Изображения страниц

themselves, alternately, a hymn to Christ as to God.” Justin Martyr and Origen speak of the practice as continuing in their day, the former of whom in his Epistle to Zena, says,

“ We must sing Hymns and Psalms and Songs of praise.” Philo, Eusebius, and Tertullian, testify that it was the practice of Christians to compose Hymns. Ignatius, Hilary, Ambrose, Austin, Athanasius, Hippolytus Nepos, and many others composed Hymns for public use; and some of them whole books of Hymns in the various metres of Greece and Rome. (Bing. Ant.) And St. Chrysostom marks the distinction, and observes, “ Our Hymns come after our Psalms, as something more perfect.” St. Jerome tells us that in the place where he lived, “You could not go into the fields but you might hear the ploughman at his Hallelujahs, the mower at his Hymns, and the vinedresser singing David's Psalnıs."

It is a matter of history, that singing Psalms and Hymns greatly promoted the cause of the Reformation, both in England and on the Continent. In the year 1559, Queen Elizabeth issued an injunction to the Clergy to this effect: “ It has been further permitted, that in the beginning or in the end of Common Prayer either at morning or evening, there may be sung a hymn or such like song to the praise of Almighty God in the best inethod and music that may be conveniently devised, having respect that the sentence of the hymn may be understood and perceived.” (Sparrow's Collect.) With this permission the Reformers introduced metrical version of the Psalms among their congregations. “ The custom was begun 1560, in one church in London, and quickly spread, not only through the city, but in the neighbouring places.


Sometimes at St. Paul's Cross there would be six thousand singing together.” (Burneťs Reform.) All this was done several years before the version of Psalms, inade by Sternhold and Hopkins, was annexed to the Prayer Book. The selection of the “ Hymn or Song," was left by the Royal Injunction to the discretion of those who used it. Bishop Burnet observes, that the Metrical Compositions thus allowed and introduced, “were much sung by all who loved the Reformation, and that it was a sign by which men's affections to that change were measured, whether they used to sing them or not.” And the statement made by Beza must not be omitted here. He says, " When I came into the assembly where they were singing the praises of God, I found myself suddenly inspired with a divine warmth, and strangely affected with love and joy, so that the assembly appeared to me, as the gate of heaven, or an entrance into glory.”

When the version of Psalms, commonly called the Old Version, was introduced into the service of the Reformed Church of England, with the sanction of the Crown and the Convocation, a collection of Hymns was appended, so that from the time of the Reformation the Church of England has recognized the propriety of using Hymns, as well as Psalms, in her public services. These Hymns have also of late years been increased, without any legislative or royal sanction, in the Prayer Books issued by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, an act which at once involves an admission on the part of that venerable society, that more Hymns are wanted for the use of the Church, and that the door is left open for their introduction as circumstances may require. The several Bishops that have been appealed


to against their introduction, have replied, that such introduction is not prohibited by any ecclesiastical enact

Anthems are permitted by the Rubric. An Anthem implies, in its popular meaning, any holy song, in its strict etymological sense, a Hymn, sung alternately or in parts. And it is a fact that the Prayer Book contains no Anthems. It is therefore evident, that the Ministers of the Established Church are at liberty to introduce both Anthems and Hymns, without in the least degree departing from its spirit or discipline. And, as the celebrated Hooker observed, “ Hymns are sacred Songs, which Christianity hath peculiar to itself,”And although the Psalms of David proclaim the truths of the everlasting Gospel, yet, as their expressions are necessarily confined to the typical language of the Old Testament, it must in candor be admitted that Christian Psalmody is defective, when the same truths are not expressed also in the more direct and simple language of the New. Hence, the absolute necessity of Hymns in addition to the Psalms.

As to the present Collection-it has been made with the view of supplying what the Compilers have considered still wanting, notwithstanding the numerous Hymnbooks that have appeared of late years, viz. a Collection comprising a version of all the Psalms, with the omission only of such parts as, for their Jewish peculiarities of names and places, appeared less suited to a Gentile Church, accompanied by a copious selection of Hymns, chosen entirely on the ground of their own merit; and both so classified and arranged as to suit the various seasons and festivals in the Liturgical year, without disturbing the natural order of the Psalms. The object has also been to make the Psalms available for the service of the Church to a greater extent than has hitherto been found practicable, and to embody the arrangements of the Prayer Book in the whole so as to make the work a bona fide Church of England Psalm and Hymn Book. Care has also been taken not to introduce any portion of Psalms or Hymns too long to be sung through at a time, excepting Psalm 148, which could not well be either divided or abridged.

Singing is properly an act of the Congregation; it should therefore be congregational. No tongue should be silent which is able to join, for it is commanded, Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.” Psalm 150, 6. An idea widely prevails in England, that if singing is not natural to a person he is under no obligation to sing. This is a mistaken notion. The duty is imperative, and every individual has it in his power to acquire, to a certain extent, the art and facility of singing. It is derogatory to the honour of God to assign the work of singing his praises to a few individuals. Choirs of singers, separate from the congregation, were introduced in the fourth century, when this part of divine service was greatly neglected. “ It was the decay of singing which first brought this order of singers into the church.” (Bing.) And their introduction was only meant as a temporary provision. Choirs of singers are however very useful and necessary, when they act, not as sole performers, but as leaders of the congregation. Let all congregations unite with their choirs, with heart and voice, in praising the God of their salvation. Standing is the appropriate posture for performing this holy service.“ Psalmody was usually, if not always, performed in the primitive church, by those who engaged in it, in a standing posture" (Bing.) The example of



the Levites of old-of the early Christians---of the Reformers of the church--and of the angels in heaven, calls upon all, to rise up with one accord, when they sing “ the song of Moses and the Lamb.”

The Compilers are exceedingly anxious to spontaneous and general disposition on the part of the Clergy to establish uniformity in the Psalmody of the Church in Liverpool, and as the first step towards the attainment of this desirable object, they beg to offer the present Edition to the Churches of the Town and neighbourhood at cost price.

That the Lord Jesus Christ may command his blessing upon this humble attempt to promote his praise and glory, and cause the life-giving energy of the Holy Ghost to kindle spiritual incense in the hearts of his waiting worshippers, is the fervent prayer of



20th April, 1837.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »