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BOOK OF PSALMS,

IN

FIVE LETTERS;

ADDRESSED TO

THE FRIENDS OF UNION IN THE CHURCH OF GOD.

*

Br GILBERT Mc MASTER, A. M.

Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word.
Isaiah.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable.
Paul.

But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men.
Messiah.

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775 міга 1818

LETTER I.

INTRODUCTORY.

Every power of man should be devoted to the service of God. Importance of Psalmody. Difference of opinion on the subject. Division of the church. Importance of union. Proposal of accommodation. Hopes of success. Mistakes corrected. Attention to the SUBJECT requested.

Dear Brethren,

EVERY subject which relates to the peace of the church, the institutions of God, or the exercise of the saint, must be interesting to you. Psalmody, in its matter and forms, has always claimed, and deservedly obtained, no small share of christian attention.

Every faculty of man should be consecrated to the service of his Creator. In the promo. tion of the divine glory, and in the advancement of personal holiness, all the principles of . our nature, by a mutual influence, ought to cooperate. Man's powers of intellect, the sensibilities of his heart, and the capacity of expressing these sensibilities in appropriate strains of melody, are laid in requisition by our holy religion. Psalmody, employed in the

spirit of its institution, is peculiarly calculated to engage the heart, and to call forth an elevated devotion. In no other act of social reli. gion, is an opportunity afforded for so much unanimity, in actual and congregated expression of devout sentiment; and, it is more than probable, no other part of instituted worship is so well adapted to interweave sentiment with every fibre of the heart of man.

"There is in souls a sympathy with sounds;

Some chord in unison with what we hear
Is touch'd within us, and the heart replies, "*

Who has not felt the melting influence of the soft strains of well conducted music? And how powerfully the martial band operates, by inspiring with courage, is well known to the warrior in the day of battle. When sentiment is accompanied with the fascination of music, it requires no common effort, even when the principle is disavowed, to break the charm.† This suggests to us the importance of proper matter for the psalmody of the church of God; it urges the necessity of circumspection, to guard against the introduction of incorrect

* Cowper.

† Let me, said Judge Hale, ba ballad maker for a nation, and I care not who are legislators.

sentiment, or of crude and superficial opinions, in the sacred songs we employ.. How often " error is thus introduced into the mind of man, and blasphemy shed before the throne of the Eternal, need not now be told.

#A

The celebration of God's praise, in suitable songs, is one of his own institutions. It is his appointment that his people come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. Hear a new testament injunction: Is any merry? let him sing psalms. The practice was exemplified by two illustrious heralds of the cross, Paul and Silas; and that in circumstances very unfavorable to the exercise: it was at midnight, and when confined in the dungeon, at Philippi. In his own practice, our Redeemer himself gave his sanction to the social singing of praise, as an ordinance divinely appointed. After the institution of the eucharistic feast, he and his disciples sung an hymn: one of those comprised in the hillel, that is, those psalms from the hundred and thirteenth to the hundred and eighteenth inclusive.

This part of our worship is confessedly important. Its importance is manifested by the

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