, (1 Tim. 2:1). Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 are apparently instances of this same pattern of expression.

Lewis Churchill said...

A candid examination of the above evidence, we believe, leads to the inevitable conclusion that the
phrase "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" is a rhetorical device intended as a reference to the biblical Psalms. Murray and Young summarize the evidence this way:

The case is simply this, that beyond all dispute there is no other datum that compares With the
significance of the language of the Septuagint in the resolution of this question. When taken in conjunction with the only positive evidence we have in the New Testament, the evidence leads preponderantly to the conclusion that, when Paul wrote "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs," he would expect the mind of his readers to think of what were, in the terms of Scripture itself, "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs," namely the Book of Psalms.

One may, of course, choose to disagree with this conclusion, but the evidence cited above absolutely
forbids that it be dismissed cavalierly. This in itself prohibits the use of these two passages as a suitable
foundation for an uninspired hymnody.

Lewis Churchill said...

There are a number of other considerations of a contextual nature that must be dealt with in connection with Ephesians 5: 19 and Colossians 3:16. A number of commentators, for example, especially in more recent times, have seen these verses as examples of "charismatic song" somewhat similar to that of 1Corinthians 14: 14-26. Dunn mentions three factors that he believes favor this Interpretation: (i) The parallel between Ephesians 5: 18 ("Do not get drunk with wine ... but be filled with the Spirit") and the situation in 1 Corinthians 11:20ff; (ii) The "piling up of charismatic phraseology," such as the "word of
Christ," "in all wisdom," "with grace," etc.; (iii) The use of the word "spiritual" to characterize the song as
prompted by the Spirit and manifesting the Spirit. Dunn's case is certainly interesting, but it is not at all
conclusive, and there are a number of considerations that weigh heavily against it. The phrase "filled
with the Spirit" does not necessarily imply the presence of some sort of charismatic utterance or
transient ecstatic phenomenon. The condition of being "in the Spirit" or of being "filled with the Spirit" is mentioned frequently in Luke and Acts.3 It usually signifies a transient manifestation of the Spirit
resulting in original utterances of some sort (e.g., Matt. 10:19ff; Acts 10:45ff; 19:6), but it can refer to a
more or less permanent quality (Luke 1:15; 4:1; Acts 6:3, 5; 9:17) common to all believers. Considerations to be dealt with momentarily have led us to adopt the latter meaning here.

The number of passages referring to the "word of Christ" is not very numerous, and the significance of
the phrase here is accordingly difficult to determine. With the emphasis on "teaching and admonishing,"
activities invariably associated with the Scriptures, we are inclined to take "the word of Christ" as simply
a synonym for the "word of God," the Scriptures. To replace "the word of God" with the "word of Christ"
would certainly be in keeping with the Christological emphasis of these two epistles, and the New
Testament is certainly not without parallels for such a correspondence.2 Paul tells us, therefore, to let
the "word of Christ," the Scriptures, dwell within us, and this is to issue in teaching by song. How better,
we ask, could this be accomplished than in the singing of the songs of the Bible, the inspired Psalms,
which are indeed the Word of Christ and which according to the Lord Himself, speak clearly of Him (Luke 24:44)?

There has been considerable debate over the significance of the term "spiritual" in these two passages.

Lewis Churchill said...

Contextual considerations would seem to favor the interpretation of those who, like Meyer, assert that
the term "spiritual" in these passages defines the songs as "proceeding from the Holy Spirit, as
thopneustous. On the whole, there is little variation in the signification that this term takes in New Testament usage. Warfield summarizes the situation thusly:

Of the twenty-five instances in which the word occurs in the New Testament, in no single case does it sink even as low in its reference as the human spirit; and in twenty-four of them is derived from, the Holy Spirit. In this sense of belonging to, or determined by, the Holy Spirit, the New Testament usage is uniform with the one single exception of Eph. 6:12, where it seems to refer to the higher though superhuman intelligences. The appropriate translation for it in each case is spirit-given, or spirit-led, or spirit-determined. It must be emphasized that the common usage of the word "spiritual" as equivalent to the term
"religious" is wholly lacking in the New Testament. In the vast majority of cases in the New Testament,
the term "spiritual" is connected with the immediate efficacy of the Holy Spirit in the accomplishment of
some divine task. One may object that Paul has in view here the idea of hymns composed by "spiritual"
but not necessarily inspired men. It may be conceded that in a few instances the term is used in such a
way (e.g., Col. 1:9; 1 Cor. 3:1), but the fact remains that this is not what Paul says. He speaks of spiritual
songs, not spiritual men. And surely the context of the two passages before us must be kept in mind. We
do not accept the "charismatic song" interpretation of these passages. The fact that being filled with the
Spirit is commanded here and the fact that these letters are apparently directed to the whole body of
believers, as over against the individualistic character and secondary importance of the temporary
charismatic gifts (see 1 Cor. 14), would seem to militate very strongly against the idea of "charismatic"
song in this instance.

Lewis Churchill said...

The so-called "charismatic tenor" of the whole passage, however, though not necessarily implying the exercise of charismatic gifts, would seem to require a much stronger interpretation of the term
"spiritual" than simply that of "produced by spiritual but not necessarily inspired men." Such considerations would seem, in other words, to require that these passages be placed in the same
category as those in which "spiritual" is used in a sense similar to that of theopneustos or
"Godbreathed," "inspired." In such a case the use of pneumatikais qualifying the phrase "psalms, hymns,
and songs" eliminates as a possibility the interpretation that sees Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 as instances of uninspired song. It may be objected that if the three terms taken together already refer to the Psalms, then the modifier "spiritual" is redundant, but Paul may well have added it simply to remove all possibility of doubt as to the proper reference of the terms, since they can be used in a secular sense.

We feel, then, that there are only two reasonable interpretations of these passages. We must see them
either as examples of inspired "charismatic" song, or as referring to the singing of the Old Testament
Psalms. The latter seems to us to be by far the most likely interpretation, but in neither case is there any
warrant either for the composition or for the singing of uninspired songs in worship. Even supposing
that Paul is referring in these passages to materials other than the Old Testament Psalms, it is
reasonable to assume that what he says here would have been understood by his readers. There is,
however, no positive evidence that he might be referring to materials (other than the Psalms) that
existed at that time, or, in view of the want of anything of such a nature having come down to us, that he was giving a mandate to undertake something that was foreign to the whole history of revelation,
namely, the production of songs not immediately inspired by God for use in corporate worship. This, of
course, raises the question of whether there is any evidence for the existence of such songs in the New
Testament Scriptures themselves. It is to this question that we now turn."

"The Testimony of Scripture," pages 83-92. [1993 edition].

Lewis Churchill said...

Now I would turn your attention to the following passage:

2 Chronicles 29:25-30 “And he stationed the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, harps, and lyres, according to the commandment of David and of Gad the king's seer and of Nathan the prophet, for the
commandment was from the LORD through his prophets. The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. Then Hezekiah commanded that the burnt offering be
offered on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song to the LORD began also, and the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments of David king of Israel. The whole assembly worshiped, and the
singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded. All this continued until the burnt offering was finished. When the offering was finished, the king and all who were present with him bowed themselves and worshiped.
And Hezekiah the king and the officials commanded the Levites to sing praises to the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed down and worshiped.”

Point#1: "And he stationed the Levites in the house of
the LORD with cymbals, harps, and lyres, according to the commandment of David and of Gad the king's seer and of Nathan the prophet, for the commandment was from the LORD through his prophets."

The type of instruments and who was to play the instrument was determined by the commandment of the LORD. So, in response to this pithy argument about being 'super true', one would have to be a Levite in order to be allowed to play any instrument. And to disobey this would be to violate a direct command from God.

Lewis Churchill said...

Point#2: "Then Hezekiah commanded that the burnt offering be offered on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song to the LORD began also, and the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments of David king of Israel. The whole assembly worshiped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded. All this continued until the burnt offering was finished."

The instruments only played when the sacrifice was offered and ended when when burnt offering was finished. Singing continued however: "When the offering was finished, the king and all who were present with him bowed themselves and worshiped.
And Hezekiah the king and the officials commanded the Levites to sing praises to the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed down and worshiped.”

So again, to be 'super true' and not add or take away from scripture, if we are to use instruments, not only must we genealogically be Levites, but we must also reinstate the weak beggarly elements of the law that both pointed to and were fulfilled in Christ.

Lewis Churchill said...

Point#3: In response to the argument that "Now that you are singing the Psalms, you will run into a little
problem in that they tell you to use instruments and to sing new songs"

Sacrifices are also mentioned in the psalms. So, if we are to be consistent with the line of reasoning that 'psalms command the use of instruments, therefore we as new covenant believers are permitted and obligated to incorporate them into our worship' we must also consider sacrifice and offerings.

Psalm 4:5
 Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.

Psalm 66:15
 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams; I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah

Psalm 118:27
 The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!

Yet we know that such things are fulfilled in Christ. Such a line of reasoning is both inconsistent and unbiblical to suggest that the command for the use of instruments is to be carried on by the new covenant believer and yet the commands to offer sacrifice neglected, especially in light of the fact that the offerings and sacrifices were tied to the use of instruments. We cannot pick and choose which ordinance we'd like to preform while neglecting other's that are also commanded to be used in conjunction with one another.

Lewis Churchill said...

Point#4: Lastly, the admonition to sing a new song is not suggesting that we sing a song that has never been sung before.

To quote Richard D. Patterson "Five psalms in the psalter are called "New songs" (Psalm 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 149:1). Additionally, while Psalm 144 is not itself a "new song", it includes a promise to sing a "new song" (v.9) after God grants a longed for victory. In biblical Hebrew, a new song is not necessarily a song that was recently written. The phrase is an idiom for a certain kind of praise song - the kind of praise one sings loudly for all the nations to hear after God has granted a great victory. Psalm 40 is a good example: "I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord".

Such a song is sung when the old notes of lament have given way to a new melody of joy and gladness.It bursts forth from the heart because of some momentous deliverance that puts all the old griefs into the distant past."