The Sublime Song of the Universe

From Augustine’s letter to Jerome (AD 415), as translated and quoted in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1:527–528:

Not in vain has the prophet, taught by divine inspiration, declared concerning God, “He bringeth forth in measured harmonies the course of time” [Isa. 40:26]. For which reason music, the science or capacity of correct harmony, has been given also by the kindness of God to mortals having reasonable souls, with a view to keep them in mind of this great truth. For if a man, when composing a song which is to suit a particular melody, knows how to distribute the length of time allowed to each word so as to make the song flow and pass on in most beautiful adaptation to the ever changing notes of the melody, how much more shall God, whose wisdom is to be esteemed as infinitely transcending human arts, make infallible provision that not one of the spaces of time alloted to natures that are born and die — spaces which are like the words and syllables of the successive epochs of the course of time — shall have, in what we may call the sublime psalm of the vicissitudes of this world, a duration either more brief or more protracted than the foreknown and predetermined harmony requires! For when I may speak thus with reference even to the leaves of every tree, and the number of the hairs upon our heads, how much more may I say it regarding the birth and death of men, seeing that every man’s life on earth continues for a time, which is neither longer nor shorter than God knows to be in harmony with the plan according to which He rules the universe.

On My iPod

A few of the albums currently streaming through the ‘buds:

  • The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow (2011). An album that grew on me after about the third or fourth play. [Amazon | iTunes]
  • Josh Garrels, Love & War & The Sea In Between (2011). Apart from one or two songs that grate on me, I like this album a lot. Don’t miss his track “Farther Along.” Crank it and sing along! Garrels recently told CT, “We were so provided for during the making of this album, by both God and men, that it seems appropriate to give away as freely as we received.” In that spirit, you can download the album for free here.
  • Sovereign Grace Music, Risen (2011). I’ve been listening to this album since before Easter. Why stop now? [Amazon | iTunes]
  • Sigur Rós, Takk… (2005). Because my playlist is always flavored with a little Sigur. [Amazon | iTunes]
  • Glenn Gould, Bach: The Goldberg Variations (1955). It’s unclear if Gould was autistic or just eccentric but it’s obvious he was a prodigy. The energy he brings to the piano in this recording is impressive. [Amazon | iTunes]

What albums currently flavor your life?

Approach My Soul, The Mercy Seat

The new album from Sojourn Music is very good, especially the opening song that was inspired by an old hymn written by John Newton. The original hymn lyrics were tweaked and then recorded and released by Jamie Barnes. The song is titled “Approach My Soul, The Mercy Seat” and it was released online on JT’s blog this past week (where you can download the mp3 for free). I find myself listening to it over and over again.

You can listen to the beautiful hymn here:

Approach My Soul, The Mercy Seat

Approach my soul, the mercy seat
Where Holy One and helpless meet
There fall before my Judges’ feet
Thy promise is my only plea, O God

Send wings to lift the clutch of sin
You who dwell between the cherubim
From war without and fear within
Relieve the grief from the shoulders of crumbling men

O God—Pour out your mercy to me
My God, Oh what striking love to bleed.

Fashion my heart in your alchemy
With the brass to front the devil’s perjury
And surefire grace my Jesus speaks
I must. I will. I do believe. O Lord.