« ForrigeFortsett »
ile .... 37,22
of Saratoga springs .
781 H358ch 1839
A GENERAL idea of the plan of this work will be derived from a mere perusal of the title-page. Watts's version is of course made the basis of the compilation; and, in revising his Psalms and Hymns, the various readings have been carefully compared with an original English copy, containing his own notes and observations. The book, however, embraces copious selections from other sources, as appears by the authors' names in the body of the work. Watts's alone stand without a name; so that they can be easily distinguished from the rest.
Much attention has been bestowed on the arrangement of the Hymns in reference to subjects and occasions; and in this part of their labor, the Compilers have had constantly in view, the convenience of selection, and the preservation of a pleasing succession of topics to the devotional reader. This two-fold object was not to be gained without study and effort. Its advantages, we trust, will be obvious on the slightest examination.
The great importance of lyrical character has not been overlooked; but the Compilers have not dared to sacrifice sense to sound, devotional sentiment to the beauties of diction, or anity of design to the special convenience of adaptation. The great interests of devotional edification can be secured, only in proportion as the claims of music and poetry, pious sentiment, and discriminating taste, are properly united.
The musical references are the initials of the technical lerms in common use, and the tunes named in connexion with the poetic pieces, are, for the most part, such plain
and familiar ones, that their character will not be easily misunderstood. The advantages of this plan will appear on a perusal of the following article. See also the order of subjects, at the close of the volume.
This work has not been undertaken without mature deliberation; nor has its completion been the offspring of a series of desultory efforts. The work has been several years in a course of preparation ; and the Compilers, providentially located within a few doors of each other, have had every advantage of mutual consultation which the subject required. How they have succeeded in their undertaking must be left to the public decision.
It is an obvious principle in Christian psalmody, that the devotional sentiments contained in the poetry, form the only proper basis of musical expression. Music, such as the Bible contemplates, is, in this respect, like an impassioned species of elocution. It is the chaste and simple language of emotion. The words of a Psalm or Hymn being given, the problem is, to enforce them upon the mind of the hearer, through the medium of impassioned enunciation. To this end, there must be good articulation, accent, and emphasis. The language must flow from the lips of the singer, as it does from those of the speaker, in a distinct and impressive manner. A congregation (if an apostle reasoned correctly) should never be addressed in an unknown tongue. That language which, under the divine blessing, is to make an impression upon us, must be distinctly heard. If there are instruments employed in the service, they should be so managed as not to mar the language. This is a matter of vital consequence. The principle, though much disregarded, lies at the foundation of all rational improvement. A few feeble, untutored voices, drowned by an instrument of overwhelming power, never sing to edification.
But mere distinciness of enunciation is not all that is required. There must be genuine feeling. Emotions not of a fortuitous nature, such as arise from a mere heated imagination, are here to be encouraged; but those which arise from definite influences of spirituality. The man who would make others feel, must feel himself. He must, himself, exercise legitimate emotions, if he would produce