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so far as may be without public offence : Judah and Israel may be called England and Scotland, and the land of Cabaan may be translated into Great Britain : The cloudy and typical expressions of the legal dispensation should be turned into
evangelical language, according to the explications of the New Testament: And when a christian psalmist, among the characters of à saint'; Ps. XV. 5. meets with the wan that “ puts not out his money to usury, he ought to exchange bin for one that is no oppressor or extortioner, since usury is not utterly forbidden to cliristians, as it was by the Jewishi law; and wheresoever he finds the person or offices of our Lord Jesus Christ in prophecy, they ought rather to be tragslated in a way of history, and those evangelical truths should be stript of their veil of darkness, and drest in such expressions that Christ may appear in them to all that sing. When he comes to Ps. xl. 6. and reads these words, 6. Mine ears hast thou opened,” he should learn from the apostle to say." A body hast thou prepared me;" Heb. x. 5. Instead of « binding the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar;" Ps. exviii. 27. we should “ofter up spiritual sacrifices, that is the prayer and praise of the heart and tongue, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ ;” 1 Pet. ii. 5. Where there are any dark
espressions, and difficult to be understood in the Hebrew songs, they should be left out in our psalmody, or at least made very plain by a paraphrase. Where there are sentences, or whole psalms, that can very difficultly be accomino:lated to our times, they may be utterly omitted. Such is Ps. cl. part of the xxxviii, xlv, xlviii, 1x, 1xviii, lxxxi, cvjii. and some others, as well as a great part of the song of Solomon,
Perhaps it will be objected here, that the book of Psalıns would hereby be rendered very imperfect, and some weak persons might linagine this atteispt to fall under the censure of Rev. xxii. 18, 19. that is, “ of taking away from, or adding to the words of the book of God.". But it is not difficult to reply, that through the whole book of psalms was given to be read by tis as, God's word for our use and instruction, yet it will never follow from thence that the whole was written as a psalter for the christian church to use in singing. For if this were the design of it, then every psalm, and every line of it might be at one time or another proper to be sung by christians : But there are many hundred verses in that book which a christian cannot properly assume in singing, without a considerable alteration of the words, or at least without putting a very different meaning upon them, from what David had when he wrote them; and therefore there is no necessity of translating always entire Psalıns, nor of preparing the whole book for English psalmody.. I miglit bere add also Dr. Patrick's apology in his century of Psahns fürst publisbed, uiat be touksbill the same liberty 'which is allowed to
every parish-clerk, to choose what Psalm and what verses of it be would propose to the people to sing.
Give me leave here to mention several passa ges which were hardly made for christian lips to assume without some alteration : Ps. lxviii. 13, 14, 15, 16." Though ye have lain among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold: When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon. The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan, &c. , Why leap ye, ye hills, &c. verse 25. The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after, amongst them were the daipsels playing with timbrels ; Bless ye God in the congregation, even the Lord from the fountain of Israel: There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali. Because of thy temple at Jerusalem kings shall bring presents unto thee. Rebuke the company of spearmen, the multitude of bulls, with the calves of the people, till every one subinit himself' with pieces of silver." Ps. Ixxi 2, 3, &c. “Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery, blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed on our solemn feast-day, &c.” Ps. Ixxxiv. 3, 6. “The sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay ber young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, &c. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, in whose beart are the ways of them, who passing through the valley of Bacha make it a well, the rain also Gilleth the pools." Ps. cviii
. 2, 7, 8, 9. " Awake psaltery and harp, I myself will awake early. God hath spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth; Gilead is mine, Manasseth iş nine, Ephraim also is the strength of mine head, Judah is my lawgiver, Moab is my wash-pot, over Edom will I cast out my shoe, over Philistia will I triumph ; who will bring me into the strong city, who will lead me into Edom.” Ps. Ixix. 8. and cix. are so full of cursings, that they hardly become the tongue of a follower of the blessed Jesus, who dying prayed for his own enemies; “ Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." Ps. cxxxiv. is suited to the temple or tabernacle worship; the title is, A Song of Degrees, that is, as interpreters believe, to be sung as the kings of Israel went up by steps or degrees to the bouse of God; In the two first verses the king calls upon the Levites," which by night stand in the house of the Lord, to lift up their hands io the sanctuary, and to bless the Lord;" the 3d verse is an antiphona or reply of the Levites to the king ; " The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion." It would be endless w give an account of all the paragraplis of ancient songs, which can scarce ever be accommodated to gospel worship
The patrons of another opinion, will say we must sing the words of David, and apply them in our meditation to the things of the New Testament: But can we believe this to be the best method of worshipping God, to sing one thing and mean abother? besides that, the very literal sense of many of these expressions is exceeding deep and difficult, and not one in twenty of a religious assembly can possibly understand them at this distance from the Jewish days; tlierefore to keep close to the language of David, we must break the commands of God by David, who requires that we “sing his praises with understanding ;" Ps. xlvii. 7. And I am persuaded, that St. Paul, if he lived in our age and nation, would no more advise irs to sing unintelligible sentences in London, than himself would sing in an unknown tongue at Corinth; 1 Cor. xiv. 15, 19. After all, if the literal sense were known, yet the application of many verses of David to our state and circumstances was never designed, and is utterly impossible, and even where it is possible, yet it is so exceeding difficult, that very few persons in an assembly are capable of it ; and when they attempt it, if their thoughts should be enquired one by one, you would find very various, wretched, and contradictory meanings put upon the words of the Hebrew Psalmist, and all for want of an evangelical translation of him. It is very obvious and common to observe that persons of seriousness and judgment that consider what they sing, are often forced to break off in the midst, to onit whole lines and verses, even where the best of our present translations are used ; and thus the tune, and the sense, and their devotion is interrupted at once, because they dare not sing without understanding, and almost against their consciences. Whereas the more unthinking multitude go on singing in chearful ignorance wheresoever the clerk guides them, across the river Jordan, through the land of Gebal, Ammon and Amalek';.“ He leads them into the strong city, he brings them into Edom; 'anon they follow him through the valley of Bacha, till they come up to Jerusalem ; they wait upon him in the court of burnt-offerings, and “hind their sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar;" they enter so far into the templc, till they join their song in consort with the high-sotinding cymbals, their thoughts are be-darkened with the smoke of in. cense, and covered with Jewish veils. Such expressions as these are the beauties and perfections of a Hebrew song, they paint every thing to the life : Such language was suited by infinite wisdom to raise the affections of the saints of that day : But I fear they do but sink our devotion, and hurt our worship:
I esteem the book' of Psalons the most valuable part of the Old Testament upon many accounts : I advise the reading and meditation of it more frequently than any single book of 'scrip: ture, and what l'advise i practise. Nothing is more proper to furnish our souls with devout thóuglits, 'and lead us into a world
of spiritual experiences : The expressions of it that are not Jewish or peculiar, give us constant assistance in prayer and int praise : But if we would prepare David's psalms to be sung by christian lips, we should observe these two plain rules.
First, They ought to be translated in such a manner as we have reason to believe David would have composed them if he had lived in our day: And therefore his poems are given as a pattern to be imitated in our composures, rather than as the precise and invariable matter of our psalınody. It is one of the excelleocies of scripture-songs, that they are exactly suited to the very purpose and design for which they were written, and that both in the matter, and in the style, and in all their ornaments : This gives life and strength to the expression, it presents objects to the ears and to the eyes, and tonches the heart in the most affecting manner. David's language is adapted to bis own devotion, and to the worsliip of the Jewish church; he mentions the very places of his journeys, or retirements of his sorrows, or his successes; he names the nations that were enemies of the church, or that shall be its friends; and though for the most part he leaves the single persons of his time naineless in the body of his psalm, yet be describes them there with great particularity, and often names them in the title. This gives us abundant ground to infer, tliat should the sweet-singer of Israel return from the dead into our age, he would not sing the words of his own psalms without considerable alteration; and were he now to transcribe them, he would make them speak the present circamstances of the church, and that in the language of the New Testament: He would see frequently occasion to insert the cross of Christ in his song, and often interline the confessions of his sips with the blood of the Lamb; often would be describe the glories and the triumplis of our blessed Lord in long and flowing verse, even as St. Paul, when he mentions the name and honours of Christ, can hardly part bis lips from them again : His exo pressions would run ever bright and clear; such as here and there we find in a single verse of bis own composures, when be is transported beyond bimself, and carried far away from Jewish shadows by the spirit of prophecy and the gospel. We have the more abundant reason to believe this, if we observe, that all along the sacred bistory as the revelations of God and his grace were made plainer, so the songs of the saints expressed that grace and those revelations according to the measure of their clearvess and increase. Let'us begin at the song of Moses, Ex. XV. and prooeed to David and Soloipon, to the song of the Vire gio Mary, of Zecharias, Simeon, and the Angels, Ilie Hosanna of the young children, the praises paid to God by the disciples in the Acis, the doxologies of Paul, and the songs of the christian church in the book of the Revelation : Every beam of new light that broke into the world gave occasion of fresh joy to the saints, and they were taught to sing of salvation in all the degrees of its advancing glory.
Secondly, In the translation of Jewish songs for gospel-worship, if scripture affords us any example, we should be ready to follow it, and the management thereof should be a pattern for us. Now though the disciples and primitive christians bad so many and so vast occasions for praise, yet I know but two pieces of songs they borrowed from the book of Psalms, One is mention '. ed in Luke xix. 38. where tbe disciples assume a part of a verse from the cxviiith psalın, but sing it with alterations and additions to the words of David.
The other is the beginning of the second Psalm, sung by Peter and Julio and their company ; Acts iv. 23, 24, &c. You find there an addition of praise in the beginning, “Lord, thou art God, which bast made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is.” Then there is a narration of what David spokę, “Who by the ipouth of thy servant David, last said, &c. Next follow the two first verses of that psalm, but not in the very words of the psalmist : Afterwards an explication of the beathen, and the people, namely, the Gentiles and Israel: The kings and the rulers, namely, lIerod and Pontius Pilate, and the boly child Jesus, is God's anointed. Then there is an enlargement of the matter of fact, by a consideration of the hand of God in it, and the song ooncludes with the breathing of their desires towards God for mercies most precisely suited to their day and duty ; and you find when they had sung, they weyt to prayer in the assembly, and then they preached the word of God by the Holy Ghost, and with amazing success. O may I live to see psalmody performed in these evangelic beauties of holimess! May these ears of mine be entertained with such devotion in publie, sych prayer, such praise ? May these eyes behold such returning glory in the churches ! Then my soul shall be all admiration, my tongue shall humbly attempt to mingle in the worship, and assist the harmony and the joy. *!" After we have found the true method of translating Jewish songs for the use of the christian church, let us enquire also how lawful and necessary it is to compose spiritual songs of a mere evangelic frame for the use of divine worship under the gospel...
'The first argument I shall borrow from all the foregoing discourse concerning the, translation of the Psalms of David : For by that time they are fitted for christian Psalmody, and have all the partiolarities of circumstance that related to David's person, and tiines altered and suited to our present case; and the language of Judaism is changed into the style of the gospel ; the form and composure of the Psalm can hardly be called inspired or divine : only the materials or the sense contained therein may in a large sense be called the word of God, as it is borrotved from that werd. Why then may it not be esteemed as lawful to take