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Dissertation 12.

THE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.

Daniel 3:5

It is not possible to define, as Calvin reminds us, what these instruments were. Researches have been made into the etymology of the Chaldee words, and a comparison instituted between the properties implied and those of modern use and construction. Travelers in the East have compared the music of the present day with that recorded in this verse. A similarity, too, has been pointed out between the instruments of the Syrians and Greeks. As no practical advantage can arise from quoting the conjectures of various writers, we simply refer to Wintle and Rosenmuller in loc., where some interesting information is given in extenso. Pooles Synopsis also supplies much verbal criticism. Oecolampadius passes by altogether any explanation of these instruments, but makes some very appropriate practical comments. True religious worship, he justly observes, does not need this variety of external incentive; a pure conscience with trust in God and obedience to his laws is the best music in his eyes, while he applauds Plato’s description of the best music which a soul can offer to its Creator. Antichrist, he asserts, delights in such outward and sensual gratification’s, while the advanced Christian worships in spirit, calmly, quietly, and inwardly. True religion is thus the antagonist of all outward and idolatrous service; it is not prompted by fear nor promoted by a tyrant’s command, but requiring no visible parade of instrumental minstrelsy, it worships with a cheerful heart and a free and buoyant spirit, inspired by the hope of everlasting life through the promises of God in Christ. This sentiment, although 300 years old, is worthy of the Reformer who uttered and maintained it.

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