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CHAPTER VI.  Mr. Morton’s last chapter.


CHAPTER VI. Mr. Morton’s last chapter.

James Dodson

Mr. M.’s last chapter is peculiarly brilliant, and sheds a lustre upon all the rest of his book.

I must be allowed to observe, by the way, that though neither Mr. M., nor any other man who has written on his side of the question, pleads for the exclusive use of an uninspired Psalmody; yet all who oppose the exclusive use of an inspired Psalmody, practically put themselves on this ground. For it is notoriously a matter of fact, that the introduction of uninspired songs into the worship of God, is almost uniformly followed by the total disuse of the Psalms of inspiration. Whether it be, that the principle upon winch men adopt an uninspired Psalmody, necessary leads them to discard the Psalmody of the Bible, or, that the use of the former, creates a distaste for the latter;—one thing is certain, (and Mr. M. knows it) viz: that the one part of the Christian world uses an inspired Psalmody exclusively, and the other part, with few exceptions, uses exclusively an uninspired Psalmody. This is the exact practical difference between "Psalmonism" and "Neodism."

Our author accounts in the following manner, for men holding what he calls "Psalmonistic" views;—p. 234: "The cause, no doubt is found in the deranged state of the human mind, resulting from sin’s influence on the faculties of the soul."—A very satisfactory way, truly, of accounting for the fact, that some men prefer the Psalms which God has made to those composed by men!

On p. 236, he is a little more definite, and points out prejudice, as the form in which the depravity of the human mind operates, in the production of this sad effect. "For this opinion," says he, "that Psalmonism is sustained chiefly by the prejudice of education, there are several reasons—we offer but a few." It is not necessary to examine all the reasons which Mr. M. assigns; let his concluding one be taken as a sample of the whole. It is as follows;—"Another evidence of Psalmonism being upheld principally by prejudice, appears from this, that Psalmonistic Churches are composed chiefly of those who are called the Scotch-Irish population. In those countries, their prejudices grew out of the practice of using the "old Psalms," and when they come here they are still retained; and unimpaired, if possible, handed down from one generation to another. And it is to be lamented, that many of them manifest more interest for these old notions, than they do in the behalf of piety and temperance. But the fact that Psalmonism is fostered only among these, amounts to positive proof, that its main support is derived from prejudice of education."

I give this argument in full, because of its great importance; and, seriously, I deem it as candid, pertinent and forcible, as any other argument in the book. It is certainly well suited for the winding up of such a work as "Morton on Psalmody." The reader will please notice the full force of Mr. M.’s grand climacteric. "Psalmonistic Churches are composed chiefly of those called the Scotch-Irish population,"—that is, of Irish Presbyterians and their descendants; therefore—render, mark the inference,—THEREFORE "the main support of Psalmonism is derived from the prejudice of education!!"—If Englishmen, Frenchmen, Yankees, Germans, or any other than those whom our author denominates ‘Scotch-Irish,’ preferred an inspired to an uninspired Psalmody, we might give them credit for being rationally convinced of the justness of their preference; "but the fact that Psalmonism is fostered only among the ‘Scotch-Irish,’ amount to positive proof, that its main support is derived from the prejudice of education!!"

This glorious termination of Mr. M’s process of reasoning, can hardly fail to remind the reader of our Saviour’s observation, that "if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." It would perhaps be wicked so to apply the passage; but its obvious applicability, would certainly be at least an extenuation of the offence.

And now, Mr. Morton, leaving you where you have left yourself, I am prepared to take my leave of you. But before we part, let me exhort you to reconsider the subject on which you have written, before you issue a second edition of your work; and to be on your guard, ‘lest haply,’ under the pretence of contending against Dr. Pressly, ‘you be found fighting against God.’ I know that the multitude is on your side; but you will readily grant that this fact is no indication that you are in the right; and however painful it may be to those who plead for the exclusive use of an inspired Psalmody, to see the multitudes against them, this state of things gives them no manner of concern for the ultimate success of their cause. You will agree with us that the time is coming, and is not far distant, when Zion’s ‘watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.’ It must be admitted on all hands, that the only Psalmody in which the whole Church can unite, in these sad days of division and sectarianism, is the Psalmody of the Bible; it is clear that in this all Christians might unite; and for our part, we are firmly persuaded that there never will be a general union in any other. In the mean time, we will, by the grace of God, continue to stand on ground which might be common, knowing that those who assume a ground which must be sectional, must be responsible for existing divisions, and assured that those who have gone out from us, will return again, and that they and we together, will yet celebrate in songs of the Spirit’s composure, the exalted glory of him ‘who inhabits the praises of Israel.’