Dr. Beeke: Puritans who promoted organs in worship

Discussion in 'Worship' started by N. Eshelman, Aug 22, 2014.

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  1. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    Today at the Puritan Conference in Grand Rapids, Dr. Beeke spoke on the Puritans and worship. He outlined the regulative principle, gave a great definition of worship, and then talked about singing, preaching, and "conversing" after worship.

    He spent about 10 minutes talking about singing psalms and most of that time was spent defending the use of the organ in public worship. He made a statement about how "some Puritans" believed in instruments in worship. I am not saying he's wrong, he is one of the world's top scholars on Puritanism, but I am wondering if anyone here is knowledgable on which Puritans promoted the use of instruments (the organ) in worship?

    Names and citations (references) would be greatly appreciated.

    Here's the link to his lecture as well. I would recommend it (even though that few minutes confused me a bit). :)

    The Beautiful, Biblical Worship of Christ's Bride: A Puritan View | SermonAudio.com
  2. R Harris

    R Harris Puritan Board Sophomore

    It has always fascinated me how on this particular topic of instruments in worship that proponents of instrument use will approach the historical aspect of the debate with the "needle in a haystack" approach. They will focus on the needle or needles, but ignore the haystack.

    Don't have time to listen now, but no mention of the Calvin, Knox, Rutherford, Edwards, or any other prominent anti-instrument theologian views?
  3. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    I just re-listened to that section. It was about 5 minutes. He mentioned Paul Baines as a Puritan that thought that organs were incidental.

    Beeke does say that Calvin and the Puritans were in agreement but said that the Dutch followed Paul Baines... whoever that is.
  4. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    That rings a bell; but Baynes would be an exception. I suppose when one has a feast of general support one should not begrudge a bone or two to the contrary position.
  5. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

  6. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Paul Baynes on Ephesians 5:20
  7. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    Here's what my friend and fellow PRTS graduate and RPCNA minister, Kyle Borg, sent me from Bayne's work on Ephesians. I would not call this a glowing recommendation for putting organs in Puritan churches, only that it says that if an organ will make your zeal for the church die, you ought to think twice.... What are your thoughts?

    Again, other Puritans that support instruments in worship?
  8. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    There are variations in the earlier editions of the work which renders it unclear whether Paul Baynes wrote the words relative to organs. He died in 1617. The commentary was published in 1643. It contains the words. This formed the basis of the 19th century reprint. But the 1658 edition omits them. This edition reads,

    Moreover, the commentary goes on to speak negatively of choirs, and includes the following as an abuse, "instrumental music was entertained by the church."
  9. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

  10. Wayne

    Wayne Tempus faciendi, Domine.

    ...and drama!
  11. irresistible_grace

    irresistible_grace Puritan Board Junior

    Thank you Rev. Matthew Winzer for pointing that out!
  12. Wayne

    Wayne Tempus faciendi, Domine.

    Matthew--is there enough there for you to consider writing this up in an article (even a short one), perhaps for the next CPJ?
  13. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    View attachment Paul Baine, Psalm singing.doc

    Here is the whole paragraph containing the relevant extract from the 1658 edition. Until further work is done, the best thing we can say at present is that the evidence is ambiguous. However, I would agree with Randy: one swallow doesn't make a summer.
  14. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    So is Baynes the only Puritan that you have heard defend this position?

    It is interesting that Baynes does not say it is incidental but commanded. That would put "all" of Puritanism in sin for their worship practices if he is correct (which I do not believe that he is).

    I second the motion that Rev. Winzer write an article. All in favor say, "I".
  15. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

  16. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

  17. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I would think it more likely an edit was done in 1658 rather than an addition in 1642. On the other hand it is interesting to note Baynes did not care for the press, and his sermons and lectures were passed around in MS and then readied and edited by friends; such as EC who did Ephesians 1 in 1618 and two treatises, 1619. See the introduction to the 19th century reprint. https://archive.org/stream/entirecommentary00bayn#page/n15/mode/2up Again, I can't see why the addition; but I can understand he revision by a later generation when the point was essentially settled from a Puritan perspective.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  18. irresistible_grace

    irresistible_grace Puritan Board Junior

  19. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    L. H. Carlson apparently opines that the work on Colossians 1 and 2 is Baynes' most significant work (cf Paul Baynes). P. Baynes, A commentary upon the first and second chapters of Saint Paul to the Colossians (1635); repr. (1972) [incl. introduction by L. H. Carlson]. That may be bias since he was introducing that work but perhaps he says something about the demerits of the Ephesian work; it surely is the largest? I have an original quarto edition of the Colossians work which I used to publish the text in the first volume of Anthology of Presbyterian & Reformed Literature (1988). I don't recall that the subject comes up. It is surprising considering his suffering for nonconformity, but he apparently was a bit of a "different drummer" type. The comment may be explained by the fact that Baynes was vehemently opposed to separatism. Perhaps there were nonconformist who did not like the organ at St. Mary's Cambridge? There were not had outside cathedral churches and I presume the Ephesian sermons/lectures were given before Baynes ouster from Cambridge by Bancroft in 1608 for nonconformity. I don't know the date of the first organ which was destroyed in 1643 like those of Westminster and St. Paul's with the Puritan take over; a new university organ was erected in 1696/7.
  20. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    The word you are looking for is "Aye". Besides, is this sort of thing not more in Chris Coldwell's territory?

    I can see why that would make sense; is this edit an example of "orthodox corruption"?
  21. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    My motto is that of the old travelog writer speaking of Geneva, "it is a shame not to know the whole of a small thing."
    Given the purging of the organs in 1643 the revision of Baynes text at this point in 1658 makes sense.
    I think this taps out the question as far as I can see unless one can find the original MS which seems unlikely to have survived once the volume was first printed in full. But that would be necessary for definitive proof one way or the other. If it was Bayne's MS and not the editor's; we'd need to get to Bayne's original MS.

  22. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

  23. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    I think Richard Baxter defends instrumental music in his book, A Christian Directory - but I read that a long time ago.

    EDIT: I was right; see pp 499-501 of the following link: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...YgG&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=music&f=false

    Of course, a problem with Dr Eshelman's question is who exactly counts as a Puritan?
  24. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    On the idea of writing an article, thankyou for the vote of confidence, but I would also suggest this is Chris Coldwell's field. I have already contributed something along these lines to CPJ in my review of Nick Needham. Besides, one reference in an audio lecture which already concedes the Puritan view does not justify initiating a full scale article.

    There is a fair amount of primary material on the Puritan rejection of organs. There is also a general consensus in the secondary literature. I have seen the Baynes reference one other time in relation to some research on Dr. Begg. Even there it was conceded that this would be an anomaly.

    On the textual revision, printers/publishers are known to have taken liberties with the text. The conjecture about the 1650s would have been equally true in the 1640s in the midst of the anti-organ movement. Without the source it is impossible to give any substance to a conjecture one way or the other. I would point out that the text as it stands in the earlier edition does not justify organs per se, especially if it was intended to speak against separatist tendencies.
  25. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    The only I have come across is Baxter, who includes instrumentation as a circumstance in worship. However, he is not necessarily the most solid "puritan" :)
  26. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Is it possible that a rejection of instruments in worship was more of an anti-Roman stand rather than a proper understanding of the scriptures as a whole, along the lines of the American Puritans gathering at meeting houses rather than in church buildings?
  27. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

  28. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Sophomore

    The question probably deserves a slightly more nuanced answer than simply "no". There is no doubt that organs were associated in the Puritan mind with the Roman mass, hence the act of parliament in 1644 decreeing the speedy demolishing of all organs, along with "images and all manner of superstitious monuments." However, that was part of a larger theological disagreement with Roman Catholicism (and Anglicanism) over the question of continuity and discontinuity between OT and NT worship. Roman Catholic and Anglican worship was oriented more closely along OT lines, with priests, incense, instruments, and glorious church buildings that served similar functions to the Jerusalem temple. Thus the High Church Anglican Lancelot Andrewes wrote in 1620 at the dedication of Jesus Chapel in Southampton that it was to serve:

    As an habitacion for thee and a place for us to assemble and meete together in, for the observacion of thy divine worship, invocation of thy great great name, reading, preaching and hearing of thy heavenly Word, administring thy most holy sacraments, above all, in this place, the very gate of heaven upon earth, as Jacob named it, to do the work of heaven, to sett forth thy most worthy praise, to laud and magnify thy most glorious maiestie for all thy goodness to all men, and especially to us that are of the household of faith.

    Puritan worship drew a sharp distinction between OT and NT worship: almost anything associated with OT worship was, by definition, ruled out. (You can see a similarly sharp distinction between OT and NT worship in Calvin and in some modern reformed treatments of the subject). So the rejection of the organ and the rejection of glorious buildings in favor of meeting houses are definitely linked.

    Whether those rejections were right or wrong depends, of course, on your Biblical theology of worship. Is the church the new synagogue, or is it the temple of the living God? What does that mean in this era of redemptive history? Many of the interesting theological questions revolve around the hermeneutical question of continuity and discontinuity between different eras of redemptive history.

    It should be noted that this line of argumentation is fundamentally different from the other reason through church history that people have often rejected musical instruments, which is that they are worldly. Thus Clement of Alexandria, writing at the end of the second century writes:

    When a man occupies his time with flutes, stringed instruments, choirs, dancing, Egyptian krotala and other such improper frivolities, he will find that indecency and rudeness are the consequences. Such a man creates a din with cymbals and tambourines; he rages about with instruments of an insane cult…Leave the syrinx to shepherds and the flute to superstitious devotees who rush to serve their idols. We completely forbid the use of instruments at our temperate banquet.

    The reflex of this in Scottish culture is seen in the derogatory term "kist o' whistles" for an organ; penny whistles were regarded as low culture, bar-room instruments, and what was an organ but an entire box ("kist") of whistles?

    So there were a variety of theological reasons for the Puritans opposing organs, some of which did have to do with opposition to Romanism, or more precisely to a Roman/Anglican hermeneutic of worship. But it's not simply a knee-jerk anti-Roman move as such.
  29. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Right; as noted, organs had remained in the cathedrals throughout Puritanism until the English civil war and the law that caused the dismantling of the organs in Westminster and St. Paul and elsewhere like Great St. Mary's, Cambridge, and was not outside the general move to get rid of the Anglican forms which Laud had made even more odious. As far as the reasoning, of the early puritans such as Nicholas Bownd, they generally followed Calvin (cf. on Psalm 32:2), that it was part of OT ceremonial worship and belongs no more now in the church than the bloody sacrifices. It was not from a lack of understanding the scriptures and a knee jerk reaction against Romanism as the question posits. We'd all be anti paedobaptists if we allow the reformers to be that simple minded in treating the worship practices of Rome as the caricature goes. Keep in mind, outside the cathedrals, there wasn't an issue; it was a instrument-less worship in the parishes otherwise.
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