From THE ORIGINAL COVENANTER. VOL. III. JUNE, 1881. NO. 2.
“Perhaps no error has gained more extensive currency among Protestants, in this age of the church, than this:—That every one has an equal and divine right to compose hymns, to be offered in praise to God. Now let no one suppose that we have ought to say against poetry, in general, or against evangelical hymns, in particular—provided they are kept in their own place; but when they come in competition with the Bible, or are used as substitutes for any part of the Bible, then, indeed, the profane intrusion must be met and restricted by scriptural authority and solemn protest. For, if we may accept an “imitation” as a substitute for the book of Psalms without impious presumption; on the same principle imitations of all the other books of the Bible may be accepted as substitutes; and then we arrive at the infidel goal to which the teachings of Drs. Watts, Cuyler, and Musgrave have unconsciously conducted us. Of course we use these three names of distinguished divines merely as typical of a great multitude of equally cultured men—hence the church’s peril.
Innovators of this age are not more popular and self-confident, perhaps, than those whom Isaiah was commissioned to warn, thus: “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” [Isaiah 50.11.] Should the advocates of the purity of God’s worship in the matter of his praise sometimes utter “nonsense,” or even seem to be obnoxious to the imputation of “stupidity;” their criminality and punishment must be allowed to be comparatively light, when contrasted with the crime and doom of those contemplated in the above awful commination [threatening] by the Lord’s prophet.”