Four Mile Presbyterian Church
6078 Tuscarawas Road
Ohioville Borough, Beaver County, Pennsylvania 15009

Part I

The Music, or Singing

There is frequent mention made of the appointment of a singing clerk, and sometimes of an assistant clerk. The music, or service of song, is a very important part of divine service. God has endowed man with a musical talent or faculty. But this is not of much account unless it be improved, or cultivated. And, as it is directly in the service of God, and for his praise and glory, that these musical powers are to be employed, when we engage in his worship, I think it is a reasonable view of the matter, that these talents should be improved or cultivated, so that this service should be performed in the very best manner. It is not all a service of the heart, but it just as much of our tongue, and of our lips, as of our hearts. Taking this view of the matter, which I am fully persuaded is a reasonable and correct one, then the only wonder is that the manner of conducting the singing in church should have been the occasion of so much trouble in congregations as it has been, from time to time. At one time the custom was to give out one line at a time. This seemed to be on the supposition that people had bad memories, that they could not remember more than one line at a time. And when a change was made from one to two lines, many people thought it was a terrible innovation. And when another advance was made, and "lining out" was abandoned altogether, this was regarded as still worse, and the consequence was that some would not sing at all, but would shut up their books, and some would even leave the Church. Some thought that nothing but what was called the "Old Twelve" tunes should be sung. And so the introduction of what was called the "New Music" was also regarded as a great innovation. Some were opposed to repeating the tunes, and some to what are called "choirs" - that is, half a dozen, or a dozen persons sitting together to act as leaders. But men find that they can become accustomed to these changes, and no harm be done to the good cause. And when they take a sober thought and look back, they only wonder that they ever attached so much importance to the fact whether one, or two lines were given out, or whether they were given out at all. And there are some other customs that have served their time, and have outlived their design, which would be better to be abandoned, as for example, the use of tokens in the Lord's Supper. They have no connection whatever with the ordinance. They may have been expedient in time of persecution, that no spy might be admitted among their number, or when the members of different congregations were more in the habit of communing together, and many were not known to the session where the ordinance was observed. But the reason of their introduction being no longer in existence, there is no longer even an expediency of their use, but in some respects they are only an incumbrance. And as people have made progress in some of those things referred to, as in the manner of singing, and have found it to their advantage, so we hope they will make still farther progress, and will find that the new version of the psalms and a greater variety of music, will also be greatly to the advantage of the cause.

So far as I have been able to find, only one young man, a member of the congregation, has entered the ministry - Rev. J. R. Slentz, who died some three years ago. Is it so that this congregation in the space of sixty-four years has given only one young man to the ministry? If other congregations had done no better in furnishing ministers, what would this one have done for pastors? It has now the fifth, but has furnished the church with but one. Has there been enough of consecration to the service of God? Have men thought more of the world than of the church? These are questions that are worthy of serious consideration.

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