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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 14 - Verse 15

Verse 15. What is it then? What shall I do? What is the proper course for me to pursue? What is my practice and my desire? See the same form of expression in Ro 3:9; 6:15. It indicates the conclusion to which the reasoning had conducted him, or the course which he would pursue in view of all the circumstances of the case.

I will pray with the spirit, etc. I will endeavour to blend all the advantages which can be derived from prayer; I will unite all the benefits which can result to myself and to others. I deem it of vast importance to pray with the spirit in such a way that the heart and the affections may be engaged, so that I may myself derive benefit from it; but I will also unite with that, utility to others; I will use such language that they may understand it, and be profited.

And I will pray with the understanding also. So that others may understand me. I will make the appropriate use of the intellect, so that it may convey ideas, and make suitable impressions on the minds of others.

I will sing with the spirit. It is evident that the same thing might take place in singing which occurred in prayer. It might be in a foreign language, and might be unintelligible to others. The affections of the man himself might be excited, and his heart engaged in the duty, but it would be profitless to others. Paul, therefore, says that he would so celebrate the praises of God, as to excite the proper affections in his own mind, and so as to be intelligible and profitable to others. This passage proves,

(1.) that the praises of God are to be celebrated among Christians, and that it is an important part of worship;

(2.) that the heart should be engaged in it, and that it should be so performed as to excite proper affections in the hearts of those who are engaged in it; and,

(3.) that it should be so done as to be intelligible and edifying to others. The words should be so uttered as to be distinct and understood. There should be clear enunciation as well as in prayer and preaching, since the design of sacred music in the worship of God is not only to utter praise, but it is to impress the sentiments which are sung on the heart, by the aid of musical sounds and expression, more deeply than could otherwise be done. If this is not done, the singing might as well be in a foreign language. Perhaps there is no part of public worship in which there is greater imperfection than in the mode of its psalmody. At the same time, there is scarcely any part of the devotions of the sanctuary that may be made more edifying or impressive. It has the advantage—an advantage which preaching and praying have not—of using the sweet tones of melody and harmony to impress sentiment on the heart; and it should be done.

{a} "spirit" Joh 4:24 {b} "sing" Eph 5:19; Col 3:16 {c} "understanding" Ps 46:7

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