Progressive Patterns

Music

have personal meaning

“And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” (Revelation 14:3)

“What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.” (1 Corinthians 14:15)

Eternal things have little weight with the youth. Angels of God are in tears as they write in the roll the words and acts of professed Christians. Angels are hovering around yonder dwelling. The young are there assembled; there is the sound of vocal and instrumental music. Christians are gathered there, but what is that you hear? It is a song, a frivolous ditty, fit for the dance hall. Behold the pure angels gather their light closer around them, and darkness envelops those in that dwelling. The angels are moving from the scene. Sadness is upon their countenances. Behold, they are weeping. This I saw repeated a number of times all through the ranks of Sabbathkeepers, and especially in -----. Music has occupied the hours which should have been devoted to prayer. Music is the idol which many professed Sabbathkeeping Christians worship. Satan has no objection to music if he can make that a channel through which to gain access to the minds of the youth. Anything will suit his purpose that will divert the mind from God and engage the time which should be devoted to His service. He works through the means which will exert the strongest influence to hold the largest numbers in a pleasing infatuation, while they are paralyzed by his power. When turned to good account, music is a blessing; but it is often made one of Satan's most attractive agencies to ensnare souls. When abused, it leads the unconsecrated to pride, vanity, and folly. When allowed to take the place of devotion and prayer, it is a terrible curse. Young persons assemble to sing, and, although professed Christians, frequently dishonor God and their faith by their frivolous conversation and their choice of music. Sacred music is not congenial to their taste. I was directed to the plain teachings of God's word, which have been passed by unnoticed. In the judgment all these words of inspiration will condemn those who have not heeded them. {1T 505.2}

impress spiritual truth

Song is one of the most effective means of impressing spiritual truth upon the heart. Often by the words of sacred song, the springs of penitence and faith have been unsealed. --Review and Herald, June 6, 1912. {Ev 500.3}

can have a variety of instruments

Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalms 150:1-6)

Let the talent of singing be brought into the work. The use of musical instruments is not at all objectionable. They were used in religious services in ancient times. The worshipers praised God upon the harp and cymbal, and music should have its place in our services. It will add to the interest.--Letter 132, 1898. {Ev 500.4}

is melodious, natural

Great improvement can be made in singing. Some think that the louder they sing the more music they make; but noise is not music. Good singing is like the music of the birds--subdued and melodious. {Ev 510.4}

In some of our churches I have heard solos that were altogether unsuitable for the service of the Lord's house. The long-drawn-out notes and the peculiar sounds common in operatic singing are not pleasing to the angels. They delight to hear the simple songs of praise sung in a natural tone. The songs in which every word is uttered clearly, in a musical tone, are the songs that they join us in singing. They take up the refrain that is sung from the heart with the spirit and the understanding. {Ev 510.5}

"For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody." (Is. 51:3)

"And be not drunk with wine, in which is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph 5:18-20)

beauty, pathos, power

“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.” (Exodus 15:1)

Music can be a great power for good; yet we do not make the most of this branch of worship. The singing is generally done from impulse or to meet special cases, and at other times those who sing are left to blunder along, and the music loses its proper effect upon the minds of those present. Music should have beauty, pathos, and power. Let the voices be lifted in songs of praise and devotion. Call to your aid, if practicable, instrumental music, and let the glorious harmony ascend to God, an acceptable offering. {Ev 505.1}

Heaven's music

I was shown the order, the perfect order, of Heaven. I have been enraptured, as I have listened to the perfect music there. And after I have come out of vision, the singing here has sounded very harsh and discordant. {4bSG 31.3}

I have seen companies of angels, who stood in a hollow square, every one having a harp of gold. At the end of the harp was an instrument to turn, to set the harp, or change the tunes. Their fingers did not sweep over the strings carelessly, but the fingers must touch different strings to produce different sounds. There is one angel who always leads, first touches the harp, strikes the note, then all join in the rich, perfect music of heaven. It cannot be described. It was melody, heavenly, divine, while from every countenance beamed the image of Jesus, which shone with glory unspeakable. {4bSG 31.4}

not a bedlam of noise

[A FANATICAL TEACHING TERMED "THE DOCTRINE OF HOLY FLESH" WAS STARTED IN 1900 IN INDIANA, LEADING THE CONFERENCE PRESIDENT AND VARIOUS WORKERS INTO SERIOUS ERROR. THIS THEORY ALLEGED THAT THOSE WHO FOLLOW THE SAVIOUR MUST HAVE THEIR FALLEN NATURES PERFECTED BY PASSING THROUGH A "GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE" EXPERIENCE, THUS ACQUIRING A STATE OF PHYSICAL SINLESSNESS AS AN ESSENTIAL PREPARATION FOR TRANSLATION. EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS REPORT THAT IN THEIR SERVICES THE FANATICS WORKED UP A HIGH PITCH OF EXCITEMENT BY USE OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS SUCH AS ORGANS, FLUTES, FIDDLES, TAMBOURINES, HORNS, AND EVEN A BIG BASS DRUM. THEY SOUGHT A PHYSICAL DEMONSTRATION AND SHOUTED AND PRAYED AND SANG UNTIL SOMEONE IN THE CONGREGATION WOULD FALL, PROSTRATE AND UNCONSCIOUS, FROM HIS SEAT. ONE OR TWO MEN, WALKING UP AND DOWN THE AISLE FOR THE PURPOSE, WOULD DRAG THE FALLEN PERSON UP ON THE ROSTRUM. THEN ABOUT A DOZEN INDIVIDUALS WOULD GATHER AROUND THE PROSTRATE BODY, SOME SINGING, SOME SHOUTING, AND SOME PRAYING, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. WHEN THE SUBJECT REVIVED, HE WAS COUNTED AMONG THOSE WHO HAD PASSED THROUGH THE GETHSEMANE EXPERIENCE, HAD OBTAINED HOLY FLESH, AND HAD TRANSLATION FAITH. THEREAFTER, IT WAS ASSERTED, HE COULD NOT SIN AND WOULD NEVER DIE. ELDERS S. N. HASKELL AND A. J. BREED, TWO OF OUR LEADING DENOMINATIONAL MINISTERS, WERE SENT TO THE CAMP MEETING HELD AT MUNCIE, INDIANA, FROM SEPTEMBER 13 TO 23, 1900, TO MEET THIS FANATICISM. THESE DEVELOPMENTS WERE REVEALED TO MRS. WHITE WHILE SHE WAS IN AUSTRALIA IN JANUARY, 1900, AND SHE BORE TESTIMONY OF WARNING AND REPROOF AGAINST IT, AS SEEN IN THE TWO FOLLOWING MESSAGES.--COMPILERS.] {2SM 31.1}

The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. . . . {LDE 159.1}

A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing. The powers of satanic agencies blend with the din and noise to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy Spirit's working. . . . Those things which have been in the past will be in the future. Satan will make music a snare by the way in which it is conducted.--2SM 36, 38 (1900). {LDE 159.2}

Let us give no place to strange exercisings, which really take the mind away from the deep movings of the Holy Spirit. God's work is ever characterized by calmness and dignity.--2SM 42 (1908). {LDE 159.3}

As we heard the sounds of mirth and revelry that seemed to come from the abyss below, we shuddered. We heard the profane oath, the vulgar jest, and low, vile songs. We heard the war song and the dance song. We heard instrumental music, and loud laughter, mingled with cursing and cries of anguish and bitter wailing, and were more anxious than ever to keep upon the narrow, difficult pathway. Much of the time we were compelled to suspend our whole weight upon the cords, which increased in size as we progressed. {CET 182.1}

Worship With a Bedlam of Noise

It is impossible to estimate too largely the work that the Lord will accomplish through His proposed vessels in carrying out His mind and purpose. The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit. {2SM 36.2}

The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time. Better never have the worship of God blended with music than to use musical instruments to do the work which last January was represented to me would be brought into our camp meetings. The truth for this time needs nothing of this kind in its work of converting souls. A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing. The powers of satanic agencies blend with the din and noise, to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy Spirit's working. {2SM 36.3}

James Whites boys' war drum

When the White family settled in the little cottage on Wood Street in Battle Creek in 1857, there was forest to the north and pasturelands to the west. This gave promise of a quiet retreat and a wholesome atmosphere for rearing the family. Soon, however, the Michigan Fair Association secured considerable acreage almost adjoining the White property and built a racetrack for trotting horses. As the war came on, this proved to be an excellent training ground for recruits in the Union Army. The activities on the fairgrounds came to be of special interest to the teenage boys. W.C. White later recalled. {2BIO 59.1}

The nearest neighbors to the south were the Jonah Lewis family, devout Adventists. While the White and Lewis families were noncombatants, the children took a lively interest in the war. The two younger Lewis boys, 16 and 18 years of age, and the two older White boys, 12 and 14, got hold of wartime songs and many a sunny afternoon sat on the fence and practiced, "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys Are Marching" and "We Are Coming, Father Abraham." They all had good voices, and I, about 7, was an admiring audience, and sat on the grass to listen. {2BIO 59.2}

My brothers went as far as they could in supplying themselves with warlike instruments. They built good bows and arrows with which they shot troublesome birds. They were good whistlers, but wanted a drum, so they bought two cheese boxes, knocking out the heads, putting the rims together, paper inside and out. They secured a sheepskin, took the wool off, and made rawhide heads. {2BIO 59.3}

The drum was quite successful and could be heard all over the neighborhood, and when the noncombatant neighbors became offended with the noise of the drum they complained to Elder White that it was unbecoming for his boys to manifest such a warlike spirit. {2BIO 60.1}

The drum was put away and almost forgotten, but one day the boys stumbled on it, brought it out, and were having a good time when they heard their father coming home. They dropped it in the woodshed and scurried to the kitchen. Elder White came in. He had heard the din and asked the cause of it. He went to the woodshed and the boys heard the big axe smash through it.--DF 780a, "Pioneer Days Are Recalled," Battle Creek Enquirer, Oct. 30, 1932. {2BIO 60.2}

can be “secular”

For about an hour the fog did not lift and the sun did not penetrate it. Then the musicians [on the ship] who were to leave the boat at this place entertained the impatient passengers with music, well selected and well rendered. It did not jar upon the senses as the previous evening, but was soft and really grateful to the senses because it was musical. —Letter 6b, 1893, pp. 2, 3.

The same night there was beautiful music and fireworks close by across the road. There is an extensive beer garden owned by the city and carried on by the city. This garden is made attractive with flowers and shrubs and noble trees, giving a nice shade. There are seats that will accommodate hundreds, and little oval tables are adjusted before these seats and this most beautiful instrumental music is played by the band. —Manuscript 33, 1886.

can be accompanied by motion or dancing

“And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.” (Exodus 15:20-21)

Again the long train was in motion, and the music of harp and cornet, trumpet and cymbal, floated heavenward, blended with the melody of many voices. "And David danced before the Lord," in his gladness keeping time to the measure of the song. {PP 707.1}

David's dancing in reverent joy before God has been cited by pleasure lovers in justification of the fashionable modern dance, but there is no ground for such an argument. In our day dancing is associated with folly and midnight reveling. Health and morals are sacrificed to pleasure. By the frequenters of the ballroom God is not an object of thought and reverence; prayer or the song of praise would be felt to be out of place in their assemblies. This test should be decisive. Amusements that have a tendency to weaken the love for sacred things and lessen our joy in the service of God are not to be sought by Christians. The music and dancing in joyful praise to God at the removal of the ark had not the faintest resemblance to the dissipation of modern dancing. The one tended to the remembrance of God and exalted His holy name. The other is a device of Satan to cause men to forget God and to dishonor Him. {PP 707.2}

As the people journeyed through the wilderness, many precious lessons were fixed in their minds by means of song. At their deliverance from Pharaoh's army the whole host of Israel had joined in the song of triumph. Far over desert and sea rang the joyous refrain, and the mountains re-echoed the accents of praise, "Sing ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously." Exodus 15:21. Often on the journey was this song repeated, cheering the hearts and kindling the faith of the pilgrim travelers. The commandments as given from Sinai, with promises of God's favor and records of His wonderful works for their deliverance, were by divine direction expressed in song, and were chanted to the sound of instrumental music, the people keeping step as their voices united in praise. {Ed 39.1}

conducted with talent, order

Singing is a part of the worship of God, but in the bungling manner in which it is often conducted, it is no credit to the truth, and no honor to God. There should be system and order in this as well as every other part of the Lord's work. Organize a company of the best singers, whose voices can lead the congregation, and then let all who will, unite with them. Those who sing should make an effort to sing in harmony; they should devote some time to practice, that they may employ this talent to the glory of God. {Ev 506.2}

But it is sometimes more difficult to discipline the singers and keep them in working order, than to improve the habits of praying and exhorting. Many want to do things after their own style; they object to consultation, and are impatient under leadership. Well-matured plans are needed in the service of God. Common sense is an excellent thing in the worship of the Lord.--Gospel Workers, p. 325. (1892) {Ev 505.2}

general

“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” (1 Corinthians 9:25)

“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” (Philippians 4:5)

But when I heard what the objections were, that the children could not go to school till they were ten years old, I wanted to tell you that there was not a Sabbathkeeping school when the light was given to me that the children should not attend school until they were old enough to be instructed. They should be taught at home to know what proper manners were when they went to school, and not be led astray. The wickedness carried on in the common schools is almost beyond conception. {3SM 216.4}

That is how it is, and my mind has been greatly stirred in regard to the idea, "Why, Sister White has said so and so, and Sister White has said so and so; and therefore we are going right up to it." {3SM 217.1}

God wants us all to have common sense, and He wants us to reason from common sense. Circumstances alter conditions. Circumstances change the relation of things. {3SM 217.2}

But singing should not be allowed to divert the mind from the hours of devotion. If one must be neglected, let it be the singing.--Review and Herald, July 24, 1883. {Ev 506.3}

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” (1 Corinthians 10:23)