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THE antiquity, the use and importance of Psalmody are so generally admitted, that it would be superfluous to adduce any arguments, or to refer to any authorities on these subjects: It is however to be lamented, that while the peculiar fitness of thus addressing our praises to God is acknowledged, too little attention has been paid to this beautiful and sublime portion of our Church service.
In some Congregations, not only the performance itself, but the choice of the words and tunes rests altogether with two or three individuals who are by no means qualified for the office; and whose behaviour during other parts of the service is too often at variance with the solemn ends of public worship. In others, where there is no cause to complain of want of skilful. ness in the choir, there is a custom, either for the sake of variety, or for the less laud. able purpose of display, of introducing tunes which are lamentably deficient in devotional expression. “In Church musick” says the judicious Hooker “curiosity and ostentation of art, light or unsuitable harmony, such as only pleaseth the ear and doth not naturally serve to the very kind and degree of those impressions, which the matter that goeth before leaveth, or ought to leave on men's minds, doth rather blemish or disgrace that we do than add either beauty or furtherance unto it.” Much however as it is to be desired that the tunes should be solemn and adapted as far as possible to the sense, yet the proper object of Psalmody will not be attained, unless they are likewise so plain and easy as to enable the congregation to bear their part in them; for the Choir in a parish Church is not intended to confine within itself the privilege of holy song, but to lead
and assist the people in that delightful part of their common worship; and how much of influence and sympathy is lost by their remaining silent can be conceived by none but those who have witnessed the effect of a whole congregation, with united voice, praising and glorifying God. Indeed a return to the ancient and excellent practice of CONGREGATIONAL SINGING would be calculated probably more than any other measure to improve our Psalmody in the respects alluded to, and at the same time might prove effectual to quicken our attention and elevate our thoughts, leaving, (as is sometimes the case, even under its present defective performance) such deep impressions upon the heart of the goodness, the mercy, and the excellent Majesty of God, and of the salvation wrought by his Son Jesus Christ, as would tend greatly, to produce and keep alive in us an habitual cheerfulness of temper, holy dispositions, and devout affections.
The Editor has only further to state,