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tations, which the Public has been favored with by the late Doctor Watts, and Mr. Addi fon. Such is the superior Merit of the Hebrew Original, that it has frequently shone forth with a truly marvellous Lustre in the meanest and most imperfect Translations; and casionally raised to the more elevated Regions of Poetry, fome who had naturally no other poetical Qualification than that of counting Syllables, and of terminating a certain Number of Lines with a similar Sound *.
But be this as it may, as none can form an adequate Idea of the superlative Perfection, and real Merit of the Hebrew Psalms, but those, who have a competent Knowledge of the Hebrew Language; the mere English Reader will be content to receive them in the most perfect
* Of this we have the following very remarkable Instance in the Verfion of Sternbold and Hopkins, Pfalm xviii.
The Lord defcended from above,
And bow'd the Heav'ns most high,
The Darkness of the Sky,
On Cherub and on Cherubim
Full royally he rode;
Came flying all abroad.
Form, and in the most splendid Ornaments, they have as yet appeared in the English Language-To find them represented in a greater Variety of Metre and poetical Harmony; the Meaning of the Original more fully displayed, and better adapted to the general Use of christian WorPhippers, than in any other fingle Volume ; and to profit more by the united Labors of many, eminently distinguished, in Regard both to Piety and poetical Talents, than he could reasonably kope to have been done by the noblest and most fuccessful Exertions of any single Genius.
The three principal Versions are the Productions of Doctor Watts, Mr. Tate, and Doétor Brady, and the late very ingenious and learned Mr. Merrick. Each of these has very great and peculiar Merit, and comprehends the whole Book of Psalms, such Parts only excepted, as would not be conveniently suited to christian Worship.
Doctor Watts's Verfion is so well known, and generally so well received, that it needs no Encomiums the Editor is able to pass upon it, nor much to be said in Relation to it. Doctor Watts in the general Eftimation is [Mr. Addifor perhaps only excepted] the best divine Poet that ever wrote in the English Language. His
Version is for the most part an Imitation, in which he prefessedly aimed to teach the jewish Pfalmifts to speak the Language of the New Teftament. It possesses many unrivalled Excellencies, and is perhaps, upon the whole, better fitted for christian Worship than any other Composition. And except where he may have departed unnecessarily, or too widely from the Sense of the original Authors, or where, by endeavouring to teach them the Language of Christians, he has compelled them, though undesignedly, to adopt the distinguishing Dialect of a particular System, his Version is so excellent, that we might almost pronounce it faultless.
The Doctor was a Person of exemplary Meekness and Humility, so perfectly good natured, and of such unconfined Charity, that he wished to 'avoid every Word and Syllable, that was likely to give the smallest Offence to serious Christians of any Denomination. And when he found in the later Part of Life he had not been fo successful in this Respect, as he had aimed to be; he wished for nothing more ardently than sufficient Health and Time to revise both his Psalms and Hymns, in order to render them
wholly unexceptionable to every Christian Profeffor *.
Doctor Watts had so largely imbibed the Spirit of our divine Master, and of genuine Christianity, that he wished in Nothing so much to please himself, as in all things to please others, for their Good to Edification.
As to the Version of Mr. Tate and Doctor Brady; it may perhaps in some Respects juftly claim the Preference even to the former. It is, not only in many Places highly poetical, but moreover so plain as to be level to the meanest Capacities. And as it is a closer Translation of the Original Text, it naturally con
and proper Subjects for Psalmody, that could not obtain a Place in a professed Imitation.
With Respect to the Reverend Mr. Merrick's Version ; The following most
*** This Account was received from Doctor Watts himself, a few Years before his Death, by the late Doctor Amory, and by him given to one of his Pupils, who communicated it to the Editor. The Editor has also good Authority to add that the Revisal, fo fervently wished for, was undertaken and finished, and would most certainly have been published, had not the Author's Deach unbappily prevented.
just Account has been given by the worthy Author himself. “ This Attempt on the Psalms, though a Mixture of Transation and Paraphrase, will, I hope, be found to contain little more of the later Kind than what may be useful either in Opening the Sense, or in pointing out the Connexion of the Original.” This Work is a Master-piece in its Kind. Such a Work had been long wished for, but to the Execution of it, none were found of equal Resolution and Abilities, till Mr. Merrick undertook it.
This Gentlemam was just such a Poet, as the excellent Doctor Watts had formed an Idea of, and fervently wished some Time or other to arise, though with very feeble Hopes that his Idea would ever be realized, it being scarcely to be supposed, that so many effentially requisite Quali. fications should at any Time be conbined in one Person. “I must confess, says the Doctor in the Preface to his Psalms, I have never yet seen any Version, or Paraphrase of the Psalms, in their own jewish Sense, so perfect, as to discourage all further Attempts. But whoever. undertakes the noble Work, let him bring with him a Soul devoted to Piety, an exalted Genius, and withal a studious Application. For David's Harp abhors a profane Finger, and