The Monument of Francis Makemie

A poetic tribute from Henry Van Dyke, Jr. to the man who has been described as the "Father of American Presbyterianism," Francis Makemie, on the bicentennial anniversary of Makemie's death (The Poems of Henry Van Dyke, p. 165): 



To thee, plain hero of a rugged race,
We bring the meed of praise too long delayed!
Thy fearless word and faithful work have made
For God's Republic firmer resting-place
In this New World: for thou hast preached the grace
And power of Christ in many a forest glade,
Teaching the truth that leaves men unafraid
Of frowning tyranny or death s dark face.

Oh, who can tell how much we owe to thee,
Makemie, and to labour such as thine,
For all that makes America the shrine
Of faith untrammelled and of conscience free?
Stand here, grey stone, and consecrate the sod
Where rests this brave Scotch-Irish man of God!

April, 1908

The Story of the Psalms

Henry Van Dyke, Jr. (1852-1933) writes of true religion that it is "the same in every man and in every age." As the Psalter exemplifies that spirituality that is timeless and common to all the saints, his aim in The Story of the Psalms (1887) is to "bring these ancient and sacred poems into close connection with the men who wrote them, -- men of like passions, and sins, and trials, and hopes, and aspirations, with ourselves." 

In this volume, after a brief list of notable reference works on the Psalms and an overview of the Psalter, Van Dyke focuses on these particular Psalms, devoting a chapter to each: 23, 24, 31, 32, 42, 46, 51, 57, 63, 72, 90, 107, 118, 127-128, 133, 134, and 137. He analyzes the authorship and context of each Psalmist, and the lessons that we can glean through circumstances to which we, the reader, can relate. 

Van Dyke was, besides a being a famous minister in his day, a student of literature, and a lover of poetry, being a notable Tennyson scholar and an accomplished poet himself. He also authored The Poetry of the Psalms (1900). It has been said of him that he brought literature into his preaching, and preaching into his literature. In The Story of the Psalms, Van Dyke has ably developed edifying meditations based on important themes that connect the Psalmist and all the saints to Christ. Add this book of Psalm meditations to your digital library, for although it is not well-known today, it is rich in the spirituality of the Psalter.