Thursday, December 14

Hymns And Hymn Books (1883) by James Dick

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Welcome to the Still Waters Revival Books video book summary for “Hymns and Hymn Books” (1883) by James Dick

Greg Price calls this one of the best short defences of exclusive Psalmody. It is excerpted from “The Original Covenanter” magazine (Dec, 1883, vol. 3, No. 12).

Here is a taste of Dick’s writing,

“Hymns of human composition are used so commonly now in public worship by Presbyterian churches that it is difficult to believe that the practice is not a hundred years old, and that in some of the churches it is of very recent date. On the supposition that it is good and dutiful and wise to sing such hymns in worship, it is equally difficult to account for the neglect of the churches at the time of the Reformation, and for generations afterwards.”

“What could have so blinded the reformers as to make them reject hymns and sing the Psalms alone? How could the Westminster Divines, in framing their Confession of Faith and Directory for Worship, have been so unanimous in the blunder that the service of praise is to consist of the ‘singing of Psalms?’ And apart from the aspect of duty, how could the Presbyterian churches, for about a hundred and fifty or two hundred years after the Westminster Assembly, have been so insensible to the power of hymns as an attractive addition to their public services?”

“We cannot by any means understand how it was that, if it was dutiful to use hymns in worship, the reformers did not discover the Scriptural warrant for the duty, especially as hymns had been used for centuries by the Church of Rome. Nor can we understand how they rejected the hymns and used the Psalms alone, unless on the supposition that they believed the use of hymns to be part of the will-worship of Rome.”

“If they were wrong on this point, then Rome and our modern Presbyterian churches are right. In that case, the Puritans and Covenanters were fanatics, and Romanists were truly enlightened! And most of our Presbyterian churches of the present day were fanatical too, and did not become truly enlightened and liberal till they got back to the Romish practice!”

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