Excerpt from Specimen of an Improved Metrical Translation of the Psalms of David, Intended for the Use of the Presbyterian Church in Australia and New Zealand: With a Preliminary Dissertation, and Notes, Critical and Explanatory
Presbyterians themselves - settled, I conceive, wisely, and approved by the practice of three centuries - that the Psalms Of David shall be translated and not para phrased; that they shall be presented to the Christian people, unmixed with any human compositions, whether in the way of addition Or embellishment; and that no inferior musician shall presume to play a second harp, when the chief of the inspired musicians of Israel strikes his heavenly strings.
But, surely, in the middle of the nineteenth century, there is just as much reason for the Presbyterians of Scotland and the British colonies to discontinue to sing the Psalms Of David in barbarous verse, as there was for the Puritans of New England to discontinue the use of the old version of Sternhold and Hopkins in the year 1640. The Scotish version - the one authorized by the Westminster Assembly - is, Of all the versions oi the psalms in the English language, the truest to the origi nal; having been formed directly from the Hebrew, without the intervention of a prose translation. It is hallowed, moreover, in the estimation of the Scotish people, from having been used by their persecuted fore fathers in the days ofthe Covenant, and from having Often afforded sweet consolation to many of these sons and daughters of afﬂiction under the tyranny of the Stuarts. And it doubtless contains many passages, the beauty and Simplicity of which would be but ill exchanged for the more ambitious ornaments of modern rhyme. Still, however, as a whole, it is confessedly far below the intellect of the present age; its harshness gives positive Qfi'ence to many, and acts as a repellent to many more; and, constituted as we are intellectually, it is quite im possible for the men of the present generation uniformly to associate with it the same feelings of devotion which it doubtless never failed to excite in the breasts of our forefathers.
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