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James Dodson

THE work to which the following pages are intended as a reply, purports to be a review of Dr. Pressly on Psalmody, by Rev. George Morton, of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Morton would, so far as I am concerned, have remained forever unnoticed, had he not made a foul attack upon that version of the Psalms which is sung in the church to which I have the honor to belong, and in sundry other Presbyterian Churches of high respectability.

I am far from having so low an opinion of Mr. Morton’s readers as to imagine that any of them are so ignorant or stupid, as to be unable to discover the true character of his statements respecting our metre Psalms, if they would but take the trouble to make the investigation. But there are some who are too charitable to suspect that a man of his standing, would, for the purpose of making out a favorite position, heap together assertions utterly untrue in point of fact; others, who never take the trouble to inquire into the truth of what they read; and others who, wishing above all things to have the Scottish version of the Psalms of David brought into discredit, wisely refrain from examining anything which is said against them, lest the pleasing information should prove untrue: I thought it good, for the accommodation of these three classes of readers, to hold up Mr. Morton in a light so conspicuous, that they cannot fail to see him in his true character.

In my animadversions upon Mr. Morton’s strictures on Dr. Pressly’s excellent work on Psalmody, my design is, not to defend Dr. Pressly,—for he needs no defence in this case,—but to show how much credit is due to Mr. Morton for candor and judgment. The Dr.’s work speaks for itself.

Towards Mr. Morton I cherish no ill-feeling; nor am I conscious that in the following Reply I do him any injustice, If any one is disposed to censure the tone of my strictures, the character of the work which I have under review, is my apology. I would have been very greatly pleased if Mr. Morton had written a book which might, with propriety, have been answered in a different style.

It is my sincere wish and earnest prayer, that if the principles advocated by Mr. Morton should have the ill-success to fall a prey to the flames of that fire which “will try every man’s work of what sort it is,—he himself may be saved;” at least “so as by fire.”