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revolutions of human society. It is growing evil. Under the impulse of an inquiry then of great magnitude that powerful call, there is a sort of and difficulty, fitted for the highest general motion in the mind of society and strongest minds, and utterly re- towards such resistance. There is an mote from the disquisitions of mere acknowledgment of something to be ordinary conversation.
done ; and an uneasy zeal to begin But can we be contented merely to some great work of opposition to the believe this? When the evil urges undefined active principle of mischief, and presses us,—when our ears are which we witness only in its operashocked, and our hearts are wrung, tion. with daily accounts of ferocious deeds But still the difficulty and the doubt and fearful domestic wickedness, recur. What is the reinedy required ? when we know, that in the very streets What is the essential evil against which around us, in the dwellings that are we would contend? What is the prinbuilt around our own, there is conta- ciple in nature we would seek to coungion spreading over the lives of men,- teract? and the powers we can bring can we be satisfied in heart or thought to that opposition? Such questions as to say, that the understanding of the these seem to throw us at once into evil is too high for our knowledge, the widest fields of almost indefinite and therefore to separate ourselves speculation. Though still unconvinced, from all part in resisting it? We are we are still unsatisfied; for we can not to be so repelled or silenced. And never persuade ourselves that, in the yet, assuredly there seems plausible midst of general calamity, and under ground of doubt as to the success of the pressure of common evil, there is remedies, which are to be attempted not something that lies at each man's without intelligence of the disorder; hand to be done, which requires only and nothing seems plainer than that common feeling and common prudence to understand a disorder must be to to know and do. understand its cause; nothing clearer, We are unsatisfied when, seeking than that a cause, which lies in the to engage in action, we are thrown condition and constitution of human back on speculation. But what does society, can only be understood by un- that unsatisfied feeling argue? Have derstanding that condition and that we a right to expect satisfaction ? May constitution.
not the defect lie in ourselves? Do we But what is the evil itself of which know that condition of mind, which, we speak, and for which we would entering upon difficult questions, enfind a remedy? The deterioration of gaging in new courses of action, may the character of the people !—what justly expect clearness of view and does that mean? Who can affix a decided knowledge and have we reameaning to the words, that has not son to suppose that condition ours ? looked upon the people in their daily But is it any thing wonderful, if, in life with intimate and familiar know- such inquiries, we find something unledge? Yet the signs of some great satisfying and perplexing? Can we deterioration are plain to all eyes. suppose that, in setting up ourselves Acts of crime, startling by their atro- in opposition to principles of mischief, city, oppressive by their frequency, which act under the great laws, and speak in strong language to every in the strength of the great powers of mind, and seem to declare some nature, we shall find at once a clear change in the spirit of the nation, as straight path before us, asking nothing if an obduration of their natural sense but determination to go on? To legiswere growing on men's minds; as if late against nature, -to build up in some dire passion, some lust of wick- the bosom of society resistance to her edness, had entered into their hearts. overpowering force,—to continue and We see the signs; and, looking as men, govern the operation of principles upon the acts and lives of men, we which she has implicated with its life, cannot be deceived. Our common na to inhibit or enact revolutions in the tural understanding and human feel- human mind,—to hold in our own ing are shocked and revolted by what hands the law of our own condition, every day shows us; and we know purposes like these, not much less that we are called upon by every claim than these, do we make the subject that enforces our participation in the of our endeavours, when we step out welfare of others, to act against the of the ordinary courses of our lives to VOL. III.
combine exertion against the prevalent pressure of the evil may unduly sway
We find it difficult to bear the sus cannot be ineffectual. They will mul-
Though some of Sternhold's psalms It were devoutly to be wished, that were printed by Whitchurche in 1549, those who are strongly affected by the the entire version was not completed signs of evil which they behold in the for several years, as was formerly noface of the times, and who would sin- ticed; this was done by the English cerely give the strength of their own exiles, who, during the reign of Mary, labour to contend against it, and who resided in Geneva. Nor was that leap at every suggestion of the means entire version consecrated, as it were, of effecting such resistance, would in England for public use till 1562, stay to consider that it is not a light when it first ame forth from the ediwork in which they would guide them- torial hands of John Hopkins. selves; that there is rather an impro The year assigned for the reception bability attaching to all hasty sugges- of this version by the Scotish Church tions for the conduct of such a war was 1564. Long before this time, fare; that the greatness of the purpose however, some of the psalms in metre may dazzle them; that the painful appear to have been very generally
METRICAL VERSIONS OF THE PSALMS.
circulated; and the Reformation was under the name of “ The Gude and materially advanced by the increased Godlie Ballatis.” That part of the love for pious poems, metrical dramas, psalms in this volume were of those and moralities. “ It is certain, (says used before the Reformation, appears Dr M'Crie, Life of Knox, vol. I. p. from this, that the two lines quoted 364.) that before the year 1546, a num- as sung by Wishart in 1546, corresber of the psalms were translated into pond to the commencement of the semetre; for George Wishart sang one cond stanza of the 51st psalm, which of them (the 51st) in the house of is printed there. We extract the folOrmiston on the night in which he lowing verses from the 91st, as no was apprehended.” Knox's Historie, unfavourable specimen of these parap. 49. The words of Knox referred to phrases of the Psalms, and shall refer by the doctor are as follows : “ Efter our readers for what information is to supper he (Wishart) held a comfort. be found respecting the supposed auabill purpois of the deith of Godis thors, to Calderwood's MS. History, chosin children, and mirrelie said, Me vol. I. 108. 109., M'Crie's Life of think that I desyir eirnestlie to sleep; Knox, vol. I. p. 364., Dalyell's Curand thairwith he said, W'ell sing ane sory Remarks, p. 35., Irving's Lives psalme ; and sa he apointit the fyif- of the Scotish Poets, and Leyden's Intie ane Psalme, quhilk was put in troduction to the Complaynt of ScotScottis Meitter, and began thus: Have land. Mercie on me now, guide Lord, efter
“Quha on the Hiest will depend, thy greit Mercy." We find another
And in his secret help sall traist, instance in the same work, under the
Almighty God sall him defend, year 1556, of the custom which pre And guide him with his Haly Gaist. vailed of using a metrical version of Therefore, with mind ripe and digest, the psalms, from which we may infer, Thow say to God, My trew releue, that they were commonly sung when
My hope, my God of mightis maist, the people assembled for divine wor
Only in him I will beleue. ship. “For the Brethrein (he says) He sall deliuer thee at need, assemblit thameselfis in suche sorte, And saue thy life from pestilence ; in cumpanies, singing psalmes, and
His wings are thy weerely weed ; praising God, that the proudest of the
His pens are thy strang defence; enemies war astonied.” Knox's His
And thou sall haue experience,
That his trew promeis is thy sheild ; tiorie, 1732 edition, p. 96. We shall
His word of great magnificence, adduce another instance to corroborate
Sall be thy bucklar and thy beild. our inference, from “ A Brieff discours
Nay wicked sprit sall thee affray, off the troubles begonne at Franckford
Nor thee delude into the night; in Germany, anno dom. 1554, &c.”
The fleeand darts be the day, printed in 1575 4to. p. 7. where the To trouble thee sall haue na might. author, speaking of the forms of wor No sudden change of vncouth slight, ship observed by the exiles who first Sall cummer thee, nor make thee red, took up their residence in Frankfort, Nor thee perturbe in mirke nor light, says, they resolved “ to singe a psalme But from all plague thou sall be fred. in meetre, in a plaine tune, as was And thou sall see at thy left hand and is accustomed in the frenche, A thowsand haue a sudden fall ; dutche, Italian, Spanishe, and Skot
And als thọw sall see ten thousand tishe churches."
At thy right hand, whilk perish sall. John and Robert Wedderburn, bro
Zet noght to thee sall cum at all;
But thou sall with thine eine behald thers to James Wedderburn the poet,
Sinners put fra memoriall, (sons of a merchant in Dundee,) are
With plagues greit and monifald.” supposed to have been the principal translators of the psalms that were We have thus seen, that in Scotused before the Reformation. This land, the people, before the Reformaversion was never completed, and of tion, were in the practice of singing it probably only a part is now pre- from a metrical version of the Psalms. served. In a volume usually attri- The Reformers did not consider singbuted to the Wedderburns (but of ing as an absolutely necessary part of which, we are perfectly convinced, divine worship. In the First Book they were not the only authors) some of Discipline, 1560, it is said, “ that of these occur. We mean the little, psalms should be sung in churches rare, and curious work which passes where convenient;" but it is added.,
“ in others perchance they cannot.” minister, exhorter, and reader, sall have Many circumstances tended to prevent ane of the psalmes buickes printit in Edr, its performance in every church, till and sall vse the order yrin contained in they received their version, which they marriage, Ministration of the Sacraments,
&c. did on the same principle that they received their forms of discipline, &c.
“ In the generall assemblie holden at
Stirline in februare 1569 the kirke in testi. from their friends at Geneva. We do fication of yr contentment wt the workes not mean to say, that, even before this, printit be Rot. Lieprivick Did assign to him any unnecessary neglect of this portion in pension fiftie pounds. of worship was connived at; for, in • If any person or persons had required the same work, they earnestly exhorted reformation of the psalmes in whole or in “men, women, and children-to exer- pairt, that mater would have bene doune cise themselves in psalmes; that when
in right tyme and place animo edificandi, the kirk doth convene and sing, they
non tentandi, conform to the order agried may be the more able together, with ypon at Glasco April 1581 and at Perth
1596. common hearts and voyces, to praise “ If the Law of prescription, as it is reGod.” We should suppose that the spected be the civile Law the lawes of naAssembly had come to the resolution of tiones and the lawes of this kingdome be a adopting the English version in 1562, iust exception againest pleyes moved efter though it might not be generally used the expiring of threttie or fourtie yeares till two years after, else they would and if it wer extendit, as it sould be not never, that year, have granted a loan to only to private mens ryghtes, bot to publick the printer, of 200 pounds, to help him moved or to be moved efter thrie scoire and
saftie and tranquilitie, then all actiones “ in printing of the Psalms." Before aught years againest the Scots Psalmes, reproceeding further, we think it advi. ceaved and retained Vpon so good grounds, sable to give the following “Reasons, and so profitable and confortable to chris&c. entire. They have never yet been tianes his maties good subjects would be printed ; and they contain nearly all judged moir then void and ineffectuall. the information now to be obtained on
• If decennalis and triennalis posessio, this subject. The occasion of their be the Law and custom, have the nature of being drawn up, was the attempt, first
perfect right, wherby thinges pertaining made in 1632, to have this version su
to the kirke, may be peacablic possest, then
ys kirke sould retaine yr possession of the perseded by that made by King James. Psalmes, ay and while ther possession be Though rather long, it contains much Lawfullie declaired to be groundles and curious matter, not generally known. vitious.
“ Ffor forder confirmation of the kirkes “The Psalmes of David in meeter allowed right and possession of the Psalmes in the
be the generall Assemblie sould be sung year 1579 it is Statute and ordained, be our in the kirks of Scotland as they have bein
sovern Lord and his three estates in Parliasince the year 1564 for the reasons vnderwritten.
ment yt all gentlemen housholders and all
vyrs worth three hundreth merkis of yeirlie “ The reformed kirke of Scotland, being rent or above, and all substantious yeamen subject to no vther kirke in the world, bot or burgesses likvayes housholders esteemed independant and frie, hes powr to interpret, worth five hundreth pounds in lands or and applay the word, to hir awin purgation guids, Is behalden to have ane bible and conservation and edification.
psalme buicke, vnder the paines contained “ Be vertue of this power, the pastors of in the said act. this kirke, at comand of the great counsall " Sundrie Musitians of best scill and of this kingdome, penned certane heads of affection for furtherance of the act of Par. reformation which wer allowed and sub- liament anent the instructing of the youth scribed in Januar 1560.
in Musick have set doun comoun and prop“ In these articles it is expreslie provided, per tunnes to the whole psalmes acording to that men vemen and childrine be exhorted the divers formes of meeter. to exercise ymselfes in psalmes that when “ Both pastors and peoplle have som the kirke convenes and singes they may be psalmes or parts of psalmes be heart as may the moir able together with comoun heartes best serve for there different dispositions and voices to praise God.
and cases of concience and for the changes “ In the generall Assemblie convened at of their externall condition. Edr in Decr 1562 for printing of the “ Both pastors and people be long cus. psalmes, the kirke lent Rot. lieprivick tom, ar so acquanted with the psalmes and printer tva hundreth pounds to help to buy tunnes yrof ; yt as the pastors are able, to Irons Ink and papper, and to fie craftesmen direct a psalme to be sung agriable to the for printing
Doctrine to be delyvered so he that takes * In the generall assemblie holden at vp the psalme is able to sing ony tunne and Edr in Decr 1564 it is ordained that evrie the peoplle for the most pairt to follow him.
* By the los of that heavenly treasure Johnston in juni 1563 and in sundrie Vyr already in yr heart they wold be forder assemblies, that no work be set forth in greived and preiudged in yr spirituall estate, print, nor published in writt till sic tyme as then they could be hurt in bodi or goods by it sall be advised and approven be the kirk, suffering for retention of yr awin psalmes. conform to the order sett Doun be the gene
" In Vther reformed kirkes, as ingland, rall assemblie. france, germanie, netherlands, etc. yr “ Since it hath pleased God to raise som psalmes in meeter ar not so absolutely hoipe of Delyverence to the kirkes of vther perfite, and frie of blame that nothing can countries so long troubled with bloodie perbe censured in ym, and yet neyr have they secution, and to stretch out the hand of his nor will they reject the comlie face of yr power againest supperstition and Idolatrie. owne psalter, for a small blott ane or mair, Pietie and compassion would that we sould bot still retein what they have had in long hold fast what we have and ferventlie pray continued and comfortable practise.
to God, to vindicatt his truth from the tyre “ If it sould happen (as God forbid) that ranie of Idolatrers and to Delyver his disour psalme bookes in meeter wt the comoun tressed people, fra the craft and crueltie of order prefixed unto ym, and the catechise men, that praise may be given to his matie following ym now printit cum priveligio by all kirkes and persons, whom he hes regiæ majestatis wer removed, it might be blessed wt any measure of mercifull rejustlie feared as the kirke decayed in moyane formation. and means that the confession of faith, the “ In respect of the premisses and vther order of the election of ministers, of the reasons to be eiked as occasione sall require ecclesiastical discipline, and of excommuni- the psalmes in meeter as they have bein cation, publike repentance, the visitation of and ar vsed privatlie and publicklie in Scotthe seik, buriall of the dead, the comoun land aucght to be retained and no wayes prayers, the formes of the Lords supper, of suppressed for any thing seen or hard as baptisme and meriage, the book of fasting, yet.” Calvines catechise, sould be supprest to the great hinderances of publicke and private
Though the date of the reception of YSES.
this version is given, yet no mention to “ It were a shamles ingratitude to extin- that effect is to be found in any of the guishe the memorie of so many worthie existing records. We have already menmen by wos cair and paines God had vouch. tioned the time when we imagine it to safed to bestow so manie benefites vpon his
have been fixed upon. Nor was it serkirke and ane great testimonie against the pastors and professors of this age who have
vilely adopted, in deference either to ing these psalmes and vther meanes hes
the churches of Geneva or of England: gained so little by ym for yr comfort and some alterations were deemed to be edification that they are readier to quitt wanting, and these accordingly were them then to keip them.
made. We are left, however, to dis“ In the generall assemblie holden at cover these changes, merely by a combrunteland in maii 1601 be occasion of a parison of the earlier editions, printed certaine motion mad be som brether, con- in England and abroad, with those cerning our vulgar translation of the bible,
in our own country ; a task neithe comoun prayers, the Psalmes in meeter, It was ordained that Mr Rot. pont sould
ther pleasant nor satisfactory, consirevise the psalmes and that his labours sould dering the errors of the press, of frebe revised at the next assemblie, bot as the quent occurrence in the initials of the motion above written proceeded from per- translators' names, as they stand at the sonall respecte so it is to be supposed, that head of the various Psalms. The Asif that faithfull man who was both hollie sembly seem to have adhered more to and Learned had fund anie just caus of the version, as it appeared from the alteration, neither he to whom the mater hands of the exiles at Geneva, than was recomended nor the assemblie who
as it was received by the English sould have taken compt of his diligence
church. This accounts for our version would have suffred that matter to be buried in oblivion.
containing more of the Psalms which * If it had beine found expedient to alter
were translated by Kethe than theirs,
were translated by Aetre these psalmes, Mongomerie and som vthers when they, in common with others, principalls of inglish poesie in ther tymes as were rejected by Hopkins. But indeed they gave yr assayes of som psalmes yet no two editions, before Hopkins's of extant: So they offered to translate the
1562, wherever they may be printed, whole book freilie without any price for yr
entirely correspond together. Kethe paines, ather frae the publicke state or pri.
seems to have been an Englishman, vat menis purses.
“ As the kirk refused the offer of these although Strype, and Warton on his poets as neidles for the publick and private authority, call him a native of Scotworship of God so it is statute and ordained land. Some of his translations (genin the generall assemblie holden at Sterally marked with the simple ini