A Book Review from The Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, 1870, Volume 8 Edited by John W. Sproull and Thomas Sproull, p 319
Prom the United Presbyterian Board of Publication, 93 Third avenue, Pittsburgh:
God’s Songs, And The Singer. Four Sermons. By Rev. John M. Bain, Pastor of the U. P. Church of New Castle, Pa. 40 cts.
In the first discourse, the author, after a few introductory remarks, states the question, Should we use the Scripture Psalms exclusively in the worship of God, and proceeds to give his reasons for taking the affirmative. The sum of the argument is—God has prepared these songs for use in his worship. This is equivalent to a command. “They have never,” either by an express repeal, by limitation in their appointment, or by a substitute “been abrogated, but are continued with authority, in the church.” In our using them, we but do as did Christ and the Apostles.
In the second discourse, he shows that the Psalms have been in uninterrupted use in the church for 2,800 years, and are most admirably adapted for matter of praise. Examples are adduced to show that in heavenly language are praised the divine attributes—majesty, sovereignty, wisdom, justice, holiness, mercy, grace—that the living God, subsisting in three persons, is worshipped—that fallen man’s natural state and character are exhibited in a manner fitted to awaken deep conviction of sin and deep humility—and that Christ is everywhere to be found—Christ as Prophet, Priest and King—’ Christ the ” man of sorrows,” the Saviour of his people, the enthroned Medi-, ator. The testimony of some of the most eminent Christians and Christian teachers, ancient and modern, is produced to show that in their opinion the Psalms contain the richest treasures of Christian experience ever given to the world.
In the third discourse, objections to the Psalms are answered—” they contain malevolent and vengeful imprecations,” “speak of a Saviour to come,” are “encumbered with Jewish images,” “not suited to days of revivals,” “hard to be understood,” and ” unsuitable for children.” The arguments offered for the use of hymns are next examined, and then are presented objections to the use of uninspired songs in divine worship.
The fourth discourse is founded on 1 Kings 15: 5, and is entitled “The Shame and Glory of David.”
From the above synopsis may be seen the course mapped out by the author. We most cheerfully recommend his work to our readers, as well calculated to increase their love and admiration for the “book of Psalms,” and to strengthen their resolution to use it, and it alone, in the worship of God.