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apostle James suggests the singing of psalms as a proper mode of giving utterance to spiritual joy. We have the testimony of Pliny, that the primitive Christians were accustomed to meet and sing hymns in honour of Christ as God.” According to the representations made in vision to the Apostle John in Patmos, the celestial worshippers engage in this devout employ, as part of the homage they render to Him who sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb. And surely no‘themes more varied, more grateful, or more sublime, could be desired than are furnished in the revelation of redeeming love--none so fitted to kindle the most holy and animated inspirations of song and melody.

Psalmody, like other modes of devotion, is intended to promote the honour of God and to edify the worshipper. In it the claims of Jehovah as the sole object of religious homage are recognised -his perfections, works, and authority are celebrated-his favours are acknowledged or implored. It awakens, and by exercise strengthens, all the pure and heavenly emotions of the renewed mind. It animates the fatigued labourer to his duty, the discouraged warrior to the combat, and the fainting pilgrim to pursue with cheerfulness and vigour his journey to the promised land. How often has the heart, oppressed with sadness, been eased of its burden, receiving the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, by communing with the congregation in singing “the songs of Zion.” Oh!

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if there be a time on earth when, more than at any other, we really come unto the innumerable company of angels, the spirits of just men made perfect, and the general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven”-it is when, lifting up our voices with one accord, we feel identified with them in the same act of devotion, and the saints above and the saints below are at once ascribing salvation to God and the Lamb.

What were the “psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs,” used in the worship of the first Christians, history does not inform us. Of the many hypotheses advanced respecting them, it is perhaps most reasonable to believe that the “psalms” were selections from the book so named, and in themselves suited, or else accommodated, to the circumstances of the present dispensation. “Hymns” may have been metrical pieces setting forth the glories of God, or the truths, duties, or privileges of the gospel, but uninspired; while the “spiritual songs" were of the same nature, but dictated by the Holy Spirit. Some writers, however, consider the difference to consist, in the manner in which they were employed, according as they were recited, sung, or used with instrumental music ;-but we can scarcely suppose that the worship of the primitive churches admitted of these varieties in the mode of social psalmody.

It has been thought that the compositions sung in worship should be exclusively ascriptions of apostle James suggests the singing of psalms as a proper

mode of giving utterance to spiritual joy. We have the testimony of Pliny, that the primitive Christians “ were accustomed to meet and sing hymns in honour of Christ as God.” According to the representations made in vision to the Apostle John in Patmos, the celestial worshippers engage in this devout employ, as part of the homage they render to Him who sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb. And surely no themes more varied, more grateful, or more sublime, could be desired than are furnished in the revelation of redeeming love-none so fitted to kindle the most holy and animated inspirations of song and melody.

Psalmody, like other modes of devotion, is intended to promote the honour of God and to edify the worshipper. In it the claims of Jehovah as the sole object of religious homage are recognised -his perfections, works, and authority are celebrated-his favours are acknowledged or implored. It awakens, and by exercise strengthens, all the pure and heavenly emotions of the renewed mind. It animates the fatigued labourer to his duty, the discouraged warrior to the combat, and the fainting pilgrim to pursue with cheerfulness and vigour his journey to the promised land. How often has the heart, oppressed with sadness, been eased of its burden, receiving the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, by communing with the congregation in singing “the songs of Zion.” Oh! if there be a time on earth when, more than at any other, we really come unto the innumerable company of angels, the spirits of just men made perfect, and the general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven”-it is when, lifting up our voices with one accord, we feel identified with them in the same act of devotion, and the saints above and the saints below are at once ascribing salvation to God and the Lamb.

What were the “psalms, and hymns, and spic ritual songs,” used in the worship of the first Christians, history does not inform us. Of the many hypotheses advanced respecting them, it is perhaps most reasonable to believe that the “psalms” were selections from the book so named, and in themselves suited, or else accommodated, to the circumstances of the present dispensation.

“Hymns” may have been metrical pieces setting forth the glories of God, or the truths, duties, or privileges of the gospel, but uninspired; while the “spiritual songs” were of the same nature, but dictated by the Holy Spirit. Some writers, however, consider the difference to consist, in the manner in which they were employed, according as they were recited, sung, or used with instrumental music ;-but we can scarcely suppose that the worship of the primitive churches admitted of these varieties in the mode of social psalmody.

It has been thought that the compositions sung in worship should be exclusively ascriptions of

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praise. That such a restriction was not observed in the Jewish church may be inferred from the circumstance that many of the psalms used in its public devotions contain petitions for mercies, and exhortations addressed to the people assembled.The directions to the Colossians and Ephesians already noticed, prove that congregational singing is one method by which Christians are to teach and admonish one another. It is not more inconsistent to introduce supplications into hymns, than to mingle praises in our prayers. Petitions are principally, but not solely, appropriate to the latter; thanksgiving is principally, but not solely, appropriate to the former.

The book of Psalms unquestionably furnishes some of the best materials and patterns of congregational poetry; and a little more than a century ago a strong prejudice prevailed in Britain against the introduction of other compositions than the “Psalms of David” literally translated into English metre and rhyme. The prejudice may have originated in a praiseworthy desire of conforming the words of dention as much as possible to the sacred writin

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