Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs - the case for Exclusive Psalmody

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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Actually - he draws the distinction that prayer and song should be intelligible and spirit filled - not one or the other is to be unintelligible in worship - thus placing song and prayer in the same category.
Yes, the same category as modes of communication requiring intelligible speech. Just as psalm, doctrine, tongue, revelation, and interpretation (ver. 26) are different modes of communicating the same message.

No, "spirit" does not refer to spirit filled, but spirit inspired. The opening words of the section dealing with "spirituals" in 1 Cor. 12:1-3 made it clear that the apostle was addressing the situation where men claimed to be speaking "by the Spirit of God." And the closing section in verses 36-40 makes it apparent that the apostle is challenging these "spirituals" who claim to be speaking by the Spirit of God, insisting that the truly spiritual amongst them will recognise that the things he writes "are the commandment of the Lord."
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
Actually - he draws the distinction that prayer and song should be intelligible and spirit filled - not one or the other is to be unintelligible in worship - thus placing song and prayer in distinctively the same category. That is to say - with composition ruled by the influence of the mind and the spirit...but composed nonetheless.
Do you mean to say that the Holy Spirit is influencing your mind and spirit while you compose original songs?

If yes, how do you know when you compose original songs it is guided or ruled by the Holy Spirit?

:detective:
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Yes, the same category as modes of communication requiring intelligible speech. Just as psalm, doctrine, tongue, revelation, and interpretation (ver. 26) are different modes of communicating the same message.
But why did he use these 2 specific examples? Calvin knew the answer - they fall within the same category:

No, "spirit" does not refer to spirit filled, but spirit inspired. The opening words of the section dealing with "spirituals" in 1 Cor. 12:1-3 made it clear that the apostle was addressing the situation where men claimed to be speaking "by the Spirit of God." And the closing section in verses 36-40 makes it apparent that the apostle is challenging these "spirituals" who claim to be speaking by the Spirit of God, insisting that the truly spiritual amongst them will recognise that the things he writes "are the commandment of the Lord."
Even so - you have either just helped make the case that prayers and song are "inspired" within the same category, thus "human inspired" prayers are forbidden in public worship just as "human inspired" hymns -- or song and prayer fall within the same "inspired" and approved for public worship category.
 
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panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Do you mean to say that the Holy Spirit is influencing your mind and spirit while you compose original songs?

If yes, how do you know when you compose original songs it is guided or ruled by the Holy Spirit?

:detective:
How do you know that that is happening when you compose original prayers?
 

beej6

Puritan Board Sophomore
My $0.02 re: EP:

I look forward to the online debate.
I remain unconvinced that the particular texts of Eph 5.19/Col 3.16 refer only to the book of Psalms when speaking of "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs." I believe this is the linchpin of the EP argument.
An appeal to the RPW does not help either "side" here unless one is talking the Framean concept of RPW which is redefined and in error. (See the excellent article in _The Confessional Presbyterian_, vol.1, "Reframing Presbyterian Worship.")
An argument that I have not seen but which intrigues me as pro-EP is what if that form of worship is not only proclaiming the risen Christ (which it does) but also forcefully longs for the Second Coming? Else I'm again not convinced that EP is worship fully realized given NT revelation.
I have studied this subject though I would not consider myself as expert as you all; I was a church music director for a season and brought that congregation from a functional 'exclusive hymnody' (which I consider less than ideal) to 'inclusive psalmody' or 'inclusive hymnody' (Psalms must be sung but not exclusively).
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Here's a thought. Paedobaptists (non-Eastern Orthodox) are very big on saying that "baptizo," allows for other forms besides immersion. The argument runs that, though immersion is a definition of baptizo, because that Greek word has other definitions than immerse, such as washing, that therefore baptism must allow other forms.

Does it not seem inconsistent for those same paedobaptists to turn around and say that "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" MUST must mean the Psalter when the Greek words for "psalms," "hymns," and "spiritual songs" can clearly refer to songs that are not in the Psalter?

The case based on Greek definitions for EP is weaker than that of baptism because there is a phrase in Greek that means particularly the 150 Psalms: biblos psalmos, "the book of Psalms" (Lk. 20:42, Acts 1:20), whereas baptizo is the only term that means to immerse.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Do you mean to say that the Holy Spirit is influencing your mind and spirit while you compose original songs?

If yes, how do you know when you compose original songs it is guided or ruled by the Holy Spirit?

:detective:
In the same vein, how do you know that the confessions that you use are guided or ruled by the Holy Spirit? :detective: Yet you still use them.
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
In the same vein, how do you know that the confessions that you use are guided or ruled by the Holy Spirit? :detective: Yet you still use them.
Do you not see the difference in one's confession of faith and singing God's praises in His public worship?

You're comparing apples to telephones.

:um:
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
But why did he use these 2 specific examples? Calvin knew the answer - they fall within the same category:
The same category of what? Obviously when one is speaking about modes of worship, all the modes are going to fall into the same category, i.e., they are all worship. When one speaks of modes of communication they will fall under the same category of communication. But the very reason the apostle mentions the two actions -- sing and pray -- is because he recognised them as two distinct actions which were being performed by the church of Corinth. And that is borne out by verse 26, as previously quoted. One thing is certain, the apostle should be understood within his context and not have 21st century practices imposed upon his use of terminology.
 

jenney

Puritan Board Freshman
Why not say that when a man preaches he should only use God's Words: just read Scripture because it alone is inspired--"a man preaching is adding to God's Word as if we can improve on it somehow"? But we say that about the singing of praise.

Why only Pslams? I mean, if we're talking the Word of Christ, yes, He did quote Psalms, but He also quoted Isaiah and Jeremiah and Deuteronomy, etc., so why not put other Scripture to music? It's inspired also. Why not sing the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord's Prayer as well? What about the Jude benediction? It's not Jesus' words, but it is Scripture, too.

I'm not being argumentative, but these threads remind me of baptism ones. It's hard to ask a question without being considered a dissenter to the OBVIOUS TRUTH.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
But the very reason the apostle mentions the two actions -- sing and pray -- is because he recognised them as two distinct actions which were being performed by the church of Corinth.
The reason he mentions the two is that while they may have some distinct properties they also have clear correlation - one should sing and pray with the mind and spirit - particularly in public worship. Combining the 2, mind and spirit, in the composition of prayer and song leads to edification - versus spirit only compositions being unedifying in public worship.
 

Ravens

Puritan Board Sophomore
Here's a thought. Paedobaptists (non-Eastern Orthodox) are very big on saying that "baptizo," allows for other forms besides immersion. The argument runs that, though immersion is a definition of baptizo, because that Greek word has other definitions than immerse, such as washing, that therefore baptism must allow other forms.

Does it not seem inconsistent for those same paedobaptists to turn around and say that "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" MUST must mean the Psalter when the Greek words for "psalms," "hymns," and "spiritual songs" can clearly refer to songs that are not in the Psalter?
Mr. Lowe,

I actually mentioned this issue once in a different E.P. thread, though I see it from a different perspective. I think we would part ways here:
The argument runs that, though immersion is a definition of baptizo, because that Greek word has other definitions than immerse, such as washing, that therefore baptism must allow other forms.
Namely, you seem to say that that rationale used by paedobaptists when sprinkling or pouring rests on the raw lexical meaning of baptizo. However, I would contend that sprinkling/pouring adherents don't root the bulk of their case in the semantic range of the word, though they do point that out.

Rather, they are utilizing a broader principle: When a word is used in the Scriptures, the Scriptural usage thereof should be of greater import than the literal translation of the word, or how that word was used in the pagan culture.

In that respect, I believe adherents to EP are consistent. Just as we root our New Testament understanding of "baptizo" in how it was used in the rest of the Scriptures/Septuagint, so we realize that "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" don't just pop out of the void. Rather, they occur in a context, and we look back into the Old Testament and the Septuagint to see how to best interpret them.

It seems to be that normally, if not always, this is the best way to do things.

Thus, we interpret John's "Logos" in terms of Genesis 1, and not in light of Heraclitus and the Stoics. Likewise, "proginosko" does not refer to a philosophical category, but is rooted in yadah and its Old Testament usage. Similarly, we avoid the lexical meaning of "sarx" and ascertain how the Scriptures use the term.

So, long story short, I think EP adherents who sprinkle/pour are very consistent in this area.
 

Nse007

Puritan Board Freshman
Pastor Douglas,

I agree. My point was merely that Paul was writing to gentiles when he wrote 'psalms, hymns and spiritual songs' so I do not believe it is a good argument to immediately ask 'what would a jew have thought of when he heard that phrase?'
I don't think you saw that Pastor Douglas said that the headings of Psalms Hymns and Spritual Songs were also in the Septuigent translation of the old testament that non jews would've been familiar with...
 

Ravens

Puritan Board Sophomore
Also, regardless of the Jew/Gentile make-up of any one congregation, the churches in Ephesus and Colossae would have had ordained elders who were conversant with the Scriptures and the things of the Lord. Whether the Gentiles would have "caught" the reference or not, the elders would have explained it. Paul's reference to Psalm 68 in Ephesians 4 is far more "obscure" than the headings of the individual songs would have been, yet apparently he expected it to be understood.

Also, in chapter 2 he had already made known to these particular Gentiles that they were being grafted into the true Israel and the covenants of promise, albeit without the ceremonial laws and what not.

In light of those things I don't think its a stretch in the least to say that they would have understood his reference.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Also, regardless of the Jew/Gentile make-up of any one congregation, the churches in Ephesus and Colossae would have had ordained elders who were conversant with the Scriptures and the things of the Lord.

...


In light of those things I don't think its a stretch in the least to say that they would have understood his reference.
This is begging the question.
 

Ravens

Puritan Board Sophomore
How is it begging the question?

I'm not even trying to establish EP in those two posts. I only had two points:

1: E.P. paedobaptists are actually consistent in how they hermeneutically treat "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs"; e.g., they treat "proginosko, baptizo, logos, and sarx" in the same manner. Someone else had argued the E.P. paedobaptists were inconsistent.

To be more accurate, it was more to do with mode than paedo-credo, but that doesn't change our point of contention.

2: I only pointed out that the letters would have been received by churches who had ordained elders, elders who would have been familiarized with the Septuagint Psalter.

Without me making a full-out "case" for E.P., I don't see how I'm begging the question by making those two observations.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Maybe I am misunderstanding your point - are you asserting that the ordained elders would have been EP and assumed that Paul would have been referencing the 150 Psalms in his letter when he commanded psalms and hymns and spiritual songs?
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The reason he mentions the two is that while they may have some distinct properties they also have clear correlation - one should sing and pray with the mind and spirit - particularly in public worship. Combining the 2, mind and spirit, in the composition of prayer and song leads to edification - versus spirit only compositions being unedifying in public worship.
How does one come to the conclusion that the apostle is urging the combination of spirit and understanding, when his whole point is to demand the use of the one (understanding) over the other (spirit)? "Spirit" is shorthand for speaking in an unknown tongue. "Understanding" or "mind" is shorthand for intelligible speech. Verse 14, "For if I speak in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful." When the apostle says he will do both, he does not mean at the same time, but in different contexts. Vv. 18, 19, "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five WORDS WITH MY UNDERSTANDING," i.e., intelligible speech that can be understood. Tongues are a sign for unbelieving Jews, but prophesying serves to benefit believers, ver. 22. So the apostle's point about praying with spirit and understanding is that he will employ the gift of tongues outside the church when speaking with unbelieving Jews, but will use intelligible speech when communicating with believers inside the church. And in both instances the speech was inspired, a result of the extraordinary gifting of the Holy Spirit.
 

dcomin

Psalm Singa
Maybe I am misunderstanding your point - are you asserting that the ordained elders would have been EP and assumed that Paul would have been referencing the 150 Psalms in his letter when he commanded psalms and hymns and spiritual songs?
I don't know what Joshua was asserting, but that would certainly be my understanding of the historical context.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
How does one come to the conclusion that the apostle is urging the combination of spirit and understanding, when his whole point is to demand the use of the one (understanding) over the other (spirit)? "Spirit" is shorthand for speaking in an unknown tongue. "Understanding" or "mind" is shorthand for intelligible speech. Verse 14, "For if I speak in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful." When the apostle says he will do both, he does not mean at the same time, but in different contexts. Vv. 18, 19, "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five WORDS WITH MY UNDERSTANDING," i.e., intelligible speech that can be understood. Tongues are a sign for unbelieving Jews, but prophesying serves to benefit believers, ver. 22. So the apostle's point about praying with spirit and understanding is that he will employ the gift of tongues outside the church when speaking with unbelieving Jews, but will use intelligible speech when communicating with believers inside the church. And in both instances the speech was inspired, a result of the extraordinary gifting of the Holy Spirit.
I disagree - contextually:

1 Corinthians 14

1Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

2For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.

3But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.

4One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.

5Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.

6But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching?

7Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp?

8For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle?

9So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.

10There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning.

11If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me.

12So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.

13Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.

14For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.

15What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.

16Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the "Amen" at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying?

17For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified.

18I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all;

19however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Speaking in a tongue has 2 possible outcomes - with or without understanding - that is - interpreted or not.

If one prays or sings in a tongue and cannot interpret - that is - in the spirit only (v 16) - one prays without the prayer/singer's understanding (Romans 8:26), and the person praying alone is edified.

If one prays or sings in understandable speech, then there is spirit and understanding and the church is edified.

Corroboration:

Ephesians 5

18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,

19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
Your interpretation would have "with the spirit" and "in a tongue" as synonymous - so "rather than ten thousand words in a tongue" could be exchanged for "rather than ten thousand words with the spirit"

That is not borne out by Scripture interpreting Scripture.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Your interpretation would have "with the spirit" and "in a tongue" as synonymous - so "rather than ten thousand words in a tongue" could be exchanged for "rather than ten thousand words with the spirit"

That is not borne out by Scripture interpreting Scripture.
I have provided contextual exegesis of the passage in connection with the aim of the apostle throughout, which is to show intelligible speech should be preferred over unintelligible speech, albeit the activity of the Spirit was being claimed for both. I repeat again the immediate context: "For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful" (14:14). Then follows the commitment to pray with the spirit and to pray with the understanding, etc. Your suggestion would have a person praying with the spirit when he is not praying in an unknown tongue, which does not fit within the context just mentioned. This speculation defeats the contrast which the apostle has established. Moreover, as already pointed out, his subsequent words indicate he has in mind distinct contexts within which to pray with the spirit and to pray with the understanding, i.e., outside and in the church, vv. 18, 19. Then he shows that this is normative for the church, because tongues are a sign for unbelievers, whereas prophecy edifies believers. At no point have you attempted to rebut this exegesis of the passage, but have simply put forward a counterpoint without offering exegesis of your own. Simply quoting the whole passage and emboldening one phrase is not exegesis. You have not interpreted Scripture with Scripture, but you have misexegeted this passage of Scripture by falsely alluding to what you think are similar concepts in other misexegeted passages of Scriptures. The work of the Spirit in Rom. 8:26 does not refer to some kind of fanatical experience which does not include the understanding.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Your suggestion would have a person praying with the spirit when he is not praying in an unknown tongue, which does not fit within the context just mentioned.
My suggestion posits 2 activites that do fit into the context - particularly since the context of this passage is much more about what is edifying in church and what is not (vs 3,4,12,17,26):

I suggest Paul acknowledges praying\singing with the spirit alone - which is not intelligible, thus not edifying in public worship. An example is praying\singing in an unknown tongue without interpretation.

I suggest Paul commands praying\singing with the spirit and with the mind (or understanding) - that is - spirit and understanding cojoined - which is intelligible, thus edifying in public worship (v16). An example is praying\singing in an unknown tongue with interpretation (v13). A better example would be praying\singing in the native language of the folks in the church as opposed to an uninterpreted tongue (v19). The former is more edifying than the latter.

My correlation to Eph 5:18 is to emphasize that all our activities are to be filled with the spirit - that is moot - it seemed to me that you were proposing otherwise or proposing that praying with the spirit was a special dispensation and is no longer possible.

The correlation to Romans 8:26...

26In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words

...is not to emphasize some "fanatical experience", as you say, but to emphasize that the Spirit is part of the activity of prayer.

Now with that being said - if we could get back to the origin of this tangent - that is - Paul acknowledges that praying and singing have a categorical correlation and are an essential part of edifcation in worship, which, I believe, has been substantiated and will ultimately lead us back to Eph 5.
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
My suggestion posits 2 activites that do fit into the context - particularly since the context of this passage is much more about what is edifying in church and what is not (vs 3,4,12,17,26):

I suggest Paul acknowledges praying\singing with the spirit alone - which is not intelligible, thus not edifying in public worship. An example is praying\singing in an unknown tongue without interpretation.

I suggest Paul commands praying\singing with the spirit and with the mind (or understanding) - that is - spirit and understanding cojoined - which is intelligible, thus edifying in public worship (v16). An example is praying\singing in an unknown tongue with interpretation (v13). A better example would be praying\singing in the native language of the folks in the church as opposed to an uninterpreted tongue (v19). The former is more edifying than the latter.
These suggestions might seem plausible to your own mind given the presuppositions with which you are approaching the text; but at no point have you shown how praying/singing with the spirit means anything other than speaking with unknown tongues. Only the writer gets to define his terms. In this case the writer unequivocally defined his terms. At no point in the passage did the apostle Paul suggest that praying/singing with the spirit means something more than speaking with unknown tongues. I am sure if he did you would have pounced on it. Hence you have no objective basis for your "suggestions" that one can pray and sing with the spirit in a combined action. You have not even given a hint as to what that would look like -- speaking unintelligibly and intelligibly all at once.

My correlation to Eph 5:18 is to emphasize that all our activities are to be filled with the spirit - that is moot - it seemed to me that you were proposing otherwise or proposing that praying with the spirit was a special dispensation and is no longer possible.
Read contextually the apostle Paul's idea of praying in the spirit requires the extraordinary gift of tongues. So yes, praying and singing with the spirit -- i.e., with an unknown tongue -- was a special dispensation and is no longer possible. WCF 1:1, Those former ways of God's revealing His will unto His people having now ceased.

The problem is that you are reading some sort of faculty psychology into the apostle's terms. "Spirit" and "understanding" refer to modes of communication, not members of the soul.

The correlation to Romans 8:26...

26In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words

...is not to emphasize some "fanatical experience", as you say, but to emphasize that the Spirit is part of the activity of prayer.
Who doubts this? But you have no hope of establishing the idea that the apostle is referring to the Holy Spirit in his use of "spirit" in 1 Cor. 14. As stated previously, you are falsely alluding to what you think are similar concepts in these misexegeted passages of Scripture.

Now with that being said - if we could get back to the origin of this tangent - that is - Paul acknowledges that praying and singing have a categorical correlation and are an essential part of edifcation in worship, which, I believe, has been substantiated and will ultimately lead us back to Eph 5.
Having corrected your faulty exegesis, I hope you will stop forcing irrelevant and misconstrued ideas on the text of Scripture, and commence looking at Scripture according to generally accepted rules of interpretation.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
but at no point have you shown how praying/singing with the spirit means anything other than speaking with unknown tongues.
If praying\singing with the spirit is synonymous with speaking in unknown tongues, then Paul is forced into an absurd statement.

19however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.

...can be contextually translated as:

19however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words with the spirit.

"With the spirit" is a given for activities done in Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:17
But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I have provided the contextual basis for my conclusion. If you think it is absurd, then there is nothing I can do about that. Three times the apostle equates speaking in unknown tongues with speaking with the spirit. Verse 2, "He that speaketh ith an unknown tongue ... in [or with] the spirit he speaketh mysteries." Verse 14, "if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth." Verse 16, "Else thou shalt bless with the spirit ... seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest." In contrast, the understanding or mind refers to words which are intelligible, that is, in a tongue which is known and can be understood. Verse 19, "in the church I had rather speak five WORDS WITH MY UNDERSTANDING, that by my voice I might teach others also, that ten thousand WORDS IN AN UNKNOWN TONGUE."
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Matthew Henry said:
1Cr 14:15-20

The apostle here sums up the argument hitherto, and,

I. Directs them how they should sing and pray in public (v. 15): What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit, etc. He does not forbid their praying or singing under a divine afflatus, or when they were inspired for this purpose, or had such a spiritual gift communicated to them; but he would have them perform both so as to be understood by others, that others might join with them. Note, Public worship should be performed so as to be understood.
I think Matthew Henry disagrees with you, too.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
So does John Calvin:

15. I will pray with the spirit Lest any one should ask, by way of
objection, “Will the spirit then be useless in prayer?” he teaches, that it
is lawful, indeed, to pray with the spirit, provided the mind be at the same
time employed
, that is, the understanding He allows, therefore, and
sanctions the use of a spiritual gift in prayer, but requires, what is the
main thing, that the mind be not unemployed.
 
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