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In THREE BOOK S.
1. Collected from the Scriptures.
By I. WAT IS, D. D.
And tbey sung a new Song, saying, Thou art worthy,
&c. for thou waff pain, and kaft redeemed us, &co
Rev. v. 9.
Soliti effent (i. e. Chriftiani) convenire, carmenque
Chrifto quafi Deo dicere. Plinius in Epift.
HILE we fing the Praires of our * Gop in his Church, we are employed W
in that Part of Worship which of all others is the nearest akin to Heaven;
and it is Pity that this of all others should be performed the worst upon Earth. The Gospel brings us nearer to the heavenly State than all the former Dispensations of God amongst Men: And in these latt Days of the Gospel we are brought almost within fight of the Kingdom of our LORD ; yet we are very much unacquainted with the Songs of the New Jerusalem, and unpractised in the Work of Praise. To see the dull Indifference, the negligent and the thoughtless Air, that fits upon the Faces of a whole Assembly, while the Psalm is on their Lips, might tempt even a charitable Observer to suspect the Fervency of inward Religion; and it is much to be feared, that the Minds of most of the Wormippers are absent or unconcerned. Perhaps the Modes of Preaching in the best Churches, still want some degrees of Reformation; nor are the Methods of Prayer so perfect, as to stand in need of no Correction or Improvement: Pur of all our Religious Solemnities, Psalmody is the moft unhappily managed: Tha: very Action which thould elevate us to the most delightful and divine Senfations, doth not only flatten our Devotion, but too often
awakes our Regret, and touches all the Springs of Uneasiness within us.
I have been long convinced, that one great Occasion of this Evil arises from the Matter and Words to which we confine all our Songs. Some of them are almost opposite to the Spirit of the Gospel : Many of them foreign to the State of the New Testament, and widely different from the present Circumstances of Chriftians. Hence it comes to pafs, that when spiritual Affections are excited within us, and our Souls are raised a little above this Earth in the beginning of a Pfalm, we are checked on a sudden in our Ascent'toward Heaven, by some Expressions that are most suitable to the Days of Carnal Ordinances, and fit only to be sung in the Wirldly Sauétuary. When we are just entering into an Evangelic Frame, by fome of the Glories of the Gospel presented in the brightest Figures of Judaism, yet the very next line perhaps which the Clerk parcels out unto us, hath something in it fo extremely Jewish and cloudy that it darkens our Sight of God the SAVIOUR. Thus, by keeping too close to David in the House of God, the Vail of Moses is thrown over our Hearts. While we are kindling into divine Love by the Meditations of the Loving.kindness of God, and the Multitude of bis tender Mercies ; within a few Verses, some dreadful Curse against Men is proposed to our Lips, that God would add Iniquity unto their Iniquity, nor let them come into bis Righteousness, but blot bem out of the Book of the Living, Pial, Ixix. 26.