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Every Sabbath afternoon there was a contribution. One of the deacons stood in his place before the people and said, “Brethren of the congregation, now there is time left for contribution; wherefore, as God hath prospered you, so freely offer.” Then the people passed up to the deacons' seat with their offerings. “The magistrates and chief gentlemen went first, then the elders, then all the congregation of men, and most of them that are not of the church, all single persons, widows, and women in absence of their husbands.” Sometimes they brought money and sometimes other things.

The singing was without accompaniment. They adhered to the words of the prophet, “I will not hear the melody of thy viols,” and they rejected the idolatrous performance with cornet and dulcimer which Nebuchadnezzar delighted in. In the first century there were seldom more than five tunes, and the hymn was read line by line and sung in instalments. In 1640 the Bay Psalm Book was printed. One verse will show the character of the poetry:--

The Lord to mee a Shepheard is,
Want therefore shall not I,
Hee in the folds of tender-grasse,
Doth cause mee down to lie;
To waters calme me gently leads
Restore my soule doth hee;
He doth in paths of righteousnes
For his name's sake lead mee.

As we look back to those times it seems as if life must have been dull and hard. It would be so to us if we were placed in it, but if we had been born into it it would not have been so. Those who had come from England felt the difference between the old world and the new; but they did not look for much comfort in the wilderness, and whatever they lacked, they had themselves and their books and their own

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1640 AD (1)
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