For God gave man also a voice; and yet love-songs and indecent things are not on that account to be sung.

Justin Martyr

We offer thanks for our creation by invocations and hymns.


All our women are chaste. And the maidens at their work sing of divine things more nobly than that woman of yours.

Clement of Alexandria

We cultivate our fields, praising. We sail the sea, singing hymns.

A HYMN TO CHRIST THE SAVIOR. Composed by Clement of Alexandria:

I. Bridle of colts untamed, Over our wills presiding; Wing of unwandering birds, Our flight securely guiding.

Rudder of youth unbending, Firm against adverse shock; Shepherd, with wisdom tending Lambs of the royal flock:

Your simple children bring In one, that they may sing In solemn lays Their hymns of praise With guileless lips to Christ their King.

II. King of saints, almighty Word Of the Father highest Lord; Wisdom’s head and chief; Assuagement of all grief; Lord of all time and space, Jesus, Savior of our race; Shepherd, who dost us keep; Husbandman, who tills, Bit to restrain us, Rudder To guide us as You willest; Of the all-holy flock celestial wing; Fisher of men, whom You to life dost bring; From evil sea of sin, And from the billowy strife, Gathering pure fishes in Caught with sweet bait of life:

Lead us, Shepherd of the sheep, Reason-gifted, holy One; King of youths, whom You dost keep, So that they pollution shun:

Steps of Christ, celestial Way; Word eternal, Age unending; Life that never can decay; Fount of mercy, virtue-sending; Life august of those who raise Unto God their hymn of praise, Jesus Christ!

III. Nourished by the milk of heaven, To our tender palates given; Milk of wisdom from the breast Of that bride of grace expressed; By a dewy spirit filled From fair Reason’s breast distilled; Let us sucklings join to raise With pure lips our hymns of praise As our grateful offering, Clean and pure, to Christ our King.

Let us, with hearts undefiled, Celebrate the mighty Child.

We, Christ-born, the choir of peace; We, the people of His love, Let us sing, nor ever cease, To the God of peace above.-ibid

The Spirit, distinguishing from such revelry the divine service, sings, “Praise Him with the sound of trumpet;” for with sound of trumpet He shall raise the dead. “Praise Him on the psaltery;” for the tongue is the psaltery of the Lord. “And praise Him on the lyre.” By the lyre is meant the mouth struck by the Spirit, as it were by a plectrum. “Praise with the timbrel and the dance,” refers to the Church meditating on the resurrection of the dead in the resounding skin. “Praise Him on the chords and organ.” Our body He calls an organ, and its nerves are the strings, by which it has received harmonious tension, and when struck by the Spirit, it gives forth human voices. “Praise Him on the clashing cymbals.” He calls the tongue the cymbal of the mouth, which resounds with the pulsation of the lips. Therefore He cried to humanity, “Let every breath praise the Lord,” because He cares for every breathing thing which He has made. For man is truly a pacific instrument; while other instruments, if you investigate, you will find to be warlike, inflaming to lusts, or kindling up amours, or rousing wrath. -ibid

And again he adds, “The LORD will take pleasure in His people.” For temperate harmonies are to be admitted; but we are to banish as far as possible from our robust mind those liquid harmonies, which, through pernicious arts in the modulations of tones, train to effeminacy and scurrility. But grave and modest strains say farewell to the turbulence of drunkenness. Chromatic harmonies are therefore to be abandoned to immodest revels, and to florid and meretricious music. -ibid


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