« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
The principles upon which this selection has been made are these,
That no composition, consisting merely of ideas and propositions, unaccompanied with sentiments, can properly be set to music: Who would sing Locke's Effay, or Euclid's Elements, or a Confession of Faith, or an Act of Parliament?
That sentiments unconnected, or not closely connected, with devotion, such, for instance, as arise solely from pure picturesque description of natural scenes, are not proper subjects of sacred music: Let me be permitted, since no other instances at this moment occur to me, to exemplify this observation in much of the second and fourth stanzas of Addison's twentythird psalm; of Dr. Watts' hymn, beginning with, “ There is a land of pure delight;” and of Mrs. Barbauld's hymn, beginning thus, “ Jehovah reigns, let every nation hear.”
That whatever sentiments may properly be addressed to God in plain unmeasured language, and mere articulate enunciation, may, at least, as properly be expressed in the figurative lan
guage and the regular measures of poetry ; and therefore may properly be sung, provided the music be adapted to the strain of sentiment :: PSALM XLVII. 7. c. 2.
That the language of a mind, piously contemplating the works, the providence, the nature or the character of God, is, to all desirable purposes, as useful, and indeed is as really and truly an act of devotion, as the language of a mind immediately addresing itself to the supreme being on such subjects :
That the devout language of one mind utters ed in the same place, and at the same time, by a number of individuals, is strictly and properly an act of social worship:
That Psalmody is not necessarily nor properly confined to the expression of devout sentiments only; that it is equally natural, useful, and agreeable to the principles and practice of the sacred writers, Coloss. III. 16, to employ it for the edification and admonition of ourselves and one another, in order to engage, confirm, and animate us in the exercise and culture of all good affections, and in the practice of all
good works. Such psalıns, formed upon religious principles, and sung in concert, from religious considerations, as under the eye of God, and in the contemplation of his presence, constitute a very proper part of social worship, and are not unjustly considered as an act of duty to God, and a tribute of homage and devotion paid to him.
This compilation has been made both from original authors, and from prior collections. The original authors are principally Patrick of the Charter-House, Tate and Brady, Watts, Brown, Duddridge; to which, however, might be added the names of Milton, Addison, Byrom, Steele, Pope, Barbauld, Merrick, and some others. The collections, not to mention some of less note, and some in manuscript communicated to the compiler by his friends, are Mr. Pope's, the two Bristol Collections, the Liverpool, Dr. Enfield's, Mr. Lindsey's, and Mr. Williams'. The Selection is disposed in four books, the three first appropriated respectively to the three metres molt in use, the Long, Common, and Short Metre; and the fourth containing psalms of other measures.'
The psalms are not arranged according to their subjects. This would have created a very unnecessary and useless expence of time. The volume, considered as a Miscellany of Devotions, has more variety, and is more agreeable, not fo arranged. An accurate classification of com positions so loose as poetical devotional compositions generally are, could not have been made: and an index, in which a psalm that might be equally claimed by several subjects is ranged under all, will serve every purpose of any claflification that can be desired.
The order that has been observed, with a very few exceptions, proceeding not from design but accident, is this : The oldest authors have been taken first; their different works in the order of their publication, so far as that was known to the compiler, and the pieces of the same work in the order in which the author had arranged them. This is said with respect to the original authors that have been used. The psalms that have been taken from prior collections follow those that have been taken from original authors, and have been disposed, in this selection, according to the same principle. It is not possible that the productions of ro many different writers, in different periods, should be equally acceptable or suitable to every individual, or to every society ; but it is hoped that, upon the whole, the variety will be acceptable to all, and that the arrangement, which has just now been mentioned, will enable any to accommodate themselves with such psalms as their occasions may call for, of such file and manner as shall be agreeable both to their general taste, and to their accidental dife position.
YORK, Jan. 8, 1785.
It should be obferved, that in the printing of the following psalms no elisions of final vowels have been made. A judicious reader never makes such elisions. He preserves the measure of the line, not by the suppression of a final vowel, but by pronouncing two fyllables in the time of one.
After this collection had been made, it was suggested by a friend, that it might be agree. able to many if each psalm were marked with