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A

SHORT

ESSAY

TOWARD

THE

IMPROVEME

tT

OF PSALMODY:

OR,

do

Enquiry

how

the Psalms

of

David

ought

to

be

Translated

into Christian

Songs,

and

how

lawful and

necessazy

it

is

to compose

other Hymns according

to

the

clearer

Revelations

of

the Gospel,

for

the

Use

of

the Christian Church.

TO

speak the glories of God

in

a

religious

song,

or

to

breathe

out the joys of our

own

spirits to God with

the

melody

of our

voice, is an

exalted

part

of divine worship.

But

so

many are

the

imperfections in

the practice of this duty,

that the greatest

part

of

Christians find

but little

edification

or comfort

in it.

There are

some

churches

that utterly

disallow

singing

;

and

I

am

persuaded that the

poor performance

of

it

in

the

best socie-

ties, with the mistaken rules

to

which

it

is

confined,

is

one

great

reason of

their

entire neglect

;

for we

are

left

at

a

loss,

say

they,

what

is

the matter and manner of this duty

;

and therefore they

utterly refuse

:

Whereas if

this glorious piece

of

worship were

but

seen in its

original beauty, and

one

that

believes

not

this

ordinance, or

is

unlearned

in

this

part

of christianity should

come into such an

assembly,

" He

would be convinced

of all,

he would be

judged

of all,

he would fall down

on

his face,

and

report that

God was

in

the

midst

of it of

a

truth

;"

i

Cor. xiv.

24,

25.

In

order

to

trace out the matter or subject of religious

sing-

ing, let

us collect into one view

the chief texts

of the New

Tes-

tament where this worship

is

mentioned, and afterwards

see

what

arguments may

be

deduced from thence, to prove,

that

it

is

proper to use spiritual songs of human composure,

as

well as

the psalms

of David,

or

the

words

of other

songs recorded in

scripture.

The

most

considerable

texts are

these

;

Matt. xxvi.

30. and

Mark

xiv. 26.

relate,

That

our

blessed

Lord

and his disciples

sung

an

hymn. Acts xvi. 25.

"

Paul

and

Silas prayed

and sung praises unto

God."

1

Cor. xiv.

15.

"I

will sing

with

the

Spirit,

and

I

will

sing

with

the understanding

also."

rer.

26.

"

Every

one of you bath a

psalm." Eph.

v.

19,

20.

"

Speaking

to yourselves

in

psalms and hymns, and spi-

A

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