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PSALMS OF DAVID
THE VERSION APPROVED BY THE KIRK OF SCOTLAND,
AND APPOINTED TO BE USED IN WORSHIP.
INTRODUCTORY AND MARGINAL NOTES
BY THE LATE W. K. TWEEDIE, D.D.
EDINBURGH ; AND NEW YORK.
T seems due to those for whom this volume is intended, to offer some explanation of its design.
The Apostle Paul has said with great emphasis, “I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” (1 Cor. xiv. 15). He is discoursing of miraculous gifts, but his resolution belongs to all true worship. In praising God, every faculty of the mindaffections, will, understanding—ought to be in fullest exercise. The Psalmist, in like manner, with characteristic ardour and urgency has said, “Sing praises to God, sing praises : sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth : sing ye praises with understanding” (Ps. xlvii. 6, 7). He would not be satisfied with an empty form of praise, and would enlist the great controlling power of the mind in that service to which his own life was so signally devoted.
There is reason to fear, however, that the spirit of such words is too often overlooked or forgotten among us. Much attention is given in our day, and very properly, to the culture of music, and psalmody receives
a considerable share of it; but to inform the understanding, and train it to do as Paul resolved and as David summons all to do, is not so common. When the Psalms are sung, for example, it is assumed that they are sufficiently understood—their spirit, and scope, and aspirations. If there be those in a congregation or a family to whom the passage selected for praise has but little meaning, attempts are seldom made to instruct them; and praise thus becomes too much a cold and heartless form.
The present edition of our metrical version of the Psalms is intended to aid in remedying this defect. The excellent Matthew Henry's remarks on the Psalms have been published along with our version, apart from his general commentary. The same has been done with the well known David Dickson's « Annotations
on the Psalms; and Brown of Haddington published an edition of our metre version, with similar remarks and a similar design. The difference, however, between the plan of these volumes, and the present is this : The remarks or notes of Henry, Dickson, and Brown, were printed at the commencement of each psalm, in the form of a heading, so that the connection between the explanation and the passage explained was not always manifest, and some pains were needed to connect them. In this edition, the explanatory notes, which have been prepared with a
good deal of care, are placed in a marginal column opposite the portion of the psalm to which the explanations refer,- 80 as to catch easily the eye, and engage without effort the attention, of the worshipper. Not, of course, that any device of this kind can of itself secure that “singing with the understanding” to which Scrip-, ture calls us. The heart must be touched and taught by the Spirit of God ere praise can be what it ought--even as we know that wherever the Spirit comes to revive the Churches, a revived spirit of praise forthwith appears. Still, difficulties may be removed out of the worshipper's path ; and to assist in removing them is the design of this volume.
It has not been thought desirable to append notes partaking of the character of a commentary. Those placed on the margin are simply designed to indicate, in the briefest manner, the subject with which the worshipper is engaged, or to suggest the spirit which it ought to call forth. The few other notes which occur are explanatory of peculiarities in certain of the psalms
-as, for instance, the alphabetic psalms, and the psalms of degrees.
A closing sentence may not be out of place respecting our metrical version, now so venerable for its age, and surrounded by so many endearing associations. That its versification is not seldom rugged—that it has little of