Monday, July 7, 2014

Songs in the Night Season

The night is proverbially a time of festivity and song. The cares and business of the day are then over; the taxed mind and the wearied muscles seek relaxation; the stillness of the evening invites to those pleasures which cannot be enjoyed amidst the bustle and din of business; and the darkness calling off the mind from the outdoor duties and gaieties turns it to those domestic or social or festive gatherings, where the gladness of the heart testifies its existence by singing and the voice of melody.

But the vast majority of these songs are earth-born, and designed only for earthly ends. The bacchanalian chorus, the moonlight serenade, the orchestral concert, the parlor melody, the love-lorn ditty, and the trumpet-rousing strains of martial music  are each of terrestrial birth; and though they may deeply affect the heart, rousing it to wildest joy or sinking it to pensive sadness yet are they evanescent, and soon are among the things of a forgotten past.

No such songs, though sung with unrivaled art, though swelling with delicious melody, though rich in tones of "linked sweetness long drawn out," satisfy the soul. Who that has listened to the most rapturous songs, to those which in our imagination come nearest to angelic harmony has not, as its last cadence fell on the ear, and its last echo died away, felt a pang of sorrow that such tones must die as fast as they are uttered? that, with a soul fitted to enjoy such vocal richness, we can obtain it so seldom and so briefly? And to all this, has there not often been joined the wish: Oh! that there were songs that would never cease to thrill! Oh! that there were voices that would never lose their tone and melody by age! Oh! that there were places where we might ever abide, and listen at will to the treasured melodies of tongue and harp in their loftiest manifestation!

There are such places, there are such voices, there are such songs. Yet when I tell you of them, the very hearts that profess most to desire them will turn away with scornful looks, and perhaps deride them as the outbursts of hot-brained enthusiasm or of canting hypocrisy. But sneer as you may curl your lip until it becomes rigid with scorn mock until you have exhausted the vocabulary of calumny, and defame until you are startled by your own blasphemy; I tell you in a freedom that invites investigation, and with a boldness that challenges denial, that the religion of Jesus Christ furnishes such songs, tunes such voices, and opens such places of perpetual and sublimest melody; for the mansions of glory forever resound with saintly voices singing the songs of Moses and the Lamb.
[William Bacon Stevens]
Job 35:10 ... But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;
Exodus 15:1 ...  Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
Psalm 42:8 ... Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
Revelation 15:3 ... And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. ❤