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Suitable for Public and Private Worship.
—with Appropriate Tunes—
24 DOUGLAS STREET.
F we admit that, to a devout Spirit, the reading of the whole Book
of Psalms and meditation thereon may be profitable, it does not
follow, by any means, that all the Psalms are suitable for worship. Unhappily, the early Reformers in Geneva thought otherwise. With the commendable desire of making united congregational singing attainable, they had the whole Psalter translated into metre, in the vernacular of the worshippers. The translators were adjured to adhere closely to the original and to avoid paraphrasing. The inevitable result was the inclusion of a great many Psalms and portions of Psalms quite out of keeping with the needs and ideas of Christian worship ; and as to the “drawing into English metre," the outcome was an abundance of what was common-place, laboured, and even grotesque. From these beginnings there emerged ultimately the complete English Psalter of 1562, and the Scottish Psalter of 1564— both containing much in common by the same English and Scottish translators.
In 1650 the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland having made a complete revision of its own previous Psalters, and of the version of the Psalms by Francis Rous—accepted at Westminster, although regarded askance at Edinburgh-authorised the present version of “The Psalms of David.” In some respects it is an improvement on its predecessors, but it perpetuates the old defects which must always limit the use of the metrical psalms. The Assembly erred with the Reformers in appointing the whole Psalter "to be sung in congregations," and their rhymers had the same difficulties in making their verses “agreeable to the text.”
It is patent to all that only a very small proportion of the metrical Psalms is in actual use. Indeed it may be affirmed that were less regard paid to the pressure of use and wont, and more to a due sense