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

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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

A Teaching and Praising Ordinance

Matthew Henry:

“We must admonish one another in psalms and hymns. Observe, Singing of psalms is a gospel ordinance: psalmois kai hymnois kai odais—the Psalms of David, and spiritual hymns and odes, collected out of the scripture, and suited to special occasions, instead of their lewd and profane songs in their idolatrous worship. Religious poesy seems countenanced by these expressions and is capable of great edification. But, when we sing psalms, we make no melody unless we sing with grace in our hearts, unless we are suitably affected with what we sing and go along in it with true devotion and understanding. Singing of psalms is a teaching ordinance as well as a praising ordinance; and we are not only to quicken and encourage ourselves, but to teach and admonish one another, mutually excite our affections, and convey instructions.”(Commentary on Col. 3)

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

The Book of Hymns

John Gill:

“By psalms are meant the Psalms of David, and others which compose the book that goes by that name, for other psalms there are none; and by “hymns” we are to understand, not such as are made by good men, without the inspiration of the Spirit of God; since they are placed between psalms and spiritual songs, made by men inspired by the Holy Ghost; and are put upon a level with them, and to be sung along with them, to the edification of churches; but these are only another name for the Book of Psalms, the running title of which may as well be the Book of Hymns, as it is rendered by Ainsworth; and the psalm which our Lord sung with his disciples after the supper, is called an hymn; and so are the psalms in general called hymns, by Philo the Jew; and songs and hymns by Josephus; and, “songs and praises”, or “hymns”, in the Talmud: and by “spiritual songs” are meant the same Psalms of David, Asaph and the titles of many of them are songs, and sometimes a psalm and song, and song and psalm, a song of degrees; together with all other Scriptural songs, written by inspired men; and which are called “spiritual”, because they are indited by the Spirit of God, consist of spiritual matter, and are designed for spiritual edification; and are opposed to all profane, loose, and wanton songs: these three words answer to the several titles of David’s Psalms”(Commentary on Eph. 5)

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

Those Better Fruits Which Spiritual Joy Produceth

David Dickson:

“The reason of the Precept is from those better fruits which spiritual joy produceth, such are all sorts of spiritual Songs, especially those which are in the holy Scriptures, with which they should mutually edifie one another, and glorifie God from their heart or spiritual affection. A Psalm is a sacred song in general, especially that which is by playing on the harp. A Hymn properly contains Gods praise. An Ode or Song, is a common name.”(Commentary on Eph. 5)

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

The Very Titles of the Songs of David

John Cotton (1584-1652), New England Congregationalist theologian:

“In both which places (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16), as the apostle exhorteth us to singing, so he instructeth us what the matter of our song should be, to wit, Psalmes, hymnes, and spirituall Songs. Now these three be the very titles of the Songs of David, as they are delivered to us by the Holy Ghost himself: some of them are called Mizmorim, that is Psalmes; some Tehillim, that is Hymnes; some Shirim, that is Songs, spirituall Songs. Now what reason can be given why the apostle should direct us in our singing to the very titles of David’s Psalms, if it were not his meaning that we should sing them? … The words of David and Asaph, as they were the words of Christ in the mouth of David and Asaph: so they were the words of Christ also in the mouths of the sonnes of Corah, or any other singers in the Temple.”

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