Volume 02 1929-30

St John’s Church, Perth

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.

Adoration the Form of Faith

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.

Calvin’s Attitude to Public Worship

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.


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.

Holy Communion in a City Church

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.

St Oswald

The Rev Marshall B Lang, BD, Whittingehame

It is hoped that there will be further articles on the saints of Scotland. Political and economic threats to the parish system could be countered by knowledge of those to whom local parishes are bound.  Whittingehame claims the saintly patronage of Oswald, King of Northumbria, of whose kingdom the parish was once a part.  What is known of Oswald is outlined, including the connection with Iona and his request for and support of Aidan as missionary.  Links with Oswald are traced all over Great Britain, and collects made available from ancient sources by H J Wotherspoon are appended.

Kippen Church

The Rev J M Younie, BD, Kippen

Early relationship to Dunblane and Cambuskenneth, and its association with James IV.  After a chequered history, the new church was built in 1825, from the start dark and gloomy as to interior. In 1925, it was remodelled in accord with the beliefs of the time, with a new chancel created with Table (photographs show older long table at front of church left intact, however).   Photographs of chancel, door, gallery.

Notes and Comments

No Author Specified

Notice of Services for Holy Week and Easter by Rt. Rev Dr. Norman Maclean, which includes provision for the antiphonal reading of the psalm
Suggestion for greater employment of Celtic art – as on the cover of the Annual which was designed by Miss Gladys Wyllie
The Secretary has assisted many enquirers in preparing orders for special occasions and has gathered many others – these are available
Discussion of the Book of Common Order (1928) from the United Free Church
Prayers from the service of Re-dedication of Paisley Abbey and from the dedication of a new bell at St Andrew’s, North Berwick
Comment on the misuse of the expression ‘second table’ for separate celebrations of Holy Communion
Critique of the common practice of siting an organ behind the pulpit and console in front, surrounded by the choir, and a further discussion of the inappropriateness of placing the choir in a chancel.

The Function of Music in Worship

The Rev George S Stewart, Edinburgh

Suggests two uses.   Discusses purpose of organ voluntaries, and the ministry of the organist, in making his offering, as drawing the whole congregation (not the musical people alone) into God’s presence.  Therefore he should not play over their heads, but at the same time should build up the congregation in their appreciation of music, even at times interpreting the music to them. Discusses current changes and warns against music of “lower appeal” while acknowledging power of music to appeal to the senses.   Quotes Archbishops’ Report on ultimate test of a hymn tune, “its faithfulness as an expression of the Christian religion”.

The Scottish Metrical Psalter of 1635

The Rev John Mercer Hunter, BD, Kirkcaldy

Brief history of Psalters, bound with Book of Common Order, from Reformation, noting that tunes were always included.  1635 first harmonised edition.  New edition by Neil Livingstone in circulation.  Replaced by 1650 psalter but with Scottish editing (editors named and sections undertaken) to the extent that Rous’s originals scarcely perceptible.  Author urges more use to be made of the older psalm tunes, noting that some are in Church Hymnary (1898) to hymn texts.  Discussion of the origins of psalm tunes with the forms of title: “Old…” and “Psalm…”  Note   reference to the “Association for the revival of sacred music in Scotland” in Edinburgh in 1860s.


No Author Specified

St John’s Church, Perth - Interior, Eastward View  -   Frontispiece
St John’s Church, Perth - Pulpit and Organ  -   Facing page 8
Kippen Church - The Chancel  -   Facing page 56
Kippen Church - Interior, Westward View  -   Facing page 57
Kippen Church - The Door  -   Facing page 57
Kippen Church - Exterior View  -   Facing page 57