The New Zealand Evangelist
We beg also to acquaint our Scotch friends that Mr. Lyon has lately received a supply of their venerable and fondly cherished version of the Book of Psalms. This version which was intended to supercede that of Sternhold and Hopkins, was first executed by Francis Rous, an eminent member of the Long Parliament; it was afterwards revised and sanctioned by the West minster Assembly of Divines, by whom the Shorter Catechism and the other Presbyterian Standards were composed; and it received the imprimatur of the English House of Commons, if not also of the House of Lords. It was subsequently examined by the General Assembly and Presbyteries of the Scottish Church, who made some emendations; it was authorised by the Commission of the Assembly, confirmed by an order of the Committee of Estates, and finally, on the 19th of May, 1650, this version was set forth in its present form, and “allowed by page 358 the General Assemby of the Kirk of Scotland, and appointed to be sung in Congregations and Families;” as being a translation “more plain, smooth, and agreeable to the text than any heretofore.” This character, which in a few years will have stood, as if stereotyped on the title page, for two full centuries, may be of more questionable accuracy now than when it first appeared; but it has been recently declared by a high authority, that “this version, notwithstanding numerous minor faults, may be affirmed to convey in general, with the most scrupulous exactness, the meaning, and frequently to retain no small portion of the energy and simplicity of the divine original.”
The first edition of the Scotch Paraphrases was published in 1745, and after undergoing various emendations and additions, they were sanctioned by the General Asembly in their present form in 1781.
In will not now be for lack of Psalm Books, if the words of the “sweet singer of Israel” are not extensively true, among those who use this version,
“In dwellings of the righteous
Is heard the melody
Of joy and health—”
or if the loveliest domestic picture ever drawn by their national bard, is not universally copied by the descendants of those who are thus beautifully pourtrayed,—
“He wales a portion with judicious care;
And ‘Let us worship God!’ he says, with solemn air.
They chant their artless notes in simple guise;
They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim;
Perhaps Dundee's wild warbling measures rise;
Or plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the name;
Or noble Elgin beets the heavenward flame,
The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays.”