In the nineteenth century, Rev. Dr. John Kennedy of Scotland enjoyed a friendly relationship with Charles Spurgeon. Dr. Kennedy invited Mr. Spurgeon to preach at the opening of a new church facility in Dingwall Scotland. I found the following quote to be of interest because it takes notice of the fact that a Paraphrase was sung at this assembly instead of a Psalm.
“When it was announced in 1870 that the great Baptist preacher [Charles Spurgeon] was to open Dr Kennedy’s new church in Dingwall there was much public satisfaction, not unmingled with astonishment. Mr Spurgeon’s name drew together an immense crowd. The church, of course, could only accommodate a limited number; but in the evening there was a large concourse in the open air. Mr. Spurgeon’s earnestness and eloquence were combined with a brightness and vivacity which contributed to the charm of his preaching. At his request Dr Kennedy gave out a paraphrase to be sung, probably the first time he ever did so in his life.” (From a Memoir of Dr Kennedy which appeared in the newspaper Inverness Courier in 1893. Mrs Kennedy regarded it as the best account of her late husband that had appeared in any form.) here online
I was quite disappointed to read that this concession was made for Mr. Spurgeon. It distresses me because it seems to overlook a great truth that should be notice about the singing of Psalms. Every Christian can come together to sing the Psalms, the same cannot be said of hymns and paraphrases. I wonder if Dr. Kennedy’s congregation joined in singing the paraphrase?
I will see if I can find some of the details of the service…