Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 3
"Those that be
planted in the house of the Lord
in the courts of our God" (Ps. 92:13)
- 11:00 AM - Rev. M. McGeown
The Preaching of Christ Crucified [download]
Reading: I Corinthians 1:1-31
I. The Meaning
II. The Effect
III. The Purpose
93:1-5; 69:14-20; 22:13-20
Evening Service - 6:00 PM - Rev. M. McGeown
Sarah’s Faith in God Who Promised [download]
Reading: Genesis 17:15-22; 18:6-15; 21:1-7
I. The Meaning
II. The Reason
III. The Result
94:1-8; 126:1-6; 113:5-9
Stephen Murray for CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship
Quotes to Consider:
Martin Luther: "If you would trust God you must
learn to crucify the question, ‘How?’"
A.W. Pink: "Faith will cheerfully leave it with
Omniscience as to how the promise will be made good … Where divine
veracity is engaged Omnipotence will make it good."
John Trapp: "At first Sarah laughed through
unbelief at the unlikelihood but afterward she bethought herself and
believed. This latter is recorded, the former pardoned."
Announcements (subject to God’s will)
We welcome Rev. McGeown to our services today.
He will preach both services, while Rev. Stewart preaches for the
Limerick Reformed Fellowship.
RFPA Updates are available on the back table.
The second offering this morning will be for the
We express our sympathy to Jennifer Hanko in
the death of her grandmother, Mrs. Barb Cammenga, this past week. May
the Lord comfort and uphold her during this difficult time.
"Pray for one another" (James 5:15). Continue to
remember in prayer those who are not always able to attend worship
services due to illness, like Mr. Callender, Eunice Murray and Sinead
PM - Joseph, Jacob, Nathan & Alex
PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea
Tuesday Bible study: 11 AM, on II
Thessalonians 2:16f. on Paul’s eschatological prayer/benediction.
Wednesday Belgic Confession class: 7:45 PM.
We’ll continue our study of Article 9 on church teaching on the Trinity.
Thursday membership class: 7:30 PM.
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "Jesus’ Prayer for Our
Unity" (John 17:20-23) by Rev. R. Kleyn.
Offerings: General Fund £646.77. Donations:
£20 (DVDs), £100 (books)
Everyone is invited to a CPRC/LRF Overnighter
at the Newcastle Youth Hostel in Co. Down on Friday, 6 May. Bible study,
fellowship, games, and hiking are planned. Dinner on Friday evening,
breakfast on Saturday and a pack lunch will be provided. Cost is £15 per
person. A sign-up sheet is on the back table. For more
information or to help organize food, contact Mary Stewart.
PRC News: Hope (Redlands, CA) will call from a trio of Prof.
Engelsma, Rev. Haak (Georgetown, MI), and Rev. A. Lanning (Faith, MI).
The Rage for the Psalter in France
Rev. Angus Stewart
Today, the Psalms—God’s manual of praise for his
church—are rejected by many professed Protestants for uninspired hymns.
It once was very different! All the Reformed churches sang the Psalms.
J. A Wylie in his famous History of Protestantism (book 2, pp.
137-138) describes "the rage for the Psalter" in France in the days of
the Reformation in the lengthy but engaging quotation below:
At an early stage of the Reformation in France, the
New Testament … was translated in the vernacular of that country. This
was followed by a version of the Psalms of David in 1525 … Later,
Clement Marot, the lyrical poet, undertook—at the request of Calvin, it
is believed—the task of versifying the Psalms, and accordingly thirty of
them were rendered into metre and published in Paris in 1541, dedicated
to Francis I. Three years afterwards (1543), he added twenty others, and
dedicated the collection "to the ladies of France." In the epistle
dedicatory the following verses occur:
man whose favour’d ear
days to come shall hear
ploughman, as he tills the ground,
as he drives his round,
shopman, as his task he plies,
or sacred melodies
hours of toil away!
he who hears the lay
or of shepherdess,
As in the
woods they sing and bless
the rocks and pools proclaim
their great Creator’s name!
Oh! can ye
brook that God invite
you to such delight?
ladies, begin! ..."
The prophecy of the poet was fulfilled. The combined
majesty and sweetness of the old Hebrew Psalter took captive the taste
and genius of the French people. In a little while all France, we may
say, fell to singing the Psalms. They displaced all other songs,
being sung in the first instance to the common ballad music. "This holy
ordinance," says Quick, "charmed the ears, heart, and affections of
court and city, town and country. They were sung in the Louvre, as well
as in the Prés des Clercs, by the ladies, princes, yea, by Henry II
himself. This one ordinance alone contributed mightily to the
downfall of Popery and the propagation of the Gospel. It took so
much with the genius of the nation that all ranks and degrees of men
practised it, in the temples and in their families. No gentleman
professing the Reformed religion would sit down at his table without
praising God by singing. It was an especial part of their morning and
evening worship in their several houses to sing God’s praises."
This chorus of holy song was distasteful to the
adherents of the ancient worship. Wherever they turned, the odes of the
Hebrew monarch, pealed forth in the tongue of France, saluted their
ears, in the streets and the highways, in the vineyards and the
workshops, at the family hearth and in the churches. "The reception
these Psalms met with," says Bayle, "was such as the world had never
seen." To strange uses were they put on occasion. The king, fond of
hunting, adopted as his favourite Psalm, "As pants the hart for
water-brooks," &c. The priests, who seemed to hear in this outburst
the knell of their approaching downfall, had recourse to the expedient
of translating the odes of Horace and setting them to music, in the hope
that the pagan poet would supplant the Hebrew one. [Today, the
Arminian hymns of the Wesleys etc. are used to supplant the God-breathed
Psalms.] The rage for the Psalter nevertheless continued unabated, and a
storm of Romish wrath breaking out against Marot, he fled to Geneva,
where, as we have said above, he added twenty other Psalms to the thirty
previously published at Paris, making fifty in all. This enlarged
Psalter was first published at Geneva, with a commendatory preface by
Calvin, in 1543. Editions were published in Holland, Belgium, France,
and Switzerland, and so great was the demand that the printing-presses
could not meet it. Rome forbade the book, but the people were only the
more eager on that account to possess it.
Calvin, alive to the mighty power of music to advance
the Reformation, felt nevertheless the incongruity and indelicacy of
singing such words to profane airs, and used every means in his power to
rectify the abuse. He applied to the most eminent musicians in Europe to
furnish music worthy of the sentiments. William Franc, of Strasburg,
responding to this call, furnished melodies for Marot’s Psalter; and the
Protestants of France and Holland, dropping the ballad airs, began now
to sing the Psalms to the noble music just composed. Now, for the
first time, was heard the "Old Hundredth," and some of the finest tunes
still in use in our Psalmody. After the death of Marot (1544) Calvin
applied to his distinguished coadjutor, Theodore Beza, to complete the
versification of the Psalms. Beza, copying the style and spirit of
Marot, did so, and thus Geneva had the honour of giving to
Christendom the first whole book of Psalms ever rendered into the metre
of any living language.
Jesuit theologian, Famiano Strada (1572-1649)
expresses the Roman Catholic opposition to Reformed Psalm singing:
That translation of hymns [i.e., the metrical
Psalter of Marot and Beza] though abandoned and condemned by the
Catholics, was zealously and pertinaciously retained by the Heretics
[the Reformed]; and the custom of singing Psalms in the French
language, according to the fashion of the Genevese, in companies, in
places of public resort, and in shops, became thenceforth a peculiar
characteristic of the Heretics (quoted in Herman Witsius, The
Apostles’ Creed, vol. 1, p. 312).
Many today, who consider themselves heirs of the
Reformation, are more akin to those French Roman Catholics, whom Strada
speaks of, who "abandoned" the Psalter. But by God’s grace, there are
still some who possess that "peculiar characteristic of the Heretics"
(as judged by the false church), the public singing of the God-breathed
Psalms. May they flourish as a tree planted by a river. As Psalm 1
promises (in the Scottish Metrical Version),
He shall be
like a tree that grows
by a river,
Which in his
season yields his fruit,
And his leaf
And all he
doth shall prosper well.
The wicked are
But like they
are unto the chaff,
drives to and fro.