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p475 MY DEAR BROTHER [Mr Mayo, Malvern], - I am very thankful your conscience has been exercised about the music. I can sympathise with you, for as far as ear goes, music had the greatest power over me, though never taught to play. But the ground of those who wrote you to keep it up is all wrong and not true. It is not for Christ they wish you to keep the harmonium, and that decides the case. I am not a Jew, nor am I in the New Jerusalem where all will be to God's glory, though not in the highest way, for the Father does not come in there. I could suppose a person earning his bread by music, though I think it a very dangerous way, as Peter did by fishing, which is no excuse for a person spending his time fishing to amuse himself.

All these pleas of gifts of God are bringing in nature when it is fallen into the worship or service of the new man and the Lord, and spoiling it. I have known hunting justified by the hounds having scent. No instrument can equal in effect (Haydn said so) the human voice. Besides, as I said, it is not true. It is merely helping the pleasure of fallen nature, not a thing evil in itself, but connecting sensual pleasure with spiritual life. It is not the thing to begin with with a ruined soul, but we have to live by God's word. Harps and organs down here began in Cain's city, when he had gone out from the presence of the Lord. In point of fact, artistic musicians as a general rule are not a moral class; the imagination is at work, not the conscience, nor the heart. Judaism did take up nature to see if they could have a religion of it, only to prove it could not be, but end in the rejection of Jehovah and His anointed. We are dead, and risen with Christ, and belong to another world. Hence I cannot seek my own enjoyment in what belongs to the old, though I may recognise God's work in it, but not seek it as a world I belong to now. It is not a legal prohibition, but the heart elsewhere. If I could put a poor sick father to sleep with music, I would play the most beautiful I could find; but it only spoils any worship as bringing in the pleasure of sense into what ought to be the power of the Spirit of God. They cannot go really together, save as water may take away the taste of wine.

It is a wholly false principle that natural gifts are a reason for using them. I may have amazing strength or speed in running; I knock a man down with one, and win a prize cup with another. Music may be a more refined thing, but the principle is the same. This point I believe to be now of all importance. Christians have lost their moral influence by bringing in nature and the world as harmless. All things are lawful to me. But as I said, you cannot mix flesh and Spirit. We need all our energies under grace to walk in the latter, always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our bodies. Let Christ be all, and the eye is single and the whole body full of light. The converse is if our eye be evil, because it shuts out Christ; our affections are not set on things above where Christ sits at God's right hand. That is the point for us, happy affections there, and steadfastly, not being distracted.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.