P Hately Waddell
THE BUIK CA'D O' PSALMS, or LILTS, or KIRK-SANGS,
MAUN be mair nor feckly David's. Twal, ye fin', o' Asaph's; twa wi' Solomon's name; ane a-piece wi' Heman an' Ethan's name, an' ane wi' Moses': ane or mae by wha 's no kent; maist like, frae the sugh o' them, by David. They gaed a' till sangs or sughs, i' the Makars' time, wi' harps an' wi' soundin-brods, or wi' fifes an' thairms: the blythest o' them aiblins like some heigh-lilts o' our ain, an' the dulest like some laigh-gaen croon or pibroch. Some sangmaister thar was, till airt the sangsters an' till time the sang; an' till him afore the lave the kirk-sang itsel was allenarly lippen'd. What sang-lumes, or organs, might than be in vogue, we ken-na for truth; their vera names are but jimply right-read in days like our ain-as ye may see eftirhen'; but o' liltin on the heighest key thar was eneugh till gie name to them a': for ae Psalm, CXLV., or DAVID'S Telè, or Lilt, as it's ca'd, whar it 's liltin an' laudin frae en' till en', gied siclike name till the hail Buik as it stans. Our ain word LILT, that's but the Hebrew TELL; or LILTIN, that's but their TELLIM; synder'd an' sortit a wee the Norlan' gate, niebors weel wi' the name as it suld be.
The Buik pairts itsel in five: the three foremaist Pairts quat wi' Amen an' Amen, as ye sal fin' an ye leuk, Ps. XLI., LXXII., LXXXIX., i' the hinmaist, or hinmaist verse but ane; the fourt wi' Amen Halelujah, or Laud ye the LORD, Ps. CVI.; an' the fyft wi' Halelujah, Ps. CL., at the en', whilk is the hinmaist word o' a'. The Psalms, Lilts, or Kirk-Sangs, hae maist o' them a gran', heigh, sary sugh; an' forby that they're biddens till God, hae wonner-feck fusion o' their ain as Lyric Lilts o' the makar. Thar's the saft seep o' the cluds an' the dour chirt o' the cranreuch; the lown holms, the green knowes, an' the blythe braes o' Bethle'm; the cauld dyke-side, the snell showir, an' the snaw-white tap o' Lebanon; thar 's the wimplin burn, the rowin spate, an' the gran' walth o' watirs; thar 's the lanely, drowthy, dreich wustlan'; thar 's the lowan heugh, the bleezan cairn, an' the craig that lowps an' dinnles; thar 's the glint o' mony starn, the bright light o' the lift, an' the dule o' the dead-mirk dail, thegither; thar 's the sang o' the cheerie herd, the sigh o' the weary wight, the maen o' the heartbroken man, an' the eerie sugh o' the seer; the dirl o' the pipe, the chirm o' the bird, the tout o' the swesch, an' the scraigh o' thunner; the mither's lilt for her wean, an' heigh hozannas at the yetts o' hevin what the ee can see, what the lug can carrie; the chant o' the sant, an' the dule gant o' the godlowse; the blythe-bid o' the LORD himsel, an' the angrie ban o' his servan-forgather'd a' intil this ae Buik-ane gran' melee.
David, for a makar o' siclike, flings meikle mair intil sma' bouk nor the feck o' a' them wha hae lippen'd their thoughts the same gate. He sees an' he hears naething he canna tell; an' he tells a' like-as nane but himsel, afore or sen-syne, cou'd hae better tell'd it. David, for ane o' God's Seers or Foretellers, an' for ane o' God's Sancts, fu' lown aneth His wings an' fu' gleg an' sikker i' the hevinly uptak; chrystit an' gifted baith till say God's say, an' till do God's bidden, i' the warld; made mair tryst on God's ain Word, an' lippen'd mair till God's ain gree, nor ony man or marrow o' them a' sen the time o' Moses. Moses himsel was the feck o' his lear, as ane may see wha likes; bot the bidden o' the LORD's mouthe ben i' his ain bosom, an' the sugh o' God's Ghaist i' the lown o' his ain heart, made him wysser nor the lave o' the folk, an' sterker nor the feck o' kings. Rightousness an' Truth war the twa braid stoops o' his life, an' the Word o' the LORD the ae bright light o' his gangins. That he was ettled till be but some fleshly figure o' the Chryst, in his warslins an' his winnins baith, haudin the lan' an' dingin the hethen his ain gate, he brawly be till ken; an' frae a' he tholed in himsel he schupit weel, wi' the help o' God, what the Chryst maun carrie. An' eke, that he figured the folk wha lived i' the lown wi' God; wha gaed wrang whiles wi' the LORD, an pined for their ain misdoens; wha lippen'd till the LORD, an' wan weel awa frae their ain fauts an' folies; wha leukit ay till the face o' the LORD, an' had braw glints o' light whan the warld atowre was in mirkest midnight-no a lilt o' his ain but can tell. Mony a word o' his i' the wustlan', as it shot frae his mouthe in dule, wan hame till Calvary, an' mony a tang o' his harp had its ain sugh eftirhen' in Gethsemanè. His flytins war feckly wi' the LORD'S ill-willers, an' his biddens a' for help on the Halie Hill. Fu' mony a prayer he dirl'd to the lift, for the feckless wight that was nevir born; an' fu' mony a skreigh wan but frae his bosom, that nane but the widow an' the faitherless, i' their ain sad sighan, hae niebor'd sen-syne. Sic gude's-gree an' sic gifts made David the wale o' singers; an' no ae finger-breid o' God's Hail Word's mair trystit, or better kent, or mair hanl'd nor the Psalms. The Chryst himsel loutit till learn them, an' a' God's folk sen his day hae been blythe o' sic weel-timed readin.
Bot David was King, nae less nor Makar an' Foreseer, an' airtit the feck o' a' his sangs the gate o' God's gree wha set him on the thron, an' for rightin, up-biggen, an' haudin weel thegither the Kingryk was lippen'd i' his han'. Chryst, an' His ain heigher realm o' Man's Heal-makin, he foresighted an' a', as the learner may ken wha gangs till Ps. II., XXII., XLV., an' CX., an' wha hearkens till Chryst himsel in His ain vera Tryste. Bot the wyssest amang us sal hae but scrimp insight o' David's min', an we leuk-na till the sair warsle he dree'd wi' Saul an' wi' his folk, an' wi' siclike o' his ain, herriers an' peace-breakers o' the lan', that plagit him ay whiles he lived. He carps, now an' again, o' Godlowse Carls, an' now an' again, o' Bairns o' the Yird; lawless loons an' witless nae-believers, wha wrought ill till his folk, an' misca'd himsel, an' lightlied abune a' the God that tholed them: an' wha but the ill-deedie draigs o' the lan', or scruif o' the yird, war ettled or daur'd wi' sic names as thae? Carl, i' the Hebrew, we weel ken, ettles often eneugh but Man or a Mighty Man, an' Bairn o' the Yird, but Son o' Man: yet owre an' owre in David's mouthe, they're wytit baith i' the name o' God, ban'd an' banish'd, for warkers o' a' mischieff an' thinkers o' a' ill again God's ain heritage. Wha syne could they be, an they war-na the draigs o' the auld Philistin folk o' the lan', an' wha sided wi' them again David, born ill-willers a' till God himsel an' till God's ain Chrystit? An ye read-na sae mair nor ance, the best o' David's Psalms, an' eke o' David's prayers an' biddens, sal gang for nought, an' for waur nor nought; they sal be but ill-heartit vanities-malisons in angir, that cou'd ne'er win by the lift.
David, for a man like the lave, had mony an ill faut o' his ain: yet sair he dree'd an' meikle he rued the wrang he wrought till his niebor, an' the angir he wrought till God. His ain ill-doen dang him, an' his heart's content whiles theekit him wi' schame. Bot tak David for a man as he stude by himlane, wi' the trystit crown on his head an' the hals o' his ill-willers, wi' mony an awesome warsle, aneth his feet; his ain heart whiles lowan like a kiln, an' his han's jimp redd o' bluid; the fauts he own'd to, an' mae, we maun e'en forgie him. Twa fauts abune the lave he had, an' they war baith Hebrew fauts. The warst o' the twa was, he sought owre het for bluid. The stoor he stude an' the ill he tholed wrought nae gude till his heart, an' e'en canker'd his nature. Baith God an' himsel had weel eneugh min' o't: The LORD wad hae nae house-biggen at his han's; an' had the swurd at wark amang his out-come for mony a day, we ken brawly for what: an' till read the Psalms o' David rightly, siclike maun be thol'd in min'. Lang he dree'd, an' meikle he wanted; bot God till him was better nor a'. Ance or twice he forgies; he forgies, an' he bans again: he forgies for ae day, an' he bans for the lave o' a thousan years. David's ain Chrystit Maister taught us weel sensyne anither gate, an' a heigher; bot David lays the wyte o' a' on God, an' saikless himsel gangs thro' wi' 't. Nae ferlie nor he whiles tint temper; yet he ne'er tint tryst o' God. An we can do mair or better, we may faut him freely syne. Tak David thro' the piece for Man an' for Makar, for Seer an' for King, he was mair till the LORD'S ain likan, a man mair eftir God's ain heart, nor the feck o' his kind. Baith Abraham, an' Moses, an' himsel had fauts they might weel hae been quat o'; bot the LORD waled, an' gifted, an' liket them nane the less; yet nane o' their wrang-doens slippit His ee, or miss'd the dread down-come o' His han'.
Wha leuks, syne, for the leadin o' God's ain Gude Ghaist intil the Buik o' Psalms, maun leuk weel till the kin' o' man that spak for God i' the same, an nae less till God's ain heigh gate o' guidin him. God speaks till us a' thro' our ain ghaist, an' feckly i' the tongue wharintil we war born. God spak like-sae thro' David: thro' ane Hebrew till Hebrews, ferst; an' syne thro' Hebrews, by themsels, till the lave o' the warld. His ain halie Word, till us a', 's but ane: yet Psalms an' Foretellin baith cam but frae the lift thro' Hebrews. Tak weel wi' the Hebrew thought, an' ye sal tak weel eftirhen' wi' the thought o' God, wha lippen'd the tellin o't langsyne till folk, like Moses an' David, o' his ain han'-walin. What feck o' sense, what walth o' truth, what wit an' wyssheid; what far-sightiness, an' benmaist bodin; what weanlike tryst o' God, the Faither o' themsels an' a'; an' heighest thoughts o' Him, the Righter an' Heal-ha'der o' a', maun hae been theirs wha had the tellin o' a' till the lave o' his thoughtfu' creaturs!
O' this BUIK o' PSALMS mae Setts nor ane hae been:-
1, The LXX., intil Greek, gie what we count the XIV. for the LIII., an' LIII. for XIV.; forby that they airt a wheen words-the feck o' twa verses or tharby-frae the V., X., CXL., intil verse 3 o' their ain XIV.: an' Sanct Paul, as ye may see by what he reads frae that sett o' theirs (Rom. iii. 10), gangs wi' them.
2, What was ance kent for the Vulgate, or Auld Latin Sett, maks ae twa Psalms, IX. an' X., intil ane; an' ae single Psalm, CXLVII., intil twa. This wrang was rightit by Sanct Hieronymus, as he tells us in his ain Prologue till the New Vulgate: nochtless, it has been keepit ay on sen his day, baith i' the best Vulgates an' in ither weel-kent Catholic readins o' the Word, in mae tongues nor the Latin. Likesae, twa mae Psalms, CXIV. an' CXV., they sowthir intil ane, an' Psalm CXVI. they synder intil twa; whilk Hieronymus, their best stoop, lats stan'. Our weel-kent CXIX., this gate, fa's till be but their CXVIII., an' sae wi' the lave. This, forby some sma' differ i' the meath an' measur o' mony a single verse, that needs-na here till name.
3, I' the Hebrew itsel, what we tak for Headins stans but for the foremaist, or pairt o' the foremaist verse o' ilka Psalm: till whilk order mony wyss readers gie in.
4, I' the LXX. baith an' i' the Vulgate, an' whasae gang wi' them, Halelujah i' the five hinmaist Psalms, an' twa-three mae forby, is taen frae the Psalm an' set for a headin; anither wrang rightit in pairt by Sanct Hieronymus, lang or the Hebrew itsel was weel kent amang us.
5, By the same LXX. an' Vulgate, Psalm CXXXVII.'s glen till Jeremiah; an' Psalms CXII., CXXXVIII., CXLVI., CXLVII., CXLVIII., till Haggai an' Zechariah: an' Psalms CXXXIX., CXL., CXLI., CXLII., CXLIII., CXLIV., are set nane till David's makin, bot till David's gree allenarly by ither han's. The CXXXVII., an it be-na some foretellin, could be nane o' David's, an' might weel be Jeremiah's; bot the lave, for ought can be seen, might be David's ain, as likely's ony i' the Buik. Hieronymus gies but ane o' them till Haggai an' Zechariah; how the lave cam by makars' names, we ken-na.
6, An' hinmaist, the Hebrew Makars, gran' an' a' as they war, had a schule-man's gate o' their ain, till mak sangs wi' their verses an' pairts to fa' even wi' the A B C; an' took unco pains an' pride in 't. Siclike are the XXV., XXXIV., XXXVII., less or mair: bot abune a' the lave, the CXIX., baith in pairts an' verses, ilka pairt in aght verses, an' ilka verse o' ilka pairt wi' its ain pairt-letter foremaist; an' the hail wi' a close-gaen, even sugh, short an' lang time about, frae en' till en'; maun hae been a wonner-wark o' thought, tho' thar's a hantle heigher lyric-makin baith afore an' ahint it.