reverend divine was no musician, and made no
pretence with respect to it, but with his usual breadth and liberality
gave his voice and vote for liberty of use or no use in the matter of
instrumental music in the case of each congregation. He did so at a time
when such views were quite the reverse of popular, particularly among
Presbyterian dissenters, to which section of the church he belonged. The
feeling may be judged of from the ridicule heaped upon
the plea for such liberty in a
discussion on the question in one of the Church courts by the late Rev.
Dr. Mackerrow of the Bridge of Teith, who contended that if the organ were
allowed to the churches in the Lowlands, those in the Highlands might
prefer and claim the use of the bagpipes.
Dr. Eadie, speaking on behalf of
liberty, mentioned the fact that he had preached to a congregation in
England, on an occasion in which the psalmody was led or accompanied by a
fiddle, and that he regarded the services as quite as devout and
spiritual as any in which he had ever taken part After his return from his
tour to Egypt and Palestine, during the course of a discussion in the
Glasgow U.P. Presbytery on the proposal to compile and issue a new Hymn
Book, he made a lively and trenchant speech, in the course of which he
criticised many popular hymns then in use as objectionable on the score of
taste, doctrine, and fact. With reference to the last, he mentioned the
popular hymn of Bishop Heber,
"By cool Siloam’s shady ril
"The fact being," said the
professor, "that there is neither shade nor ril!"
This is on a par with a criticism of
Burns on a line of a Scottish song by a contemporary poet, John Tait,
Esq., W.S., Edinburgh. As it was first published in 1775, it read:
"And sweetly the nightingale sang
from the tree."
Regarding which Burns remarked:
The nightingale never sings from a tree, but from a low
bush; and, Second, There is not a nightingale to be seen or heard
in all Scotland !"
The author, on seeing or hearing of
this criticism, altered the line, thirty years after its first appearance,
"And sweetly the wood pigeon coo’d
from the tree!"