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- T O T H E . R E A D E R S : On the following HEADS. . . .
Of the different Editions of this Book. . . .
will not censure and condemn any part of this work without a diligent perusal of the larger edition, wherein the preface and notes, in the judgement of many learned and pious men, have given a sufficient windication of the whole performance.
Of the use of this Psalm-Book. The chief design of this work was to improve psalmody or religious singing, and to encourage the frequent practice of it in public assemblies 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 pleasure and holy meditations. Therefore he would request his readers, at proper seasons to peruse it through; and among 340 sacred hymns, they may find out several that suit their own case and temper, or the circumstances of their families and friends: they may teach their children such as are proper for their age, and by treasuring them up in their memory, they may be furnished with pious retirement, or may enter
tain their friends with holy melody.
Ofchusing or finding the Psalm. The perusal of the whole book will acquaint every reader with the author's method, and by consulting the index or table
Of the manner of singing.
It were to be wished that all congregations and private families would fing as they do in foreign Protestant countries, without reading line by line. Though the author has done what he could to make the sense complete in every line or two, yet maily inconveniencies will always attend this unhappy manner of singing: but where it cannot be altered, these two things may give some relief.
First, Let as many as can do it, bring Psalm-books with them, and look on the words while they fing, so far as to make the sense complete.
Secondly, Let the clerk read the whole.
psalm over aloud before he begins to parcel out the lines, that the people may have some notion of what they sing; and not be forced to drag on heavily through eight tediouslyl
lables without any meaning, till the next line come to give the senfe of them. It were to be wished also that we might not dwell so long upon every single note, and produce the syllables to such a tiresome extent with a constant uniformity of time; which disgraces the music, and puts the congregation quite out of breath in finging five or six stanzas: Whereas, if the method of finging were but reformed to a greater speed of pronunciation we might often enjoy the pleasure of a longer psalm with less expence of time and breath; and our psalmody would be more agreeable to that of the antient churches, more intelligible to others, and more delightful to ourselves.