Pro and Anti-Exclusive Psalmody-no instruments- leading literature please

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VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
I should add that John McNaugher's The Psalms in Worship is available in electronic form on the EPP CD, as is Robert Nevin's Instrumental Music in Christian Worship, James Begg's Anarchy in Worship, and other useful works on the subject of Biblical worship.
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior

Odd choice seeing he said the following in "Of Singing Psalms" in his A Body of Practical Divinity:

"By "spiritual songs" may also be meant the same psalms of David, Asaph, &c. the titles of some of which are songs; as sometimes "a psalm and song, a song and psalm, a song of degrees," and the like; together with all other spiritual songs written by men inspired of God; called "spiritual," because of the author of them, the Spirit of God; the penmen of them, such as were moved by the same Spirit; and the matter of them spiritual, useful for spiritual edification; and are opposed to all loose, profane, and wanton songs. And as these three words, "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs," answer to Myrmzm Mylht and Myryv the titles of David’s Psalms, and are by the "Septuagint" rendered by the Greek words used by the apostle, it may be reasonably concluded, that it was his intention that the churches he writes to should sing them; but inasmuch as the "word of God" and Christ in general furnishes out matter for singing his praises, I deny not, but that such hymns and spiritual songs, composed by good men, uninspired, may be made use of; provided care is taken that they be agreeable to the sacred writings, and to the analogy of faith, and are expressed as much as may be in scripture language; of such sort were those Tertullian speaks of, used in his time, as were either out of the holy scripture, or "de proprio ingenio," of a man’s own composure; and such seem to be the songs of the brethren, in praise of Christ, as the Word of God, ascribing divinity to him, condemned by some heretics."
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
These are all good -- I already provided links to a couple of them earlier in the thread.

Odd choice seeing he said the following in "Of Singing Psalms" in his A Body of Practical Divinity:

"By "spiritual songs" may also be meant the same psalms of David, Asaph, &c. the titles of some of which are songs; as sometimes "a psalm and song, a song and psalm, a song of degrees," and the like; together with all other spiritual songs written by men inspired of God; called "spiritual," because of the author of them, the Spirit of God; the penmen of them, such as were moved by the same Spirit; and the matter of them spiritual, useful for spiritual edification; and are opposed to all loose, profane, and wanton songs. And as these three words, "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs," answer to Myrmzm Mylht and Myryv the titles of David’s Psalms, and are by the "Septuagint" rendered by the Greek words used by the apostle, it may be reasonably concluded, that it was his intention that the churches he writes to should sing them; but inasmuch as the "word of God" and Christ in general furnishes out matter for singing his praises, I deny not, but that such hymns and spiritual songs, composed by good men, uninspired, may be made use of; provided care is taken that they be agreeable to the sacred writings, and to the analogy of faith, and are expressed as much as may be in scripture language; of such sort were those Tertullian speaks of, used in his time, as were either out of the holy scripture, or "de proprio ingenio," of a man’s own composure; and such seem to be the songs of the brethren, in praise of Christ, as the Word of God, ascribing divinity to him, condemned by some heretics."
John Gill on Psalmody includes a small collection of his writings on the subject of psalmody, including a discourse on psalm singing, and his arguments in favor of a cappella singing, all of which are very much worth reading.

John Gill is known for his exposition of Eph. 5.19 and Col. 3.16 wherein he argues that the apostle is specifically referring to the Psalter and not uninspired compositions. Since one of the primary arguments against exclusive psalmody is the interpretation of these texts in favor of uninspired hymnody, his writings on the subject are very appropos.

The British Reformed Journal article that you cited mentions that "John Gill's Baptist congregation added a hymn at the end of worship so that those who objected could depart before its singing!" The same journal which I cited (different article) says:

And IHM [RAM: Iain Murray] “know of no prominent orthodox commentator who take [the exclusive psalmodist] view [of Ephesians 5:19]!” MHW [RAM: Malcolm Watts] can point us to them and give apposite quotes from them (MHW, pp. 27-30). Here they come, with their provenance and date of relevant writing in brackets: Nicholas Byfield (Puritan; 1615), Henry Ainsworth (Puritan; 1627), Jean Daillé (Huguenot; 1648), John Cotton (New England Puritan; 1649), Isaac Ambrose (Puritan; 1650, 1659), George Swinnock (Puritan; 1662), Thomas Manton (Puritan; posthumously published in 1701), Dr. John Gill (English Baptist; early 1700’s), and John Brown of Haddington (1775). That is of course, just to name a few.


From Gill's Body of Divinity:

3. What that is which is to be sung, or the subject matter of singing; and the direction is to these three, "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs", #Eph 5:19 Col 3:16.

3a. By Psalms may be meant the Book of Psalms, composed by David, Asaph, and others; but chiefly by David; hence he is called "the sweet Psalmist of Israel", #2Sa 23:1 this is the only sense in which the word is used throughout the whole New Testament; nor is there any reason to believe the apostle Paul designs any other in the places referred to; nor the apostle James, in #Jas 5:13. Those who are of a different mind ought to show in what other sense the word is used, and where; and what those Psalms are we are to sing, if not the "Psalms of David", &c. since it is certain there are psalms which are to be sung under the gospel dispensation.

3b. By "hymns" are intended, not any mere human compositions; since I can hardly think the apostle would place such between psalms and spiritual songs, made by men inspired by the Holy Ghost, and put them upon a level with them, to be sung; but rather this is 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 {16}. The hundred and forty fifth psalm is called an hymn of David; and the psalm our Lord sung with his disciples after the Supper, is said to be an hymn; and so the psalms of David in general are called umnoi, "hymns", both by Josephus {17} and Philo the Jew {18}.
As for his statement that he does not deny one may make use of uninspired compositions, that statement by itself in light of his other statements about what songs Scripture prescribed in worship, does not lead me to the inevitable conclusion that he allowed for uninspired hymnody in worship. I hold to exclusive psalmody, yet I may "make use of" the uninspired compositions of men at certain times and occasions outside of stated worship. I think it also worth noting what he said further on:

5a4. It is urged, that to sing David's Psalms, and others, is to sing by a form, and then why not pray by one? I answer, the case is different; the one may be done without a form, the other not; the Spirit is promised as a Spirit of supplication, but not as a Spirit of poetry; and if a man had an extraordinary gift of delivering out an extempore psalm or hymn, that would be a form to others who joined him; add to this, that we have a Book of Psalms, but not a book of prayers. David's Psalms were composed to be sung by form, and in the express words of them, and were so sung; see #1Ch 16:7 2Ch 29:30 hence the people of God are bid, not to "make" a psalm, but to "take" a psalm, ready made to their hands, #Ps 81:1,2.
 
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AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
John Gill on Psalmody includes a small collection of his writings on the subject of psalmody, including a discourse on psalm singing, and his arguments in favor of a cappella singing, all of which are very much worth reading.
I have done so brother and I am convinced of EP however whilst Gill certainly exegeted the key texts correctly it is also true that Gill was not an exclusive psalmist. He noted somewhere in the tracts that he sees no reason to sing anyting other than psalms yet the case remains he did indeed say "hymns and spiritual songs, composed by good men, uninspired, may be made use of; provided care is taken that they be agreeable to the sacred writings, and to the analogy of faith, and are expressed as much as may be in scripture language". In the pamphlet you mentioned Gill states:

"By hymns, we are to understand, not such as are composed by good men, without the inspiration of the Spirit of God. I observe indeed, from ancient writers, and. from ecclesiastical history, that such compositions were made use of very early, even from the times of the Apostles; and I deny not but that they may now be useful; though a great deal of care should be taken that they be agreeable to the sacred writings, and the analogy of faith, and that they be expressed, as much as can be, in scripture language; yet, after all, I must confess, that I cannot but judge them, in a good measure, unnecessary, since we are so well provided with a book of psalms and scriptural songs, indited by the Spirit of God, and suitable on all occasions: However, I cannot think that such composure’s are designed by the Apostle; nor can I believe that he would place such between psalms and spiritual songs, made by men inspired by the Holy Ghost, and put them upon a level with them, and to be sung equally with them, to the edification of the churches; therefore, I take hymns to be but another name for the book of psalms; for the running title of that book may as well be, the book of hymns, as of psalms; and so it is rendered by Ainsworth, who also particularly calls the 145th psalm, an hymn of David: So the psalm which our Lord sung with his disciples, after the supper, is called an hymn, as the psalms of David in general, are called, by Philo the Jew, umnei hymns, as they are also songs and hymns by Josephus."

I simply disagree with him saying "that they may now be useful" and agree with him in saying "I must confess, that I cannot but judge them, in a good measure, unnecessary" and accepting his exegesis of the texts.

:handshake:
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
I wish! It's a great resource and it should be more accessible to the world. The only parts of it online, however, as far as I know, are McNaugher's special exegesis of Eph. 5.19 and Col. 3.16, and E.S. McKitrick's Christ in the Psalms.
Don't forget Jesse Johnson's The Psalms in Present-Day Apologetics (originally titled "The Importance of an Exclusive Use of the Psalms in Present-Day Apologetics").

I've actually been working off-and-on with this book, transcribing it article by article, for a long while now (along with several other books on similar subjects). If I ever get around to it (like THAT'S gonna happen! ;) ), I'll probably post them up somewhere.... maybe my geocities site or something.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
My wife found a book at a lawn sale held at the local Anglican church just around the corner from where we live. It's a history as well as a kind of apologetic of hymns in worship. It's called "They Wrote Our Hymns", by Hugh Martin, published in 1961 by SCM Press Ltd. in Great Britain.

I'm only part way into the book, and already it is very interesting.
 
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