The Scottish Psalter

Tonight I purchased another fifteen Psalters for use in the chapel. A Psalter is a book of the Psalms, rephrased and worded so as to fit with a tune. For example, most people know the traditional version of the hymn The Lord’s my Shepherd- this is an example of a psalm rephrased for use in the Psalter.

The Scottish Psalter of 1650 was written for use in the Scotch Kirk and was very carefully analysed to ensure its integrity to the original Hebrew. The details can be found here:

http://www.cgmusic.org/workshop/smp_frame.htm

Once upon a time, only these metrical psalms would have been sung in Protestant Churches, including Congregational ones. It was Isaac Watts, the Congregationalist hymn writer who persuaded his fellow dissenters that hymns written from a New Testament perspective were just as wholesome a device with which to worship God. In time, the psalms were phased out, and replaced by hymns. Hymns were replaced by choruses and choruses by ‘worship songs’. Though I choose my music from a wide range of wells, ancient and modern, I must say there is still something very wholesome about psalm-singing.

The Trinitarian Bible Society which still publishes psalters can be visited here: http://www.tbsbibles.org .

1. The Lord's my Shepherd, I'll not want;

He makes me down to lie

In pastures green; He leadeth me

The quiet waters by.


2. My soul He doth restore again,

And me to walk doth make

Within the paths of righteousness,

E'en for His own Name's sake.

 

3. Yea, though I walk through death's dark vale,

Yet will I fear no ill,

For Thou art with me, and Thy rod

And staff me comfort still.

 

4. A table Thou hast furnished me

In presence of my foes;

My head Thou dost with oil anoint,

And my cup overflows.

 

5. Goodness and mercy all my life

Shall surely follow me,

And in God's house forevermore

My dwelling place shall be.