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John Wesley’s Directions for Singing

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These will go a long way to explain why Wesleyans (including Methodists, Nazarenes, Wesleyans, and others) consider it a religious duty to sing (and almost a sin not to).

  1. Learn these tunes before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please.
  2. Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.
  3. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing.
  4. Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan.
  5. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.
  6. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend close to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can; and take care not to sing too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.
  7. Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.

From John Wesley’s Select Hymns, 1761

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Filed under: — Basil @ 7:06 pm

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Apocalypse

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Last night, I dreamed a bizarre and frightening end. I don’t usually remember my dreams (though psychologists tell us we are always dreaming, even when we don’t remember). Of course, what I do remember is fragmentary.

I remember someone saying something about a nuclear blast. So I look up at the sky, and see what look like clouds in the shape of a mushroom cloud, much like all those films of above ground nuclear testing in the South Pacific. I said, “They’re just clouds!” Then there was a flash of light, and my heart started palpitating.

Next I recall huddling up close to the foundation of a house, while the firestorm of the explosion rushed by. Everything gets blurry at this point. Did any of my friends survive? No one who was with me at the moment of the explosion survived, but eventually there were other people, I think.

Was the explosion a single bomb over New York City, or had other cities been affected or attacked? Was only New York destroyed, was the entire world in ruins? These questions were never answered in my dream, but it seemed like everyone wanted to know, and no one did.

There were questions about what to eat, whether things were poisoned with radiation. Eventually, everyone decided that everything had been tainted, so there was no point in trying to meticulously ferret out safe foodstuffs. I guess it was a matter of eat the poison or starve to death, though no one ever said this out loud, that I recall.

Finally, I was alone, swimming naked in cold, clear water; the light refracted along the bottom was the color of the sky. I knew it was contaminated with radiation, but I dove in anyway and swam among ice formations that looked like human skulls.

That’s when I woke up and wondered why I keep dreaming of nuclear holocausts.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 2:47 pm