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-moo noiibo viel bre
To those who Worship cording to the Liturgy of the Church of England.
JO L quan loging aidh hot goude mo yumko enol per cili bas „obif ST-7 Y defign is to render that Translation of the Pfalms, which makes fo confiderable apart of our Publick Worship, more fully anfwer the ends for which it was intended, namely, the Devotion, and Edification of the People: To which purpofa,Lhave put fome Notes, and Paraphrafes im the Margent; by which I endeavour to explain thofe Words, and Sentences, which may not fo readily be understood by every Reader without fome fuch help. And further, I have anfwerldthofer Objections, to which this Franflation has been thought liable by fome; Indoing which, my intention was not only to vindicace it from the Cavils of our Adverfaries, but to make it better efteem'd by thofe of our own Communion: For it is to be fear'd,e that our Pfalter may not be ufed with fo 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 together at the end of the Book, to avoid confufion: I fhall at prefent crave my Readers patience to fay fomething of
A 2 TOR
I. The Pfalms themselves.
III. What is here offer'd by way of Explanation.
r. The Book of Pfalms, is a Collection of Forms of Prayer, and Praife, and Holy Meditations, compofed by David, and other Divine Writers, for the Exercife of the Devotion of God's People, efpecially in publick. There can be no room to doubt, that they were fo ufed by the Jewish Church, and David who Compofed the greateft part of them, did himself design them for this purpose, as appears not only from the Titles, and the very Words of many of them; but from the care he took that several of the Families of the Levites fhould wholly, or chiefly apply themselves to this part of Divine Worship, 1 Chron. vi. 31, 32. in which he was afterwards followed by his Son Solomon, 2 Chron. V. II, 12. as likewife by Ezra, when he undertook to regulate the Worfhip of God, after the return of the People from the Babylonifh Captivity, Ezra iii. 10, 11.
Our Saviour, who never fhew'd any inclination to alter, where the reafon was not very apparent, was fo far from intimating any diflike of this Practice, that he, with his Apoftles, concluded the Solemnity of the Paffover, 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 ufed at all their great Feafts. Nay, tho' he had the Spirit without measure, yet he chofe to perform his laft Devotions on the Crofs in the words of David, rather than his own: For he cried out in his utmoft extremity, [My God, My God, why hast thou forfaken me,] Mat. xxvii. 46. which are the first words of the xxii Pfalm. Dr.Hammond fuppofes, with great probability,that he did not stop here, but rehearfed a good
part of the Pfalm, if not the whole. As he, among us, who fhould fay, fuch and fuch Perfons fung Vesite, exultemus, or [O come let us fing,] would be underftood thereby to mean the whole xcv Pfalm; fo when our Saviour is, by St. Matthew, recorded to have faid, Eli, Eli, lama fabathani, or, [My God, &c. this may reasonably be fuppofed to be the meaning of the Evangelift, that he rehearfed the Pfalm, which begins with these words. It is certain, that the Ancients, and even our Forefathers, fince the Reformation, did thus diftinguifh, or name every Pfalm by the first words of it, (as appears from the Table at the end of the Vulgar finging Pfalms.) And it is moft probable, that this practice first came from the Jews, who called the feveral Sections of their law by Titles, or Names, confifting of the Words with which the Section began; and for the fame reafon may juftly be fuppofed to have given Names to their Pfalms after the fame manner. But further, we are affured, that the very laft words, which our Saviour utter'd with his dying Breath, were a part of the xxxi. Pfalm, ver.5. [Into thy hands I commend my Spirit,] Luke xxiii. 46. "Ánd furely, nothing fo great can be faid of any other way of Worship, as muft in juftice be faid of the ufe of Forms, and particularly thofe 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 Crofs.
The Apostles did in this, as well as other particulars, keep close to their Mafter's Example. And the Church in all fucceeding Ages has made the Pfalter a great part of its Devotion; and therefore they, among us, who have laid aside the use of the Pfalms, as Forms of Prayer and Praife, have, in this refpect, departed, not only from the Church of England, but from all Churches, not only of the prefent, but paft Ages, and even from Chrift Jefus him
felf. They were led to this by an Opinion which, more or less, is held by, all our Diffenters; namely, that [Tis unlawful to Worship God by a Form 1, and the only reafon they had for this Opinion, fo far as I can fee, was, that the Church of England, from which they had refolv'd to depart, has always thus worshipped God. They who first made the Divifion, 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 ufe, not only the Lord's Prayer, but the Forms of David too in fome measure. The Independents, tho' they have not only laid afide the Forms of the Church, but that of Chrift Fefus too; yet do likewife fung fome part of thefe Forms of the Pfalter, fo often as they affenible for Religious Worship: Thefe Men act, as if they thought it law ful to Praife, tho not to Pray to God, by a Form, or, as if 'twere allowable to ufe the Forms of David, tho' not that of Christ Fefus. Others have indeed purfu'd this groundlefs Notion fo far, as not only to reject the Form that our Lord prefcribed, but thofe of David, and the other Pfalmifts; 1.mean the Quakers, and many of the Anabaptifts And thus, tho they do all sweetly agree in condemning Forms in general, yet they are as much at variance with one another, with Reafon and Scripture, as they are with the Church of England.
In ftead of difputing the Point with thefe Men of new Notions, I fhall defire thofe who daily Worship God by finging, or rehearfing the Pfalms, to comfort, and encourage themselves in this Holy Exercife, by confidering, that they perform their Devotions in thofe very Forms that were us'd by [the goodly Fellowship of the Prophets, the Holy Com pany of Apoftles, the Noble Army of Martyrs,] and by the Son of God himself, while he was here on Earth: In thofe very Forms by which [the Holy Church throughout all the World has and does of31st fer
fer their Prayers, and Praises to God; and in which we are fure we have the Company of all Chriftians, of [all that do any-where call on the Name of the Lord, excepting fome mifled People on this fide of the World; and that we ufe that very Tranflation, which was fo much valu'd, and rais'd fuch a flame of Devotion, and Spirit of Martydom, in the Breafts of our Forefathers in Q. Mary's Days; That we fing or fay the Pfalms in thofe very English words, with which many of those Holy Men fpent their laft dying Breath; and with which we shall not willingly part for the fake 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 Occafion, both Publick and Private, and thofe above all exception, as being indited by Men divinely Infpired: and as it is in itself moft excellent, fo it has accordingly been efteem'd by all competent Judges; for it may justly be afferted, that the Pfalter has been oftner tranflated, written over, and printed, than any other Book in the whole World, not only as often as the reft of Holy Scripture, but frequently in Volumes by itself, or with the Liturgies of the feveral Churches, both ancient and modern.
The pious Reader is further to obferve, that the Pfalms are to be read, not only as the reft of the Bible, in order to believe and practice the Holy Truths contained in them, but, fo far as may be, with the fame affection, and temper of Mind with which the Holy Penmen Compofed them: which cannot be better expreffed than in the words of St. Austin, [Let the Heart do what the words fignify.] That I may a little explain my felf on this fubject, I fhall confider the various Matter of which the Pfalter confifts, under thefe following Heads, viz.
Conc. 3. in