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jealous, and in 1647 appointed a committee to revise the Parliamentary Psalter, instructing them to avail themselves of the versions of Sir William Mure, Zachary Boyd, and others, and especially of their own time-honoured translation. In August 1649, the business of revision was re-committed to six brethren, some of whose names are still familiar-viz., James Hamilton, John Smith, Hugh M'Kail, Robert Trail, George Hutchison, and Robert Laurie. On the 23d of November, in that year, the amended version was adopted by the Commission of Assembly, who authorised it as "the only paraphrase of the Psalms to be sung in the Kirk of Scotland, discharging the old paraphrase, and any other than this new paraphrase, to be made use of in any congregation or family, after the first day of May, in the year 1650." *
The chief merit of Rouse is fidelity; and, although the Scottish version is in some places sufficiently hard and dry, it will be allowed that it has considerably improved upon the rugged strains of the Cornish Provost of Eton. This will be seen by comparing a specimen of each :
Come, let us sing to God, to the rock
Of our health shout with noise.
For God's a great God, and great King,
Depths of the earth are in His hand,
The sea is His, He it made; dry land
* Holland's Psalmists of Britain, vol. i., 57-60.
In the Assembly of Divines Rouse had at least two rivals. One of them, Barton, who was minister of St Martin's, Leicester, and during the time of the Assembly, "minister of John Zecharies, London," published in 1645 his metrical translation. The following is a favourable specimen :
God is our strength and present aid,
Our refuge in our need:
* He died in 1678, aged seventy-four.
The "Patriarch of Dorchester" was the projector of the colony of Massachusetts, New England, but did not himself join the expedition Like Barton, he was a member of the Westminster Assembly; but his psalms do not appear to have
been published till 1655. With a short interruption, he was minister of Dorchester, in Dorsetshire, from 1606 till his death in 1648; and during this period he expounded the entire Bible to his parishioners, and had gone half through it a second time, when he was interrupted by death. Through his "wisdom and ministerial labours," Fuller says, "Dorchester was much enriched with knowledge, piety, and industry.”
How pleasant and how good is it,
When in the unity of love,
Brethren together dwell.
'Tis like that precious fragrant oil,
On Aaron's head, and ran his beard
Like Hermon's dew, or that which doth
For there the blessing God commands,
Here, too, we may notice the "Paraphrase" of Baxter, although it was a posthumous work, and did not see the light. till 1692. By a curious device—the omission of the words within parenthesis in the alternate lines-its long metre can be converted into common.
Unto the hills, from whence my help
Doth come, I (will) list (up) mine eyes.