The Rev J Arnott Hamilton, BD, Ph D, Newbattle

There is an increasing demand for a place of worship which is aesthetically satisfying.  Reformation principles plus the frugality of heritors led to simple buildings with unadorned interiors, although there are exceptions.   Floor plans and furnishings are discussed but, while simple, many buildings possessed a pleasing dignity and harmonised with their surroundings.  The Gothic and Romanesque styles, while appealing, are ill suited for hearing in.  The writer argues for a new Scottish style which involves an apse for the Table, the pulpit to one side, stained-glass and other features such as mosaic, 'opus sectile' panels, and paintings - not just to enhance the buildings but to educate and inspire.  These suggestions are supported by ample quotation of examples in the churches of Europe.

Reference: Volume 03 1930-31, p34

The Rev Alex Hetherwick, CBE, DD, Aberdeen, (formerly of Blantyre Mission, British Central Africa)

Native people have a great capacity for spiritual things.  Primitive worship consists in thanksgiving and propitiation, involving sacrifice and prayer; examples are given.   In Blantyre Church there is common prayer twice daily, based on the seven days of Creation (from Professor Cooper's Prayers for Family Worship), using the local language in the morning and English in the evening.  The orders are given in detail;  litanies and collects are used.   Communion is monthly. Baptism is approached through two and a half years instruction, six month's as a Hearer, and two years as a Catechumen.  The same pattern precedes the Confirmation of those baptised as infants. There is a natural reverence among the people.

Reference: Volume 03 1930-31, p42

The Rev Professor G T Thomson, BD, Aberdeen

The article addresses a perceived confusion among clergy about the meaning and value of Baptism, and a perfunctory approach to its celebration.  The doctrine of the Church is outlined. Revelation is from Person to person, issuing in regeneration and rebirth.  The sacraments take their place alongside general revelation and through the hearing of the Word, through which the same gift is offered, namely all the benefits obtained through Christ.  They are not absolutely indispensable but they are exceedingly valuable and never to be despised.  They are equal to the Word, the one unconditional means of grace, to those who receive them in faith.  They are not a representation, but are themselves the message.  They do not work ex opere operato but rely on faith, not to create the gift given but as a condition of the giving.   In this understanding we do not need to attribute any special potency to the symbols.   It is not merely a human way of making the divine promise vivid.  There is no authority for Infant Baptism in the New Testament but the Church has been guided by the Spirit towards this. God acts on every person the same way, even as a child.   Baptism guarantees the possibility of gaining faith in the future.  The role of the Church in bringing this consummation is discussed, and Baptism should take place in the face of the members.  In the Book of Common Order the so-called warrant for Infant Baptism should be removed.

Reference: Volume 03 1930-31, p48
PDF icon Baptism6.94 MB

W M Page Esq, SSC, Edinburgh

The different practices of Psalm singing, in Scotland, England and in the Roman Catholic Church are contrasted.  Gregorian chanting does not seem to have had popular appeal.  Anglican chant is discussed and its limitations in practice noted.  However, new publications have appeared with revised pointing.  In Scotland, prose versions of the Psalms, using the Authorised Version, have now been provided.  This is based on trials over two years in St. Giles' Cathedral.  Anglican chant has become familiar through broadcast services and gramophone records.  The writer argues for more widespread use of chanting, by choirs in place of the anthem, by congregations, in schools and in family worship.

Reference: Volume 03 1930-31, p57
PDF icon Chanting the Psalms3.82 MB

The Rev H M Rankin, MA, Galashiels

Although language, ceremony and theology differ in the various parts of the Church, one form survives.  The order in Knox's liturgy is meagre and inadequate, its deficiencies made good in the Westminster Directory.  The use of individual cups and of unfermented wine is attacked.  Communion is a ministerial not a sessional act, and therefore the Kirk Session should not be adjourned following the reception of new communicants, but closed.  The Minister should partake himself, not be ministered to by Elders.  A Communion Table should not be given in memory of any person or group of persons; it cannot be a memorial of anyone save our Lord.   An outline order is offered (in this the prayers of intercession come before the sermon, and there is no Old Testament lesson).

Reference: Volume 03 1930-31, p62

The Rev Roger S Kirkpatrick, DD, Yarrow

This is not a prayer meeting nor a meeting for instruction; its intention is to maintain continous corporate worship. They relate to the Lord's Day but are offered by a representative group (“the act of the hand is the act of the body”). It is suggested its origin is in the Easter Vigil. The rationale offered is based on the ordinances of the Tabernacle enunciated in the Epistle to the Hebrews (chapters 8-10). A very detailed discussion of each step in this order, how it is to be expressed and how it might be understood, is offered.

Reference: Volume 03 1930-31, p70
PDF icon A Rationale of the Daily Service6.99 MB

The Rev Millar Patrick, DD, Edinburgh

The United Presbyterian Church led the way in the introduction of hymns,  the Relief Church having collected 231 Sacred Songs and Hymns in 1798.  The UPs established the “Devotional Service Association” in 1883, leading to Presbyterian Forms of Service in 1890.   The “Public Worship Association” was formed in the Free Church in 1891, issuing in 1898 in A New Directory for the Public Worship of God.   After the union of the UP and Free Churches in 1900, these were amalgamated as the “Church Worship Association” which, in 1928, published a Book of Common Order, which was authorised as the official manual of public worship for the Church.   A union with the Church Service Society is imminent.

Reference: Volume 03 1930-31, p79

No Author Specified

Henry J Wotherspoon, DD
David Miller Kay, DSO, DD
David Bruce Nicol, MC, BD

Reference: Volume 03 1930-31, p83
PDF icon In Memoriam 1930-312.18 MB

No Author Specified

The Union Assembly of 1929
The forthcoming union of the Church Service Society and the Public Worship Association
A new service of Licensing of Probationers
A new order for Ordination
What constitutes a proper Benediction
Some features of the new Scottish Psalter
The multiplicity of themes covered in the Paraphrases and a plea for their greater use.

Reference: Volume 03 1930-31, p86
PDF icon Notes and Comments 1930-312.17 MB

No Author Specified

Collegiate Church of St John the Baptist, Corstorphine  -  Frontispiece
Collegiate Church of St John the Baptist, Corstorphine, Interior (before Restoration)  -  Facing page 6
Collegiate Church of St John the Baptist, Corstorphine, Interior (after Restoration)  -  Facing page 7
A Native Shrine, British Central Africa  -  Facing page 44
Interior of Blantyre Church  -  Facing page 45

Reference: Volume 03 1930-31
PDF icon Illustrations 1930-313.06 MB

The Rev Walter E Lee, DD, Perth

The history of St. John's from its possible founding during the reigns of Queen Margaret and King David and the many notable events that took place within it - those immortalised in Scott's The Fair Maid of Perth - the fracas following Knox's sermon of 1559, the 1618 General Assembly which passed the “Five Articles of Perth”, the sermon of Ebenezer Erskine in 1733 which led to secession, and many others.  The history of ruination and repair is catalogued, and its restoration completed in 1928 in memory of the fallen in the 1914-18 war described, a restoration undertaken under the guidance of Sir Robert Lorimer.  There is a detailed description of both new and surviving artifacts and architectural features.

Reference: Volume 02 1929-30, p3
PDF icon St John’s Church, Perth4.16 MB

The Rev David S Merrow, BD, Stenhouse

In calling for a greater spirit of adoration, the author outlines three difficulties people have, a fear 
of the subjective (fuelled by psychology), common-sense religion which is uncomfortable with the transcendent, the reduction of religion to “morality touched with emotion”.   Several biblical incidents cited to underline that the initiative is God’s. Second hand and traditional religion prevent the engagement of the soul with God.  Knowledge has been narrowly defined in scientific terms but still reality eludes us.  This world view results in a “surplus”, and the author notes how this is dealt with in the writings of such as Newman, von Hügel, Tyrrell, Otto, Kay, Denny.   The importance of private devotion is underlined.  The orders and practices of other denominations can help us, as can recourse to Scripture.  How we as ministers lead worship can make a difference, allowing no one form to dominate.   Sermons should contain the note of wonderment and the awareness of human inadequacy rather than cleverness or rhetoric.

Reference: Volume 02 1929-30, p11
PDF icon Adoration the Form of Faith4.25 MB

The Rev William D Maxwell, BD, London

None more generally misunderstood than Calvin.   He was not a destroyer and innovator but had a profound regard for the Catholic principles of worship.  Although not disposed to elaborate ceremonial, a moderate amount of ceremony is necessary to achieve worship beautiful in its dignity and simplicity.  It would be sacrilege to abolish kneeling for prayer. The Sunday service should be conducted from behind the Communion Table since it is clear that Calvin saw it as Eucharist without Communion;  in harmony with Catholic and primitive precedent, the Lord’s Table was the centre of devotion and fellowship.  Left to himself, Calvin would have introduced Absolution (“some striking promise of Scripture”) at Geneva.  Calvin also speaks with favour of the Confessional and proposes alternatives, and of the restoration of Confirmation with the laying on of hands.  The observation of the main feasts of the Christian Year met with his approval. The taking of “reserved” elements to the sick, the receiving first by the minister of the Communion elements, and fixed orders of service (to help the unskilful, to keep harmony between churches, and to prevent “capricious giddiness and levity of innovation”), and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper “at least every Sunday morning” were all favoured by Calvin.

Reference: Volume 02 1929-30, p21

The Rev D Bruce Nicol, MC, BD, St Mark’s, Dundee

A ceremony for admission to Communion with the authority of the General Assembly dates back only to Prayers for Divine Service (1923), but an Act of 1706 prescribes a process of preparation. A newForm and Order for the Confirmation of Baptismal Vows and Admission to the Lord’s Supper is now published.  This order had been widely used and formed the basis for the 1923 order.  Euchologion(second edition) had such a service and Dr. Sprott’s historical excursus which accompanied this is reproduced.  This shows that Confirmation was also of baptismal vows, not in itself a ministration or means of grace but a judicial act.  However, this avoids examination of any “Divine part” in the event. Baxter is quoted as saying that corroborating grace is to be expected.   A critical survey is made of practice in other parts of the Church, including its association with the Bishop.  The author argues for the wider use of such a rite, complete with a sacramental symbol (which he leaves open), done as a presbyteral and not episcopal act.

Reference: Volume 02 1929-30, p31
PDF icon Confirmation5.27 MB

William George Sym Esq, MD, Edinburgh

An elder in a city church describes its practice from the Friday evening Admission of New Communicants to the end of Communion Sunday.  It is noticeable that he describes the Kirk Session as remaining constituted for this whole period, a matter argued against in other articles, and that what is sung prior to Communion is the 35th Paraphrase, except on Easter Day when Psalm 24 to St. George’s Edinburgh is used.  A very high level of preparation and attention to detail is described. Psalm 103 concludes the celebration and the elements are carried out to the choir singing the Nunc Dimittis.

Reference: Volume 02 1929-30, p43
PDF icon Holy Communion in a City Church1.84 MB