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ing assembly and congregation, Isa. xxxv. 1, 2, 6, 10. and liii. 7, 8, 9. and liv. I. Eph. v. 19. Col. iii. 16. Matth. xxvi. 30. 1. Cor. xiv. 26. Rev. v. 9. 10. xiv. 3. xv. 3.
This duty being of so much importance, we ought to perform it under the special influence of the Holy Ghost, I Cor. xiv. 15. John iv. 24. With understanding of the warrantableness, matier, manner, and end of our praise, Psalm slvü. 6, 7. I Cor. xiv. 15. With an holy ardour of affection and vigour of mind, Psalm lvii. 10. and ciii. 1, 2. With grace in our heart, making melody therein to the Lord, Eph. v. 19. Col. iii. 16. In the name of Christ as Mediator between God and us, Col. iii. 16, 17. 1 Pet. ii. 5. and with an earnest aim to glorify God, Col. ii. 16. 1 Pet. iv. 11. 1 Cor. x. 31.–The mai. ter ought to be prudently suited to our occasions and conditions, Psalm cxii. 5. Eph. v. 15. Nor ought the melo. dy, or, in social worship, the harinony of voices to be overlooked, Psalm ci..
No doubt, one may compose spiritual hymns for his own and others' religious recreation : but to admit forms of human composure into the stated and public worship of God, appears to me very improper. (1) It is extreme. ly dangerous. Heresies and errors by this means, may, and often have been very insensibly introduced into churches, congregations or families. (2) There is no need of it. The Holy Ghost hath, in the Psalms of David, and other scriptural songs, furnished us with such a rich collection of gospel doctrines and precious promises an extensive fund of solid experiences—an exhaustless mine of gospelgrace
and truth an endless variety to suit every state or condition, in which either our own soul, or the church of Christ, can be upon earth. These were framed by lim. who searcheth the hearts, and knows the deep things of God; and hence must be better adapted to the case of souls or societies, than any private composition whatever. (3) Though the Holy Ghost never saw meet to leave us a liturgy of prayers; yet from the poetical composition thereof, it is plain he intended these psalms and songs for a standing form of praise in the church. It is certain they were used in this manner under the Old Testament. The Holy Ghost hath, under the New, plainly directed us to the use hercos, Col, iü. 16. Eph. v. 19. The P$ALMS,
Hrons, and SPIRITUAL Songs, there recommended, are plainly the same with the MIZMOREM, TEHILLIM, and SHIRIM, mentioned in the Hebrew tities of David's Psalms, iii. iv. v. &c. cxlv. cxx.-cxxxiv.
It hath been pretended, the language and manner of these psalms are not suited to the spiritual nature of our gospel-worship. That, however, may as well be urged against the reading of them, as against the singing of them : Nay, against the reading of a great part of the Old Testament in our Christian worship. It is certain many passages in the book of Psalms, or of other scripture-songs, are expressive of the exercises of faith, repentance, love, or the like graces, which still remain of the same form as under the Old Testament. The predictions are either accomplished, and so may be sung to the honour of God's mercy and faithfulness; or, if not accomplished, may be sung in the hopes that God will accomplish them in his time. The history of what God did for his Jewish ser. vants and church, may be sung with admiration of his love, wisdom, power, and grace therein manifested. It is further to be considered, that much of what related to David, or the Jewish church, was typical of the character and concerns of Jesus Christ and the gospel-church ; and so ought to be sung with a special application thereto.
As for those psalms which contain DENUNCIATIONS of divine vengeance upon the enemies of God and his church, we are to consider, that these expressions were dictated by the infallible Spirit of God; that the objects of them were foreseen to be irreconcilable enemies of Christ and his church; that those who sing them, only applaud the equity of the doom which God hath justly pronounced upon such offenders; and that they are to be sung with a full persuasion of the event, as a certain, awful and just display of the glory and tremendous jus. tice of JEHOVAH. Though we ought, therefore, never to apply them to particular parties or persons who have injured us, yet to decline using them, out of a pretence of charity, is to suppose ourselves wiser than him whose understanding is infinite, and more merciful than the Father of mercies, who is full of compassion, and delighteth in mercy. Moreover, as these external ene mies,' devoted to destruction, were in some sense emble matical of our spiritual enemies, within or without us
the passages may be sung with application to ourselves, as directed against these principalities and powers, and spiritual wickednesses, in high places, with whom we have to wrestle, while on earth, Eph. vi. 10-19. 1 Pet. V. 8, 9, Rom. viii. 13, Gal. v. 17-24.
The book of Psalms is one of the most extensive and useful in holy scripture, as it is every where suited to the case of the saints. It is, at first, much mixed with complaints and supplications, and at last issues in pure and lasting praise. That Heman composed Psalm 1xxxviii. Ethan lxxxix. and Moses xc. is certain.Whether those under the name of Asaph were mostly penned by him, or only assigned to be sung by him as a master of the temple music, as others were to Jeduthun or to the sons of Korah, or other chief w;usicians, we cannot determine. Some, as Psalms lxxiv. Ixxix. cxxvi. and cxxxvii. appear to have been composed after the begun captivity to Babylon; but by whom we know
The rest including those two marked with the name of Solomon, might be composed by David, the sweet psalmist of Israel.*
Twenty-five of the Psalms have no title at all ; and whether the titles of the rest are of divine authority is not altogether agreed. But when it is considered that these titles every where appear in the Hebrew originals, and how often they serve as a key to the psalm, and are sometimes connected there with by the accentuating points, there is no real ground to suspect the authenticiny thereof. Nor are interpreters agreed with respect
* That the Hebrew originals are composed in a metrical form, hath been almost universally agreed. But the laws and measures of the poetry have not yet been clearly ascertained. It is not even reasonable to insist, they should correspond with those of the Greeks or Romans and other nations of the west, whose idioms and manner of language are so remarkably different. It is certain, they as little agree with those of the dull and insipid rhymes composed by the Jewish Rabbins. Some of the psalms, no doubt, for the more easy retention thereof in the memory, are composed of verses or sentences beginning according to the order of the Hebrew alphabet. In this order every sentence of the 111th and 112th psalms begins with a new letter. Almost every verse of the 25th, 34th, and 145th begins in the same order, But in the 119ih, every eight verses begin with the same Hebrew letter in the like alphabetical order.
to the signification of some of the Hebrew words standing in these titles. We think that MASCHIL always sign nifies that the psalm is designed for instruction, Psalms xxxii. xlii. xliii. xlv. lii. liii. liv. lv. lxxiv. Ixxviii. ixxxviii. Ixxxix. MICH TAM denotes the precious or golden niture of the psalm, as xvi. Ivi. -x. ALTASCHITH that the scope of the psalm is to deprecate destruction, lvii..lix. MUTHLABBEN, that the psalm was composed on the occasion of the death of his son, or of Goliath, the durllist. Psalm ix. AIJELETH SHAHAR, that its subject is Jesus Christ, the hind of the morning, Psalın xxii. JONA TIIELIM-RECHOKIM, that David is therein represented as a mute dove among foreign.rs, Psalm lvi. SHOSANNIM ; SHOSHANNIMEDUTH ; or SHUS AN-EDUTA : may either signify that Christ and his people who are lilies, or li. lies of the congregation or testimony, are the subject of it; or that it was sung on an instrument of six strings, Psalın xlv. lx. lxix. lxxx. as shEMINITI denotes an instrument of eight strings, Psalms vi. xii. MAH ALATI may either signify the disease, and MAHALATH LEANOTH the afflicting disease, or MAHALATH may signify a wind instrument of music, Psalm. liii. lxxxviii. NEGINATH and NEGINOTH denote stringed instruments of music, Psalms iv. lxi. &c. NEHILOTH wind-ones, Psalm y. GITTITH, a musical instrument or tune invented at Gath, Psalms viii. lxxxi. lxxxiv. ALAMOT'H the virginals, or a song to be sung by the virgins, Psalm xlvi. SHIGGAION, or shiGIONOTH, may denote the diversified matter or tune of the psalm, Psalm vii. The cxxth, and fourteen next following, are called Songs of DEGREES, perhaps because they were sung on the different steps of the temple stairs ; or were sung at certain halts made by David and the Iraelites, when they brought up the ark of God from Kirjath-jearim to Jerusalem ; or were sung by the Hebrews at their different rests, when they came up from the country to their three solemn feasts; or were partly sung by the Jews at their different halts, in their return from Babylon.
The Hebrews divided this book into five, ending with Psalms xli. Ixxii. lxxxix. cvi. and cl. the first four of which are concluded with Amen. Interpreters have attempted to arrange or class the Psalms into a variety of different forms: To me it appears not improper, to dis
tinguish them into I. INSTRUCTIVE, which are either() HISTORICAL, relating what God had done for the psalm. ist or for the Jewish nation, &c. as psalms xviii. Ixviii. lxxviii. civ. cv. cvi. cxiv. cxxxv. cxxxvi. most of which are also EUCHARISTIC. Or (2) DOCTRINAL, declaring and explaining the principles and duties of religion, as Psalms i. xiv. xv. xix. xxxvi. xxxvii. xlix. l. liii. Ixiv. Ixxvi. lxxvü. lxxviii. Ixxxi. Ixxxii. xc. ci. cxii. cxix. cxxvii. cxxxi. cxxxiii. cxxxix. II. PROPHETIC, foretelling events relative to Christ or his church, as Psalms ii. viii. xvi. xxi. xxii. xxiv. xxix. xl. xlv. xlvii. xlviii. Ixvii. Ixviii. lxix. lxxii. lxxxvii. lxxxix. xciii. xcy. xcvi. xcvii. xcviii. c. cx. cxvii. cxxxii. cxlix. not a few of which are also EUCHARISTIC. III. CONSOLATORY, in which the psalmist comforts himself and others in the promises, perfections, or works of God, as Psalms iv. xi. xxiii. xxvii. xxxi. x x xvii. xlvi. lviii. lxxiii. xci. cxxi. cxxv. cxxviii. cxxix. IV. Petitorr, in which he bewails his own, or the churches condition, and supplicates deliverance, as Psalms iii. v. vi. vii. x. xii. xiii. xvii. xx. xxv. xxvi. xxvii. xxviii. xxxv. xxxviii. xli. xlii. xliii. xliv. li. liv. lv. lvii. lix. lx. lxi. Iriii.liiv. lxx. lxxi. lxxiv. lxxix. lxx x. lxxxiii. lxxxv. Ixxxvi. Ixx xviii. cii. cix. cxx, cxxiii cxxx. cxxxit. cx xxvii. cxl. cxli. cxlii. cxliii. Seven of these, in which the psalmist makes confession of his sin, viz. Psalms vi. xxxii. xxxviii. li. cii. cxxx. cxliii. are called PENITENTIAL V. EUCHARISTIC, in which he stirs up himself and others to praise and thank the Lord, for his favours. As Psalms ix. xviii. xxx. xxxiii. xxxiv. lx.lxv. Ixviii. xcix. ciii. civ.cv.cvi. cvii. cviii. c xi. cxiii. cxv. cxvi cxvii c xviii. c xxii. cxxiv. cxxxi. cxxxiv cXXXV. CXXXVia cxxxviii. cxliv. cxlv. cxlvi. cxlvii. cxlviii. cxlix. cl. But indeed historical narratives, doctrinal instructions, prophecies, consolations, supplications, praises, and thanksgivings, are often so pleasantly and profitably connected, in the same psalm, that it is difficult to assign it to one class, rather than to another. And what is hiss TORICAL, as it relates to David and the Jewish church, is often TrPICAL, and so PROPHETIC as it relates to Je. sus Christ and the gospel-church or heavenly state, Many too, of the suPPLICATIONS respecting deliverances from, or the destruction of enemies, are to be con