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The natural man may be captivated and charmed with foft, melodious founds, with finoothly flowing numbers, and elegant expreffions; but, as it is only a fpiritual man who can pray with the spirit and understanding, fo it is only the fpiritual man who can fing with the spirit and understanding: for, as all men cannot receive our Lord's fayings, and none but those to whom it is given; fo no man can fing the fongs of Zion but the citizens of Zion, nor can the Lord's fong be fung in a strange land.
If finging in the church of Chrift be a part of p public worship, how inconfiftent must it be with true devotion, and the folemn service of our God, to endeavour, by musical founds, a welltoned organ, flighty, flafhy, airy, or (as they are called) lively tunes, to amufe and entertain the carnal mind? How offenfiye muft it be, to those who are feriously difpofed (deeply impreffed perhaps with the truths which they have heard, and wishing to go home with the fweet favour of those truths upon their minds), to hear a tune adapted to a fong or a dance? By. this their meditations are interrupted, and they
are ready to fay with Paul, " Defpife ye the "church of Chrift?" This cannot be confidered as teaching and admonishing one another; but this is doing the devil's work to purpose, whose business it is, when the feed is fown, to try to pick it up, that it may not fink into the heart, and ftrike root there.
No lefs inconfiftent with the folemnity of public worship, and the importance of gospel truths, are all poetic fictions, flights of fancy, and pindaric strains, which must be infinitely below a fubject, of itself so fublime, that every attempt to fet it off must be a disparagement to it. Nothing becomes the worship of God like plainnefs and fimplicity. All the fhews, parade, pomp, and pageantry of worship are only anti-christian inventions, intended to deceive by working upon the paffions. In these things there is no manifestation of the truth as in the fight and fear of God; no glory to Chrift; no spiritual confolation or edification to the fouls of men; but a poor attempt to please the flesh and gratify the carnal mind.
By many finging is practifed, professedly, with a defign to draw a congregation; or, as it
is pretended, to get people under the word.-
flefh reap corruption." According to this fcripture we may eafily and infallibly determine, upon the divine veracity, what will be the end of this carnal policy. Whoever adopts this method of drawing a congregation müft have recourfe to fimilar expedients to keep it. If fuch pains are taken to gratify the ear with mufical founds, the greateft pains, doubtlefs, will be taken not to offend with the unpleafing founds of a free, full, and finished falvation, man's total depravity by nature, and the neceffity of being born again."
However there may be fome faint resemblance of the gofpel for a little time in fuch a congregation, it is impoffible it should continue; nay, the outward form or appearance of godlinefs muft foon be loft.
In making the following Collection of Hymns, my aim has been to make choice of thofe which are agreeable to the feelings of my own heart, and contain those doctrines for which I wish earnestly to contend, according to the ability which God hath given me; ever fenfible that, as my fufficiency, fo my fuccefs, must be of him, If any expreffions in the hymns which I had chofen appeared in any measure doubtful, fo as not to express my meaning so fully and plainly as I could with, I have taken the liberty of making such alterations as I conceived would best express my own real sentiments,
Some of these hymns are my own, written from my own feelings and experience, from truths opened and applied to my own heart, or from hints borrowed from other hymns. I had intended at firft to have marked thefe; but, as my name will, I know, be no recommenda
tion to the profeffing world, I fhall leave it to others to find them out, and pass whatever cenfure upon them they pleafe. If the Lord fhould blefs them to the hearts of his own dear children, and make them profitable and acceptable to those for whofe ufe they are intended, it is indifferent to me what cur may fnarl.
Since the Lord ruleth in Jacob, and unto "the ends of the earth, let them make a noife "like a dog, and go round about the city, "and grudge, if they be not fatisfied."
I have prefixed two or three fhort texts before most of the hymns, at least so much of the fcripture as will be fufficient to make any reader, who is acquainted with the Bible, fenfible of the paffage to which I refer. To have added more would have made the book too large. Thefe, I hope, will have a two-fold use to confirm and establish the doctrines contained in the hymn, and to lead the serious and attentive reader to compare fcripture with feripture: I do not mean by taking detached fentences and fingle verses, but by confidering the true meaning and import of each paffage, independent of the various opinions of great doctors