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HE Christian Church has in all
Ages, with great Reafon, appointT
ed the Psalms to be constantly read in its Publick Service: There
being no Book in the Holy Scriptures, wherein are such high Raptures of Devotion, transmitting to Mankind the most awful and sublime Ideas of the Supreme Being, and the Immensity of his Goodness in the Redemption of the World by the Mes
THE learned Dr. Hammond, in his Preface to the Paraphrase on the Psalms, says, “ That the Fathers of the Church assure us, " that in the first Ages of Christianity, Psal
mody was the constant 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 singing or “ saying Psalms.
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 Omniscience, do dilate, awé, 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 Instances following : Viz.
WHEN the Royal Prophet contemplates the Almighty Power of the Creator, it is thus expressed
Psal. viii. 1. O Lord, bow excellent is thy Name in all the Earth! thou hast set thy Glory above the Heavens.
Ps. cit. 25, 26. And thou, Lord, in the Beginning haft Taid the Foundation of the Earth, and the Heavens are the Work of thine Hands ; they shall perish, brit thou remaineft.
Pl. xc. 2. Before the Mountains were brought forth, or ever thou badst formed the Earth and the World, even from everlasting to everlafting, thou art God.
WHEN he sings of the Mercy of the LORD, and would make known his Faithfulness to all Generations, in how lofty a Manner does the Psalmist express it?
Pf. lxxxix. 2, 5,6. I have said, Mercy Mall be built up for ever, and thy Faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very Heavens : And the Heavens shall 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 what Thankfulness and Joy does he acknowledge the Divine Goodness
Pf. ciii. Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and all that is within me bless his holy Name; who forgiveth all thine Iniquities, who healeth all thy Diseases, who redeemeth thy Life from Destruction.
WHEN he contemplates the Condescenfion of God to Mankind, with what Solemnity doth he reflect upon it ?
Pf. viii. When I consider 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 visitest him?
WHEN he expresses the Sense of his Guilt, and implores Pardon, with what. Humility doth he prostrate himself ? .
Pfli. Have Mercy upon me, O God, according to to thy loving Kindness ; according to the Multitude of thy tender Mercies, blot out my Tranfgreflions; wash me throughly from mine Iniquity, and cleanse me from my Sin ; for I acknowledge my Transgression, and my Sin is ever before me : Bebold, I was mapen in Iniquity, and in Sin did my Mother conceive me.
WHEN he expresses 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 Mount ains be carried into the
midt of the Sea ; for the Lord of Hofts is with us, the God of Jacob is our Refuge.
WHEN the Psalmist implores the Divine Favour, with what Elegancy doth he express the Vehemence of his Desires ?
Ps. xlii. As the Hart panteth after the Water-brooks, jo panteth my Soul after thee, O God. My Soul thirftetb for God, for the living God. Early will I seek thee ; my Soul thirfteth for thee, my Flesh longeth after thee, to see thy Power and thy Glory.
WHÉN he speaks of the Kingdom of the MESSIAH, how sublime are the Representations of his Grandeur and Magnificence ?
Pl. cxlv. I will extol thee, O God, my King, and will bless thy Name for ever and ever. All thy Works Thall praise thee, O Lord, and thy Saints Mall bless thee ; they Nall speak of the Glory of thy Kingdom, and talk of thy Power ; to make known to the Sons of Men his mighty Afts, and the glorious Majesty of bis Kingdom. Thy Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and thy Dominion endureth throughout all Generations.
IF the brightest Ideas, and sublimest Expressions of the most celebrated Poets be compared with these, 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