The fifth and sixth chapters of Watchman Nee’s book Assembling Together (chapters 18 and 19 of the Basic Lessons series) are called “Various Meetings” and “Hymn Singing” respectively. I decided to review these two chapters together, because, to be honest, I have very little to say about each topic.
The Lord’s Day
In the chapter called “The Lord’s Day”, Nee explains that believers no longer have to keep the Sabbath, but that they should still have a day of rest, and that they should meet on the Lord’s Day (the first day of the week). Consider these quotes:
Nowhere in the Bible are we told that God ordered the Lord’s day to be substituted for the Sabbath. No, God simply made the change seen in the facts. 
We desire that new believers would remember this principle in the Bible, that one day out of each seven days is set apart for spiritual purposes. On that day, no secular work should be done so that one may devote the time to spiritual affairs. 
God does not forbid the doing of certain things on the Lord’s day as He formerly had done for the Sabbath. 
Man has entered into rest through the gospel. He is now able to serve God. This is the reality of the Sabbath. 
So, Nee seems to instruct new believers to stop secular work one day a week, but he does not specify which day that should be. He says that God does not specify a certain day for believers to rest from secular work. This seems like a fairly balanced approach, as long as the day of rest from secular work is not legalistically enforced.
As far as the Lord’s day, Nee recognizes a difference between the first day of the week and the Sabbath. He says that the Sabbath commands were filled with prohibitions, while the Lord’s day was positive, not prohibiting anything.  He does make the following statement:
So let all the children of God gather in the name of God’s Son on that day [i.e. the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week] and be glad. 
I do not see a problem with this, as long as he is not issuing a command. I do not see a command in Scripture for believers to gather on a certain day. Yes, I know that the church in Troas met on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 20:7), I do not see this as a command, or even normative at this point. (By the way, I wonder why so many believers use this verse to prove that church should gather on Sunday, but they don’t recognize that the same verse teaches that the believers ate a meal together weekly. Why is one part important, but not the other?)
Also, I know that Paul instructed the Corinthians to set aside something on the first day of the week to add to the collection for the saints in Jerusalem (1 Cor. 16:1-2). However, Paul does not indicate that this is to be done in a meeting, or that they were to pool their money together before he came for the collection.
Similarly, John says that he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day when he received the revelation of Jesus Christ (Rev 1:10). Again, there is no mention of a meeting on that day.
Do not misunderstand what I am saying. I think it is wonderful if believers gather together on Sunday. (And, to be correct, the Lord’s Day would have probably run from sundown Saturday until sundown on Sunday.) I also think it is wonderful when believers gather on other days of the week. I think it would be wrong for us to set aside one day as more important than other days. Consider what Paul said:
One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. (Romans 14:5 ESV)
Similarly, we see several places in Scripture where believers gathered daily, not just weekly. Here are a few examples:
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46-47 ESV)
But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. (Acts 19:9 ESV)
Now, I’m not calling for daily meetings. However, there are at least as many passages that indicate the believers met daily as there are passages that indicate the believers met on a certain day. Let’s not worry about a specific day. Instead, let’s gather together with other believers whenever we can.
In the chapter called “Hymn Singing”, Nee spends most of the time explaining what makes a good hymn. He says there are three basic requirements for hymns: 1) soundness of truth, 2) with spiritual sentiment, and 3) dependable in feeling. He also says that there are three different types of hymns: 1) hymns toward God, 2) hymns toward men, and 3) hymns toward self.
I honestly don’t have much to say about this chapter. Scripture mentions the noun “hymn” in two places. We do not learn much about the content of the hymns from these passages:
…addressing [speaking to] one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart… (Ephesians 5:19 ESV)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16 ESV)
In each passage above, “hymns” are included with “psalms and spiritual songs”. It also seems that in each case the hymns are to be spoken or sung to one another – that is, to people. However, we do not learn anything about the content of hymns from those passages.
The verb form of the noun “hymn” is variously translated as “sing the praise of” or “sing a hymn”. The verb form is used four times in Scripture:
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 26:30 ESV)
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Mark 14:26 ESV)
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. (Acts 16:25-26 ESV)
For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” (Hebrews 2:11-12 ESV)
Again, we don’t learn much about hymns in these passages. So, while Nee suggests that we sing hymns that have a “lack of dispensational clarity” , I’m not sure that we can claim this as scriptural teaching.
So, what can we say about hymns? Well, it seems the early believers sang or spoke (or both) hymns to one another. The hymns were a response of the Holy Spirit filling them (Eph. 5:19) and a response to the word of the Lord (Col. 3:16). The hymns were presented as a way to admonish or teach other believers (Col. 3:16). Hymns were used to express thankfulness and praise (Col. 3:16).
Finally, this chapter raised a question for me, perhaps a question that we need to ask about the church today? Why would Nee spend an entire chapter discussing the day to meet, and another chapter discussing hymns, which are rarely mentioned in Scripture, and yet barely discuss (if at all) other topics such as prophecy or teaching, which are often mentioned in Scripture? Do we simliarly emphasize certain activities that Scripture does not emphasize, and de-emphasize other things that Scripture does emphasize?
The next two chapters are called “Praise” and “The Breaking of Bread”. I will review these two chapters together as well.
Review of Watchman Nee’s Assembling Together Series:
1: Chapter 1 – Joining the Church
2: Chapter 2 – Laying on of Hands
3: Chapter 3 – Assembling Together
4: Chapter 4 – Various Meetings
5: Chapters 5 & 6 – The Lord’s Day and Hymn Singing
6: Chapters 7 & 8 – Praise and The Breaking of Bread