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FOR MAY, 1823.

ART. I. Observations upon the Metrical Version of the

Psalms, made by Sternhold, Hopkins, and Others: with a view to illustrate the Authority with which this Collection was at first admitted, and how that Authority has been since regarded, in the Public Service of the Established Church of England; and thence to maintain, in this Venerable Service, the Usage of such Metrical Psalmody only as is duly authorized. With Notices of other En glish Metrical Versions of the Psalms. By the Rev. Henry John Todd, M.A. F.S.A. Chaplain in Ordinary to his Majesty, and Rector of Settrington, County of

York. 8vo. pp. 120. 48. Rivingtons. 1822. ART. II. An Inquiry into Historical Facts, relative to

Parochial Psalmody, in reference to the Remarks of the Right Rev. Herbert, Lord Bishop of Peterborough. By Jonathan Gray. 8vo. pp. 80.2s. Seely. 1821.

WHATEVER difficulties may exist respecting the authority upon which our Church Psalmody rests, the history of its origin and progress is sufficiently plain. . The practice of congregational Psalm-singing became popular at an early æra of the Reformation, was noticed and permitted in the Statutes of Edward the VIth. and still farther protected by: the Injunctions of Elizabeth. Without being enjoined in the Liturgy or Act of Uniformity, it was received as an established and lawful custom, and was oonfined, for any thing that has yet been discovered to the contrary, to what are now generally known as the authorised versions of the Psalms of David, and to the small collection of festival hymns which the printed copies of those versions have always contained.

We are not aware that any material or notorious innovations occurred before the middle of the last century. At that period, Church-psalmody was at a low ebb, and with a

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VOL. XIX, MAY, 1823.

view of rendering it at once more universal and more edifying, selections were printed from various translations of the psalms, and from the most approved and popular hymns. This practice is still to be observed in a considerable portion of our Churches, and although not strictly legal, and therefore not strictly proper, it is neither a iest nor a symptom of a non-conformist spirit; but is adopted by sound, though indiscreet members of the Church of England.

There is another custom by no means to be confounded with the preceding, which like it is much more common than a sober Churchman could wish-ma custom not of furnish, ing a congregation with ten or a dozen short hymns selected from Kenn or Addison, or other writers of the same stamp, but of publishing a massy volume of hymns collected from every point of the theological compass, culled from all the sweets of all the sects under heaven. This system originated with Wesley and Whitfield, and is confined with few exceptions to their disciples. It is not less at variance with the letter than with the spirit of our ecclesiastical laws. And nothing remains but for the Governors of the Church to prohibit such proceedings; and the Clergy in general to take away the pretence for them by abandoning any irregular · psalmody to which they or their congregations may have become accustomed.

The first of these indispensable steps has been taken by more than one of our Prelates, and has met the fate of every other attempt to check the uncanonical inclinations of an active and numerous party. The Appendix to the Bishop of Peterborough's Primary Charge contains a short and satisfactory exposition of the laws respecting Psalmody, and an intimation that they must be complied with in his Lordship’s Diocese. He is met as is usual in similar cases, first by a denial of his right to interfere, and secondly with a threat of the consequences of his interference. Pamphlets and Reviews are set at work; ignorance and misrepresentation are pressed into the service, and with the civil sneers of evangelical wit and the characteristic closeness of evangelical logic, Bishop Marsh is proved to be an illinformed and tyrannical ruler. The process by which this feat bas been achieved is sufficiently singular to demand attention. And the exposnre, happily for our readers, is as plain, as it is unanswerable.

Mr. Gray' of York is the Bishop of Peterborough's principal opponent. He does not enter into the difficult question of the King's right to issue ecclesiastical injunctions, not inconsistent with the Statute or Canon Law of the realm.

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