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find prosaic psalmody a constituent part of divine service; but those subjects are denuded: of the greater part of their intended effect, when they are pronounced with a merely verbal articulation. That they may have their full operation upon the human mind, and also become suitable oblations of homage to the alone Hearer of prayer and praise, they require a display of all the energies of ear and voice, with accompaniments of the chastest and most appropriate harmonies, which the science of music can afford.
Without chanting, our services are destitute of vocal psalmody; for the appointed psalms and hymns of public worship, when read, become verbal scriptures addressed to the hu. man understanding, rather than vocal praises offered up to Almighty God. If this were not the case, what reason can be assigned, why the psalmody of the Jewish Church was ordained" by a perpetual ordinance,” to be celebrated by a choir, the grandest and the most numerous that ever was upon earth; and why all cathedral establishments, through, out the Christian world, ever have embraced, and still hold fast this primitive usage “ of setting forth God's most worthy praise ?"
Attentive to the interchangeable relation sub. sisting between prayer and praise, the church, in every age and country, has appointed cer
tain prosaic psalms and hymns to be sung, (or, in cases of necessity, to be said), as component parts of its offices; and this arrangement it hath made for the express purpose of enlivening devotion, by preventing that lassitude which is apt to obtrude itself upon our frail natures, when long engaged in religious acts of merely verbal articulation. Without the stimulating aids which music affords, it is ab. solutely impossible to keep up the spirit of devotion for any length of time, or to retain the mind in such a state of engagedness and activity, as, the nature of social worship rea quires.
To this important truth all Christian societies bear ample testimony, Among those who have no fixed form of worship, even the evervarying novelty of their prayers is found to be insufficient for keeping up a spirit of devotion, without the powerful auxiliary of music. How much more then is music necessary, to keep alive the same spirit, during the rotine of our long and complicated offices; which, in consequence of their fixedness and almost perpetual identity, have nothing that can be called novel to recommend them ?*
* Even this sameness is an excellency. “God is the same, yester. day, to-day, and for ever, without any variableness or shadow of turning; and therefore, meet and right it is, that our “ reasonable service” to him, should be like liim, the same from generation to generation,
To counteract, or rather to direct our unsettled hearts, which are too apt to desire unlimited changes and varieties in religious dui. ties; such changes and varieties have, from the beginning, been established by our ecclesiastical ancestors, as are well calculated to engage the affections, enlighten the understanding, and exhilerate the soul, during the times of its more immediate preparation for entering upon
“the glory to be revealed.” And there. fore certain parts of the service are to be ut. tered with a meek and humble voice, others with the voice of firm faith and stedfast con. fidence, and others with the elevated voice of triumphant joy and gladness. To obviate the complaint that our
morn. ing service is too long;" dispensing rubrics have allowed it to be abridged in various places; but this complaint might be removed with more effect, and to infinitely better purpose, by giving a musical accompaniment to all those parts of the service, which, by their construction and subject, evidently require it. Such an intermixture of verbal pronunciation with vocal intonation would naturally prevent that lassitude, which is apt to intrude itself upon us during the time of merely reading the service. Not only would music remove the ter dium superinduced by reading, but it would give a renewed zest for the succeeding part of
the service, and stimulate the soul, so as to
My professed aim is to revive the use of the proper and primitive psalmody of the church, and to bear testimony against a novelty, from which it hath never derived any advantage. A reverence for the holy scriptures, whether in the originals, or in allowed translations, compels me to disapprobate all poetical liberties which have been taken with them; but I beg it may be remembered, and I mention it once for all, that my reasonings against the use of versified scriptures are not intended to militate against the use of metrical hymns of human composition, provided they are decent poetry,
intelligibly expressed, and in harmony with " the faith once given to the saints."
If I have written with ardour; the abundance of the heart was my prompter. If I have pushed arguments farther than was abso. lutely necessary; a desire of elucidating the subject, and of meeting every objection in all its bearings, was the propelling cause. If I have represented metre psalmody in its native colours, and traced it up to its anti-episcopal origin; it was with the view of convincing Episcopalians, that it is no part of their eco clesiastical birthright. If I have given a suc. cinct history of chanting; it was with the view of inducing our clerical and lay brethren to adopt and cherish the psalmody, which was practised by Jesus, by his apostles, by the Church in every age and country of Christendom; and which hath been transmitted to us, along with Christianity and Epis copacy, by our venerable mother the Church of England. And, if I have repeatedly shown the immutable alliance between prayer and praise, and that neither of them can exist, to any valuable purpose, without the other; it was with the hope of exciting the members of our Zion, the more fervently to practise the one, and not to leave the other undone.
Let no person imagine, that I have tra