Ezekiel 40:44
And without the inner gate were the chambers of the singers in the inner court, which was at the side of the north gate…

Praise is an essential part of the worship of God. However it may be with the imaginary deities of the heathen, we know of the one true God that he is infinitely great and infinitely good; and that it therefore becomes his creatures to be his worshippers, and that it becomes his worshippers to utter forth his praise - the memory of his great goodness. In the Jewish economy praise occupied a very important part in Divine service, especially during and after the time of David, the sweet singer of Israel. There were persons, gifted by nature and trained by art, who were set apart for the purpose of expressing the nation's gratitude and devotion, by performing "the service of song in the house of the Lord." These had their appointed place in the worship of the temple, and their appointed dwelling-places in its precincts. Their vocation and ministry symbolize the service of praise ever offered both by the Church militant on earth and by the Church triumphant in heaven.

I. IN ORDER TO PSALMODY, THERE MUST BE AN INTELLIGENT NATURE CAPABLE OF APPREHENDING GOD'S GLORIOUS ATTRIBUTES AND ESPECIALLY HIS GREAT GOODNESS. By a figure of speech we represent the heavens, the earth, and the sea, the living creatures which people the globe, the wells that spring into the light of day, the trees of the forests, as all rendering their tribute of praise to the Creator. But this is to project our human feelings upon the world around us. It is absurd to suppose the most sagacious of quadrupeds as even conceiving of God, far less as consciously speaking or singing his praise. But it is the glory of man's nature that his apprehensions are not limited to God's works. He "looks, through nature, up to nature's God." He discerns the tokens of the Divine presence, and finds reasons for believing in the Divine goodness. If he offers praise, his is a reasonable service.


"Why should feeling ever speak,
When thou canst breathe her tones so well?" A being with no emotion would be without song. Spontaneous is the outflow of feeling - of joy, of sorrow, of love - in the notes of melody. What so fitted to call forth the purest and most exalted strains of music as the loving-kindness of the Lord? As a matter of fact, much of the most exquisite music produced by the great and gifted masters of song has been inspired by religion and religious themes. The oratorios, the anthems, the chorales, of Christian composers, rendered with all the resources of musical art, may be regarded as endeavors to express the tenderest, the most pathetic, the sublimest feelings which the mind of man has ever experienced.

III. IN ORDER TO PSALMODY, THERE MUST BE AN ARTISTIC NATURE CAPABLE OF CONSTRUCTING APPROPRIATE FORMS OF MUSICAL EXPRESSIVENESS. These forms vary with the varying states of human society, of culture, and of civilization. What is adapted to a ruder age may be ill suited to an epoch of refinement. It is a tradition that the music composed by David, and preserved for centuries among the Jews, was taken over by the Christian Church, and so survives in archaic forms of psalmody still used amongst ourselves. However this may be, it is certain that there has never been, in the history of the Jewish or the Christian Church, a period when silence has reigned in the sacred assemblies, when speech has not been accompanied by song. Like all good things, sacred music has been abused, and attention has been given to the artistic qualities rather than to the spiritual import and impression. Yet this is an art which deserves cultivation, and which will repay for cultivation. Without psalmody, how would our religious sentiments and aspirations be repressed!

IV. IN ORDER TO PSALMODY, THERE MUST BE A PHYSICAL, VOCAL CONSTITUTION, CAPABLE OF GIVING EXPRESSION TO DEVOTIONAL FEELINGS. Instrumental music has taxed the mental powers of the composer and the artistic faculty of the performer to so high a degree that a cultivated and honorable profession has found here abundant scope for study and for skill. But the art of vocal minstrelsy is more glorious and delightful still. There is no music like the human voice; and if this is so when other themes inspire the song, how much more when the high praises of God are poured forth, whether with the enchanting sweetness of a solitary voice, or with the loud and joyful burst of the chorus in which the many blend in one! - T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And without the inner gate were the chambers of the singers in the inner court, which was at the side of the north gate; and their prospect was toward the south: one at the side of the east gate having the prospect toward the north.

WEB: Outside of the inner gate were rooms for the singers in the inner court, which was at the side of the north gate; and their prospect was toward the south; one at the side of the east gate having the prospect toward the north.

Sacred Song
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