HE HISTORY OF A HYKN BOO,M
In the May number of " Blaok wood's Magazine," ia an interesting account of the troubles which were met by the compilers of (( the Soottlsh bymnal," by one of those who trok a large share la the undertaking. He Myfl :— " Espaolally noteworthy is the aoooant of the embarrassments of the selectors of this now famous collection of devotional poetry— the first that ever received the formal sinctlonf and authority of the Scottish Kirk — reproached as they were In turns with Popery, Episcopacy, Armlnianlsm, Sootniani m, .and 'even Bourigianism.' The oompilera have been o tiled Ritualists, Ration .lists, Romanists ; persons wholly Ignorant of Soriptire ; despisersof their ordination vows. They have been stig* matised »s high handed and insolent, and told that their * proofs ' were read with Indignation ; they have had objeotlomble lines quoted <as from tbelr book which never wera ialt. One person objected to the very name ' Hymnal ' .' because It wm a Puseylte word.' The fiercest, contents aopear to have been over lines that were euspeoted — aometlmes,apparently on rather > absurd grounds— -of • a tendency to Mario* lstry. 1 An amiable oouotry minister wrote to the 'Convener' that; he would las soon fnaeit a hymn by the Devil . v one by Cardinal Newman.' The Committee started with the laudable determlmlnation to give a * faithful text '—a principle whioh will be beat appreciated by those who know best what amislng libarties have been taken with the words even of aome of the fl jest hymns In one language. But it was found that • few modifications had baeo made needful by the common consent of Chrls'lan folk. The line m " Rook of Ages,' 'Whan my eyelids close In death,' furnishes a oonsplonous example. What Toplady really wrote was 'When m'ne eyeßtrlngs break In death ' j bat letteri without number oarae from persons recently bere»ved, entreating that thase painful woris should not stand, Hence the judicious falsification of this celebrated hymn reoelved the Committee's sanction. Somewhat similar is the instance of f Hark the herald angels sing glory to the new-born King,' How many persons are swtre that In this noble oarol, as written by Charles Wesley, the lines run ' Hark hovr all the welkin rings, Gjory to the King of Kings.' m the first pmof of the 'Soottlsh Hymnal* Charles Wesley was plven oorreotly; but It was found, as Me Boyd says, that 'it would not do.' For reasons stated, some kindly recognition of the main events of the Ohrlstian year waa found necessary; but this feature In the Beleotots* labors has not been appreciated In all oases. A prominent Assembly orator informed the writer that he would sing * J^sas Christ Is risen to-day' upon any day ia the year exoept Easter D»y. another good man gave out . * Hark the herald angels sing' upon ft bright day In Jane, Mr Boyd has heard 'Brightest and bent of the sons of the morning' on a sunshiny August Sunday, and been present vhen 'Abide with me— fadt falls the eventide 'was sung at a, quarter past twelve upon abUzlog Longest Day. These tbiogs, as be observes, are strange. Bat In spite of all the difioultles and embarrassments whioh beset the path of the cmpilerj, the ' Scottish Hymnal' has proved a marvellous BUtoass. It was first used m public worship on Sunday, Anguat 14 1870 ; being then a collection of only 200 hymns. At the end of the year 1888 the Hymnal had grown to a volume containing 442 hymns; and no fewer thanHwo millions of copies had been Bold, and this, as we are reminded, mainly m Scotland — a small coon try, with a population Iceb thin that of London."
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