“The song, a form of prayer, in the festive dress of poetry and the elevated language of inspiration, raising the congregation to the highest pitch of devotion, and giving it a part in the heavenly harmonies of the saints. This passed immediately, with the psalms of the Old Testament, those inexhaustible treasures of spiritual experience, edification, and comfort, from the temple and the synagogue into the Christian church. The Lord himself inaugurated psalmody into the new covenant at the institution of the holy Supper, and Paul expressly enjoined the singing of “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” as means of social edification. But to this precious inheritance from the past, whose full value was now for the first time understood in light of the New Testament revelation, the church, in the enthusiasm of her first love, added original, specifically Christian psalms, hymns, doxologies, and benedictions, which afforded the richest material for sacred poetry and music in succeeding centuries; the song of the heavenly hosts, for example, at the birth of the Saviour; the “Nunc dimittis” of Simeon; the “Magnificat” of the Virgin Mary; the “Benedictus” of Zacharias; the thanksgiving of Peter at his miraculous deliverance; the speaking with tongues in the apostolic churches, which, whether song or prayer, was always in the elevated language of enthusiasm; the fragments of hymns scattered through the Epistles; and the lyrical and liturgical passages, the doxologies and antiphonies of the Apocalypse.” Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 1, p. 463-4.