David Dickson was
a Presbyterian minister who was born in 1585 in Glasgow, Scotland. He was an only child, and one asked of the Lord by religious parents
who had been childless for many years. Mr Dickson was first a pastor at Irvine in Ayrshire, where under his ministry “multitudes were
convinced and converted” despite the fierce persecution under Prelacy.
A very close and familiar friend of James Durham, one result of their
friendship was the excellent “Sum of Saving Knowledge” which is
usually bound with the Westminster Confession and the Catechisms. In the 1640’s he became a
minister in Glasgow and professor of theology; in 1649 he moved to Edinburgh to be minister and professor at the college there until his death in
Mr Dickson's commentary on Psalm 4.
From the inscription of this
Psalm, which is the first wherein mention is made of the chief musicians, or
musical instruments: learn 1. The praise of God and the joy of his Spirit,
allowed on his people, surpass all expression which the voice of words can
make; for this was signified by the plurality, and diversity of musical
instruments (some of them sounding by being beaten, some of them by being
blown,) superadded to the voice of singing in the prædagogy of Moses. 2.
Albeit the ceremonial, figurative, and religious use of musical instruments be
gone, with the rest of the Levitical shadows, (the natural use of them still
remaining:) yet the vocal singing of Psalms in the church is not taken away,
as the practice and doctrine of Christ and his apostles make evident; and so
the voice of a musician in the public worship still is useful. 3. The Psalms
are to be made use of with discretion, as the matter of the Psalm, and
edification of the worshippers may require. And in the public, it is the
called minister of the congregation's place, to order this part of the worship
with the rest; for this, the direction of the Psalms to the chief musician
COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, by David Dickson. Published by The
Banner of Truth Trust, 1985. p 14.