Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Without our aid..."

Know that the LORD is God indeed;
Without our aid He did us make;
We are His flock, He doth us feed,
And for His sheep He doth us take.
Old 100th

In the KJV, verse 3 of Psalm 100 reads "Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture." "Old 100th" reworks the second phrase to read "Without our aid He did us make." I've always liked that. It is an important reminder, particularly to those of us inclined to the sin of Pride, which is to say all of us.

In the late 1980s, browsing through CDs in a music store in London, I came across Psalms of Scotland by the Scottish Philharmonic Singers. It is a wonderful collection, beautifully sung, of twenty selections from the Scottish Psalter. The image here is of that CD. I was pleased to discover this morning that the same recording [with a different image] is available from Ligonier Ministries and, for a bit more, from the Westminster Bookstore.

A great resource for Psalm singing can be found here, on the Psalters page at Music for the Church of God, including The Scottish Psalter in several iterations, The Bay Psalm Book, the early New England Psalter, and Isaac Watts's version of the Psalms Imitated in the Language of the New Testament.

There have always been those who believe that only the Psalms should be sung in church. Like Watts, the early Seventh Day Baptist hymn writer, Joseph Stennett, was consequently very careful to establish the Biblical basis for hymns that were not paraphrases of the Psalms. Although singing only the Psalms seems needlessly restrictive, they should certainly be an important part of worship. That is, after all, what they are intended for, and there is a rich heritage to enjoy.

Thanks to James Grant for reminding me of Psalms of Scotland.

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