For His Own Private Comfort

“We grant also, that any private Christian, who hath a gift to frame a spiritual Song, may both frame it privately, for his own private comfort, and remembrance of some special benefit, or deliverance. Nor do we forbid the private use of an Instrument of Musick therewithall: So that attention to the Instrument, does not divert the heart from attention to the matter of the Song.”

– John Cotton

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/ep-only-in-corporate-public-worship.93273/, Comment 3

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Not in the Public Assemblies of the Church

“We do not deny that a private individual, filled with the spirit, is able to compose new hymns, for his own edification and that of others; but it does not follow that a song of this sort ought to be sung in the public assemblies of the Church.”

– John Brown of Wamphray

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/ep-only-in-corporate-public-worship.93273/, Comment 3

David’s Psalms Seem Plainly Intended

Now though spiritual songs of mere humane composure may have their use, yet our devotion is best secured, where the matter and words are of immediately divine inspiration; and to us David’s Psalms seem plainly intended by those terms of “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” which the apostle useth (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).”

– Preface to the 1650 Psalter

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/ep-only-in-corporate-public-worship.93273/, Comment 3

None but the Psalms of David to be Used in the Churches

“A number of godly men have composed spiritual songs for this purpose with a variety of melodies. It appears that Luther has been the first one to do so during the Reformation. His songs are still sung today with edification by the Lutherans in their churches, as well as privately by us . . . The decision of the Dutch Synods has been very correct indeed, namely, that none other but the Psalms of David are to be used in the churches.”

– Wilhelmus a Brakel

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/ep-only-in-corporate-public-worship.93273/, Comment 3

Known to the Whole Christian Church from the Beginning

“If anyone disapproved of the congregation singing, Father would say, “I am sure it is no secret to any Christian that it is a good thing and pleases God to sing spiritual songs.  The prophets and kings in the Old Testament praised God by singing songs to the accompaniment of cymbals and stringed instruments.  Psalm-singing has been known to the whole Christian church from the beginning.”

~Louise A. Vernon, Thunderstorm in Church, page 112

Common Objections to Exclusive Psalmody

Read here:

https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/common-objections-to-ep.92420/

The Necessity of Singing the Psalms

Preface to the Bay Psalm Book (1640)

A discourse declaring not only the lawfulness, but also the necessity of the heavenly ordinance of singing Scripture Psalms in the churches of God.

The singing of Psalms, though it breathe forth nothing but holy harmony, and melody: yet such is the subtlety of the enemy, and enmity of our nature against the Lord, and his ways, that our hearts can find matter of discord in this harmony, and crotchets [i.e. fanciful notions] of division in this holy melody.

For there have been three questions especially stirring concerning singing. First, what psalms are to be sung in churches? whether David’s and other scripture psalms, or the psalms invented by the gifts of godly men in every age of the church. Secondly, if scripture psalms, whether in their own words, or in such metre as English poetry is wont to run in? Thirdly, by whom are they to be sung? whether by the whole churches together with their voices? or by one man singing alone and the rest joining in silence, and in the close saying amen…

Read more: https://purelypresbyterian.com/2017/01/02/the-necessity-of-singing-the-psalms/

The Bay Psalm Book on Singing Psalms in Meter

From the Preface to the Bay Psalm Book (1640):

As for the scruple that some take at the translation of the Book of Psalms into metre, because David’s psalms were sung in his own words without metre, we answer:

First, there are many verses together in several psalms of David which run in rhythms (as those that know Hebrew and as Buxtorf shows1) which shows at least the lawfulness of singing psalms in English rhythms.

Secondly, the psalms are penned in such verses as are suitable to the poetry of the Hebrew language, and not in the common style of such other books of the Old Testament as are not poetical; now no Protestant doubts but that all the books of scripture should by God’s ordinance be extant in the mother tongue of each nation, that they may be understood of all, hence the psalms are to be translated into our English tongue; and in it our English tongue we are to sing them, then as all our English songs (according to the course of our English poetry) do run in metre, so ought David’s psalms to be translated into metre, that so we may sing the Lord’s songs, as in our English tongue so in such verses as are familiar to an English ear which are commonly metrical: and as it can be no just offense to any good conscience to sing David’s Hebrew songs in English words, so neither to sing his poetical verses in English poetical metre: men might as well stumble at singing the Hebrew psalms in our English tunes (and not in the Hebrew tunes) as at singing them in English metre, (which are our verses) and not in such verses as are generally used by David according to the poetry of the Hebrew language: but the truth is, as the Lord has hid from us the Hebrew tunes, lest we should think ourselves bound to imitate them; so also the course and frame (for the most part) of their Hebrew poetry, that we might not think ourselves bound to imitate that, but that every nation without scruple might follow as the grave sort of tunes of their own country songs, so the graver sort of verses of their own country poetry.

Neither let any think, that for the metre sake we have taken liberty or poetical license to depart from the true and proper sense of David’s words in the Hebrew verses, no; but it has been one part of our religious care and faithful endeavour, to keep close to the original text.

[1] Johannes Buxtorf, Thesaurus Grammaticus Linguae Sanctae Hebraeae, p. 629.

Review: Exclusive Psalmody or New Covenant Hymnody? By Lee Irons

Reno Presbyterian:

“The beginning of the article starts with the definition of the regulative principle: “One of the most important aspects of Reformed worship is its insistence that whatever God has not commanded to be done in worship is forbidden. This is known as the regulative principle of worship, a principle that is warranted by the second commandment” (Irons).  Here we should commend Irons for getting most of this right. The regulative principle, to an extent, is “whatever is not commanded is forbidden” (Irons). In other words, there must be warrant for anything we do in worship. This does not just include what we do and use but how we do these acts…

Read more: https://renopres.com/2016/04/10/review-exclusive-psalmody-or-new-covenant-hymnody-by-lee-irons/

Mizmorim, Tehillim, and Shirim

Thomas Manton (1620-1677) on Ephesians 5:19:

“The learned observe, these are the express titles of David’s Psalms, mizmorim, tehillim, and Shirim, which the Septuagint translate, psalmoi, humnoi, and odai, ‘psalms, hymns, and songs,’ [and] seem to recommend to us the book of David’s Psalms.”

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/91456-Regulative-Principle, Comment 25