On the question of Union

On Praise and Prayer in Psalms

In the Assembly 1866 Dr. Candlish elicited an extra ordinary bnrst of enthusiasm by a speech on the Union question. There had been some indications of a desire to embrace the Established Church in the negotiations for Union, and this appeared in the Assembly, in more than one of the speeches, along with an insinuation that some of the fathers were abandoning their old principles. This thoroughly roused Dr. Candlish, who repudiated the charge with a vehemence and power characteristic of his best days. During the course of his address and at its close the Assembly and the audience greeted him with enthusiastic applause, rising to their feet, and loudly cheering.

On the question of the use of hymns in public worship, Dr. Candlish said—

"It is said we have in the Bible a directory for praise, and no directory for prayer. That is to say, we have in the Bible - in the Psalms - materials of praise provided, and not materials for prayer. I thoroughly and out and out deny that the Book of Psalms is a directory for praise more than it is a directory for prayer. There is as much prayer as praise in the Psalms. I see no room whatever for saying that the Book of Psalms is purely a psalmodical book. It contains prayers as well as praises. No doubt they are prayers that may be sung; but where is the difference? It contains as much to direct us in prayer as in praise. The prayers could be used without being sung, though they are put in the way in which they may be sung. It is read for praise from the pulpit every Lord's day; we pray as well as praise in the words of the Book of Psalms. That seems to me to take away altogether the distinction between praise and prayer as parts of the worship of Glod. And I cannot understand how we should be more hampered and fettered as regards the use of our words in the one part of divine worsbip than in the other."

On the 1st August Dr. Candlish wrote to Dr. Buchanan chiefly on matters relating to the Union question, and added at the close

"I am not in the mood for very much thinking or writing. I hope and believe that I have got over this attack. But I find it has left me very feckless. I shall need rest and retirement for a while. I hope I may be the better, otherwise than merely physically, for all this. We are just starting for Elie, where a visit from you would be very welcome."

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