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HE Chriftian Church has in all Ages, with great Reafon, appointed the Pfalms to be conftantly read in its Publick Service: There being no Book in the Holy Scrip tures, wherein are fuch high Raptures of Devotion, tranfmitting to Mankind the most awful and fublime Ideas of the Supreme Being, and the Immenfity of his Goodness in the Redemption of the World by the MES
THE learned Dr. Hammond, in his Preface to the Paraphrafe on the Pfalms, fays, CC That the Fathers of the Church affure us, r that in the first Ages of Chriftianity, Pfalmody was the conftant Attendant, fometimes of their Meals, generally of their Business, in the Shop and in the Field: That they learnt the whole Book by Heart, and their whole Age continued finging or faying Pfalms.
THERE is nothing, certainly, doth more prepare the Mind for the highest Felicities, than the Contemplation and Love of the Su
preme Being; for infinite Goodness, Omnipotence, and Omnifcience, do dilate, awe, and chear the Spirits, while they are fixed upon them; the Ideas of which, together with their Effects, as conveyed to the Mind in this Sacred Book, are the best Help to Divine Contemplation, as will appear in the few Inftances following: Viz..
WHEN the Royal Prophet contemplates the Almighty Power of the Creator, it is thus expreffed
Pfal. viii. 1. O Lord, bow excellent is thy Name in all the Earth! thou haft fet thy Glory above the Heavens.
Pf. cii. 25, 26. And thou, Lord, in the Beginning haft laid the Foundation of the Earth, and the Heavens are the Work of thine Hands; they shall perish, but thou remaineft.
Pf. xc. 2. Before the Mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the Earth and the World, even from everlafting to everlafting, thou art God.
WHEN he fings of the Mercy of the LORD, and would make known his Faithfulness to all Generations, in how lofty a Manner does the Pfalmift exprefs it?
Pf. lxxxix. 2,5,6. 1 have faid, Mercy Shall be built up for ever, and thy Faithfulness halt thou establish in the very Heavens: And the Heavens fhall praise thy Wonders, O Lord, and thy Faithfulness in the Congregation of the Saints; for who is be in the Heavens that can be compared unto the Lord? Who among the Sons of the Mighty can be likened unto the Lord? WITH
WITH what Thankfulness and Joy does he acknowledge the Divine Goodness?
Pf. ciii. Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and all that is within me blefs his holy Name; who forgiveth all thine Iniquities, who healeth all thy Diseases, who redeemeth thy Life from Deftruction.
WHEN he contemplates the Condefcenfion of GOD to Mankind, with what Solemnity doth he reflect upon it?
Pf. viii. When I confider thy Heavens, the Work of thy Fingers, the Moon and the Stars, which thou haft ordained; what is Man, that thou art mindful of him? or the Son of Man, that thou vifiteft him?
WHEN he expreffes the Sense of his Guilt, and implores Pardon, with what Humility doth he proftrate himfelf? ·
Pf. li. Have Mercy upon me, O God, acording to to thy loving Kindness; according to the Multitude of thy tender Mercies, blot out my Tranfgreffions; wash me throughly from mine Iniquity, and cleanfe me from my Sin; for I acknowledge my Tranfgreffion, and my Sin is ever before me: Behold, I was hapen in Iniquity, and in Sin did my Mother conceive me.
WHEN he expreffes his Hope in GoD, with what Confidence is it fix'd?
Pf. xlvi. God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in Trouble; therefore will we not fear, though the Earth be removed, and though the Mountains be carried into the
midst of the Sea; for the Lord of Hofts is with us, the God of Jacob is our Refuge.
WHEN the Pfalmift implores the Divine Favour, with what Elegancy doth he express the Vehemence of his Defires?
Pf. xlii. As the Hart panteth after the Water-brooks, Jo panteth my Soul after thee, O God. My Soul thirfteth for God, for the living God. Early will I feek thee; my Soul thirfteth for thee, my Flesh longeth after thee, to fee thy Power and thy Glory.
WHEN he speaks of the Kingdom of the MESSIAH, how fublime are the Reprefentations of his Grandeur and Magnificence?
Pf. cxlv. I will extol thee, O God, my King, and will blefs thy Name for ever and ever. All thy Works shall praise thee, O Lord, and thy Saints shall bless thee; they Shall Speak of the Glory of thy Kingdom, and talk of thy Power; to make known to the Sons of Men his mighty Acts, and the glorious Majefty of bis Kingdom. Thy Kingdom is an everlafting Kingdom, and thy Dominion endureth throughout all Generations.
IF the brightest Ideas, and fublimest Expreffions of the most celebrated POETS be compared with thefe, they will appear to be flat and mean: These are Thoughts too elevated for any thing less than an inspired Heart to conceive.
AS the PSALMS contain Matters of a very different Nature, fome Parts being Prophecies, and others Supplications; I have