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*« worship: Few can pretend so great a " value for them as myself: It is the “ most artful, most devotional, and di166 vine collection of poesy; and nothing
can be supposed more proper to raise a “ pious foul to heaven, than some parts “ of that book; never was a piece of ex“ perimental divinity fo nobly written, " and fo justly reverenced and admired. Happy would it have been for the chriftian world, if his followers had stopt just where he did. He declares it was far from his thoughts to do what they have done. It never came into his head to lay aside the book of psalms in public worship. Think of this, and weigh it carefully, ye that idolize Dr. Watts, and prefer his poems to the infallible word of God. It would be well for
you valued psalms as much as he did : For he says none valued them more. Then you would have looked upon them in his light: For having already in your hands the most devotional and the most divine collection, you would not have thought of any other, knowing it was impoffible to have a better, but you would have used this, and would have found it too, as Dr. Watts did, the most proper to raise the soul to heaven. Blessed sentiments! I honor the memory of Dr. Watts for
this glorious testimony. I can say nothing that can bear harder upon those persons, who contrary to his opinion, have entirely left off singing the psalms of God in the church. He never intended to countenance such a practice. He declares it was far from his thoughts, yea, he abhorred the very thought, and in fo saying he has upon record condemned it. Here I rest the matter. If the admirers of Dr. Watts will not be determined by his authority, I am sure they will not by mine: And therefore I take my leave of them. Farewell. May the Lord guide you into all truth.
There are several abuses anong us relative to the music, which I wish to see reformed, and some of which I would point out. We have many good psalın tunes, excellently composed and fitted for public. worship. There should be studied, in order that they may be well sung, and properly applied-Siwg well to avoid the tedious drawling manner in use in most of our churches, which gives offence to worldly people, and makes the ordinance dull and heavy to believers Properly applied, and suited to the subject, that the sound may as near as possible express the sense : For want of understanding or attending to this, we very
often hear a light tune to a mournful prayer, and heavy music set to a joyful psalm, which are grievous discords. In the service of God every thing should be folemn. Our own minds require it, as well as his greatness; but especially in praising him, we fhould try to shut out whatever would distract us, or dishonor him. When the heart is affected, or defires to be duly affected with a sense of the exceeding riches of his mercy in Jesus, the psalm and the tune should help to excite, and to keep up the heavenly flame. If the pfalm be proper for this purpose, the tune should not defeat it. This was much studied in the primitive church. They had great fimplicity in their pfalm singing, which we are told was corrupted by the heretics. Complaint is made particularly of Arius, that he perverted finging into an entertainment. He had a tast for music, and he composed several light frothy tunes, by which he fought to please trifling people, who with him neither loved the God, nor the praises of the God of the christians. Herein he fucceeded. His music was admired, and did a great deal of hurt. Let us take warning from hence. As far as we can let our praises of God be fung with such music as will folemnize our
hearts, and keep them in tune to make melody unto the Lord.
I will only mention one thing more, which is a great impropriety, and to me very offensive, and that is the posture generally used among us in finging. Suppose there had been nothing at all said about it in the scripture, judge ye with yourselves, men and brethren, whether it be respectful and becoming to fit down to sing. When subjects go upon any joyful occasion to address their sovereign, is it a custom in any nation of the world to do it sitting? Does the person who pays. homage fit, or he who receives it? But it is not left to ourfelves, or to what we may think right or wrong. The case is determined in scripture, and there are precedents to go upon. The singers and musicians stood, when they performed in the temple service : So did all the people. 1 Chron. ii. 28, &c. " The office of the " Levites was to wait on the sons of
Aaron for the service of the house of u the Lord in the courts and in the “ chambers, and in the purifying of all
holy things, and the work of the ser« vice of the house of God: And to
stand every morning to thank and praise “ the Lord, and likewise at evening." This was their appointment; and we read.
of their fulfilling it, 2 Chron. v. 12. where it is said, “ they stood at the east “ end of the altar :" And we are certain that all the congregation of Israel stood at the same time: for it is expressly mentioned. When the royal prophet is encouraging the priests and people in the heavenly work of praise, he thus addresses the priests, Psal. cxxxiv. “Behold, bless
ye the Lord all ye servants of the Lord,
who by night stand in the house of the “ Lord: Lift up your hands in the sanç
tuary and bless the Lord. The Lord " that made heaven and earth bless thee “ out of Sion.” So again speaking to priests and people, Psal. cxxxy. “ Praise “ ye the Lord, praise ye the name of the
Lord, praise him Oye fervants of the “ Lord: Ye that stand in the house of " the Lord, in the courts of the house of
our God, praise ye the Lord, for the is Lord is good : Sing praises unto his yoso name for it is pleasant.” Standing to sing is recommended in those fcriptures, and was accordingly practised both by clergy and laity: When they thanked the Lord morning and evening in the words of David the man of God, they sung his praises standing. It is a decent posture. People of falhion think it fo: For they stand up even in the play-house, at the