Latin Hymns in English Verse: With Short Biographical Sketches of Their Authors
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Excerpt from Latin Hymns in English Verse: With Short Biographical Sketches of Their Authors
One of the first fruits of the Spirit is joy, and joy is naturally expressed in song. James (v. 13) says, "Is any merry? let him sing psalms." Paul (Eph. v. 19) urges Christians to sing and make melody in their hearts to the Lord, and exhorts them (Eph. v. 19, Col. iii. 10) to help one another when they come together for worship, by " psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." At midnight, in prison, Paul and Silas " were praying and singing hymns unto God " (Acts xvi. 25). The worship of the church from the beginning included the singing both of psalms used in the Jewish ritual and also of hymns that were peculiar to the Christian service.
Besides the four great anthems given by Luke, the Magnificat (i. 46-55), the Bcnedictus (i. 68-79), the Gloria in Excelsis Deo (ii. 14), and the Nunc Dimittis (ii. 29-32), there are passages in the New Testament that may be fragments of early hymns; e. g., Eph. v. 14. 1 Tim. iii. 16, vi. 15, 10, and several in the Apocalypse. It is probable that there was a considerable body of those early hymns, though but few of them have come down to us in any form. In the early part of the second century, the younger Pliny, who was governor of Bithynia, wrote a letter to the Emperor Trajan, to give him whatever information he had obtained about the Christians in his province and to ask his advice about their treatment.
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