Treasured Reprints



An Essay on Psalmody


136 pages, Hardback / Paperback, Author: Rev. William Romaine (1714-1795)


Hymns Most Perfect: An Essay on Psalmody is a beautiful recall to the Book of Psalms. The Rev. Romaine shows that the Book of Psalms is the only Scriptural songbook for the Church and promotes the glory of these "hymns most perfect" so strongly that the reader is left wondering why anyone would consider singing the songs of men. The author's love for the Psalms is persuasive and infectious; his knowledge of Hebrew is insightful; his tender experience as a minister applies the whole to the reader. The book itself is a demonstration of the change that comes over a man when his perspective on life, religion and faith is moulded by these wonderful Psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs!

This book was first published in 1775. Revised by the Rev. Romaine in later years, this edition is taken from the 1796 complete works of the Rev. William Romaine.

The volume has undergone the most gentle editing, of a structural and cosmetic nature. Subheadings have been added and large, dense paragraphs broken up into more reasonable sizes. Where Scriptural quotations were not referenced, this has been amended. Where spellings would be wrong in modern English they have been changed, with a very few exceptions for stylistic reasons. Archaic language endings have been preserved for the beauty of the effect.

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Elbium's own collection of original works by the Rev. William Romaine

Elbium's own collection of original works by the Rev. William Romaine


Hymns Most Perfect; An Essay on Psalmody by William Romaine, published by Elbium Publications

This work has been edited and republished by Abigail Fox of Cheshire and comes in a very fine format.  William Romaine (1714-1795) was a notable minister in the Church of England in London. He was strongly opposed to the introduction of uninspired hymns into public worship and makes special mention of Isaac Watts whose life overlapped Romaine's. This book, now attractively reprinted, was originally published in 1775 in support of the practice of singing Psalms. Romaine lays strong emphasis on the Messianic nature of the Psalms (some may think he overdoes this) and their Divine inspiration. He also stresses their Divine appointment and therefore the expectation we can have of the Lord's blessing upon the ordinance of Psalm-singing.  He gives a robust defence of the exclusive psalmody understanding of Eph.5:19 and Col.3:16.

He does not, however, stop at the arguments for singing Psalms but inveighs against careless and sloppy singing of them.  Romaine deals with other abuses of the singing of Psalms and deals positively with how they ought to be sung; not only outwardly but looking also at the state of the heart.  He has sections such as, 'Be filled with the Spirit', Melody of the heart' and 'With Grace in your Hearts'.

This book is not long and the style simple, direct and readable.  It also shows us how common Psalm-singing was, historically, in the Church of England.  This is a good reminder of the fact that Psalmody should be a uniting factor among God's people and ought to be acceptable to all who love the Word of God.  Romaine's 'Essay' is well worth a read. 

- David Silversides

Hymns Most Perfect, An Essay on Psalmody, by William Romaine, published by Elbium Publications

Romaine (1714-1795) was a noted Anglican minister in London. He was strongly opposed to the introduction into public worship, during that century, of non-inspired hymns composed by poets such as Isaac Watts. This book, now attractively reprinted, was originally published in 1775 in support of the practice of singing psalms.

The core of Romaine's attitude may be gleaned from his claim that he lacked "a name for that man who should pretend that he could make better hymns than the Holy Ghost". Romaine insists that Psalm-singing is an ordinance of God and that the Psalms are the Word of God. If they are not sung, he says, the members of the Church will lose the blessings that are promised to those who sing them. He points out that Christ made use of the Psalms and that the churches of Corinth, Ephesus and Colosse sang them in public worship. He explains that the words, psalms, hymns and songs, as used in the Epistles to the Ephesians and the Colossians, translate Hebrew words used in various titles of the Psalms. Indeed Romaine sometimes uses the word hymns to refer to the Psalms as a whole.

He lays down some Scripture rules for singing the Psalms aright; these include: we must be filled with the Spirit; there ought to be melody in our heart. He also warns against discordant, undisciplined singing.

While it is clear that some Psalms speak very clearly of Christ, Romaine goes further and claims that "the whole volume [of Psalms] throughout is concerning Him", which goes beyond what is justified. But it would be good if Romaine's book was used to bring individuals and congregations back to singing the songs which God has appointed to be used in public worship.

Free Presbyterian Magazine June 2013 - Vol. 118, No. 6, Book Reviews (p.187)



The Lord's Supper and Justification

74 pages, Paperback, Author: Rev. William Romaine (1714-1795)


The Lord's Supper

This treatise was commissioned as a charity book by a patroness who wanted the Sacrament explained for anyone to understand. The Rev. Romaine did so admirably. It is a concise work, deep in truth but simple to read.


The Rev. William Romaine was obliged to answer the heretical views then being published by a fellow Anglican minister in Bristol. The work begins with the Bristol text and then the Rev. Romaine uses a dialogue format to expound how easily the minister had fallen into the trap of adopting a Roman Catholic view of Justification. The Rev. Romaine's work excels in promoting the truth of justification by faith in Jesus Christ alone.

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