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P R E F A C
N the service of the church of Eng
land there is great use made of the psalms. They are read in every day's service, both at morning and evening prayer, and are constantly fung in public worthip. It is much to be wished they were better understood, that the daily reading and singing of thent mighĚ Leithe means of grace. Very few, is to be feared, receive the profit, fton them, which as an ordinance of cost thøy were intended to administer. I have long teen the design of them greatly mistaken, and have long lamented the contempt put upon them. At last I have been perfuaded to try to make the subject of these divine hymns plain and clear, and to restore the singing of them in the congregation to their primitive usefulness. This is my present attempt. Success in it depends on help froin God. He revealed the book of psalms, and he alone can A 2
make the singing of them profitable. I hope he will. May he accompany my well-meant performance with his presence, and prosper it with his grace.
If it bring any honor to his holy name and word, thanks be to him. If any body reads it, and is stirred up to sing more and better, if our public singing of psalms be reformed, and become in the leaft like the great concert of saints and angels, this will be altogether his doing; may he have all his. praise. I deserve none, being only in his church and fervice what he is pleased to make me. Through his grace I wish to live to his glory, and to be useful in my day to his caure and interest: Help me, reader, to exalt him.ip life and death. May it be thy Happiness to do the same: for which thou hart the hearty prayer of thy servant in lini::
MEN AND BRETHREN,
and for well being. 'He gives us all our faculties both of mind and body, and he requires us to use them in his service and to his glory. This is our bounden duty. It is the peculiar dignity of man, who never acts more nobly, than when he employs the powers bestowed upon him to the praise of the giver. None of them should be uselefs, but each should be exerted, whenever an opportunity offers of glorifying God.
In the common actions of life this may, and should be done : The rule is, " Whether ye eat or drink, or WHATSOEVER “ ye do, do all to the glory of God," but it is far more needful in spiritual matters, which have an immediate relation to God and his worship. These he has appointed to be the means of shewing forth his praise. Among them singing of psalms is not the least. It is frequently commanded, and with a promise — faithful is he who hath promised — he will render the means effectual to answer the end. When believers employ the faculties of soul and body in finging of his goadness and greatness, he does accept the service, and testifies his acceptance. He does indeed communicate to them by his Spirit joy and peace, and he renders singing to the Lord with melody in the heart the means of increasing the melody and joy.
But where is such singing ? in what church ? among what people? There are some. May their number increafe. It is worth while to try to increase them, ef pecially as this ordinance is so much neg. lected. The holy affections, which should be stirred up by fo heavenly an exercife, are generally damped by it. When it is performed with coldnefs and indifference, how can it produce fenfations fuitable to