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OD is the Gob of Truth, of Holiness, and of Elegance. Whoever, therefore, has the honor to compofe, or to compile, any thing that may conftitute a part of His worship, should keep thofe three particulars, conftantly, in view.
As we cannot pray, without the exciting and enabling grace of the HOLY GHOST (Rom. viii. 26. Jude 20); fo neither can we fing, fpiritually, acceptably, and profitably, without the Prefence and Infpiration of the fame condefcending and moft adorable Perfon (1 Cor. xiv. 15. Eph. v. 18, 19). The reafon is evident. For, what is a Palm, or Hymn, strictly taken, but prayer, or praise, in verfe?
The original difference (if any specific difference there originally was) between Pfalms and Hymns, feems to have lain in this: that, antiently, a Pfalm was actually fat to Inftrumental Mufic, and ufually accompany'd by it as the time of finging (Pfal. Ixxxi. 2). A fimilar, or even the felf-fame compofition, fimply fung, without the aid of mufical inftruments, was, perhaps, the primitive de-finition of an Hymn (Matth. xvi. 30). By degrees, the word Pfalm became appropriated, for refpectfull dif tinction's fake, to the infpired Songs of David, and others, recorded in Scripture: while fucceding pieces, formed on thofe elevated models, but written, from time to time, as occafion ferved, by inferior believers, obtained the appellation of Hymns:
St. PAUL (in Eph. v. 19. and Col. iii. 16.) mèntions a fpecies of Sacred: Peetry, which he terms, MORE THEUμalizar, i. e.... Joiritual. Odes." Thefe, likewife, I take to have been, what are ufually called, Human Compofitions as much fo, as the Hymns of PRUDENTIUS, REZA, GROTIUS, WITSIUS, VIDA, Dr. WATT, Mifs SyEEZE, or Mr. HART. Such deyout productions may be denominated Odes, or Songs at large, becaufe ke many of the Pfalms themfelves) they admit of much latitude and variety: being not ftrictly limited to abfolute Prayer and Praife, but occafionally fraught with Doctrin, Exhortation, and Intruction in righteoufnefs; tending, as the Apoftle expreffes it in the paffage laft cited, to "teach," to admonish," and to
build up one another on out moft holy faith. "Odes," which St. Paul recommends, are termed jpiritual" ones, because they relate to fpiritual things; are written by fpiritual Perfons, under the impreffions of fpiritual Influence; and, if the good. SPIRIT of God thine upon us at the time, are a moft fpiritual branch of divine worship: conducing to spiritualize the heart, wing the affections to heaven, and give us a bleffed foretaste of the Employment and the Felicity of elect Angels, and of elect Souls delivered from the prifon of the flesh.
Some worthy perfons have been of opinion, (and what abfurdity is there, for which fome well-meaning people have not contended?) that it is "Unlawfall to
fing Human Compofitions in the Houfe of God." But, by the fame rule, it must be equally unlawful, to preach, or publicly to pray, except in the very words of Scripture. Not to obferve, that many of the best and greatest Men, that ever lived, have, both in antient and modern times, been Hymn-Writers; and that there is the strongest reafon to believe, that the best Christians, in all ages, have been Hyma-Singers. Moreover, the finging of hymns is an Ordinance, to which God has repeatedly fet the Seal of his own Prefence and Power; and which He deigns eminently to bles, at this very day. It has proved a converting Ordinance, to fome of his people; a recovering Ordinance, to others; a comforting Ordinance, to them all; and one of the divineit Mediums of communion with God, which his gracious benignity has vouchfafed to his church below.
With regard to the following Collection, I can only fay, that (excepting the very few hymns of my own, which I have been prevailed with to infert) it ought to be the best that has yet appeared, confidering the great number of volumes. (no fewer than between forty and frity), which have, more or lefs, contributed to this Compilation.
But remember, Reader, that " none can, truly and favingly, learn the Song of the LAMB," who are n redeemed from the earth" by his molt precious Bloo (Rev. xiv. 3.)-Pray, therefore, for the effectual op
ration of the HOLY GHOST on thy heart, to apply and make known to thee thy perfonal Intereft in the FATHER'S election and in the Son's redemption. So wilt thou not only fing with understanding, but with the SPIRIT also beaming upon thy foul; and be able, experimentally, to fay,
As from the Lute foft mufic flows,
Touch'd by the finger of thy love,
And feel the blifs that makes them fing.
The holy Unction of the facred SPIRIT's influence is, in the following pages, mot earnestly and frequently invoked. May it richly defcend upon, and be abundantly felt by, as many as read and make use of this book! Amen.
London, July 26, 1776.
Which have been perceived, the Reader is requested to correct with his Pen, as follow:
Page 49. Line 4. for, at once;" read, by faith.
80. L. 9. inftead of," calls forth;" read, calls for. 220. L. 7. read, We'll pray.
3 In the Red Sea, by Mofes' hand,
4 When through the defart Ifrael went,
5 Mofes beheld the promis'd land,
But CHRIST fhall bring his children home,
6 Then fhall our hearts with joy o'erflow,
IV. Electing Grace.
I ESUS, we blefs thy Father's name;
2" Chrift be my first elect," he said;
Then chofe our fouls in CHRIST our head;
Thus did Eternal Love begin
To raise us up from death and fin: ̧
Our characters were then decreed,
Born by degrees, but chofe at once;
To praife the glory of his grace.
5 With CHRIST our LORD we fhare our part In the affections of his heart:
Nor fhall our fouls be thence remov'd,
V. Unchangeable Love.
UR Goo, how firm his promife ftands,
He trufls, in our Redeemer's hands,
His glory, and his grace.
2 Then why, my foul, thefe fad complaints, Since CHRIST and we are one?
Thy Gop is faithful to his faints,
3 Beneath his fmiles my, heart hath liv'd,
I thank him for, the grace receiv'd,
4 JESUS, my Gop, I know his name;
He will not put my foul to fhame,