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their praises, and increased their joy in him. They have found their affections drawn nearer to him, and he has warmed them with a sweet sense of his love. And this has not been a transient visit. It did not cease when they had done singing; but the harmony was preserved in a well ordered walk, directed by the faith of the Son of God. They lived their fongs. Peace and love dwelt in their hearts, and their joy abounded in the Lord.
But where is this fort of singing, in what place, or among what people? Who are they that find those heavenly affections exercised in it, and those happy effects from it? It is much to be lamented, that all finging of psalms at present is not upon the right plan, and does not answer the end of its inftitution. I speak not of the contempt, with which it is treated by the age, or of the neglect of it by many professors, but of the prevailing abuses of it among them, who would be thought altogether Christians.
CHAP CH A P. VI.
These abuses I would particularly mention,
and bumbly propose a remedy for each of them.
SOME of these may feem not worthy
of notice, they are such small matters; but I think there is nothing little in divine worship. The majesty of God ennobles, and exalts every part of it. He has commanded us to sing psalms, and whatever he has been pleased to command, has his authority to enforce it : And whatever he has engaged to bless, has his promise to make it the means of blessing. In keeping of it there is at present great reward. His presence will be in it, when it is rightly performed, and he will render it effectual. He will hear, he will accept, he will witness his acceptance of the praises of his people : Therefore every thing relating to them should be done decently and in order. We should always fing with a reverence, becoming the greatness and goodness of our God, in such a manner as may best express our happiness in his love, and as may tend most to mutual edification.
If these things be confidered, it will not be thought an indifferent matter, whether the psalms be sung at all, or how they be sung -- whecher with, or without any heart devotion, with or without any melody of the voice-whether every believer in the congregation should fing, or no—whether singing should be a trial of skill, who can bawl loudest-whether the posture should not be expressive as well as the voice-whether suitable portions of the psalms should be chosen, or the person who gives them out should be left to choose them, often without any judgment-whether grace should be exercised in singing, or not-whether we should fing in order to increase grace, or not--whether we should sing for amusement, or for the glory of God. It is not a trifling matter-how you determine those points: They enter deep into an important part of religious worship, yea into a very high act of ir, one in which we pay the noblest service we can upon earth, and indeed the nearest we can come to the service of saints and angels. How then can it be an indifferent thing, whether a believer sings psalms, or not, or whether or no he sings them with melody in his heart unto the Lord ? Certainly if he would please God in singing, he
fhould attend to the scripture rules before laid down for directing his conduct, which compared with the analogy of faith will regulate every thing relating to the divine ordinance of psalm singing.
One great abuse is the general ignorance of the subject of the book of psalms. No portion of God's word is less known: Many in our congregation very feldom understand what they are singing. They have not Christ in their eye, nor his glory in their view: Although the design of all those hymns is to describe the love of God to finners in Christ Jesus. They all treat of him in some view or other: For there are many extensive, and all very glorious views, in which his person, offices, works and ways may be confidered. Some treat of his high praises as God-man, describing his perfon, as the infinite treasury of grace and glory. Some celebrate the matchless deeds of his life, as the Lord our righteousness, and the complete atonement made for sin by the facrifice of himself. Others in language and sentiments truly sublime sing the endless victories of his resurrection, and the prevailing efficacy of his interceflion. Several of them treat of his most blessed government, when he fets up his throne in the hearts of his willing people, and saves them from sin, and
death, and every enemy: While others foretell the great day of the Lord, when he will come to judge all felh, will take his redeemed home, and the whole heaven shall be filled with his glory. Be. fides, the psalms treat of this wonderful person, not only from the beginning of time, but also from the age of eternity : They discover the undertakings of his love before all worlds in the covenant of the Trinity--his fulfilling the covenant engagements in time and his bestowing covenant-blessings from henceforth and for ever.
What an extensive view do they give us of the loving kindness of Immanuel, reaching from everlasting to everlasting! And in all these respects the psalms are of ineftimable value with believers : For their use the holy Spirit has recorded them; and herein they learn, what sentiments they are to form of God the Saviour, with what gratitude they fhould speak of him, and with what holy joy they should fing the triumphs of redeeming love. The pfalms were fitted for this purpose by infinite wisdom : For holy men of God fpake them as they were moved by the holy Ghost : And they are blessed for this purpose, when with the apostle any one can say, “ I will fing