Imatges de pÓgina
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

can direct them, and in themselves using these set formes.
This much advanceth the fervice of God, when men be-
fore hand have their petitions drawn, and fhall need nothing
but zeal and faith in the delivering thereof to God.

Herein we are like to poore petitioners that come to the King, who not trufting themselves with their own fuites, do get fome wifer than themselves to fet down their mindes, and then they have nothing to do but to importune the Soverreign Majefty of the King to hear them, and to grant their • requests.


This ferveth for the maintenance of Unanimity, the Congregation knowing before they meet, what they fhall aske at the hands of God; it refteth that they bring affections fit to joyn one with another in fupplications.

This maintaineth outward Uniformity, when the whole Congregation joyn together in an outward worship, and fervice of God.

This admonifheth us.

1 To take it for a great bleffing of God that he hath vided these helps for our weaknesse.


2 It fheweth us that God for our good doth fo labour to fit us to his fervice, as that he is pleafed that one of us be helpfull to another therein.

3 It reproveth those who out of a prefumption and overweening of the graces of God in themselves, do not onely defpife thofe helps themselves, but difgrace them in others: in which number we may reckon all the depravers of our Church prayers. Pulls


The reason is, because they are the moft fit to speak to God for us, and to teach us how to speak to him, who are fet apart to speak to us for God,and to inftruct us from him.

Thefe are the Phifitians of our fouls, and fhould beft



4 Here the prayer of the Prophet is ufed.

This teacheth that the fitteft perfons to be used for directi- 4 Doct. on of devotion are the Prophets, and Apostles, and Ministers of the word.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

know our diseases and defects; and therefore beft able to direct us to the remedy, for as in the ftate of bodily health many fuperficially in-fighted in fome empericall Phyfick, do hurt themselves, by being their own Phyfitians.

So in the state of the fpirituall man, many do overthrow their fpirituall health, by prefuming to be their own Divines, and trufting too much to their own skill.

Therefore it is wifedome for, the flock to be directed, efpecially in the fervice of God by their Paftours, and to hear his voyce, ler Habbakuk teach Ifrael how to pray.

And for us howsoever the fpirit of contradiction, which likes nothing long, have laboured long to difgrace our publique Service, yet because many faithfull and godly Paftours of the Church have zealously joyned their united forces of piety and charity to compofe this book, and the approbation and authority both of Church and Common-wealth hath commanded it to the ufe of our Congregations, and the malignity of all the times fince hath not been able to remove it, let us embrace it, and ufe it as Gods ordinance, fealed with the feal, the double feal both of prefcription of time, and good fucceffe in the ufe of this Church of England.

2. He putteth this prayer into verfe, and maketh a fong of it, and fitteth it to be fung by the Church with an inftrument of Mufick, for fo the last verse of the Chapter directeth it to the chief Singer on my ftringed inftruments.

This manner of praising God is ancient, and of much ufe in the Church..

[ocr errors]

Mr. Beza hath taken the paines to collect fourteen fongs, eleven out of the old Teftament, and three out of the new, which he hath interpreted by way of Paraphrafe, and hath annexed them to his Paraphrafe of the book of Davids Pfalmes, and they are tranflated into English.

I fhall not lofe my labour nor you your time, to fhew you where you may finde them. finde them for th of bas FUT

Exod. 1.15. The fong that Mofes taught Ifrael to fing to the praife of God for their deliverance from Pharoah and his woud


armies, which is of fuch excellency, being a type of the deliverance of the Church, from the adverfary power of the world, and the tyranny of the beast; that there is mention of it in the Revelation. And they fung the fong of Mofes Rev.15 3. the fervant of God.

Deut. 2. 32. When Mofes drew neer his end he maketh a Propheticall fong for the ufe of the people, both to commemorate Gods mercies to them, to lay open the judgements of God against them,to chide their rebellions,and to comfort them with types of grace in the revelation of the Meffiah. And promifing them the gift of the fpirit of repentance to returne them into the favour of their God. .

3 The triumphant fong of Deborah and Barak, after the Judg.5. victory of Zabin, King of the Cananites.

4 1 Sam. 2.1. the fong of Hannah, the Mother of Samuel, in thanksgiving, for the bleffing of her fruitfulneffe, conteining in it both thanksgiving, doctrine, and prophecy.

5 2 Sam. 1.19. the elegie of David, bewailing the death of Saul and Jonathan.

62 Sam.7.18. A fong of David in thanksgiving to God,after Nathan the Prophet had from God told him, that the Meffiab fhould be the Sonne of David.

7 Ifaiah 5. Conteining the rebuke of the people, which is a Satyricall Pfalme.

8 Ifaiah 26.1. the fong of the Church conteining confolátion and prophecy.

9 The fong of Hezekiah,when God comforted his fickness with promise of recovery. Ifaiah 38.

10 The fong of Jonah in the belly of the Whale.

11 Is this fong of Habbakkuk

In the New teftament we haue three. The fong of the bleffed Virgine: Magnificat. The fong of Zechariah: called Benedictus.

The fong of Simeon: Nunc dimittis.


Pefides frequent mentions of finging to inftruments upon feveral occafions,where the fongs themselves are not recorded.



From whence gather thefe two obfervations. 1. That Poetry is ancient, and hath been of ufe in the Church of God, and in Gods fervice and worship, for thefe were the Anthems of the Church in former times.

2 That Church-mufique hath had the same honour, both of reverend antiquity and holy ufe.

The first point concerning the ancient, laudable, and holy ufe of Meeters, which we call Poetry, fo continued through the whole courfe of the Bible, as you have heard, doth thew that God requireth of us in his worship, not only plain faithfulneffe,foundly and fincerely to expreffe our felves in his fervice: but he requireth alfo that we fhew all our learning, wit, and art in our compofitions, according to the ftrict lawes of a Verfe: those were the Ballads of former times:

And though vaine, obfcene, wanton, lying rithmes, now printed, do carry the name of Ballads wholly, yet holy fongs have been fo called, if you look in your old Church Bibles, that were first printed in English, you fhall finde the Song of Solomon or the Canticles called Solomons Ballad, or the Ballad of Ballads. The reafons why God defired and delighted in this form of worship.

1 Because this gift of holy Poetry is of and from himself,he is the Authour of it,and the sweet Singer of Ifrael learned it of him,to honour him in Hymnes, therefore the Apostle calleth them fpirituall fongs,that is infpired by the Holy Ghoft;& it is juft that thofe fpirituall graces, which derive their being from him, fhould be confecrated in their use to him. And this is cleer, that there is no poetry fo ancient as the holy Hymns of the Church.

2 St Auguftime, in his preface to the Pfalmes, faith. Spiritus fanctus videns obluctantem ad virtutis viam humani generis animam, & ad delectationes hujus vita inclinari delectabilibuş modulii Cantilena vim fue doctrine permifcuit, ut dam fuavitate Carmine mulcetur auditus divini fermonis pariter utilitas inferatur.

He faith, he hath obferved that both yong children, and


[ocr errors]

thofe of more yeares, who have at Church given no heed to the reading of the Prophets and Apoftles, have been fo taken with the delight of the Pfalmes, that they have learned to fing them at home, and upon the way, which alfo brought forth good effects in them, by the power of that good Spirit which endited them; quia raifcuit utile dulci.

St Augustine resembleth the wifedome of God herein to the art of the Phyfitian, who gives his patient things wholefome, but not very taftfull in fome fweet firrups, or liquours, which may convey it without diftaft into the body.

3 This expreffure of the zeal of Gods glory in verfe, being the labour of the brain, the marrow of wit, the earnest wrestling of the foul ftriving to glorifie God, as David faith, With the best member that we have doth best prefent the inward man, the hid man of the heart, as St. Peter calleth it, to Almighty God.

The Apostle biddeth us to affect the best gifts. They that do only read a Pfalme, or a Prayer in a book,have done little, but they that love the dead letter, an enlightened underftans ding, and fanctified affections, they pray and praise God.

[ocr errors]

They that wifely compofe their own meditations, and exexpreffe their own hearts in their own words, holy hearts in holy words, do mount a degree higher..

But they that honour God with art and nature, obferving the lawes of time, number, and meafure; as Bernard faith, they have Eruditam mentem, a learned mind, and they are come, Sad provectam atatem, to a ripe age.

Solomon excelled in this kinde, whofe Nuptiall Hymne is called worthily Canticum Canticorum. It is a good obfervation of St. Bernard, that the Proverbs of Solomon, which is Difciplina morum, the discipline of manners, and Ecclefiaftes which is Difciplina amorum,the difcipline of loves, the one correcting our vain love of our felves, the other of the world, must go firft, and then our understanding and affections will be fitted to make fuch Verses.

vono la cha

4 This kind of honouring God in Ditties and hymness doth please God in the Church, becaufe even fuch of the learBbbate on arvioined


[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »