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to be heard. The scripture has taken potice of it-" They all gave one found.” Why should not we do the fame? Nay, is it not the practice of the people of the worla ? Will they suffer discords in any of their concerts? A public performer would only rise in repute with them, as. he plays or fings well. Christian, con sider this. Shall they for their mere amusement study to have their music free from every thing offensive to the ear? And shall not we be equally careful? More especially as we sing to the honor of God and to the edifying of the brethren. . We haye a moft noble fubject-divine matter divine words: We fing of one Lord with one faith for harmony in some measure suitable! It is much to be wished. I hope it will be attained.
Let me earnestly recommend it to every one to fing, and to all who do fing, to learn to fing well; and till you do, endeavor to avoid another matter of offence.
There are many in our congregations, who feem to think they fing best, when they fing loudest. You may see them often strain themselves with shouting, till their faces are as red as scarlet. The worst fingers commonly offend this way. Abad, coarfe voice, quite out of rune is to be heard above all, and will take the lead in the congregation: And whenevet a number of such meet together in their shouting humor, they put all into confusion. They disorder those, who would fing with feeling and affection. They. drown the musical voices of good fingers. They offend the outward people. And they do no good to themselves : So they entirely defeat the end of singing. If these lines should fall into the hands of any, who are sensible they have offended in this way, I would beg of them to reform this abuse. Examine your motive -Why would you be uppermost in the congregation? Is your voice the best? Do you think fo? Alk one, who is a judge ? Perhaps he may persuade you; } wish I could prevail with youto fing lower. Indeed if you once come to feel what you fing, you will reform yourself. A great part of your finging will then be between God and your own soul; you will try to keep up melody in your heart, and that will mend both your voice and judgment. However it will certainly put you upon trying to please both God and man in singing. wir mig • There is another very great and com, mon abuse, which consists in the choice of improper portions." The person, tó whofe judgment this is left, is not always
one of the wisest in the congregation) He may not understand the psalms. He may mifapply and prophane them. It is not a rare thing for him to make them personal, and to apply the glorious things Spoken of Christ to trifling parish business I have heard the quarrels among neighbors sung over on sundays. The clerk has chosen fomei paffage, applicable en tirely to the enemies of the Lord and his Christ, and has moft grofly perverted it. The congregation had nothing to do with the dispute, and yet it was brought before them, and they were called upon in an ordinance to interest themselves in it. No doubt, this and such like abuses are a very great insult upon God's word and ordinance, and ought to be reformed. The people should understand the psalm, which they are going to fing, and should be well acquainted with its relation to Jesus Christ. They are all required to join; and therefore suitable portions should be chofen, in which all or the greatest part of them are interested. They should fing with one mind, and one heart, as well as in one tune : For which end the knowlege of the pfalm, and of whom and of what it treats are absolutely necessary: How can any one fing aright unto the Lord with grace in his heart, unless he
understands, whether the psalm relates to prayer or thanksgiving, to asking mercies of God, or praising him for them, what grace was to be exercised in finging, faith or hope, or love, and what blessing was to be expected from it? These things fhould be well known, that finging may be a reasonable service, and the means of grace. And to render it fuch I have colo lected portions fuitable to most cases of a christian's experience, and have also prefixed the subject of each. I have also pointed out to the believer with what frame of mind to fing, and what benefit to look for from the word of promise in singing. I wish the attempt may help to make the ordinance better obferved, and then I am sure it will be more blessed.
There is another thing relating to the psalms, I cannot call it an abufe: For it is a total neglect of them. They are quite rejected in many congregations, as if there were no such hymns given by the inspiration of God, and as if they were not left for the use of the church and to be. fung in the congregation. , Human com. pofitions are preferred to divine. Man's poetry is exalted above the poetry of the holy Ghost.' Is this right? The hymns. which he revealed for the use of the church, that we might have words fuit
able to the praises of Immanuel, are quite fet afide: By which means the word of man has got a preference in the church above the word of God, yea fo far as to exclude it entirely from public worship It is not difficult to account for this strange practice. Our people had lost sight of the meaning of the pfalms. They did not fee their relation to Jesus Christ. This happened when vital religion began to decay among us, more than a century ago. It was a gradual decay, and went on, till. ar last there was a general complaint against Sternhold and Hopkins. Their translation was treated, as poor flat stuff.. The wits ridiculed it. The prophaneblafphemed it. Good men did not dea ' fend it. Then it fell into fuch contempt, that people were ready to receive any thing in its room, which looked rational and was poetical. In this situation the hymnmakers find the church, and they are fuffered to thrust out the psalms to make way for their own compositions: of which they have fupplied us with a vast variety, collection upon collection, and in use too, new hymns farting up daily-appendix added to appendix-fung in many congre? gations, yea admired by very high profeffors to such a degree, that the psalms are become quite obsolete, and the fing.