New England Puritans on Psalmody

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VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
**Note: This thread is not for debating exclusive psalmody. It is intended to cover the works of New England Puritans on the subject of psalmody. Thanks.**

There are several works by New England Puritans on the subject of psalmody which I have heard of but never seen reprinted. I do have a copy of the Bay Psalm Book (still seeking Ainsworth's Psalter), but if possible, I would love to find the following works in some form. Any others that I should add to the list?

John Cotton, Singing of Psalms, a Gospel Ordinance (1647)

John Eliot, A Few Psalms in Meetre Translated into the Massachusetts Indian Language (1658)

Cotton Mather, Psalterium Americanum. The Book of Psalms, In a translation exactly conformed unto the original; but all in blank verse, fitted unto the tunes commonly used in our churches (1718)

Cotton Mather, The Accomplished Singer "¦ Intended for the Assistance of all that would Sing Psalms with Grace in their Hearts, etc. (1721)

Cotton Mather, A Pacificatory Letter [on psalm singing in churches] (1723)

I am also interested in reading or hearing more about Raymond A. Craig, 1996. Polishing God's Altar: Puritan Poetics in John Cotton's Singing of Psalms. Studies in Puritan American Spirituality 5; and Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe, 1982. The Singing of Psalms. In The Practice of Piety: Puritan Devotional Discipline in Seventeenth-Century New England, 111-16. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by puritansailor
The preface to the Bay Psalm book is interesting reading too but I'm sure you've read that already :)
Yes, very good reading! It's said to be written by Richard Mather. Those Mathers and Cottons were prolific.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
These are available at the AAS and microfilm and online via Early American Imprints and Evans Digital Edition online. The first is in Early English Books. The Indian psalter of 1658 probably should be 1685.

HERE (EEB).John Cotton, Singing of Psalms, a Gospel Ordinance (1647)

HERE. John Eliot, A Few Psalms in Meetre Translated into the Massachusetts Indian Language (1658)

HERE.Cotton Mather, Psalterium Americanum. The Book of Psalms, In a translation exactly conformed unto the original; but all in blank verse, fitted unto the tunes commonly used in our churches (1718)

HERE.Cotton Mather, The Accomplished Singer "¦ Intended for the Assistance of all that would Sing Psalms with Grace in their Hearts, etc. (1721)

HERE (misattributed to Mather apparently).Cotton Mather, A Pacificatory Letter [on psalm singing in churches] (1723)
 

PresReformed

Puritan Board Freshman
Andrew,

I'm working on reprinting John Cotton's treatise on Psalmody and another of his on "The Duration of the Lord's Day" where he argues for an evening to evening observance. I should have it available by the end of this month on Lulu.com
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by PresReformed
Andrew,

I'm working on reprinting John Cotton's treatise on Psalmody and another of his on "The Duration of the Lord's Day" where he argues for an evening to evening observance. I should have it available by the end of this month on Lulu.com
That looks very interesting, Greg. I look forward to reading the treatise on Psalmody in particular. William Young extensively summarized some of Cotton's argument from that treatise in his article on Puritan Worship. I gather that in addition to defending the principle that Psalmody is a Gospel Ordinance Cotton also opposed the idea of women singing the psalms in public worship. It will be interesting reading no doubt.

That is also interesting about his view on when the Christian Sabbath begins and ends. I think that Thomas Shepard held to this view as well. Cotton Mather wrote of John Cotton "The Sabbath he begun the evening before, for which keeping from evening to evening he wrote arguments before his coming to New England, and I suppose 't was from his reason and practice that the Christians of New England have generally done so too" (cited in The Sabbath in Puritan New England by Alice Morse Earle). However, I think that the midnight-to-midnight observance taught by Fisher's Catechism (58.10), William Gouge, Samuel Rutherford, Thomas Vincent, Thomas Boston, Thomas Ridgeley, John Brown of Haddington, William Plumer, et al. is in fact what the Scripture teaches. It will be interesting to read Cotton's position.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
There is a recent blog post of interest relating to Dr. Charles Hambrick-Stowe's The Practice of Piety: Puritan Devotional Disciplines in Seventeenth Century New England found here.
 

PresReformed

Puritan Board Freshman
I believe most if not all the New England Puritans observed the Sabbath from evening to evening. Not only have I found this position in the Mathers, Shepard, and Cotton, but also in Samuel Willard and Jonathan Edwards. I've studied this subject myself for several years now and haven't found anyone's arguments for a midnight to midnight observance convincing. I certainly haven't found it in Scripture. I believe Shepard and Cotton do an excellent job defending an evening to evening observance.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
This is true (that the New England Congregationalists observed the Sabbath sundown to sundown). Durham did not believe it a question to be too much pressed (or maybe I'm thinking of Owen) but makes the argument for the normal day Sabbath (midnight to midnight) as does Nicholas Bownd, the granddaddy so to speak of all Puritan authors on the subject of the Christian Sabbath. Someday I'll finish my new edition of Bownd. The Durham on the 4th command is online at www.naphtali.com and also published in his lectures on the ten commandments available for $19.50 plus shipping. Daniel Cawdrey also with the majority of Puritans, argues against Shepherd's view which he confirms had taken hold in New England by the time he completed his 4 part work on the Sabbath (the first part written with his fellow Westminster Divine Herbert Palmer, who passed away leaving Cawdrey to finish the work alone). The Bownd (1595/1606) was the first great work on the Christian Sabbath, and the Cawdrey/Palmer the last and probably the greatest work from the Puritan period (there are other less significant works subsequent to the C/P but I'm speaking of the largest and most significant from the period. At least in English; if Brown of Wamphray's work were translated from the Latin maybe I'd say it was the greatest!;) It certainly would be even larger than the Cawdrey/Palmer).
Originally posted by PresReformed
I believe most if not all the New England Puritans observed the Sabbath from evening to evening. Not only have I found this position in the Mathers, Shepard, and Cotton, but also in Samuel Willard and Jonathan Edwards. I've studied this subject myself for several years now and haven't found anyone's arguments for a midnight to midnight observance convincing. I certainly haven't found it in Scripture. I believe Shepard and Cotton do an excellent job defending an evening to evening observance.
 

PresReformed

Puritan Board Freshman
Andrew,

I just finished the chapter of Cotton's book where he addresses women singing in public worship. He does not oppose them singing publicly, but rather argues that they should.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Ah, thanks, Greg. The quote I had seen before was this:

"man should sing onely and not the women. Because it is not permitted to a woman to speake in the Church, how then shall they sing? Much lesse is it permitted to them to prophecy in the church and singing of Psalms is a kind of Prophecying."
But reading on a little further I see that this was an argument that Cotton opposed, not advocated. My mistake. Thanks for the clarification! :handshake:
 
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