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PSALMS and HYMNSA
Extracted from different Authors.
With a Preface,
By the Reverend Mr. De COURCY.
Let the word of Chrift dwell in you richly in all
Worthy is the Lamb that was flain, to receive pow-
Printed by T. WOOD, and
Sold by G. ROBINSON, Paternofter-Row,
S the book of Pfalms abounds with fubjects of praife, it has therefore proved a rich fund for hymnal compofition. But, it ought to be remembered, that various paffages in the writings of all the prophets celebrate "the fuffer
ings of CHRIST, and the glory that should "follow,*" in as lively and evangelical strains, as any that dropped from the pen of even the Sweet Pfalmift of Ifrael himself; and wou'd confequently admit of as eafy and profitable a verfification. When our Church, therefore, publifhed the book of Pfalms in English metre, it is much to be regretted, that all the hiftorical and imprecatory ones, (as they are called) were not omitted, to make room for fome sweet extracts from the Prophets and the Apostles.
Our Verfion, it is allowed, may have some excellencies; but, every perfon of judgment and candor, muft acknowledge, that it has its deficiencies too. Whoever poffeffes the fmalleft tafte for poetical compofition, will eafily perceive, that Sternhold and Hopkins, (the verfifiers of our pfalms) were better acquainted with the truths of Divinity, than conversant in the beauties of poetry; and that a wreath of laurel did by no means fuit their brow; or, as Fuller in his church - hiftory wittily obferves, that * 1 Peter, i. 11.
"they drank deeper of the water of life, than of the streams of Helicon." For, not to fay that the metre is extremely unflowing, the rhymes very unharmonious, the diction very uncouth, and the fenfe in many places exceedingly perplext; I wish there was no cause to fear, that fometimes we meet with no fenfe at all.
But, the jargon of language and uncouthnefs of rhymes, fo glaring in our verfion, are not the only defects. It is embarraffed, moreover, with confiderable obfcurity. The plalms are full of the glory of CHRIST; though, indeed, that glory is, in a great measure, veiled. But it is peculiar to the New Testament, to develope, or, throw light, upon the Old; that is, fo to remove the veil of obfcurity, as to exhibit, as in a bright mirror, the most advantageous manifeftation of the GRACE, WORK, and PERSON of CHRIST. And, every one, who would form an edifying paraphrafe on any part of the Old Teftament, whether in profe or verse, fhould keep this point constantly in view. But this is not done in our verfion, nor in that of Tate and Brady, though the latter has confiderably the advantage in point of poetic accuracy; no, nor even in the very elegant verfification of Doctor Merrick. In all these compofitions, we labor through great Old-Teftament obfcurity, which is manifeftly done away in CHRIST; and fee more of Mofes's VEIL, than of the glory, which
beams from the head of his illuftrious Antitype. The Church of Scotland is not lefs embarraffed in this refpect. The verfion of the Kirk is not a whit more poetical, nor more evangelical than our own. Many pious and judicious men, therefore, in both Churches, have earneftly wished to fee fuch a collection of tfalms, hymns, and fpiritual fongs, taken from the old and new Testament, as would do honor to our language, to British poetry, and to found divinity.
With a defign, then, to obviate the defects. of our Verfion, to gratify the requests of many of my hearers, to encourage gospel pfalmody, and to promote the glory of GOD, I have taken the liberty to publish the following collection of pfalms and hymns, taken chiefly from the feraphic Doctor Watts and others; praying that the LORD would accompany them with a divine bleffing, and teach us to fing" with the Spirit, and with the understanding also."
It has been frequently obferved, that no part of divine worship approaches fo nearly to the immediate employ of glorified spirits, as that of finging the praises of our GOD. And it is very much to be wished, that the heavenly exercise may fo univerfally prevail, as to abolish for ever those ungodly fongs" (as the Church of England very juftly ftyles them) " which tend only to the nourishing of vice, and the corrupting of youth."
* See the title-page to the book of pfalms collected into English metre by T. S. and J. H.