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with thanks for

The Compilers of THE PSALMIST,


With a



Congregational Worship,


Separate Accompaniment for the Organ






The whole adapted as well for Social and Domestic Devotion as for Public Worship.



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A RECENT writer on Music has observed, that "The expression of the Passions, by vocal and appreciable sounds, is so natural, that we cannot but imagine its origin to have been coeval with that of the human race. The complaints of pain, and the exclamations of joy, required no other guide or tutor than the sentiment to be developed; and nature, faithful to herself, spoke in tones inspired and modulated by her feelings. The observation applies even to language. Though, in writing, a word is ever the same, in delivery, it is susceptible of a thousand different shadings, accommodated to the sense and the sensation meant to be conveyed. All those shadings, or variations, it is Music's very office to furnish. The heart gives her the clue, but the voice is her own providing; the grief and the pleasure, the hatred and the affection, exist without her; but, without her, want their most forcible expression."*

no means improbable that the union of Music with the praises of God, like the offering of sacrifices, is derived by them from our first parents; and, as it is said to enhance the joys of Heaven, it is not unreasonable to suppose that it varied the engagements and heightened the felicity of that state in which the progenitors of mankind were originally placed.

There can be no doubt that the association of Music with the worship of the Supreme Being is of the highest antiquity, although the earliest mention made of it in the Sacred Writings occurs after the destruction of the Egyptian host in the Red Sea. (See Exod. xv. 1.) The arrangement of verse and chorus displayed in the sublime song which, we are informed, was sung by Moses and the children of Israel on this occasion, must, however, be regarded as indicating a considerable proficiency in Music on the part of the people at that period, and it is therefore very unlikely that this should be the first instance of its application to the purposes of devotion. Indeed, the most ancient literature of Heathen nations abounds with examples of its being so employed by them to the honour of their imaginary Deities;† rendering it by * Dr. Busby.

In the subsequent pages of Sacred History, several instances are given of the employment of Vocal Music in the devotional exercises of the ancient people of God. Thus we find them singing a song, recorded Numb. xxi. 17, 18, on being providentially supplied with water in the wilderness; and Moses was commanded by God to compose a song and teach it to the children of Israel, the object of which was to restrain them from idolatry; Deut. xxxi. 19, 20, xxxii.; and in the Book of Judges, chap. v., we learn that Deborah and Barak sang a song of praise to the Lord for the avenging of Israel. Examples may be adduced in abundance from the writings of the Prophets, showing their common recourse to Music in their devotions, and expressive of their delight in it. Thus Isaiah prophesies, chap. xii. 4, 5 : "And in that day ye shall say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name-Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things. Cry and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion; for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee." The prayer of the prophet Habakkuk, chap. iii., is evidently intended to be set to Music, being dedicated or addressed, ver. 19, "to the chief singer on my stringed instruments." But it is needless to multiply instances of this kind, when the whole Book of Psalms, a collection of the compositions of various inspired writers, is acknowledged to have been written expressly to be sung in the service of God. A considerable portion of these divine poems are the

↑ See the Hymns of Homer, which are supposed rather to have been collected than productions of David, emphatically designated (2 Sam. xxiii. 1) "the sweet

composed by him. And in both the Iliad and Odyssey frequent mention is made of those who sang the praises of the gods.

See Rev. iv. 11, v. 9--14, xv. 2-4.

Psalmist" or singer "of Israel." The arrangement of this part of public worship appears to have been an object of especial solicitude with this monarch. From the 1st Chron. xvi. 4, 5, we learn his appointment of certain Levites to minister before the Ark of the Lord, and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel, with Psalteries and with Harps, with Cymbals and with Trumpets, which appear (chap. xxiii. 5) to have been instruments made under his own direction for the service of the sanctuary. Many of his Psalms are addressed to particular Singers, with directions for the particular melody to which they were to be sung, or the Instrument most suitable to accompany the singer. In this part of the Sacred Writings the exhortations to "sing praises," to "make a joyful noise," to "sing aloud unto God," to "come before His presence with a song," to "sing praises unto Him with timbrel and harp," are of constant occurrence; and a remarkable display of the Divine approbation is recorded, 2 Chron. v. 13, 14, when, after the completion of the Temple by Solomon, and the bringing up of the Ark, the King having set all the singers in the order which David his father had appointed, "It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voices with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God."

The services of the Temple, as ordered by David and established by Solomon, were no doubt continued, with temporary interruptions, arising from the apostasy and wickedness of some of their successors, until the time of the captivity. On the restoration under Ezra, we find that when he had built the temple, "he set the sons of Asaph with cymbals to praise the Lord after the ordinance of David." Ezra iii. 10. And it may be presumed that, as the sufferings they had endured in Babylon had created in the minds of the people an utter abhorrence of idolatry, into which they never afterwards relapsed, the worship of God thus restored by Ezra was preserved in the Temple until the birth of our Saviour, and during his residence on earth.

* "The ancients, as is observed by St. Augustine, made this difference between a Canticle or Song, and a Psalm, that the former was sung by a voice alone, but the latter accompanied with a Musical Instrument. Rees's Cyclo., Art. Psalm.

So far was our Lord from discountenancing the use of Music, that it is evident he sanctioned it by his own example. After the Last Supper we are informed that he sang a Hymn with his disciples (see Matt. xxvi. 30, Mark xiv. 26): and this Hymn is supposed to be the cxiiith. and five following Psalms, called by the Jews "the great Hallelujah," and usually sung by them in their several families during the celebration of the Passover. The incidental manner in which this circumstance is recorded by both Evangelists seems to imply that this exercise was customary with our Lord, and his frequent quotations from the Psalms may be adduced as confirmatory of such a supposition.+

That singing the praises of God was practised by the Apostles, and enjoined by them as a duty on the followers of Christ, is fully shown both in the history of their Acts, and in their Epistles. In the former we find it the employment of the Apostles and the first converts on the day of Pentecost (Acts ii. 47), and of Paul and Silas when imprisoned at Phillippi, chap. xvi. 25. And in the Epistles of St. Paul, we find singing noticed as in necessary connexion with the duties of exhortation, meditation, and prayer; (See Col. iii. 16, Eph. v. 19, 1 Cor. xiv. 15.) whilst St. James recommends singing Psalms as the appropriate expression of Christian joy, James v. 13.1

In accordance with these directions, we find the primitive Christians,

The learned and pious Bishop Horne, in the Preface to his Commentary on the Psalms, has the following beautiful remarks: "This little Volume, like the Paradise of Eden, affords us in perfection, though in miniature, every thing that groweth elsewhere, every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food;' and above all, what was there lost, but is here restored, the tree of life in the midst of the garden. In the language of of grace from age to age. And it appears to have been the manual of the Son of God in the days of his flesh, who at the conclusion of his Last Supper is generally supposed to have sung a Hymn taken from it, who pronounced on the cross the beginning of the twenty-second Thus He, who had Psalm, and expired with a part of the thirty-first Psalm in his mouth. not the Spirit by measure, in whom were hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,

this divine Book, the prayers and praises of the church have been offered up to the throne

and who spake as never man spake, yet chose to conclude his life, to solace himself in his greatest agony, and at last to breathe out his soul, in the Psalmist's form of words rather

than his own."

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It is difficult to believe that those persons who treat this duty with indifference can have fully considered the express injunctions of the Apostles in the passages quoted above. Certainly nothing could be more foreign from their meaning than what the conduct of such persons would imply,-that it is a mere matter of option whether to sing or not.

even in times of the utmost peril, celebrating the praises of the Saviour of the world, disregarding the danger of attracting the notice and exciting the malice of their relentless persecutors. Pliny the younger, in the first century, in an epistle to Trajan (Ep. 97), informs the emperor that the Christians usually rise before day and join together in singing a Hymn to Christ as God; and according to Tertullian, this, and their neglect of sacrifice, were the only grounds of his deadly hatred of them. Many of those who were called to seal the truth with their blood are said to have expired with songs of praise upon their lips. Justin Martyr (in the 2nd century), in his Apology, recommends our "approving ourselves grateful to God, by celebrating his praises with Hymns." Origen, in his reply to Celsus, says, "We sing Hymns to none but the Supreme Being, and to his only Son." Philo Judæus, in describing the nocturnal assemblies of the Therapeuta, who according to Eusebius were Christians, gives an interesting account of the manner in which this part of their worship was conducted. He says they selected from the assembly two choirs-one of men, and one of women; and from each of these choirs a person of majestic appearance and well skilled in Music was chosen to conduct the choir. They then chanted Hymns to the praise of God, in different measures or modulations, sometimes singing together, and sometimes answering each other by turns. Eusebius, who flourished in the 4th century, tells us that at the consecration of the Churches throughout the Roman dominions, there was one common consent in chanting forth the praises of God. From that time to the present, without intermission, singing has constituted a part of divine worship wherever Christianity has been planted; and according to the concurrent testimony of several of the Fathers, this part of the public service of the Christians had a powerful influence in attracting and converting the heathen to the reception of the benign and heavenly doctrines of the cross.

The important station thus assigned to Music, in early times, as the handmaid of Devotion, has excited a natural desire to ascertain its precise character and powers at those periods; but it is much to be regretted that the information we possess upon the subject is very meagre and unsatisfactory. The Jews indeed assert that the Chant or Recitative now in use amongst them is of equal antiquity with their Law; but of this some doubts may reasonably be entertained, when it is allowed by themselves that their Music was never

reduced to notation until the 5th century of the Christian Era.*

Of all the ancient nations, the Greeks and Romans alone possessed any notation whatever. The letters of their alphabet were employed by them for this purpose, some of them being inverted, some standing in their common position, some supine, some erect, some imperfectly formed, and others compound, and forming no fewer than 1860 distinct characters. It appears, however, that the ancients were without any character to determine the duration of their notes, which must therefore have been regulated by the rhythm of their Poetry. Some few specimens of the Music of the Greeks have been discovered, and are given by Dr. Burney and Dr. Busby in their histories, with translations into modern notation; but so far are these specimens from exhibiting the least approach to those effects attributed to the Music of that intellectual people, as well by their Historians as their Poets, that Dr. Burney, who took great pains to decipher them, and availed himself of every expedient his ingenuity could devise, in order to reduce them to something like elegance, candidly declares, “If I had been told that they came from the Cherokees or Hottentots, I should not have been surprised at their excellence." Whilst Dr. Busby contents himself with concluding, "that if we have found the form, we are still strangers to the spirit, of their musical compositions; that it is the body, not the soul, of their melody we have obtained; and that, with respect to the principle from which emanated its resistless influence, we remain as uninformed as ever."

It will naturally be supposed that, as the apostles and the earliest converts to the Christian faith were Hebrews, the Music employed in the service of the Temple would be that to which they would have recourse; and that the same Music would be introduced by them into every church they were instrumental in planting among the Gentiles. That the Christian Music differed very materially from that of the Pagan worship, may be

"Rabbi Schelemoth Jarchi, who flourished A. D. 1140, says that when Moses received the law on Mount Sinai, it was given to him, not only with sound of trumpets (Exod. xix. 19), but with song also. The Jews have, in consequence, been prohibited from repeating the Bible in any other manner than as it was recited or chanted to them by Moses; the tune of which is supposed to have been handed down faithfully from father to son, until about the 5th century, when Rabbi Aaron Ben Aser invented certain characters original Recitative or Chant has been preserved to this day." Nathan's Hist. Music, p. 42. to represent the accent and true tone that were given to each word; by which means the

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