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according to their subjects, and the occasions on which the Translator conceived them to have been sung or recited. This will be found strongly to ile lustrate the observations contained in the extract; and both together may afford to the reader a pretty accurate idea as to what must have been Bishop Horsley's particular view of the Book of Psalms, and of the grounds on which he founded his application of so many of them to the Messiah, and the state of the Church in the later ages.
- Of all the books of the Old Testament, the * Book of Psalms is the most universally read, but, • I fear, as little as any understood. This cannot be ' ascribed to any extraordinary obscurity of these
Sacred Songs, for of all the prophetic parts of the Scriptures they are certainly the most perspicuous. • But it is owing partly, I fear, to some dullness of • the faculties of the natural man upon spiritual sub‘jects, and partly to the misapplied labours of mo'dern expositors, who have employed much inge
nuity and learning to find the immediate sub‘ject of every Psalm, either in the history of the Jewish nation, or in the occurrences of the life of
• It is true, that many of the Psalms are commemorative of the miraculous interpositions of God • in behalf of the chosen people; for, indeed, the
history of the Jews is a fundamental part of reveal*ed religion. Many were probably composed upon • the occasion of remarkable passages in David's life,
his dangers, his afflictions, his deliverances. But ' of those which relate to the public history of the ' natural Israel, there are few in which the fortunes of the mystical Israel, the Christian Church, are
not adumbrated; and of those which allude to the : life of David, there are none in which the Son of • David is not the principal and immediate subject. • David's complaints against his enemies are Mes• siah's complaints, first, of the unbelieving Jews, & then of the heathen persecutors, and the apostate • faction in later ages. David's afflictions are the • Messiah's sufferings. David's penitential supplica
tions are the supplications of Messiah in agony, • under the burden of the impated guilt of man. · David's songs of triumph and thanksgiving are ? Messiah's songs of triumph and thanksgiving, for • his victory over sin, and death, and hell. In a
word, there is not a page of this Book of Psalms • in which the pious reader will not find his Saviour, • if he reads with a view of finding him; and it was 'but a just encomium of it that came from the pen • of one of the early Fathers, that it is a complete
system of divinity for the use and edification of 'the common people of the Christian Church. In
deriving this edification from it, which it is calcu·lated to convey, they may receive much assistance ' from a work, which the ignorance of modern re• finement would take out of their hands. * I speak
of the old singing Psalms, the metrical version of • Sternhold and Hopkins. This is not, what I believe
it is now generally supposed to be, nothing better • than an awkward versification of a former English
translation: it was an original translation from the * Hebrew text, earlier, by many years, than the
prose translation in the Bible; and of all that are • in any degree paraphrastic, as all in verse in some degree must be, it is the best and most exact we have, to put into the hands of the common people.
* The Bishop's observations on the preference due to the version of Sternhold and Hopkins, over the versions of a later date, may seem to have little connection with the present work; but as they contain his opinion on an important point, the Editor deemed it ad. visable to insert them.
• The authors of this version considered the verse * merely as a contrivance to assist the memory.
They were little studious of the harmony of their * numbers, or the elegance of their diction : But they were solicitous to give the full and precise sense of the sacred text, according to the best of their judgment; and their judgment, with the excep• tion of some few passages, was very good; and, at • the same time that they adhered scrupulously to • the letter, they contrived to express it in such
terms as, like the original, might point clearly to • the spiritual meaning. It was a change much for the worse, when the pedantry of pretenders to • taste in literary composition thrust out this excel.
lent translation from many of our churches, to • make room for what still goes by the name of the New Version, that of Tate and Brady, which, in many places where the Old Version is just, accurate, and dignified by its simplicity, is careless and inadequate, and, in the poverty and littleness of its style, contemptible. The innovation, when . it was first attempted, was opposed, though, in the end, unsuccessfully, by the soundest divines, the
most accomplished scholars, and the men of the truest taste, at that time, in the seat of authority
' in the Church of England. It will be an alteration still more for the worse, if both these versions • should be made to give place to another of later date, departing still farther from the strict letter of the text, and compensating its want of accuracy by ' nothing better than the meretricious ornaments of • modern poetry.
• These Psalms go, in general, under the name of “the Psalms of David. King David gave a regular . and noble form to the musical part of the Jewish • service. He was himself a great composer, both in poetry and music, and a munificent Patron, no
doubt, of arts in which he himself so much delight• ed and excelled. The Psalms, however, appear to • be compositions of various authors, in various ages; * some much more antient than the times of King • David, some of a much later age. Of many, David • himself was undoubtedly the Author; and that • those of his composition were prophetic, we have · David's own authority, which may be allowed to
overpower a host of modern expositors. For thus, • King David, at the close of his life, describes him• self and his sacred songs :-" David, the son of “ Jesse, said, and the man who was raised up on
high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the