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old version of the kirk of Scotland, is an instance where the poet (if a poet he was) has yielded all his claims to a literal rendering of the psalm; while, in the work of Mr. Merrick, the author has allowed such free range to his poetical powers, that sometimes we discover but faint traces of the inspired text. Most of the following portions have been selected as a medium, uniting good poetry with an adherence to the original. Others are paraphrases—for, when a paraphrase was found to express the spirit of the psalm, or accommodate it to the purposes of public devotion, better than a more literal translation, it was preferred. It will be remarked, that the verses in each portion remain in their original order, except in very few instances. When the psalms are disjointed, and unconnected verses brought together, as is frequently done, certainly what is thus produced, cannot, with propriety, be called the Psalms of David,
Some of the sublimest portions of the Psalter cannot be converted into our Church metres with any success. For instance, a poetical translation of the 68th psalm should be an irregular ode--any of the ordinary metres would cramp to destruction its bold and varied strains. Where, too, shall we find satisfactory metre versions of the former part of the 18th, 22nd, 78th, 104th, &c.?- The only way in which these, and similar psalms can be em
ployed in public worship, without destroying their force and beauty, is to chant them as they stand in the
prose translation. The selection has been ade from the works of Tate and Brady, Merrick, Watts, Mrs. Steele, Montgomery, Goode, B. Wood, and many otherswith all of whom great liberty has been taken in the way of alteration. Their compositions have in so many instances been modified, and the verses of one blended with those of another, in the same psalm, that their names have not been affixed to the portions. Occasionally to supply a line or verse, and rarely a psalm or hymn, an attempt has been made at original composition; but only when necessity required.
With respect to the hymns, pains have been taken to adapt them to the various subjects and occasions for which they are needed. They have been selected from a large number of authors, with whose works the same freedom has been used, as in compiling the psalms. With the hope of improvement, they have been freely altered-in doing which, great assistance was derived from a “ Selection of Psalms and Hymns,” published under the patronage of the Archbishop of York, in which many old compositions appear in a new and improved dress. It is hoped that the object constantly in view in making the compilation, has, in a good degree, been attained-viz. the union of good poetry and evangelical sentiment.
The metres are those to which tunes may be found in almost any modern collection of sacred music.
The question may occur, why was not this publication postponed until the appearance of the work said to be in contemplation by the English poets? But, it does not appear that such a work is seriously projected—and, if it were, it is questionable whether it would really be an addition to our devotional poetry. Southey, Scott, and Moore, might produce elegant verses; but, it is doubtful whether they would write many lines of the sort of poetry needed in our congregations. It is to be feared that their harps have not been tuned to the Songs of Zion.
I conclude, with repeating that the object of this book is to show the possibility of bettering our Psalmody. It is published as an humble argument for improvement, in a subject materially connected with the growth of piety, and our worshipping the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
W, A, M.
Psalm I. (c. M.) 1 Bless'p is the man who shuns the place
Where the ungodly meet;
There all his thoughts abide; His solace through the glooms of night,
By day his constant guide. 3 As some fair tree, whose roots are spread
Where living streams abound, Lifts up on high its verdant head,
With fruitful clusters crown'd;
The planting of the Lord,
Their timely fruit afford.
Like chaff before the wind;
Nor slighted mercy
And crowns with endless days; But sinners to destruction turns
They perish in their ways.
(8. M.) Appointed by the Church for Easter day— The opposition of Jew and Gentile to the Messiah-His victory and exaltation.
See Acts, iv, 25. 1 Why do the heathen rage!
Why vain attempts combine?
And his anointed join.
He bids their rage be still: “ Messiah I have made
Attend the great decree:
Have I begotten thee.
Shall thy possessions be;
Shall own thy sov'reignty. 5 The nations that rebel
Shall know thy iron rod,
of their God." 6 Therefore be wise ye kings;
Ye judges, now give ear:
And serve the Lord with fear. 7 Kiss the beloved Son;
Let not his wrath arise;
(o. M.) 1 Lord, how my numerous foes increase!
How fast my troubles rise!