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C. 39. Origen, who flourished in the middle of the third century, speaks" of singing hymus of praise to the Father in or by Christ in good rhyme, tune, metre and harınony." Origen de orat. sect. 6. Eusebius, B. 7. C. 19. quotes Dionysius writiog against Nepos, thus, “ Although I heartily love Nepos for bis faith, his study of knowledge and the holy scriptures, as well as for various psalms and bymns composed by him, which are used 10 this day by some brethren, yet, &c.” In the acts of the council of Aotioch mentioned by Eusebius, B. 7. C. 30. it was one of the accusations of Paulus Samosatenus, the heretic Bishop of Antioch, that " he abolished those psalms which were wont to be sing to the honour of the Lord Jesus Christ as novel and composed by modero authors, and that he appointed wornen on Easter-day in the middle of the church to sing psalıns in his praise.". Apd in the fragment of an anonymous author extant in Eusebius, we find the heresy of Artemon, who denied the divinity of Christ, confuted not only by the scriptures and the writings of the precedent fathers, but also by the psalms and bymos of the brethren which were formerly composed by them, wherein they sung praises to the word of God, declaring Christ to be God. Such a private composed hymn was that which Clemens Alexandrinus mentions as one commonly known among the christians in bis days, beginoing zoupe dus, or, hail light. Spanheim in his sixth chapter of the fourth century of his Christian History, speaks thus, “ Besides hymns and songs, and private psalıns, of which there was a great number in their so. jemn assemblies, the psalm-book of David was brought into the western church in this age, in the time of Dawasue and Ambrose; but in the eastern church the singing of David's psalter by amiphonas or responses was brought in by Flavius Antiochenus. The use of psalms composed by private persons seems not to be forbidden in the church till the council of Laodicea in the fourth century.

CONCLUSION.-Thus bave I drawn together my thoughts upon this subject, at the request of several ministers and private christians who practise psalmody in this method themselves, and sing the songs of the Lamb as well as the psalms of David, iu their public and private worship, and especially at the celebration of the Lord's-supper. I had desigacii and almost prepared a larger discourse, wherein the duty of singing and the manner of performance would have been considered. But this essay hias already swelled beyond the bulk proposed : There are many that would rejoice to see evangelic songs more universally encouraged to the honour of their Lord Jesus, and to the joy and consolation of their fellow-saints. If the Spirit of God shall make any of these arguments I have nised, sucressful to attain this glorious end, I shall take pleasure in the release of their souls from that part of Judaism which they bave so long indulged. I hope the difficulties that appeared frightful and discouraging will be lost and vanish by a diligent and fair perusal of what is written; yet those that pay a sacred reverence to the inspired writings, may will find it hard to yield to the conviction : Scruples and relics of an old opinion will perhaps bang about their consciences still : A fear and jealousy of admitting any forms of human composure in the worship of singing, will scarce permit their lips to practise that to which their understandings have given their assent. I would entreat such to give this discourse a thoughtful review; sud though they may not judge every argument conclusive, por every objection sufficiently removed, yet if there be but one unanswerable reason it ought to be attended to; and the whole put together may give such light and satisfaction as may encutfrage the practice of this duty. It is very easy to make cavils anut replies to the strongest reasonings ; but let us have a care best we rob our souls and the churches of those divine comforts of evangelic psalmody, by a fondness of our old and pre-conceived opinions. He that believetli, may eat all things," and should not be forbidden: He may partake of flesh and drink wine : He may taste of the various pleasures of the gospel, and sing the new song : Avother who is weak cateth herbs, and satisfies bimself with ancient inelody. “Let not him that eateth despise bien shat cateth not, and let not hiin which eateth not judge bim mbiek esteth, for God hath received him ;” Rom. xiv. 2.

If the hymns and spiritual songs which are here presented to the world, are so unhappy as to discourage the design of this essay, I will censure and reprove them inyself: If they are condenined as being unsuitable to the capacity or experience of plain christians, I will easily confess a variety of faults in them : It was hard to restrain my verse always within the bounds of my design ; it was hard to sink every line to the level of a whole congregation, and yet to keep it above contempt. However among so great a number of songs I hope there will be some found that speak the very language, and desires, and sense of ibe meanest souls, and will be an assistance to their joy and worship. The blemishes of the rest may serve to awaken more pious and judicious fancy to a inore successful attempt; and whoever shall have the honour of such a performance, I promise myselt a large share in the pleasure. But we must despair of bearing the new song of the Lamb in its perfection and glory, “ till Babylon the great is fallen, and the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of the Lord and his Christ, sill the new heavens and the new earth appear, till all the former bings are passed away, and all things are made new."




THOUGH the Psalms of David are a work of admirable and divine com posure, though they contain the noblest sentiments of piety, and breathe a most exalted spirit of devotion; yet when the best of christians attempt to sing many of them in our common translations, that spirit of devotion vanishes and is lost, the psalın dies upon their lips, and they feel scarce any thing of the holy pleasure.

If I were to render the reasons of it, I would give this for one of the chief, namely, that the royal psalmist here expresses bis own concerns, in words exactly suited to bis own thoughts, agreeable to his own personal character, and in the language of his own religion: This keeps all the springs of pious passion awake, when every line and syllable so nearly affects bimself; this naturally raises, in a devoui mind, a more lively and transporting worship. Bat when we who are christians sing the same lines, we express nothing but the character, the concerns, and the religion of the Jewish king, while our own circumstances, and our own religion, wbich are so widely different from his, bave little to do in the sacred song ; and our affections want something of property or interest in the words, to awaken them at first, and to keep them lively.

If this attempt of mine, through the divine blessing, become so happy as to remove this great inconvenience, and to introduce warm devotion into this part of divine worship, I shall esteem it an honourable service done to the cburch of Christ.

It is necessary therefore that I should bere inform my readers at large, what the title page expresses in a shorter way; and assure them, that they are not to expect in this book an exact translation of the Psalms of David: For if I had not conceived a different design from all that have gone before me in this work, I had never attempted a service so full of labour, though I must confess it has not wanted its pleasure too.

In order to give a plain account of my present undertaking, I shall first represent the methods that my predecessors have followed in their versions ; in the next place, I hope to make it evident, that those methods can never attain the noblest and highest ends of christian psalmody; and then describe the course that I have taken, different from thein all, together with some brief biots of the reasons that induced me to it.

First, I will represent the membods that my predecessors have followed. I have seen above twenty versions of the Psalter, by persons of richer and meaner talents; and how various soever their professions and their prefaces are, yet in the performance they all seem to aim at this one point, namely, to make the Hebrew psalmist only speak English, and keep all his own characters still. Wheresoever the psalm introduces him as a soldier or a prophet, as a shepberd or a great musician, as a king on the throne, or as the fugitive in the wijderness, the translators ever represent him in the same circumstances. Some of them lead an assembly of common Christians to worship God, as near as possible, in those very words; and they generally agree also to perform and repeat that worship in the ancient Jewish forms, wherever the psalmist uses them.

There are several psalms indeed, which have scarce any thing in them personal or peculiar to David, or the Jews; such as Psalm i. xix. xxv. Xxxvii. Ixvii. C. &c. and these, if translated into the plain national language, are very proper materials for psalmody in all times and places; but there are but a few of this kind, in comparison of the great number which have someabing of personal concerns, prophetical darknesses, hebraisms, or Jewish affairs mingled with them.

I confess, Mr. Milburn and Mr. Darby, though in very different verse, have now and then given an evangelic turn to the Hebrew sense; and Dr. Patrick hath gone much beyond them in this respect, that he bath made use of the present language of Christians in several psalms, and left out many of the jndaisnjs. This is the thing that hath introduced him into the favour of so many religious assemblies; even those very persons that have an aversion to sing any thing in worship but David's psalms, have been led insensibly to fall in with Dr. Patrick's performance, by a relish of pious pleasure, never considering that his work is by no means a just translation, but a paraphrase ; and there are scarce any that have departed farther from the inspired words of scripture than he hath often done, in order to suit his thoughts to the state and worship of Christianity. This ! esteem bis peculiar excellency in those psalms wherein he has practised it: This I have made my chief care and business in every psalm, and have attempted at least to exceed him in this as well as in the art of verse, and yet I have often kept nearer to the text.

But, after all, this good man bath suffered himself so far to be carried away by custom, as to make all the other personal characters and circumstances of David appear strong and plain, except that of a Jew; and many of them he has represented in stronger and plainer terms than the original. This will appear to any one that compares these following texts in Dr. Pa. trick with the bible, namely, Psalms iv. 2. and ix. 4, 5. and xviii. 43. and li. 4. and Ix 6, 7. and ci. I. and exli. 6. and cxliii. 3. and several others: So that it is hard to find, even in his version, six or eight stanzas together in any psalm, that has personal or national affairs in it, so fit to be assumed by a vulgar Christian, or so proper to be sung by a whole congregation. This renders the due performance of psalmody every where difficult to him that appoints the verges: But it is extremely troublesome in those assemblies where the psalm is sung without reading it lipe by line, which yet is, beyond all exception, the truest and the best method : For in this way of singing there can be no omission of a verse, though it be never so improper; but the whole church must run down to the next division of the psalm, and sing all that comes next to their lips, till the clerk puts them to silence. Or, to remedy this inconvenience, if a wise man leads the song, he dwells always upon four or tive and twenty pieces of some select psalms, though the whole hundred and fifty lie before him ; and he is forced to run that narrow round still, for want of larger provision suited to our present circumstances.

I might here also remark, to what a hard shift the minister is put to find proper hymns at the celebration of the Lord's supper, where the people will sing nothing but out of David's psalm-book : How perpetually do they repeat some of the xxiiid or the cxviiith psalm? And contine all the glorious joy and melody of that ordinance to a few obscure lines, because the translators have not indulged an evangelical turn to the words of David ; no pot in those very places wbere the Jewish psalmist seems to mean the gospel; but as excellent a poet as he was, he was not able to speak it plaio, by reason of the infavey of that dispensation, and longs for the aid of a Christian writer. Chongi, to speak my own sense freely, I do not think David ever wrote a pualın of sufficient glory and sweetness, to represent the blessings of this body inzion of Christ, even though it were explained by a copious com


mentator ; therefore it is my opinion, that other spiritual songs should some. times be used to render Christian psalmody complete. But this is not my present business, and I have written on this subject elsewhere.

To proceed to the second part of my preface, which is to sbew, how insufficient a strict translation of the psalms is to attain the designed end.

There are several songs of this royal author, that seem improper for any person besides himself; so that I cannot believe that the whole book of psalms, even in the original, was appointed by God for the ordinary and corstant worship of the Jewish sanctuary or the synagogues, thougb several of them might be often sung; much less are they all proper for a Christian cburch: Yet the way of a close translation of this whole book of Hebrew psalms, for English and Christian psalmody, has generally obtained among us.

Some pretend it is but a just respect for the holy scripture ; for they have imbibed a fond opinion from their very childhood, that nothing is to be sung at charch but the inspired writings, how different soever the sense is from our present state. But this opinion has been taken upon trust, by the most part of its advocates, and borrowed chiefly from education, custom, and the authority of others; which, if duly examined, will appear to have been heilt upon too slight and feeble foundations; the weakness of it I shall sbew more at large in another place : But it appears of itself more enni. nently inconsistent in those persons that scruple to address God in prose in any pre-composed forms whatsoever; and they give this reason, because they cannot be fitted to all our present occasions; and yet in verse they contine their addresses to such forms as were fitted chiefly for Jewish worshippers, and for the special occasions of David the King.

Others maintain that a strict and scrupulous confinement to the sense of the original, is necessary to do justice to the royal author ; but, in my judg. ment, the royal author is most honoured when he is made most intelligible; and when his admirable composures are copied in sucb language, as gives light and joy to the saints that live two thousand years after him: Whereas such a mere translation of all his verse into English, to be sung in our worship, seems to darken our religion, by running back again to judaism, it damps our delight, and almost furbids the Christian worshipper to pursue the song. How can we assume to ourselves all his words in our personal or public addresses to God, when our condition of life, our time, place, and religion, are so vastly different from those of David ?

I grant it is necessary and proper, that in translating every part of scripture for our reading or hearing, the sense of the original should be exactly and faithfully represented; for there we learn what God says to us in his word. Bat io singing, for the inust part, the case is altered : For as the greatest number of the psalms are devotional, and there the psalmists express their own personal or national concerns; so we are taught, by their example, what is the chief design of psalmody, namely, that we should represent our own 'sense of things in singing, and address ourselves to God, expressing our owa case; therefore the words should be so far adapted to the general state of the worshippers, as that we might seldom sing ihose expressions in which we have no concern: Or at least our translators of the psalms should observe this rule, that when the peculiar circumstances of ancient saints are formed into a song, for our present and public use, they should be related, rather in an bistorical manner; and not retain the personal pronouns I and We, where the transactions cannot belong to any of us, nor be applied to our persons, churches, or nation.

Moses, Deborah, and the Princes of Israel; David, Asaph, and Habakkuk, and all abe saints under the Jewish state, sung their own jovs and victories, their own hopes, and fears, and deliverances, as I hinted before ; and why tuust we, upder the gospel, sing nothing else but the joys, lopes,

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