Thomas Dickson Baird.

An inquiry into the privilege and duty of the Christian church, in the exercise of sacred praise: a chronology and history of Scripture songs .. online

. (page 16 of 16)
Online LibraryThomas Dickson BairdAn inquiry into the privilege and duty of the Christian church, in the exercise of sacred praise: a chronology and history of Scripture songs .. → online text (page 16 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

tion, of their songs of praise, in the language of the present
dispensation, and expressly in the name of Christ, and
while they use the song of Moses,, not lo forget the song of
the Lamb. Where is the umpire? Is it Mr.' M'M's doubts
or mine? Say the word of God. Mr. M'M. however has
no question but that word is on his side,, and I have as
little that it is on mine. He may abuse me, because Ising
a gospel hymn, about which he has such strong doubts.-
yet that will not convince me, nor induce me to retort on
his Covenants and Testimony, how e\ev strong my doubts
may be; although I must think him quite vulnerable in
that quarter. JO!oubting,Aherefove, can decide nothing on.
this subject, for our doubts, iind our certainties, operate in
opposition to each other, and neutralize both, except as
his weight may be greater than mine. As. therefore, I
have no do2tbt respecting my duty, expediency is out of
the question; for whatever is. a duty, is expedient. Al-
though then, our author should contend, as zealously as-
confidently, as rashly, and as ignorantly, for God, as did
the three friends of Job, it may so happen, and we think
it will, that his bills of indictment,, however plausibly
drawn up, will be ignored, so far as respects the subject
before us. When our author, too, brings forward the
demand, ''Who hath required this at your hand.^" we
may be permitted to think, that we could give a more-
scriptural and satisfactory reply,. than our author and his
friends, as. to some of their own principles and practices.
Another expedient, employed in this argument, is, to-
play upon the words paraphrase, imitation, version, &c.
The specimens I have given of versions, might lay that
conceit, of the psabns by Rouse having any higher claim-
tlian the others.. But this is alwavs termed, the Psalms of


David — others are called paraphrases — and Watts'' is
termed, wltli contemptuous emphasis, an Imitation. But
what is an imitatiun? Any thing that is made with a
considerable decree of likeness to another, may be called
an imitation; and the nearer the approach to the original^
the imitation is the better, until it ceases to be more, or
less, than the original itself^ or the imitation so perfect
that a distinction cannot be made. It is manifest, then,
that no version we have ever obtained, has been any thing
more than an imitation, although some of them have been
better likenesses than others. There are at least five op
six other paraphrases, that have as fair a claim to the title
yf David's Psalms, as the version, or paraphrase, by Rouse.
But a considerable proportion of the worshippers in some
churches, are kept extremely ignorant on this subject. I
wish there were not reason to believe that it is intentional.
In my vicinitT, are found, as well as elsewhere, those who
contend, that the paraphrase now in use, came just as it is
from the hands of David ! How does this happen too*-
among those who boast of religious information above
others.^ The reader will answer the question for himself.
It may not, however, be inexpedient, in drawing toward a
conclusion, hi review the arguments I have attempted to-
lav before the reader. These indeed are not likely to
meet the geod graces of Mr. M'M. Speaking of Dr.
Latta, and others, he says, "As respects their reasoning,
I have rarely met with any thing^. bearing the name, so
■contemptible." When we shall have learned, to estab-
lish our principles, by ^er/mps, prohably, (f, whu not, &lc^
Sic. we may expect to rise in our author's scale of logical
excellence J but while we use the law and the testimony y
and the most respectable historians, the ditiiculties they
place in our author's way, will doubtless excite his indig-
nation, and contempt, and it is much easier to express
those feelings,, than toanswer our arguments.

In the present work, the reader will recollect, that we
iiave attempted to answer a demand ntade by Mr. M'M.
of evidence of songs, of human composition, having ever
bean admitted to a place in the worship of God. It is be-
lieved, that this demand has been fairly met, and in the first
chapter, fully answered, pp. 23-31. The presumption,
however strong,, of our first parents and their immediate


descendants, offering up their praises^ is by no means the
ground on which I rest this position. The other evidences,
collateral, incid^^ntal, and direct, will bear me out in the
opinion, that, fVotn the creation to Exodus, there were
numerous songs offered, in the praise of God, which were
neither more nor less than human composition.

In the next period^ see second chapter, pp. 31-48, from
the Exodus to Christ, however numerous the songs of in-
spiration were, vye have unquestionable evidenceySLS I think
1 have shewn, of many others which have no claim to in-
spiration, or any thing more than human composition: and
the o-pinUm of theiearned, that they were yet vastly more
numerous, than those to which we refer. Besides this,
we have sufficient evidence, that the Jews took special
care to adapt their songs to the various passing events —
made or altered them to suit circumstances — and refused
-singing when they did not. We have, therefore, an im-
pressive example, that our hearts and our lips should unite,
in this exercise, and the spirit and the understanding be
able to co-operate, in sounding his praise. By the example
of the Jews— by the captives at Babylon — by Solomon —
and by M'Leod; t\\Q fitness of songs, to the times and cir-
cumstances of their use, is manifestly required. It is not,
therefore, blasphemy to -say, that the misapplication of a
psalm may constitute a falsehood — pp. 44, 45. Nor will
any man of truth accuse us, of having ever imputed false-
kood to the psalms themselves, but to the improper use of
t hem.

The third chapter relates to the age of Christ and hi&
apostles,pp. 48-84. Here we find no example of the use of
ancient songs—the singing the hillel, by Christ and his
apostles, is merely gratuitous: not e\en probablej and, if
it were sung, it would neither disprove the use of others,
nor establish the permanent obligation of using it, any more
than the observance of the passover, with which it was
connected, would establish that rite, pp. 51-54. : Th«
Corinthians, and other churches, sung psalms of their own
composition— -56-59. We think also it ha« been shown,
that the apostle inteiids by the word of Christy the gospel
he, and the other apostles, had preached. In addition to
what has been said, pp. 59-65, we may mention Paul's

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16

Online LibraryThomas Dickson BairdAn inquiry into the privilege and duty of the Christian church, in the exercise of sacred praise: a chronology and history of Scripture songs .. → online text (page 16 of 16)