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T. COMBE, A. M., E. PICKARD HALL, ET H. LATHAM, A. M.

ACADEMIAE TYPOGRAPHI.

HYMNI ECCLESIAE.

PARS I.

E BREVIARIO PARISIENSI.

PREFACE.

Of the three kinds of poetical composition which, in accordance with the Apostle's direction, have ever been in use in the Church, "Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs," two are supplied by inspiration. We have no need, through God's bounty, to turn our thoughts to the composition of Psalms or Songs; and, to judge from the attempts which have been made, doubtless we are unequal to it. And the unapproachable excellence of the two which have been supplied serves to suggest the difficulties which beset the composition of the third which has not been supplied. Indeed, it is hardly too strong to say that to write Hymns is as much beyond us as to originate Psalmody. The peculiarity of the Psalms is their coming nearer than any other kind of devotion to a converse with the powers of the unseen world. They are longer and freer

than Prayers; and, as being so, are less a direct address to the Throne of Grace than a sort of intercourse, first with oneself, then with one's brethren, then with Saints and Angels, nay, even the world and all creatures. They consist mainly of the praises of God; and the very nature of praise involves a certain abstinence from intimate approaches to Him, and the introduction of other beings into our thoughts, through whom our offering may come round to Him. For as He, and He only, is the direct object of prayer, so it is more becoming not to regard Him as directly addressed in praise, which would imply passing a judgment on Him who is above all scrutiny and all standards. The Seraphim cried one to another, "Holy, Holy, Holy," veiling their faces; neither looking nor speaking to Him. The Psalms, then, as being praises and thanksgivings, are the language, the ordinary converse, as it may be called, of Saints and Angels in heaven; and, being such, could not be written except by men who had heard the

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unspeakable things" which there are uttered. In this light they are more difficult than Prayers. Beggars can express their wants to a prince; they cannot converse like his courtiers.

Much the same remark may be made about the Songs or Canticles of the Church, which are also inspired, and are a kind of Psalms written for particular occasions, chiefly occasions of thanksgiving. Such are the two Songs of Moses, the Song of Hannah, those in Isaiah, the Song of Hezekiah,

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