Monthly Archives: March 2012

Scottish Covenanter Memorials Association

Covenanter Oak

The Scottish Covenanters are an essential part of our Psalm Singing history. The Scottish Covenanter Memorial Association works to preserve the monuments that record the troubled history of our faithful Covenanter brethren. Their website is here.

From their website:

“The tenacity and the sacrifices of the Covenanters ensured that we today enjoy civil and religious freedoms, and the Scottish Covenanter Memorials Association was established in 1966 with a view to preserving the many memorials which date from the “killing Times” of 1638-88. The membership of the association totals approximately 400, and all members are volunteers. Many members visit and care for the memorials, carrying out simple cleaning and tidying operations. More difficult, technical work is carried out by professional sculptors, who are paid from our funds.”

Some of the memorials they preserve are located in the following locations:

Airds Moss, Battle of–1680
Auchengilloch
Bothwell, Battle of–1679
Brechin & Fenwick–Rev William Guthrie
Campsie–William Boick
Carluke–Rev Peter Kid
Carsgailoch Hill Covenanters
Cumnock–Dun & Paterson
Dalry (Galloway) Stewart & Grierson
Dalry (Galloway) – Covenanter Sculpture
Dolphinton–Major Joseph Learmont
Douglas Covenanter Connections
Drumclog, Battle of
Dumfries–Rev William Veitch
Durisdeer–Daniel MacMichael
East Kilbride Covenanters
Earlstoun Castle and the Gordons
Edinburgh–Greyfriars Kirkyard
-Covenanters’ Prison, Greyfriars
Hamilton–Earnock Graves
Inveraray–Executions–1685
Kippen–James Ure of Shirgarton
Lanark Covenanters
Lanark–William Hervi (Harvey)
Lesmahagow–Rev Thomas Linning
Linn’s Tomb (Wigtownshire)
Muirkirk–John Brown of Priesthill–1685
Muirkirk Heritage Layby, etc
New Cumnock–Corson & Hair
New Cumnock–Martyrs’ Moss
Pentland Rising–1666
Sorn–George Wood–1688
Stonehouse–James Thomson

Advertisements

Reports of the RPCNA Committee on Psalmody (1887-1892)

More wonderful additions from the Old Light Covenanter website. I hope there are more to come! Some biographies are also included of the ministers involved.

1887 (Isaiah Faris), The Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, 25:242-244
1888 (C.D. Trumbull), The Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, 26:231-233
1889 (T.C. Sproull), The Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, 27:286, 287
1890 (D.B. Willson), The Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, 28:232-234
1891 (J.C.K. Milligan), The Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, 29:267-270
1892 (R.M. Sommerville) — The Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, 30:231-235

“We need as a church to explain to our members from time to time, as well as to exhibit to the churches around us, why we adhere to the exclusive use of the Psalms in the worship of God. We need to do this because of the natural inclination of man to substitute the human for the divine, and to consult his own feelings, even in matters of worship, rather than the revealed will of God. The question in all such matters is not what is most pleasing to human sense, but what does God require.”

From the Old Light Covenanter and the American Covenanter websites, a Report on the Synod’s Committee on Psalmody (RPCNA):

“The question of the matter of praise is not now, and never has been, an open one in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, yet it is one upon which many church members need line upon line and precept upon precept. We are surrounded by those who are hostile to the exclusive use of the Book of Psalms as the praise book of the church; many temptations are thrown in the way of some members of our church to use hymns of human composition in divine service, and some say we are very narrow-minded and bigoted because we confine ourselves to the hundred and fifty Psalms of the Bible. We need as a church to explain to our members from time to time, as well as to exhibit to the churches around us, why we adhere to the exclusive use of the Psalms in the worship of God. We need to do this because of the natural inclination of man to substitute the human for the divine, and to consult his own feelings, even in matters of worship, rather than the revealed will of God. The question in all such matters is not what is most pleasing to human sense, but what does God require. Were we at liberty to consult our own inclinations no doubt many would substitute some other book in place of the Bible, to be read in family worship and in the house of God. Who among evangelical Christians will affirm that we ought to displace the Bible by any other book, because, forsooth, it would be more pleasing and attractive to the perverted taste of man? It is not denied that many hymns of human composition are beautiful in thought and expression, and instructive as well, yet that does not warrant us in using them in divine worship. The horse is a beautiful animal, and useful, too, more beautiful in many eyes than the ox; there are many who have a fancy for dogs and will not hesitate to say that they are more beautiful than goats, yet under the law the horse and the dog were unclean and to offer them in sacrifice would have exposed the offerer to the just displeasure of God, while bullocks and goats were appointed and acceptable offerings. We should beware of offering to God that which he has not prescribed, lest we provoke him to anger, and bring down upon us his righteous judgments.

No one will deny that there is warrant for the use of the inspired book of Psalms. It will not be denied that God gave these Psalms to the Jews as their book of praise. All scholars admit that the “hymn” which Jesus sang just after the institution of the sacrament of the supper was selected from this book; and it is capable of demonstration that when Paul, by the Spirit, enjoined on the Ephesian and Colossian Churches the singing of “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” he meant no other than the inspired songs of the Bible. We are frequently commanded to praise God, but never to make a hymn to be sung in his praise. To use hymns of human composition in religious worship without divine warrant is daring presumption; it is to say that “God’s Spirit acted niggardly in doling out an insufficient supply of praise songs;” and it is to profess that we are wiser than God. Let us beware of charging God foolishly.

Since we cannot consistently and conscientiously sing anything except the Psalms of the Bible in divine worship we ought not to seem to countenance the use of other songs in such service. It is damaging to the conscientious convictions of our members to frequent even houses of worship where such corruptions of worship prevail. To do so is to enter on a course which is almost certain to end in defection.

While contending for the exclusive use of the inspired psalter, it is the bounden duty of the church to provide for use in all her services a version of this book of praise as free as possible from blemishes, so as not unnecessarily to give occasion to others to scoff and deride. It is quite generally admitted among ourselves that the Scottish version of the book of Psalms with all its excellencies is far from perfect. The demand is growing louder and louder year by year for something more smooth and agreeable not only to poetic taste but to the original. Shall this demand be heard? If so, what shall be done? Shall we return to the ancient mode of praise and chant the Psalms or shall we have an amended version? Synod has already given its endorsement to the use of chants, yet few are ready to introduce them into the public worship of God. A revised version of the psalter seems to be necessary. The committee appointed by Synod one year ago to prepare such a version, is ready to report. Since the work of that committee will come before Synod for direct action, we refrain from expressing our judgment at this time. One thing we do desire to urge on Synod, to wit: The importance of seeking agreement and harmony on the part of all psalm-singing bodies in the use of the best version of the psalter, the combined scholarship and poetic talent of the churches can produce. When all the psalm-singing churches present a united and harmonious front in this matter, we can with better grace invite the other churches to unite with us in the use of the inspired Book of Psalms.

There are yet other matters of importance in the praise service of the church. The first that we will mention is that we sing with the spirit and with the understanding, also. The mere use of the Scripture Psalms in the service of praise is only solemn mockery unless the heart also be employed. That the heart may be employed we need to understand the sentiment of the psalms. The custom of expounding a portion of sacred song on the morning of each Lord’s day is well adapted to promote a better understanding of the psalms, and ought to be perpetuated. Along with this all should earnestly seek the enlightening influence of the Holy Spirit.

It is also of great importance that we sing skillfully. To this end the voice must necessarily be cultivated to sing in time and in tune. Too little attention is paid to this in many of our congregations, hence our congregational singing is in some cases a laughing-stock to those around us. Singing classes should be organized in all our congregations, and practice in the service of song should be kept up.

Your committee would recommend the adoption of the following resolutions:

1. That we enjoin upon all members of the Church to refrain from the use of hymns of human composition as a service of worship on week-day or on Sabbath, as being a violation of that command which forbids the worship of God “in any way not appointed in his word.”

2. That steps be taken at this Synod to secure the co-operation of all the psalm-singing churches in America in preparing a version of the Book of Psalms in harmony with the original and with poetic taste, upon which all may unite.

3. That we urge upon all the members of the church to use means to improve the congregational singing of the church.

4. That we renew the recommendation of the Psalm-Singer, edited by the Rev. George Warrington, of Birmingham, Iowa, as an able and faithful exponent of the teachings of God’s law as to the service of praise, and urge upon the members of the Church to give the paper a liberal patronage for the sake of their families and for the advancement of the cause.

Respectfully submitted,

J. C. McFEETERS,
J. F. CARSON,
JOHN AIKIN,
WM. LYNN,
Committee.

Report of the Synod’s Committee on Psalmody, 1888 found here and here

“The Inspired Psalms, as being the dictates of the Spirit of truth, are entirely free from error, and although, in some cases, we may be unable to discover the application of the figures, or the full import of the expressions, we cannot hesitate for a moment to declare, that in arrangement, expression, and design, the psalms are absolutely perfect.”

Another fine selection from the Reformed Covenanter website:

Rev. Thomas Houston

“We have always thought that the serious imperfections that are justly chargeable upon the most favourite uninspired hymns furnish a powerful argument against employing them in the Psalmody of the Church.  The Inspired Psalms, as being the dictates of the Spirit of truth, are entirely free from error, and although, in some cases, we may be unable to discover the application of the figures, or the full import of the expressions, we cannot hesitate for a moment to declare, that in arrangement, expression, and design, the psalms are absolutely perfect.  To say otherwise, as some modern hymn-makers have done, is to charge the Author of inspiration with imperfection, and to cast contempt on his best gift to our world.  No such declaration, however, can, with propriety, be used in relation to those merely human compositions which have been introduced to rank with the Psalms of David, or, in many cases, to supplant them, in the praises of the Church.  Select the most esteemed of them, and they will be found, either in matter, or style, or arrangement, to betray evident marks of human imperfection: in some instances, noxious error it diffused under the embellishments of poetry; in others, the style is turgid, abounding in puerile conceits or unnatural images, and forced expressions; while, in almost all, there is a wide departure from the unadorned simplicity and dignified gravity of the Words of the Holy One of Israel.” Rev. Thomas Houston

Covenanter, Mar. 1837, p. 49.

New meeting location for Northminster Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPCNA)

Dr. Frank Smith

An updated meeting location from the Northminster Reformed Presbyterian Church’s website:

New Location! New Time!

We praise God for providing us a new location! Please come and worship with us at:

Friendship Christian School
3160 Old Atlanta Road, Suwanee, GA
Fellowship at 10:15 AM – Worship at 10:30 AM