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THE singing of Psalms and Hymns has ever formed a delightful part of the worship of God. The injunctions of Scripture upon the subject are very express. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Eph. v. 19.– Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Cor. iii. 16.15 any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Jas. v. 13.; and the singing the praises of the Lamb is represented as the blessed employment in which his redeemed people will be engaged through all eternity. See Rev. iv. 8; v. 9; xiy. 3.
We are led to suppose that our Lord himself was accustomed to sing hymns with his disciples. And when they had sung an hymn they went out into the mount of Olives. Mat. xxvi. 30. It was by uniting together, - at midnight, in prayer and in singing praises to God, that Paul and Silas, in the prison at Philippi, testified their peace and joy in believing;" and sought for support and consolation amidst all the sufferings which they
were enduring for Christ's sake. In the succeeding ages, when the disciples of Jesus were persecuted by the Roman Emperors, one of the charges brought against
them was, “ that they met to sing hymns to Christ as to God.”—Pliny's Letters to Trajan, xcvii.
This sacred custom has continued through every period of Christianity; and the following is one of Queen Elizabeth's injunctions to the Clergy, 1559:
:-" It has been further permitted, that there may be sung a hymn or such-like song to the praise of Almighty God, in the best method and music that may be conveniently devised, having respect that the sentence of the hymn may be understood and perceived."-Sparrow's Collect. Art. Con. 1684.
That all who use the following Collection may, through the grace of God, be enabled to sing with the spirit and with the understanding, (1 Cor. xiv. 15,) and be of the blessed number who shall in heaven sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, (REV. xv. 3,) is the sincere prayer of
N.B. The stanzas included in the brackets may be omitted in singing, as some of the hymns may otherwise be too long.