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those of them who, like myself, are in any way antiquariati in their tastes.
Sir William, in a short preface, dated July 12, 1639, speaks thus modestly of his work :"It is not to be presumed, that this version, in the first draught, has attained the intended perfection. Let the reader observe and comport with this essay till (the Lord furnishing greater measure of light, and better conveniency of time) it be amended.” He dedicates it-"To all, the sincere seekers of the Lord, and in him spiritual furniture from the rich fountains of his holy word.” And he addresses them in the following prefatory lines, which afford a pleasing specimen of his poetical powers:
“Let not seem strange that here no studied phrase
My purpose is." The following is a specimen of his version of a wellknown and beautiful psalm. Your readers will observe how vastly superior it is to Sternhold's version which I gave in my former letter, and how nearly it approaches to our present version, of which it was evidently the groundwork:
I never shall complain;
Green pastures of the plain.
And doth my soul reclaim;
For glory of his name.
To pass I'll fear no ill;
And staff me comfort still.
In presence of my foes,
By thee my cup o'erflows.
With me shall surely stay,
Lord, I will dwell for aye."
: Shortly after the appearance of Rowallan's version, another candidate for the honour of being the versifier of the psalms, appeared in Scotland. This was Mr. Zachary Boyd, Minister of the Barony Church, Glasgow, from the year 1623 till his death in 1654. He was a very liberal benefactor to the College, and a bust of him still remains over the inner gate. He had a wonderful propensity to the writing of verse, but as a poet, he ranks very low. He unfortunately conceived, that the more literal his translations were, and the more familiar his language, the more useful were his labours. But the devout have been shocked at his vulgarity, and the profane have turned his homely verses into ridicule. He rendered the greater part of the Old Testament, from Genesis to Solomon's Song, into metre, under the title of “The Garden of Zion; wherein the life and death of godly and wicked men in the Scriptures are to be seen, &c.” printed at Glasgow, in 1644. He left, in manuscript, a metrical translation of the four Evangelists, and several volumes of what he styled, “Zion's Flowers, or Christian Poems for Spiritual Edification.” But he never translated the whole Bible into verse, as has been erroneously supposed; nor is any part in manuscript, save his version of the Gospel history. Dr. Jamieson and several other well qualified judges, have given it as their opinion, that the ludicrous passages commonly printed as Boyd's, are not really his. Amid his other occupations, he prepared a new translation of the Psalms in verse, which he was very ambitious of having adopted by the General Assembly. It had been published soon after Rowallan's Version appeared, as the third edition, which I have seen, was printed at Glasgow, in the year 1646. Principal Baillie, to whom I have already alluded, as en. tertaining a bigh opinion of Rowallan's Psalter, does not appear to have favoured this attempt of Boyd.
In one of his letters he thus writes :-"Our good friend, Mr. Zachary Boyd, has put himself to a great deal of pains and charges to make a psalter; but I ever warned him his hopes were groundless to get it received in our cburches; yet the flatteries of his unadvised neighbours make him insist in his fruitless design.” And he attributes the slowness with which the Assembly proceeded in the publication of the present version to the opposition of Mr. Boyd's partisans. * Had it not been,” he says, "for some who had more regard than needed to Mr. Zachary Boyd's Psalter, I
think the Psalms had passed through in the end of last Assembly.” This version, however, is not without oC. casional, passages of considerable merit; and as it was, in common with Rowallan's, used by the brethren who red vised and published the present authorised version, it furnished the groundwork of several of our psalms as they now stand. As a favourable specimen ofits character, I subjoin the translation of two short psalms, which, in my opinion, is superior to our present version :
Ye nations great and small!
On earth, ye people all.
To us doth still afford,
Praise ye always the Lord.”
Mine eyes not lofty be;:
Or tltings too high for me.
As of his mother mild
Is as a weaned child,
Stilf hope and him adore
And so for evermore."
The three versions to which I have referred, and of which I have given specimens in this letter, namely, those by King James and Lord Stirling, by Sir William Mure of Rowallan, and by Mr. Zachary Boyd, appear to have been all that were published prior to the present version. i Your readers are therefore now prepared to enter on the history of the origin, progress, and final adoption of this version by the Church of Scotland, which I intend to lay before them in my next letter.
I am, &c.
ORTHODOXY SAFE AND SUSTAINING IN THE HOUR
The hour of death has been justly called an honest hour; and a death-bed is truly said to be a detector of the heart. Death is a season eminently trying; it puts to the test, not only the reality of our personal religion as opposed to hypocrisy and self-deception, but also the soundness of our religious system as qualified to sustain the soul when coming into contact with the light and with the realities of eternity. Unmindful as men are of their latter end, they admit that they are destined for another state of existence; and a variety of religious systems compete with each other for the homage of our discipleship. In health,-in ease,-in the pride of understanding, while nothing occurs to show us the folly of trusting in our own hearts, or the foolishness of that which may have hitherto passed for wisdom in our own estimate, we may be disposed to regard religious sentiment as unimportant,-a matter of doubtful disputation,--and totally unconnected with our peace and acceptance. When we come to die, however, if our minds be rightly influenced and employed, we will feel very differently; and the truth or falsehood of our religious system will be found to affect the helps and consolations of the dying hour. That religious system which is best fitted to sustain and cheer the soul amid the last alarms, carries certainly in itself a presumptive evidence of its truth; it is entitled to our assent and veneration, and ought to be cherished in our warmest affections. Such a system is that denominated Orthodoxy or Evangelical truth. That it, and it only, is qualified to support the soul in the hour of death, will appear if we consider the foundation on which it leads the soul to build, the aids which it prompts the soul to call in,-and the exemplification of its efficacy furnished by multitudes.
The foundation on which Orthodoxy leads the soul to build for eternity, is a tried and sure foundation. This is nothing less than the mercy of God, exhibited in the atoning sacrifice of the Redeemer. “ Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”! In the sacrifice of Jesus the penalty of the law is inflicted to the utmost, and yet the fulness of pardon is extended to the guilty; justice is satisfied, yet mercy triumphs,
and both harmonize and shine forth gloriously. Whether in life or in death the sacrifice of Jesus can be the soul's only sure dependence,-its only screen from wrath,—the only ground on which it can take its stand with safety and acceptance before the Judge of all. On this ground the believing soul is not only safe and made to be accepted, but it feels persuaded that it is so; it dreads no condemnation, because it knows that through the blood of expiation it is justified from every charge; and therefore, instead of viewing the approach of death with apprehension and dismay, it awaits ils arrival with firmness and composure, resigning itself to its desired rest, as infancy yields itself to sweet repose on the maternal bosom. He that relies for redemption on the blood of Christ, is fully satisfied with the ground of his security. What believer ever entertained a doubt of the adequacy of this Rock to sustain him? What dying Christian ever felt a fear respecting the sufficiency of the Redeeiner's sacrifice to cover all his guilt ? Instances there are indeed of Christians not having attained the full assurance of being built upon the foundation, but none respecting the sufficiency of the great foundation itself. Is there not every thing in the redemption of Christ calculated to expel fear to inspire hope, to exhibit God as amiable, banishing from our minds, with respect to him, all dread and distrust,--all enmity and disaffection, and drawing towards bim our affection and confidence ? On whatever account dread of death may distress the soul, it is met and dispelled by a belieping view of the sacrifice of Christ. Does a consciousness of guilt fill us with apprehension ? Behold the. sacrifice of Christ; it makes reconciliation for transgressors, and takes away the sin of the world. . Are we afraid to die, lest we should meet an offended God? Behold in the sacrifice of his Son, God's great declaration and proof of bis love--bis glorious expedient for the redemption and reconciliation of sinners without being unjust to himself, or imputing unto them their trespasses. If any fear to die, or have fears in dying, it is in direct opposition to all that the sacrifice of Christ exhibits of God, of death, and of futurity, and the cause is to be attributed entirely to the absence or defectiveness of their faith. Christians have peace and joy in believing: in proportion to the degree of their faith, is the height of their triumph; and it has been the attainment of thousands not only to have