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monoergon

Puritan Board Freshman
Dear brothers,
I have translated the Catechism on Praise, by Alexander Blaikie, into Brazilian Portuguese. I have some questions regarding grammar and interpretation. I hope the PB members may aid me concerning the following questions.

There is very little Exclusive Psalmody material in Portuguese; that’s why I’m translating it. Also, please pray that this translation may be an instrument by which the Lord may use to clean will-worship from Brazilian churches.


(1).

“XX. What is a human hymn, psalm, or spiritual song? One, of which the arrangement and composition are made by uninspired men, and not by the authority and wisdom of God, even although the sentiment be taken from, and agree with, some portion of Scripture. […]” (source)


- What is meant by “One,”?

- Perhaps “One” means “One thing only”?

- If you could substitute “One,” by an equivalent modern expression, what would that be?


(2).

Objections. 1. The psalms are not adapted to the departure of missionaries. Ans. Missionaries departed probably without singing, according to scriptural example Acts 13:3,4; and for such solemn scenes, the psalms provide matter most suitable to the condition of every missionary, or to that of any of his friends, who “let the word of Christ dwell in them richly.” Psa. 46, 56, 72, 122, etc.

2. They are supposed to be not adapted to Sabbath schools. “You would not have the children learn the old psalms? Ans. The family circle is the Sabbath school of Scripture. Psa. 92:1,2; 118:15; Gen. 18:19; 1 Tim. 3:12; Deut. 6:7. And if for the benefit of those who have no pious parental instruction, this institution has been established, yet every teacher must be assuredly guilty, who does not teach his pupils, “the word of Christ” as the matter of their praise, that it may dwell in them richly. If human hymns had any divine authority, the varied contradictory compilations, which abound, could, even then, only train the early mind to contradictory doctrinal opinions, while none of them will enable the scholar to say, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psa. 119:11.” (Source)


- What is “They” referring to?

- Perhaps “They” is referring to one of these: “psalms”, or “solemn scenes” or “missionaries” or “friends”?


(3).

“6. On the 19th of May, 1650, the Presbyterian version of the Psalms was adopted by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. In 1745, when persecution no longer purified her gold, and learned ease became not uncommon among her ministry, she added to the Psalms some forty-six metrical compositions, which, in thirty-six years of travail, grew to the (perfect?) number of sixty-seven pieces, called “paraphrases,” with an appendage of five hymns, all which were adopted by the Assembly, June 1, 1781.

By many of the present generation, who have from infancy found them bound with “the Book of Psalms,” the “paraphrases” are viewed as if they were inspired—collected in the same manner—and prepared by the same divine appointment and authority to be the matter of Jehovah's praise, as the Psalter has been. This common opinion is false.” (Source)

- What is “her” referring to?

- Perhaps “her” is referring to one of these: “Presbyterian version of the Psalms” or maybe the “Church of Scotland”?

- What is “them” referring to, in the second paragraph?

- Perhaps “them” is referring to one of these: “metrical compositions” or “pieces” or “hymns”?


(4).

“XXXI. What has for the last three quarters of a century, more than any thing else, superseded the Psalms among many Protestants? The “imitations” and hymns of the Rev. Dr. Watts. These, written about 1719, were republished in America in 1741, the Psalms “imitated in the Language of the New Testament” by J. Edwards, and the hymns by Dr. Benjamin Franklin.” (Source)


- It seems to me that the comma in the sentence “.… were republished in America in 1741, the Psalms….” should be substituted by a colon. What do you think?


(5).

“XXXIV. Can any cases be presented in proof of this fact? Yes. To say nothing of other lands, “Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,” have made, and continue to make, nearly every pious habitation in Scotland vocal with the praises of Jehovah.” (Source)


- What is the meaning of “strains” in that context?


(6).

“The first organ made in New England was built in 1745. Organs were probably unknown in Boston (excepting among Episcopalians) until since A.D. 1800.” (Source, chap. 3)


- It seems to me that “until since” is contradictory. It is either “until” or “since”, but not both. Which one is correct?


(7).

“XVIII. Are not purer devotional feeling and a deeper tone or piety produced by a choir, or with instrumental music, than by vocal and congregational singing? No. The supposed act of worship by proxy cannot at all equal that in which we personally engage. When we listen to the musical performances of others, we are in the mean time prevented from worshipping God ourselves; from “giving to him the fruit of our lips,” and form singing “psalms to him with grace.” Psa. 95:1,2.” (Source, chap. 3)


- What is meant by “worship by proxy”?


(8).

“XXI. What, then, is the duty of Christian churches in this matter? In whatever manner governed, they ought, as Protestants, carefully to avoid all unauthorized worship, either in the matter or manner or praise; to abide by that which is commanded, recollecting that all the embellishments and meretricious ornaments, with which human skill invests the matter and manner or our praise, are similar to the armour or Saul when placed on David. 1 Sam. 17:39. They form no appointed part of the “armour of God” in the Christian “warfare,” Eph. 6:11, and they must be cast aside, or we will incur the displeasure of “a jealous God;” spread, under his disapprobation, spiritual death over the churches of Christ; cause his children to weep in secret places; the men of this world to rejoice, and the enemies of Christ to blaspheme.” (Source, chap. 3)

- In the sentence, “the armour or Saul when placed on David”, is “or” actually supposed to be “of”?

It makes sense that the armour is placed on David, but it doesn’t make sense to affirm that Saul is placed on David. Perhaps it is “the armour of Saul” that is placed on David.


- In the sentence, “They form….”, what is “They” referring to?

- Perhaps “They” is referring to “embellishments and meretricious ornaments”?


- In the sentence, “and they….”, what is “they” referring to?


- What is being spread in the sentence “spread, under his disapprobation, spiritual death over the churches of Christ;”?


(9).

“THERE is another thing relating to the Psalms I cannot call it an abuse, for it is a total neglect of them. They are quite rejected in many congregations, as if there were no such hymns given by inspiration of God, and as if they were not left for the use of the church and to be sung in the congregation. Human compositions are preferred to divine. Man's poetry is exalted above the poetry of the Holy Ghost. Is this right? The hymns which He revealed for the use of the church, that we might have words suitable to the praises of Immanuel, are quite set aside: by which means the word of man has got a preference in the church above the word of God; yea, so far as to exclude it entirely from public worship. It is not difficult to account for this strange practice. Our people had lost sight of the meaning of the Psalms. They did not see their relation to Jesus Christ. This happened when vital religion began to decay among us, more than a century ago.” (Source, Appendix)


- I don’t understand the meaning of the expression “by which means”.

- To what, exactly, is “by which” referring to in the preceding sentence?

- In that sentence, is “means” defined as ‘signification’, or such as in “a means to an end”?


(10).

“[…] What poetry is to be compared with the Psalms of God? Who can make the singing of any human verses an ordinance, or give a blessing to them, such as is promised, and is given to the singing of Psalms?” (Source, Appendix)


- What is “them” referring to?

- I don’t understand the meaning of “give a blessing”.


(11).

“[…] We know from very clear testimony that the Psalms were sung in the Temple until its final destruction. We are certain that Christ made use of the Psalms. His apostles followed his example. The churches of Corinth, and Ephesus, and Colosse, made the singing of Psalms part of their public worship. Such of the twelve tribes as were scattered abroad, being persecuted for Christ’s sake, did sing psalms when they were in a happy frame; for they were commanded to do it by the apostle James.” (Source, Appendix)


- I have never seen the grammatical construction “Such of”. I’m aware of “Such as”, however. Is that a mistake, or an archaic usage?


(12).

What, say some, is it unlawful to sing human compositions in the church?” (Source, Appendix)


- Can I substitute “What” by “Why”?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
To rule out transcription errors, you should get a print copy of the reprint of this from the James Begg society so you can check to make sure the online text is accurate. I would not rely on one source and assume it is error free in the transcription. Also, beware of the Steelite stuff. I would rely on sources that are not attached to them.
(1) One, == i.e. "a hymn is one"
(2) They="The Psalms"
(3) her=the Scottish church. them=the paraphrases.
(4) Colon would be appropriate.
(5) "A strain is a series of musical phrases that create a distinct melody of a piece."
(6) I would want to be sure this is not a transcription error; hence the need to see the original printed copy.
(7) By proxy means someone else is doing it for you; like the choir.
(8) "of". That is an error in the transcription or even in the original. If you are going through the effort of translating a piece for the first time into a new language, get a reliable text source. Unless "they" refers back to hymns, this seems to speak of the embellishments which is the immediate context. I'm not sure; the writer has a bit of a convoluted style.
(9) by which means; either the immediately preceding "The hymns which He revealed for the use of the church, that we might have words suitable to the praises of Immanuel, are quite set aside" or all the text preceding before.
(10) them=human verses.
(11) Such of=Those of the twelve tribes.
(12) Read as, Some say, “What?" "Is it unlawful to sing human compositions in the church?”
Home some of that helps. Again, get what you know is a true version and don't rely on another's transcription without checking it against an original. With the reprint you should be able to find one and maybe someone on the board has a copy they can scan and send you.
 

TheOldCourse

Puritan Board Sophomore
What a great service to the church in Brazil! May God bless you in your labors!

Here are my understandings of the questions you pose:

1. "One" refers to a "human hymn, song, or spiritual song." That is, one of such compositions.

2. They refers to the Psalms, according to the objector, who argues that the Psalms are not suitable for such use

3. "her" refers to the Church of Scotland, and "them" refers to the paraphrases

4. This is an awkward sentence to parse and I'm not sure that punctuation alone can solve the difficulty. A colon would help but perhaps someone else has better ideas.

5. tune or melody

6. until

7. the worship is being performed by the choir or instrumentalists and the congregant worships through them. It's as if the praise is mediated through the choir instead of given directly by the congregant

8. Yes, it should be "of"; Yes "they" refers to the embellishments and ornanments; we will spread death by not casting aside the embellishments etc.

9. "by which means" refers to the setting aside of the psalms for human hymnody. The means in this context refers to a method that results in particular ends, i.e., the preference of man's words over God's.

10. The Scriptures promise a blessing to the singing of inspired Psalms. The rhetorical question is asking who has the authority to give an equivalent blessing to the singing of human verses.

11. It means something like "those of"

12. "What" is something of an ejaculation here, an expression of surprise
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
(1).

“XX. What is a human hymn, psalm, or spiritual song? One, of which the arrangement and composition are made by uninspired men, and not by the authority and wisdom of God, even although the sentiment be taken from, and agree with, some portion of Scripture. […]” (source)


- What is meant by “One,”?

- Perhaps “One” means “One thing only”?

- If you could substitute “One,” by an equivalent modern expression, what would that be?
"That of which...."


(2).

Objections. 1. The psalms are not adapted to the departure of missionaries. Ans. Missionaries departed probably without singing, according to scriptural example Acts 13:3,4; and for such solemn scenes, the psalms provide matter most suitable to the condition of every missionary, or to that of any of his friends, who “let the word of Christ dwell in them richly.” Psa. 46, 56, 72, 122, etc.

2. They are supposed to be not adapted to Sabbath schools. “You would not have the children learn the old psalms? Ans. The family circle is the Sabbath school of Scripture. Psa. 92:1,2; 118:15; Gen. 18:19; 1 Tim. 3:12; Deut. 6:7. And if for the benefit of those who have no pious parental instruction, this institution has been established, yet every teacher must be assuredly guilty, who does not teach his pupils, “the word of Christ” as the matter of their praise, that it may dwell in them richly. If human hymns had any divine authority, the varied contradictory compilations, which abound, could, even then, only train the early mind to contradictory doctrinal opinions, while none of them will enable the scholar to say, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psa. 119:11.” (Source)


- What is “They” referring to?

- Perhaps “They” is referring to one of these: “psalms”, or “solemn scenes” or “missionaries” or “friends”?
"The psalms..."

(3).

“6. On the 19th of May, 1650, the Presbyterian version of the Psalms was adopted by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. In 1745, when persecution no longer purified her gold, and learned ease became not uncommon among her ministry, she added to the Psalms some forty-six metrical compositions, which, in thirty-six years of travail, grew to the (perfect?) number of sixty-seven pieces, called “paraphrases,” with an appendage of five hymns, all which were adopted by the Assembly, June 1, 1781.

By many of the present generation, who have from infancy found them bound with “the Book of Psalms,” the “paraphrases” are viewed as if they were inspired—collected in the same manner—and prepared by the same divine appointment and authority to be the matter of Jehovah's praise, as the Psalter has been. This common opinion is false.” (Source)

- What is “her” referring to?

- Perhaps “her” is referring to one of these: “Presbyterian version of the Psalms” or maybe the “Church of Scotland”?

- What is “them” referring to, in the second paragraph?

- Perhaps “them” is referring to one of these: “metrical compositions” or “pieces” or “hymns”?
"her" - "The church of Scotland"
"them" - "The Psalms combined with forty-six metrical compositions"


(4).

“XXXI. What has for the last three quarters of a century, more than any thing else, superseded the Psalms among many Protestants? The “imitations” and hymns of the Rev. Dr. Watts. These, written about 1719, were republished in America in 1741, the Psalms “imitated in the Language of the New Testament” by J. Edwards, and the hymns by Dr. Benjamin Franklin.” (Source)


- It seems to me that the comma in the sentence “.… were republished in America in 1741, the Psalms….” should be substituted by a colon. What do you think?
No. The comma is grammatically correct. A colon would be appropriate if "These" were more explanatory, as in "These imitations..." as a colon amplifies what has preceded, said preceeding a stand alone grammatically correct sentence.

(5).

“XXXIV. Can any cases be presented in proof of this fact? Yes. To say nothing of other lands, “Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,” have made, and continue to make, nearly every pious habitation in Scotland vocal with the praises of Jehovah.” (Source)


- What is the meaning of “strains” in that context?
strains - a group of presumed common ancestry, and in this context "the Psalms"

(6).

“The first organ made in New England was built in 1745. Organs were probably unknown in Boston (excepting among Episcopalians) until since A.D. 1800.” (Source, chap. 3)

- It seems to me that “until since” is contradictory. It is either “until” or “since”, but not both. Which one is correct?
until since - "until after 1800 A.D." or "up to 1800 A.D.")

(7).

“XVIII. Are not purer devotional feeling and a deeper tone or piety produced by a choir, or with instrumental music, than by vocal and congregational singing? No. The supposed act of worship by proxy cannot at all equal that in which we personally engage. When we listen to the musical performances of others, we are in the mean time prevented from worshipping God ourselves; from “giving to him the fruit of our lips,” and form singing “psalms to him with grace.” Psa. 95:1,2.” (Source, chap. 3)


- What is meant by “worship by proxy”?
"worship through mediaries" or "worship through mediating means"
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Patrick is 'more better' on some of these I think (on the comma, colon as with some of this I suppose it may be important to know how this is best expressed in the target language?). I will say one more time, get a print copy of the original. You are going through this effort so you can't just presume someone else got the text right when typing it up. Check it against the source.
 
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