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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Ms 134, 1901




    This manuscript is extracted from published sources and Ms 157, 1899.

    Music. Extracts from the Testimonies.

    Testimonies for the Church 1:146.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 1

    I have seen that confusion is displeasing to the Lord, and that there should be order in praying and also in singing. ... I saw that all should sing with the spirit and with the understanding also. God is not pleased with jargon and discord. Right is always more pleasing to Him than wrong. And the nearer the people of God can approach to correct, harmonious singing, the more is He glorified, the church benefited, and unbelievers favorably affected.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 2

    I have been shown the order, the perfect order, of heaven and have been enraptured as I listened to the perfect music there. After coming out of vision, the singing here has sounded very harsh and discordant. I have seen companies of angels, who stood in a hollow square, every one having a harp of gold. At the end of the harp was an instrument to turn, to set the harp or change the tunes. Their fingers did not sweep over the strings carelessly, but they touched different strings to produce different sounds. There is one angel who always leads, who first touches the harp and strikes the note, then all join in the rich, perfect music of heaven. It cannot be described. It is melody, heavenly, divine, while from every countenance beams the image of Jesus, shining with glory unspeakable.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 3


    Testimonies for the Church 1:496-513.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 4

    I feel alarmed as I witness everywhere the frivolity of young men and young women who profess to believe the truth. ... They have a keen ear for music, and Satan knows what organs to excite to animate, engross, and charm the mind, so that Christ is not desired. ... I was shown that the youth must take a higher stand, and make the Word of God the man of their counsel and their guide. Solemn responsibilities rest upon the young, which they lightly regard. The introduction of music into their homes, instead of inciting to holiness and spirituality, has been the means of diverting their minds from the truth. Frivolous songs and the popular sheet music of the day seem congenial to their taste. The instruments of music have taken time which should have been devoted to prayer. Music, when not abused, is a great blessing; but when put to a wrong use, it is a terrible curse. It excites, but does not impart that strength and courage which the Christian can find only at the throne of grace while humbly making known his wants, and with strong cries and tears, pleading for heavenly strength to be fortified against the powerful temptations of the evil one. ...16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 5

    Music has occupied the hours which should have been devoted to prayer. Music is the idol which many professed Sabbath-keeping Christians worship. Satan has no objection to music, if he can make that a channel through which to gain access to the minds of the youth. ... When turned to good account, music is a blessing, but it is often made one of Satan’s most attractive agencies to ensnare souls. When abused, it leads the unconsecrated to pride, vanity, and folly. When allowed to take the place of devotion and prayer, it is a terrible curse. ...16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 6

    God is glorified by songs of praise from a pure heart filled with love and devotion to Him. ...16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 7

    Pray more than you sing. Do you not stand in greater need of prayer than of singing? Young men and women, God calls upon you to work, work for Him.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 8


    Testimonies for the Church 2:144.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 9

    How can I endure the thought that most of the youth in this age will come short of everlasting life! Oh that the sound of instrumental music might cease, and they no more while away so much precious time in pleasing their own fancy!16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 10


    Testimonies for the Church 2:538.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 11

    Your daughters may love music, and this may be all right; it may add to the happiness of the family; but the knowledge of music without the knowledge of cookery is not worth much. When your daughters have families of their own, an understanding of music and fancy work will not provide for the table a well-cooked dinner, prepared with nicety, so that they will not blush to place it before their most esteemed friends.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 12


    Testimonies for the Church 3:39.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 13

    Your singing schools have ever been a snare to you. Neither you nor your sisters have a depth of experience that will enable you to be brought in contact with the influences you meet in your singing schools without being affected.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 14


    Testimonies for the Church 4:71-73.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 15

    Music can be a great power for good; yet we do not make the most of this branch of worship. The singing is generally done from impulse or to meet special cases, and at other times those who sing are left to blunder along, and the music loses its proper effect upon the minds of those present. Music should have beauty, pathos, and power. Let the voices be lifted in songs of praise and devotion. Call to your aid, if practicable, instrumental music, and let the glorious harmony ascend to God, an acceptable offering. But it is sometimes more difficult to discipline the singers and keep them in working order, than to improve the habits of praying and exhorting. Many want to do things after their own style; they object to consultation and are impatient under leadership. Well-matured plans are needed in the service of God. Common sense is an excellent thing in the worship of the Lord. ...16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 16

    There are more gatherings for singing than for prayer among our people; but even these gatherings can be conducted in so reverential yet cheerful a manner that they may exert a good influence. There is, however, too much jesting, idle conversation, and gossiping to make these seasons beneficial, to elevate the thoughts and refine the manners.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 17


    The Review and Herald, July 24, 1883.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 18

    Another matter which should receive attention, both at our camp-meetings and elsewhere, is that of singing. A minister should not give out hymns to be sung, until it has first been ascertained that they are familiar to those who sing. A proper person should be appointed to take charge of this exercise, and it should be his duty to see that such hymns are selected as can be sung with the spirit and with the understanding also. Singing is a part of the worship of God, but in the bungling manner in which it is often conducted, it is no credit to the truth, and no honor to God. There should be system and order in this as well as every other part of the Lord’s work. Organize a company of the best singers, whose voices can lead the congregation, and then let all who will, unite with them. Those who sing should make an effort to sing in harmony; they should devote some time to practice, that they may employ this talent to the glory of God.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 19

    But singing should not be allowed to divert the mind from the hours of devotion. If one must be neglected, let it be the singing. It is one of the great temptations of the present age to carry the practice of music to extremes, to make a great deal more of music than of prayer. Many souls have been ruined here. When the Spirit of God is arousing the conscience and convicting of sin, Satan suggests a singing-exercise or a singing-school, which, being conducted in a light and trifling manner, results in banishing seriousness and quenching all desire for the Spirit of God. Thus the door of the heart, which was about to be opened to Jesus, is closed and barricaded with pride and stubbornness, in many cases never again to be opened. ... They have chosen singing before prayer, singing-schools in preference to religious meetings. ... Such singing is an offence to God.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 20


    Patriarchs and Prophets, 637-643, 707-711.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 21

    Centuries before the advent of the Saviour, David, in the freshness of boyhood, kept watch of his flocks as they grazed on the hills surrounding Bethlehem. The simple shepherd boy sang the songs of his own composing, and the music of his harp made a sweet accompaniment to the melody of his fresh young voice. ...16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 22

    David, in the beauty and vigor of his young manhood, was preparing to take a high position with the noblest of the earth. His talents, as precious gifts from God, were employed to extol the glory of the divine Giver. His opportunities of contemplation and meditation served to enrich him with that wisdom and piety that made him beloved of God and angels. ... Each ray of new light called forth fresh bursts of rapture, and sweeter anthems of devotion, to the glory of God and the Redeemer. ... As he beheld the love of God in all the providences of his life, his heart throbbed with more fervent admiration and gratitude, his voice rang out in a richer melody, his harp was swept with more exultant joy; and the shepherd boy proceeded from strength to strength, from knowledge to knowledge; for the Spirit of the Lord was upon him. ...16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 23

    His [Saul’s] counselors advised him to seek for the services of a skillful musician, in the hope that the soothing notes of a sweet instrument might calm his troubled spirit. In the providence of God, David, as a skillful performer upon the harp, was brought before the king. His lofty and heaven-inspired strains had the desired effect. The brooding melancholy that had settled like a dark cloud over the mind of Saul was charmed away. ...16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 24

    While he [David] was absorbed in deep meditation, and harassed by thoughts of anxiety, he turned to his harp, and called forth strains that elevated his mind to the Author of every good, and the dark clouds that seemed to shadow the horizon of the future were dispelled. ...16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 25

    Again the long train was in motion, and the music of harp and cornet, trumpet and cymbal, floated heavenward, blended with the melody of many voices. ... The triumphal procession approached the capital, following the sacred symbol of their invisible King. Then a burst of song demanded of the watchers upon the walls that the gates of the Holy City should be thrown open:16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 26

    “Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
    And be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors;
    And the King of glory shall come in.” [Psalm 24:7.]
    16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 27

    A band of singers and players answered,16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 28

    “Who is this King of glory?” [Verse 8.]16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 29

    From another company came the response,16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 30

    “The Lord strong and mighty,
    The Lord mighty in battle.” [Verse 8.]
    16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 31

    Then hundreds of voices, uniting, swelled the triumphal chorus,16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 32

    “Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
    Even lift them up, ye everlasting doors;
    And the King of glory shall come in.” [Verse 9.]
    16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 33

    Again the joyful interrogation was heard, “Who is this King of glory?” And the voice of the great multitude, “like the sound of many waters,” was heard in the rapturous reply,16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 34

    “The Lord of hosts,
    He is the King of glory.” [Verse 10; Revelation 19:6.]
    16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 35

    The solemn ceremonies attending the removal of the ark had made a lasting impression upon the people of Israel, arousing a deeper interest in the sanctuary service and kindling anew their zeal for Jehovah. David endeavored by every means in his power to deepen these impressions. The service of song was made a regular part of religious worship, and David composed Psalms, not only for the use of the priests in the sanctuary service, but also to be sung by the people in their journeys to the national altar at the annual feasts. The influence thus exerted was far-reaching, and it resulted in freeing the nation from idolatry.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 36


    (From Ms. entitled “A Message to the Battle Creek Church,” December 4, 1899.)16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 37

    The instruction God gave His apostles, He gave for the benefit of the church in these last days. When professing Christians reach the high standard which it is their privilege to reach, the simplicity of Christ will be maintained in all their worship. Forms and ceremonies and musical accomplishments are not the strength of the church. Yet these things have taken the place that God should have, even as they did in the worship of the Jews. The Lord has revealed to me that when the heart is cleansed and sanctified, and the members of the church are partakers of the divine nature, a power will go forth from the church that will cause melody in the heart. Men and women will not then depend upon their instrumental music, but on the power and grace of God, which will give fullness of joy. There is a work to be done in clearing away the rubbish which has been brought into the church. Let the services of the Tabernacle be conducted in humility and repentance. ... This message is not only for the church at Battle Creek, but for every other church that has followed her example. ...16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 38

    Professing Christians, will you not see your work and do it, that you may be Christians not only in name, but in reality? If you do this, your pipe organ and other musical instruments will be placed second and not first. If you would close your instruments of music, and seek the Lord as you have never sought Him before, if you would put away the evil of your doing, the Spirit of the Lord would cleanse you from all defilement, and put the melody of heaven in your hearts. Your music does not commend you to God. It is the doing of His Word which He accepts.16LtMs, Ms 134, 1901, par. 39

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