Battle Hymn of the Christian republic

I meant to post this on Memorial Day.  The tune to the Battle Hymn of the Republic is stirring, but it was written by a Unitarian who believed in genocide as atonement.  So we have to change the words.  This is written by Francis Nigel Lee.

My eyes have seen the glory of Jehovah our great King
For our God is trampling Satan. Hallelu-Jah! Let us sing!
With His Word, we’ll hammer humanists; to Jesus, converts bring
For Christ goes reigning on!

Glory, glory, hallelu-Jah
Sing the psalms to our Lord Jesus!
Sing the psalms to our Lord Jesus!
For Christ goes reigning on!

I have seen Him in the pulpits of His Christocratic Church.
He is making us His soldiers, while His Word we gladly search!
As we fight His righteous battles, He’ll not leave us in the lurch.
For Christ goes reigning on!

When He rose, He blew the trumpet that shall never sound defeat!
He is sifting out the hearts of men, before His judgment seat.
Let me, too, help crush His enemies! Subdue them, O my feet!
For Christ goes reigning on!

We will serve Jehovah-Jesus, in the storms and in the calms.
We will gladly sing out loud, all the imprecatory psalms.
We’ll impose God’s Law against all thugs, with never any qualms.
For Christ goes reigning on!

In the beauty of the New Earth, there’ll be neither sin nor sea.
For the Lord’s bride will be happy, in her blissful “slavery” —
While the wicked burn eternally in hell, from virtue “free”
For Christ goes reigning on!

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Athanasius was not a Covenanter

Sometimes you see claims from the Exclusive Psalmody group that the early church rejected musical instruments.  It’s always immediately clear that the people saying this have never read the Fathers (or the medievals). True, they wouldn’t have sang Fanny Crosby hymns played on the piano. But let’s pretend for a moment the claim is true.  What of it?  They certainly were not Exclusive Psalmody Covenanters.  They chanted.  They sang troparion and kontakion, which isn’t found in the Psalter.  But let’s see what St Athanasius actually said.

Saint-Athanasius-life-4
Chant the psalms as they are.  Don’t use metric psalmody

To be sure, when Athanasius mentions “being tuned” and “Music,” he also has in mind the soul’s harmony with Christ.  That’s probably foremost.  But the physical stringed references shouldn’t be discarded, either. In reading this I noticed something else–Athanasius said to chant the Psalms as they are.  Don’t change the wording.

No one must allow himself to be persuaded, by any arguments what-ever, to decorate the Psalms with extraneous matter or make alterations in their order or change the words them-selves. They must be sung and chanted in entire simplicity, just as they are written, so that the holy men who gave them to us, recognizing their own words, may pray with us, yes and even more that the Spirit, Who spoke by the saints, recognizing the selfsame words that He inspired, may join us in them too.

 

An Army of Psalm Chanters

Taken from an old post on Jim Jordan, with some new material.

But let us consider what a Christian view of the Church would be. It would be a place of transformation, not merely of information. Marshaling the people into an army of psalm chanters would be at the top of the list. Indeed, in seminary several psalms would be chanted every day in chapel. The music in the church would be loud, fast, vigorous, instrumental, martial. There would be real feasts. People would be taught that when God splashes water on you, He’s really doing something: He’s putting you into His rainbow.

Elsewhere Jordan says

I should like to offer what I regard as a considerable caveat. I do not believe that men who sing pop choruses or plodding Trinity Hymnal songs on Sunday can get very far into Luther or Calvin, or for that matter Turretin. Men whose personal opinion is that society can be left to the devil cannot really get into the outlook of the Reformers.

I submit that it is important to have some feel for what people were singing and how they were singing it at various times in history. Is it a coincidence that “Reformed scholasticism” began to develop at the same time that the fiery dance-like chorales and psalms of the Reformation began to die down into slow, plodding, even-note mush? It is a coincidence that the “Puritans” had problems with assurance of salvation, given their destruction of enthusiastic singing? I don’t think so. People who sing the psalms as real war chants, as war dances that precedebattle, don’t have problems with assurance and don’t have time for scholasticism. Neither do people with strong, fully-sung liturgies.

EO guys used to attack me on assurance.  “Well, how can you know?”  Well, there you have it.