LITERARY AND EDUCATIONAL IDEALS
[In their purified church service Puritan congregations sang a psalm. Soon after Massachusetts Bay was settled, a committee of ministers, the chief of whom was Richard Mather, began work on a translation, and it was undoubtedly he who wrote the preface□ when The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Metre was sent to press, the first book to be printed at Cambridge, in 1640. Seventeen hundred copies were issued, of which few survive today; those that do fetch fantastic prices. In the course of the next century, some twenty-five editions were called for.
The preface is a frank expression of the difficulties the Puritan conscience faced when introducing into the religious life anything so sensual as rhyme and meter. In the statement of rhetorical principles it also succinctly defines the plain style.]
The singing of psalms, though it breathe forth nothing but holy harmony and melody, yet such is the subtlety of the Enemy--and the enmity of our nature against the Lord and His ways--that our hearts can find matter of discord in this harmony, and crotchets of division in this holy melody.
For, there have been three questions especially stirring____________________