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left the end of a Line without one; to comport a little with the unhappy mixture of Reading and Singing, which cannot presently be reformed. The Metaphors
are generally sunk to the level of vulgar capacities. · I have aimed at ease of · numbers, and smoothness of sound, and endeavoured to make the sense plain and
obvious. If the Verse appears so gentle and flowing as to incur the censure of feebleness, I may honestly asfirm, that sometimes it cost me labour to make it so: some of the beauties of Poesy are neglected, and some wilfully defaced: I have thrown out the Lines that were too sonorous, and have given an allay to the Verse, lest a more exalted turn of thought or language should darken or disturb the devotion of the weakest Souls. But hence it comes to pass, that I have been forced to lay aside many Hymns after they were finished, and utterly exclude them from this Volume, because of the bolder figures of speech that crowded themselves into the Verse, and a more unconfined variety of numbers, which I could not easily restrain.
These, with many other divine and moral composures, are now printed in a Second Edition of the Poems entitled, Horæ Lyricæ; for as in that book I have endeavoured to please and profit the politer part of mankind, without offending the plainer sort of Christians, so in this it has been my labour to promote the pious eotertainment of Souls truly serious, even of the meanest capacity, and at the same time (if possible) not to give disgust to Persons of richer sense and nice education; and I hope, in the present Volume, this end will appear to be pursued with much greater happiness than in the first impression of it, though the world assures me the former has not much reason to complain.
The whole is divided into Three Books. In the First, I have borrowed the sense and much of the form of the Song from some particular portions of Scripture, and have paraphrased most of the Doxologies in the New Testament that contain any thing in them peculiarly Evangelical; and many parts of the Old Testament also, that have a reference to the times of the MESSIAH. In these I expect to be often censured for a too religious observance of the words of Scripture, whereby the Verse is weakened or debased, according to the judgment of the critics: but as my whole design was to aid the devotion of Christians, so more especially in this part: and I am satisfied I shall hereby attain two ends, namely, assist the worship of all serious minds, to whom the expressions of Scripture are ever dear and delightful, and gratify the taste and inclination of those who think nothing must be sung unto God but the transJations of his own word. Yet you will always find in this Paraphrase dark expressions enlightened, and the Levitical ceremonies and Hebrew forms of speech changed into the Worship of the Gospel, and explained in the language of our time and nation; and what would not bear such an alteration is omitted and laid aside. After this manner should I rejoice to see a good part of the Book of Psalms fitted for the use of our Churches, and David converted into a Christian; but because I cannot persuade others to attempt this glorious Work, I have suffered myself to be persuaded to begin it, and have through Divine Goodness already proceeded half way through.
The Second Part consists of Hymns whose form is of mere human composure; but I hope the sense and materials will always appear Divine. I might have brought some Text or other, and applied it to the Margin of every Verse, if this method had been as useful as it was easy. If there be any Poems in the Book that are capable of giving delight to Persons of a more refined taste and polite education, perhaps they may be found in this Part; but except they lay aside the bumour of Criticism, and enter into a devout frame, every Ode here, already despairs of pleasing. I coufess myself to have been too often tempted away from the more spiritual designs I proposed, by some gay and flowery expressions that gratified the fancy; the bright images too often prevailed above the fire of divine affection, and the light exceeded the heat: yet, I hope, in many of them the Reader will find, that Devotion dictated the Song, and the Heart and Hand were no1 thing but interpreters and secretaries to the Heart: nor is the magnificence or boldness of the figure comparable to that divine licence which is found in the eighteenth and sixty-eighth Psalms, several Chapters of Job, and other poetical parts of Scripture: and in this respect I may hope to escape the reproof of those who may pay a sacred reverence to the Holy Bible,
I have prepared the Third Part only for the celebration of the Lord's Supper, that, in imitation of our blessed Saviour, we may sing a Hymn after we have partaken of the Bread and Wine. Here you will find some paraphrases of Scripture and some other Compositions. There are above a Hundred Hymns in the two former parts, that may very properly be used in this Ordinance; and sometimes perhaps appear more suitable than any of these last: but there are expressions generally used in these, which confine them only to the table of the LORD; and therefore I bave distinguished and set them by themselves.
If the LORD, who inhabits the praises of Israel, shall refuse to smile upon this attempt for the reformation of Psalmody amongst the Churches, yet I humbly hope that his blessed Spirit will make these composures useful to private Christians: and if they may but attain the honour of being esteemed pious meditations, to assist the devout and retired Soul in the exercises of Love, Faith, and Joy, it will be a valuable compensation of my labours; my heart shall rejoice at the notice of it, and my God shall receive the glory. This was my hope and view in the first publication; and it is now my duty to acknowledge to Him, with thankfulness, how useful he has made these compositions already, to the comfort and edification of societies and of private persons: and upon the same grounds I have a better prospect, and a bigger hope of much more service to the Church, by the large improvements of this Edition, if the LORD who dwells in Zion shall favour it with his continued blessing.
Note, In all the longer Hymns, and in some of the shorter there are several Stanzas included in Crotchets thus : which Stanzas may be left out in singing, without disturbing the sense. Those parts are also included in such Crotchets, which contain words too poetical for meaner Understandings, or too particular for whole Congregations to sing. But after all, it is best in public Psalmody for the Minister to choose the particular parts and verses of the Psalm or Hymn that is to be sung, rather than to leave it to the judgment or casual determination of him that leads the Tune.
Note, Since the Sixth Edition of this Book, the Author has finished what he has so long promised, namely, The Psalms of David imitated in the Language of the New Testament; which the World has received with approbation, by the sale of some thousands in a Year's time. It is presumed that Book, in conjunction with this, may appear to be such a sufficient provision for Psalmody, as to answer most occasions of the Christian's Life: and, if an Author's own opinion may be taken, he esteems it the greatest Work that ever he has published, or ever hopes to do, for the use of the Churches,
March 3, 1719_20.
BOOK I. COLLECTED FROM THE SCRIPTURES,
la this Book several Hymns appear to be wanting. The reason is this: The first Book of Hymns comprises also the first in the order of time of Dr. Watts's divine Poems, so generally used in Public Worship, and when, a few years afterwards, the Doctor published his Psalms he transforred from this Book to that, all those Poems which be had composed on passages in the Psalms of David. The dumbers of tbe Hymns which are wanting are in the first
line below; those of the Psalms where they are to be found stand exactly underneath them. Hymns 4; 22 & 23; part of 24; 31; 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38; 43; 44; 46 & 47; Psalms 2; 125;
49; 1; 131, 134, 67, 73, 90, 84; 100; 133; 148 & 3;
A new Song to the Lamb that was slain. 1 BEHOLD the glories of the Lamb
Amidst bis Father's throne: Prepare new honours for his name,
And songs before unknown. 2 Let elders worship at his feet,
The church adore around, With vials full of odours sweet,
And harps of sweeter sound. 3 Those are the prayers of the saints,
And these the hymns they raise: Jesus is kind to our complaints,
He loves to hear our praise.
4 [Eternal Father, who shall look
Into thy secret will ?
And open every seal ?
The Son deserves it well;
Of heaven, and death, and hell!]
6 Now to the Lamb that once was slain
Be endless blessings paid ;
For ever on thy head. 7 Thou hast redeemed our souls with blood,
Hast set the prisoners free,
And we shall reign with thee. 8 The worlds of nature and of
grace Are put beneath thy power ; Then shorten these delaying days,
And bring the promis'd hour.
HYMN 2. Long Metre.
John 1, 1, 3, 14. Colossians 1. 16. Ephesians ul. 9, 10.
The Deity and Humanity of Christ. 1 ERE the blue heavens were stretch'd abroad
From everlasting was the word;
2 By his own power were all things made ;
By him supported all things stand;
And angels fly at his command. 3 Ere sin was born, or satan fell,
He led the host of morning stars ;
Or count the numbers of thy years ?)
The Word descends and dwells in clay,
Dress'd in such feeble flesh as they. 5 Mortals with joy beheld his face,
Th' eternal Father's only Son;
When through his eyes the godhead shone ! 6 Archangels leave their high abode
To learn new mysteries here, and tell
HYMN 3. Short Metre.
Luke 1. 30, &c. Luke 11. 10, 8c.
The Nativity of Christ.
1 BEHOLD, the grace appears,
The promise is fulfillid;
And Jesus is the child.