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be read with disgust by the distempered eye of the unrenewed man, because the pen had been dipped in the fountain of the Redeemer's blood. To such he wishes to make no apology. If they are offended, let them be offended. But why should they be offended with him? If they will dispute the point, let them enter into controversy with the ALMIGHTY, whose Gospel it is; and who, no doubt, "will be justified in his sayings, and clear when He is judged." He would, however, admonish them, before they actually proceed to the contest, to remeinber the awful denunciation of the prophet, "Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker."*
The doctrines inculcated in this selection, will be found, it is believed, in perfect agreement with Scripture, and the public Formularies of the Established Church. The entire and radical corruption of human nature by the Fall; the consequent necessity of an entire and radical change, by the agency of the Holy Ghost; justification complete, from first to last, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, by faith alone, to the utter exclusion of works; the indispensable necessity of holiness, of universal holiness of heart and life, as constituting the grand evidence of a justifying faith, and the only qualification for heaven; these are the doctrines which, he is not ashamed to confess, are studiously incorporated in the following pages; firmly believing that on the cordial reception of these doctrines the salvation of the soul depends. At the same time, care has been taken not to identify them with subordinate points of nicer distinction and more doubtful disputation, with which they are frequently connected, but with which they have no necessary association; points on which the good and the wise in every age have differed; points on which the Church of England+ allows her members to differ without the slightest impeachment of their orthodoxy ; and on which it could be wished they would mutually and thankfully consent at last, after so protracted and unholy a warfare, to differ in Christian peace.
The hymns are many of them original; and of those which are selected from others, most are materially altered. In the version of the Psalms considerable latitude has oc
Isaiah xlv. 9.
+ See p. 14 of a Visitation Sermon preached by the Editor, in which this allowance is attempted to be proved,
casionally been used. The prominent idea of a Psalm or even of a verse has been caught and amplified, to convey and apply some important truth. The typical and prophetical meaning is sometimes followed, till the type is lost in the antitype, and the prophecy in its fulfilment.
The selection will be found sufficiently comprehensive for general purposes, and adapted not only to the principal Festivals of the Church, but to some portion of the Lessons, Collects, Gospels, or Epistles of every Sunday throughout the Year. The Psalms and Hymns, intended for public worship, are chiefly arranged in the plural number, that being thought most proper for a congregation, and most congenial to the usage of the Liturgy.
Singing is most properly an act of the congregation. It should therefore be congregational. No tongue should be silent which is able to join. Choirs of singers, separate from the congregation, were introduced in the fourth century, when this part of divine service was greatly neglected. "It was the decay of singing which first brought this order of singers into the* Church," and their introduction was only meant as a temporary provision. The Psalms are appointed to be sung "of all the people together."
It is a perversion of this holy employment, and derogatory to the honour of God, to assign the work of singing his praises to a few individuals. Let a spirit of reformation run through the Churches of the land, till animated with the same holy fervour they all unite, with one heart and voice, in praising the God of their salvation.
Standing is the appropriate and authorized posture for performing this service. "Psalmody was usually, if not always, performed by those who engaged in it, in a standing posture." The example of the Levites of old, of the early Christians, of the reformers of the Church, and of the angels in heaven, calls upon all to rise up with one accord when they sing "the song of Moses and the Lamb."
It is the Editor's fervent prayer, that the blessing of the ALMIGHTY may accompany this humble endeavour to promote his glory, and the best interests of the Church of England; a Church in which he is fully persuaded the glory of God may be more effectually promoted than in any other on this side heaven; a Church, which, though
* Bingham, B. 3, ch. 7.
+ Bingham, B. 14, Sect. 14.
not free from imperfection (and what work of man is free from imperfection?) he believes to be the purest that stands on the face of the whole earth, "built on the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone." While, therefore, he is willing to give "the right hand of fellowship to all of every name who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity," he cannot but feel anxious that the special favour of God may continue to rest upon the Church of England, that "peace may be within her walls, and prosperity within her palaces."
The difference between the righteous and the wicked.
1 BLEST is the man, who shuns the place, Where sinners love to meet;
Who fears to tread their wicked ways,
2 But in the statutes of the Lord
3 Not so the impious and unjust,
4 They in the judgment shall not stand
When Christ appoints, at his right hand,
5 Lord! stamp thy fear on every heart: Thy law within us write:
Oh! may we now from sin depart,