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- PODLM vieilliri.
PREFACE, To those who Worlhip God according to the Liturgy of the Church of England.
routis Till 97 voli bila polis
Y defignis to render; that Translation of the Psalms, which makes fo confiderable mi a part of our Publick Worship, mare
fully answer the ends for which it was intended, namely, the Devotion, and Edification of the People:: To which purpofeju Lhave put some Notes, and Paraphrafesinthe Margent ;iby, which I endeavour to explain those words and Sentences, whichi may nat for readily be understood by every Reader without fome such help. And further, I have anfwerld thöfe, Objections;i to which this Translation has been thought liable by soine; In do ing which, my intention was not only to vindicace it from the Cavils of our Adversaries, but to make it better esteem'd by those of our own Comiunion: For it is to be fear'd, that our Pfalter may not be used with so much Zeal and Devotion as it ought, while many have entertain'd too mean an Opinion of the Tranflation. What I have faid by way of Defence is put all cogether at the end of the Book, to avoid confusion: I shall at present crave my Redders patience to say something of ::
I. The Psalms themselves.
III. What is bere offer'd by way of Explanation. r. The Book of Psalms, is a Collection of Forms of Prayer, and Praise, and Holy Meditations, composed by David,
and other Divine Writers, for the Exercise of the Devotion of God's People, efpecially in publick. There can be no room to doubt, that they were so used by the Jewish Church, and David who Composed the greatest part of them, did himself design them for this purpose, as appears not only from the Titles, and the very Words of many of chem; but from the care he took that several of the Families of the Levites should wholly, or chiefly apply themselves to this part of Divine Worship, ed by his Son Solomon, 2 Chron. V. 11, 12. as likewife by Ezra, when hel undertook to regulate the Worship of God, after the return of the People from the Babylonijl Captivity, Ezra iii. 10, 11.,
Our Saviour, who never shew'd any inclination to alter, where the reason was not very apparent, was fo far from intimating any dislike of this Practice, that he, with his Apostles, concluded the Solemnity of the Passover, and the Sacrament of his Body, and Blood, with a Hymn, Matt. xxvi. 30. that is, with the cxiii, cxiv, cxv, cxvi, cxvii, cxviii, Pfalms, which were called by the Jews. Hallel, or, Hymn, and used at all their great Feasts.. Nay, tho' he had the Spirit without measure, yet he chose to perform his laft Devotions on the Cross in the words of David, rather than his own: For he cried out in his utmost extremity, [ My God, My God, why bast thou forsaken me,] Mat. xxvii. 46. which are the first words of the xxii Pfalm. Dr.Hammond supposes, with great probability that he did not Itop here, but rehearsed a good
part of the Pfalm, if not the whole. As he, among us, who should say, such and such Persons sung Vevite, exultemus, or (0 come let us fong, I would be understood thereby to mean the whole xcv Pfalm; fo when our Saviour is, by St. Matthew, recorded to have said, Eli, Eli, lama saba&thani, or, (My God, &c.] this may reasonably be supposed
to be the meaning of the Evangelift, that he rehearsed the Pfalm, which begins with these words. It is certain, that the Ancients, and even our Forefathers, since the Reformation, did thus diftinguish, or name every Psalm by the first words of it, ( as appears from the Table at the end of the Vulgar singing Psalms.) And it is most probable, that this pra&ice first came from the Jews, who called the feveral Sections of their law by Titles, or Names, consisting of the Words with which the Section began; and for the saine reafor may juftly be supposed to have given Names to their Psalms after the same manner. But further, we are assured, that the very last words, which our Saviour utter'd with his dying Breath, were a part of the xxxi. Pfalm, ver.s. (Into tby bands I commend my Spirit,] Luke xxiii. 46. "And surely, nothing so great can be faid of any other way of Worship, as must in justice be faid of the use of Forms, and particularly those contain'd in the Pfalter, namely, that our Saviour himself did thus perform his Devotion, when he was finishing the great Work of our Redemption, and did in this manner pour out his Soul upon the Cross.
The Apostles did in this, as well as other particulars, keep close to their Master's Example. And the Church in all succeeding Ages has made the Pfalter a great part of its Devotion ; and therefore they, among us, who have laid aside the use of the Psalms, as Forms of Prayer and Praise, have, in this respect, departed, not only from the Church of Enga land, but from all Churches, not only of the prefent, but paft Ages, and even from Christ Jefus him
. They were led to this by an Opinion which more or less, is held by, all oun Disfenterski namely, that [?Tis unlawful to Worship God by a Form1; and the only reafon they had for this
Opinion, fofat as I can see, was, that the Church of England, froin which they had refolv'd to depart, has always thus worshipped God. They who first made the Division, I mean the Presbyterians have made it appear that they did not in reality think Forms unlawful; for they have, and do yet very often use, not only the Lord's Prayer, but the Forms of David too in some measure. The Independents, tho' they have not only laid: aside the Forms of the Church, but that of Christ Jesus too; yer do likewise sing fome part of these Forms of the Pfalter, fo often as they assemble for Religious Worfhip: These Men act, as if they thought it law. ful to Praise, thoi not: to Pray to God, by a Form, or, as if 'twere allowable to ufe. the Forms of David, tho' not that of Christ JefusOthers have indeed pursu'd this groundless Nation fo far, ás not only to reject the Form that otur Lord prefcribed, but thofe of David, and the other Pfalmifts I.mean the Quan kers, and many of the Anabaprifts: And thus, tho? they do all sweetly agree in condemning Forins in general, yet they are as much at variance with one another, with Reason and Scripture, as they are with the Church of England.
: In stead of dispucing the Point with these Men of new Notions, I shall defire those who daily Worship God by singing, or rehearsing the Pfalms, to comfort, and encourage themselves in this Holy Exercise, by considering, that they perform their Devotions in those yery Forms that were us'd by [the goodly Fellowship of the Prophets, the Holy Com pany of Apostles, the Noble Army of Martyrs,] and by the Son of God himself, while, he was here on Earth: In those very Forms by which (the Holy Church throughout all the World:) has and does of2193
fer their Prayers, and Praises to God; and in which we are sure we have the Company of all Christians, of [all that do any-where call on the Name of the Lord, ] excepting some misled People on this fide of the World, and that we use that very Translation, which was so much valu’d, and rais’d such a flame of Devotion, and Spirit of Marrydom, in the Breasts of our Forefathers in Q. Mary's Days; That we sing or fay the Psalms in those very English words, with which many of those Holy Men spent their last dying Breath; and with which we shall not willingly part for the sake of a Hebrew Criticism.
In a word, the Pfalter is one of the most valuable parts of the best Book in the World, the Holy Bible, and contains great variety of Forms of Devotion, fitted for almost every Occasion, both Publick and Private, and those above all exception, as being indited by Men divinely Inspired: and as it is in itself most excellent, so it has accordingly been esteem'd
competent Judges; for it may justly be asserted, that the Psalter has been oftner translated, written over, and printed, than any other Book in the whole World, not only as often as the rest of Holy Scripture, but frequently in Volumes by itself, or with the Liturgies of the several Churches, both ancient and modern.
The pious Reader is further to observe, that the Psalms are to be read, not only as the rest of the Bible, in order to believe and practice the Holy Truths contained in them, but, so far as may be, with the same affection, and temper of Mind with which the Holy Penmen Composed them: which cannot be better expressed than in the words of
Cone 3. St. Austin, [Let the Heart do what the
Psal. XXX. words signify.) That I may a little explain my self on this subject, I shall consider thie various Matter of which the Pfalter confifts, under these following Heads, viz.