[Covenanted Reformation] Re: Lining of the Psalms
- --- In email@example.com, Lettermen2@a...
>You stated below: "I have nothing against chanting the Psalms. Iknow other Covenanters
> that also have nothing against chanting the Psalms."1649? If that is what you mean, then all that follows is irrelevant.
>So we agree that chanting Psalms would be approved by the GA of
I don't like bugs in my beer, so I'm not averse to straining gnats
myself, but let's be careful not to drink camels too. You read the
1649 judgment of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and
you take from it that it does not rule out chanting the Psalms. I
will not argue with you on that point. But let us not forget that
MAIN POINT of the judgment, which is to APPROVE OF THE USE OF THE
PSALMS OF DAVID IN METRE [henceforth PDM] AS THE ONLY HYMNAL TO BE
USED IN CHURCHES AND IN FAMILIES. And to this day, this is the only
hymnal used by Covenanters in both Churches and Families. I do not
see how you can declare this to be IRRELEVANT to the conversation we
are having. Then again, I notice you think another point, even more
important, is irrelevant, which I will touch on below. But to stay
on this particular point at the moment, let's not suppose that what
the GA was aiming at was what you seem to be suggesting that
chanting the KJV is much preferred, but if you're gonna use a
sinfully corrupt Psalter, use the PDM produced by the Westminster
Assembly exclusively, in order to avoid all the chaos caused by
allowing Psalm-SINGING. That this certainly is NOT the meaning can
be seen by consulting the Directory for Public Worship, which directs
us to ***sing*** Psalms, according to the Scriptural ordinance. Now,
if the type of singing we choose to do is "chanting," then so be it.
Have at it. But you may not call for us to throw away the Authorized
Psalter in favor of your personal preference of chanting the AV
> Sorry to put you through this, I know it is a very sensitive issueto many. I reiterate that my hope was that the questions would not
offend -- just
> feel I have something to learn.Your question was not offensive to me, but your pretended superior
wisdom to the Westminster Assembly of Divines, and the Covenanted
General Assembly of Scotland, and your preference of the previous GA
(still struggling with Erastian and Prelatic tendencies), is honestly
a bit irritating but not offensive.
> I am by no means a scholar or academic,And neither am I, so I must submit to the ruling of those placed over
us by Christ to rule, as I see nothing in their ruling that is
contrary to Scripture.
> Chants are anything but that -- not even music as we know it today -- and were probably first used in the absence of the 12 tone
> Scale.I beg your pardon, but I can walk into a music store TODAY after work
and pick up a CD of CHANTS if I wanted to. IT IS MUSIC, just a type
of music we may not be used to anymore.
>From what has been said so far, it cannot be logically concludedthat I am in disagreement with the GA's act authorizing the Scottish
> Psalter. To the contrary, it seems to have been a needfuldecision. When paraphrasing the Word of God to fit popular music is
allowed, then > there is no end to the variations that will occur
over time, for example, in today's pop Christian music. The GA
probably had to impose some
> conformity on the inevitable creative variations to lyricparaphrasing and musical tunes in the ongoing development of metric
Yes, of course you are in agreement with the authorization of the PDM
as the hymnal we will use, and the only hymnal that we will use, in
both churches and families. Yes, in agreement, despite you're
insistence the PDM is actually a sinfully corrupt paraphrase that
should not be used at all. Never mind that, though. Yes, absolute
> My point: chanting the AKJV of the Psalms of David, though not asinteresting musically, is superior to singing a lyricist's
paraphrasing of the
> Psalms of David to a metric tune, no matter how carefully theparaphrasing was done.
If you replace the word "paraphrasing," with the word translating,
because the "paraphrase" spoken of by the 1649 GA was actually a
direct translation from the Hebrew, and not a "paraphrase" in the
sense that Isaac Watts, or other lyricists like him, paraphrase the
Psalms, and your assertion suddenly carries much less strength. To
sing a faithful translation of the Psalms is to SING THE PSALMS. To
sing a loose and pretended "paraphrase" of the Psalms, like Mr.
Watts', is to sing a humanly composed hymn. There is a difference,
and you thus far are refusing to see it.
> Show me where the GA prohibited the chanting of the AKJV prose. Howcould that possibly interfere with uniformity in the church? Show me
> where they prohibited the recitation of the complete Psalms inworship.
First, answer me something: Is chanting to be equated with Psalm-
singing, or with reading the Psalms? Tell me what ordinance chanting
is fulfilling the ordinance of singing the Psalms in praise of God,
or the ordinance of the public reading of the Scriptures?
> The question here is, should the music serve the text, or shouldthe text serve the music? When the AKJV of the Psalms are chanted,
then the > music serves the Word of God. When the Scottish Metric
Psalter is sung, then the Word of God is paraphrased to serve the
music. This does > nothing more than coddle the aesthetic preferences
of the worshiper -- analogous to what pop Christian music does today.
Did you just accuse the Westminster Assembly and the Covenanted
General Assembly of wickedly coddling the creative imaginations of
will-worshippers by producing and ratifying a sinfully corrupted
paraphrase of the Psalms for use in worship? Is that what you're
getting at here?
> It appears that the people preferred to sing metrical Psalms abovechanting, as would be the case today.
Are you now accusing the Westminster Assembly and the Covenanted
General Assembly of polling the people in order to frame a form of
worship that appeases the whims of the day?
> There are 4,800 hymns at cyberhymnal.org. So it is evident thatmankind delights in creating their own worship songs. None of the
> AKJV prose. All are inferior to modified literal translations, suchas AKJV, or literal translations such as YOUNG'S LITERAL TRANSLATION.
MODIFIED literal translation hmm.
> The GA's approval of the Scottish Prose Psalter would seemUmm, no. It's not.
> analogous to the OPC declaring THEN NEW TRINITY HYMNAL to be the
> official hymnal of the denomination.
And chanting is akin to recitation.
Yes, and Bob Dylan is not exactly singing in the traditional sense
his phrasing and cadence is more like a beat-poet RECITING a poem,
and less like the traditional pop-singer but it's a form of singing
> There is nothing in this wording that suggests that chanting of theAKJV of Psalms is to be henceforth replaced by the singing of the
> Metrical Psalter. Nor does it suggest that the Psalms can no longerbe recited in worship services.
Again, I ask you to state this clearly, so as not to confound us with
your changing from one issue to another and then back again:
IS CHANTING THE PSALMS A PERFORMING OF THE ORDINANCE TO READ
SCRIPTURE OR TO SING PRAISE TO GOD?
Answer that question, and we may better reach an understanding of
what is being advocated and prohibited in the GA's decision.
> Paraphrasing the Psalms in worship is rewriting divinely inspiredscripture and contrary to the Word of God found in Deuteronomy 4:2,
12:32; > Proverbs 30:6; Jeremiah 26:2, and Galatians 3:15.
TRANSLATING is NOT a rewriting of Scripture! The PDM are "Newly
Translated and diligently compared with the Original Text, and former
Translations" unlike all the other "paraphrases" you've been alluding
> However, I also present that the issue is not the music, but ratherthe text being used, the paraphrased lyrics taken from Scripture
> inferior in the metrical Psalter.Ok, I think you are confused by the use of the word "paraphrase,"
which, as theBishopsDoom explained (you did read his post,
right?), "paraphrase" mean simply "not prose" and NOT what is
typically understood as being a paraphrase today (a loosey-goosey
lyric sort-of based on the original text). This particular
paraphrase we're talking about, the PDM, are a careful TRANSLATION
which underwent 6 years of purifying until it was deemed worthy of
use by the Westminster Assembly and the General Assembly of the
Covenanted Church of Scotland. We're not talking about the Trinity
Hymnal, or Watt's Whim's, man.
Now, here is something that I found a bit disturbing:
Regarding chanting vs. singing, I asked, "Can you demonstrate that
the Word of God requires one over the other?"
To which you answer, "Not necessary. Irrelevant point."
How you find the Scriptural admonition, whether it be to chant or to
sing, to be irrelevant??? If the Scriptures can be shown to command
SINGING, then how is that irrelevant, especially if you are taking
the position that chanting is not singing?
Can you demonstrate from the Word of God that Psalms are to be
paraphrased to fit the tune in some musician's head or heart?
> Most persons are thrilled to hear Steve Green sing "A MightyFortress is Our God" acapella before a crowd of 4,000. But is not a
> congregation of 4,000 reciting (or chanting) Psalm 46 in a publicworship service more glorifying to God? It is the words not the music
> make the worship effective.OF COURSE!!! I've said it before, BETTER TO CHANT THE PSALMS THAN TO
SING A HYMN OF HUMAN COMPOSITION. Do not confuse the Covenanter
position, that we ought to sing only Psalms in the worship of God,
with the position that it is ok to sing hymns of human composition.
> Gerry. Of course, the Geneva Bible is not a paraphrase of the AKJV.You've reversed the order I gave you, but regardless, what you say
here is correct the Geneva Bible is not a paraphrase of the KJV,
and NEITHER IS THE METRICAL PSALTER we are discussing. Understand?
> Yes, and in spite of the "grueling process," the attention todetail and the "accuracy" -- is not "accuracy" a misnomer here? --
> were never the same again in the metrical paraphrasing.You confessed you are not a scholar, and now you mock the accuracy of
a translation that both the Westminster Assembly, and the General
Assembly of the Church of Scotland found to be suitable. I'm not
sure what to say about that.
> Recitation of the Psalms in worship would be superior to singingthe Metrical Psalter. Chanting the Psalms would add some interest to
> recitation without convoluting the Word of God to match a metricaltune.
Then let the tables be turned why do we need to make the reading of
Scriptures "interesting"? Why not the plain reading of Scripture?
Why should our reading of Scripture be embellished to make it more
interesting? Perhaps you are guilty of wanting to please the ear
more that people who seek to obey the Scriptural mandate to SING.
> I thought we were agreed that chanting is hardly music, and notpopular, and therefore the cause of the proliferation of attempts at
> Psalms.You must be confused, and I apologize if I caused any small part of
> "It appears that worshipers who hold to the RFW, and who also usethe metric psalter
> exclusively, are favoring the lyricist's rewriting of Scriptureover
> the Authorized King James Version..."The development of the Psalter was an attempt to better obey the
divine command to SING, but to sing using the matter given us to
sing, THE PSALMS, and to practice such singing in a uniform way.
There is no evidence, as you suggest, that a poll was taken to
determine the will of the silly sheep, or that a "lyricist" so wowed
the Assemblies that they preferred the lyricist's work over
Scripture. And remember, we're talking about a translation here, not
a paraphrase in the sense that you are using the term.
> Persons delight in music, but in worship music should besubservient to the Word of God, not visa versa. Authorization of the
> Psalter had the effect of halting the variation in lyrics set todeveloping popular musical.
And yet you are the one appearing to suggest that we abandon singing
altogether, and instead make the reading of Scripture more
interesting my juicing it up into a chant.
> Do you agree that it is more glorifying to God to chant the AKJVprose of the Book of Psalms instead of singing the Scottish Metric
No, I do not.
> Do you agree that it is more glorifying to God to recite thecomplete Psalms, AKJV instead of singing the Scottish Metric Psalter?
No, I do not.
> False Gerry., etc.No, it is not false. But you are not understanding what I am
saying. I am saying that if you YOU YOU wish to chant a Psalm, go
for it. Also, I may decide to chant to Psalms in my household, but
we will be using the Authorized Psalter to do that in our obedience
to the divine command to sing the Psalms. To fulfill our duty to
read the Scriptures, we will read them plainly. But that is not what
you are arguing for is it? You are apparently arguing that I should
set aside my Psalter and my duty to sing, and instead chant the KVJ
Psalms (which you deny is singing) in fulfillment of the command to
> Not thinking it is necessary to do the research to document it atthis point, I would say that both the Geneva and KJV would be
> be modified literal translations, and worthy of being called theWord of God. For the sake of uniformity, an objective of the GA and
> Westminster Assembly, I would say that the Psalms of David in Metreare not the Word of God, because they do not even approach being a
> literal translation. . . .Umm, actually please do some research on that topic, because you have
it wrong. The PDM are indeed a "modified translation," organized in
metre so we can sing them. The Psalms of David in Metre were found
to be "Newly Translated and diligently compared with the Original
Text, and former Translations." I do hope that some more careful and
prayerful research will help you to drop the foolish charges you've
been making thus far.
> I am not clear what your are referring to here "to make this aneither/or situation."
You made it sound as if singing the Psalms from one translation
precludes memorizing the Psalms from another translation.
> I am so grateful that George Frederick Handel wrote music to fitthe Scripture in "The Messiah." instead of rewriting Scripture to fit
And so now you place the PDM below Handel's Messiah? I ask that you
consider refraining from such foolishness.
Below is the letter to the reader affixed to an edition of the 1650
Scottish Metrical Psalter printed in 1673:
'Tis evident by the common experience of mankind, that love cannot
lie idle in the soul. For every one hath his oblectation and delight,
his tastes and relishes are suitable to his constitution, and a man's
temper is more discovered by his solaces than by any thing else:
carnal men delight in what is suited to the gust of the flesh, and
spiritual men in the things of the Spirit. The promises of God's holy
covenant, which are to others as stale news or withered flowers, feed
the pleasure of their minds; and the mysteries of our redemption by
Christ are their hearts' delight and comfort. But as joy must have a
proper object so also a vent: for this is an affection that cannot be
penned up: the usual issue and out-going of it is by singing. Profane
spirits must have songs suitable to their mirth; as their mirth is
carnal so their songs are vain and frothy, if not filthy and obscene;
but they that rejoice in the Lord, their mirth runneth in a spiritual
channel: "Is any merry? let him sing psalms," saith the apostle
(James 5.13). And, "Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of
my pilgrimage," saith holy David (Ps. 119.54).
Surely singing, 'tis a delectable way of instruction, as common
prudence will teach us. Aelian (Natural History, book 2, chapter 39)
telleth us that the Cretans enjoined their children to learn their
laws by singing them in verse. And surely singing of Psalms is a duty
of such comfort and profit, that it needeth not our recommendation:
The new nature is instead of all arguments, which cannot be without
thy spiritual solace. Now though spiritual songs of mere human
composure may have their use, yet our devotion is best secured, where
the matter and words are of immediately divine inspiration; and to us
David's Psalms seem plainly intended by those terms of "psalms and
hymns and spiritual songs," which the apostle useth (Eph. 5.19; Col.
3.16). But then 'tis meet that these divine composures should be
represented to us in a fit translation, lest we want David, in David;
while his holy ecstasies are delivered in a flat and bald expression.
The translation which is now put into thy hands cometh nearest to the
original of any that we have seen, and runneth with such a fluent
sweetness, that we thought fit to recommend it to thy Christian
acceptance; some of us having used it already, with great comfort and
Thomas Manton D.D.
Henry Langley D.D.
John Owen D.D.