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will not cenfure and condemn any part of this work, without a diligent perufal of the larger edition, wherein the preface and notes, in the judgment of many learned and pious men, have given a fufficient vindication of the whole performance.
Of the Ufe of this Pfalm-Book.
The chief defign of this work was to improve pfalmody or religious finging, and to encourage the frequent practice of it in public affemblies and private families with more honour and delight; yet the author hopes the reading of it may also entertain the parlour and the closet with devout pleafure and holy meditations. Therefore he would requeft his readers, at proper seasons to perufe it through; and among 340 facred hymns, they may find out feveral that fuit their own cafe and temper, or the circumstances of their families and friends; they may teach their children fuch as are proper for their age, and by treasuring them up in their memory, they may be furnished with pious retirement, or may entertain their friends with holy melody.
Of Chufing or finding the Pfalm. The perufal of the whole book will acquaint every reader with the author's method, and by confulting the index or table
of contents at the end, he may find hymns very proper for many occafions of the Chriftian life and worship; though no copy of David's Pfalter can provide for all, as I have hewn in the preface.
Or if he remembers the first line of any pfalm, the table of the first lines will direct where to find it.
Or if any fhall think it beft to fing all the pfalms in order in churches or families, it may de done with profit; provided those pfalms be omitted that refer to special occurrences of nations, churches, or fingle Chriftians.
Of naming the pfalms.
Let the number of the pfalm be named diftinctly, together with the particular metre, and particular part of it: As for inftance; let us fing the 33d pfalm, 2 part, common metre; or, let us fing the 91ft pfalm, 1st part, beginning at the paufe or ending at the paufe; or, let us fing the 84th pfalm as the 148th pfalm, &c. And then read over the first stanza before you begin to fing, that the people may find it in their books, whether you fing with or without reading line by line.
Of dividing the Pfalm.
If the pfalm be too long for the time or
cuftom of finging, there are paufes in many of them at which you may properly reft: Or you may leave out thofe verfes which are included in crotchets without disturbing the fense: Or in fome places you may begin to fing at a pause.
Do not always confine yourselves to fix ftanzas, but fing seven or eight, rather than confound the fenfe, and abuse the pfalm in folemn worship.
Of the manner of finging.
It were to be wished that all congregations and private families would fing as they do in foreign Proteftant countries, without reading line by line. Though the author has done what he could to make the fenfe complete in every line or two, yet many inconveniencies will always attend this unhappy manner of finging: but where it cannot be altered, thefe two things may give fome relief.
First, Let as many as can do it, bring Pfalm-books with them, and look on the words while they fing, fo far as to make the fenfe complete.
Secondly, Let the clerk read the whole pfalur over aloud before he begins to parcel out the lines, that the people may have some notion of what they fing; and not be forced to drag on heavily through eight tedious fyl
lables without any meaning, till the next lines come to give the fenfe of them.
It were to be wished also that we might not dwell fo long upon every fingle note, and produce the fyllables to fuch a tiresome extent with a conftant uniformity of time; which difgraces the mufic, and puts the congregation quite out of breath in finging five or fix ftanzas: Whereas, if the method of finging were but reformed to a greater speed of pronunciation, we might often enjoy the pleasure of a longer pfalm with lefs expence of time and breath; and our pfalmody would be more agreeable to that of the antient churches, more intelligible to others, and more delightful to ourselves.
December 1ft 1718
The various meafures of the verfe are fitted to the tunes of the Old Pfalm-book.
To the common tunes fing all intitled Common Metre.
To the tune of the 100th pfalm fing all intitled Long Metre.
To the tune of the 25th pfalm fing Short Metre.
To the 50th pfalm fing one metre of the 50th and 93d.
To the 112th or 127th pfalm fing one metre of the 104th and 148th.
To the 13th pfalm fing one metre of the 19th, 33d. 58th, 89th, laft part, 96th, 112th, 113th.
To the 122d pfalm fing one of the metres of the 93d, 122d, and 1 33d.
To the 148th pfalm fing one metre of the 84th, 121st, 136th, and 148th.
To a new tune fing one metre of the 50th and I 15th.