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PSALMS AND HYMNS,
TO THOSB NOW USED IN
THE REV. C. P. PRIC..
VICAR OF UXBRIDGE.
“Carmen Christo quasi Deo dicere secum invicem.”
PLIN. Lib. X. Epis. 97.
“ The object of the present Compilation is to afford a greater variety of Psalms and Hymns than the Selection now used in Uxbridge Church presents; and also to supply some for particular occasions. The psalmody of our church has been very much improved, within the last few years, by the introduction of compositions breathing the spirit of poetry as well as devotion; and thus the more cultivated taste, which the general diffusion of education has fostered, has been gratified; whilst religious emotions have been more powerfully excited. As nothing tends more to refine the taste and elevate the feelings, than poetry; it is evidently important to enlist it in the service of religion; and to make poetry, what it ever should be, the handmaid of devotion.
Poetical and musical compositions have always formed a part of religious service, whether that service was paid to the idol of his imagination by the unenlightened heathen, or to the Almighty Jehovah by the ancient Israelites, or to the Lord Jesus Christ by the believing christian. Poetry is so naturally the language of ardent feeling, that it was to be expected that signal deliverances would be celebrated in verse. Hence the Song of Moses, when the Lord delivered Israel by opening them a passage through the Red Sea and overwhelming their adversaries, the Egyptians, in the returning waters. Hence the Song of Deborah and Barak on the discomfiture and death of Sisera—and hence the poetical compositions of “the sweet singer of Israel” on the various events of his checquered life. But what deliverances can be compared to the deliverance of mankind from the powers of darkness? what blessings can be put in competition with the blessings of redemption ? what triumphs shall be set against the triumphs of the Messiah? What themes then can be more worthy of being celebrated in poetry than these ? and what employment can be more elevating or delightful than singing them? In every frame of mind, whether joyful or sorrowful, the sentiments of religious poetry will be found appropriate. Our joyous feelings will be taught to vent themselves in songs of gratitude; and the sad and bitter feelings of affliction will be soothed by the sweetness of verse, as the melancholy of Saul was by the harp of David. A hymn was sung by our blessed Lord and his disciples just before they went out for the last time before his death to the Mount of Olives. And this was certainly congregational singing ; for our blessed Lord and his disciples had no professional singers. The first Christians met before day-break, and sang, as part of their service, a hymn to Christ as their divine Lord. Angels sang at the birth of Jesus ; and when the work of creation was finished “ the morning stars sang together ;” and in the vision of heaven with which St. John was favored he heard a new song sung by th