Singing of Psalms-The Duty of Christians under the New Testament - Thomas Ford (Westminster Divine)

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crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
Ran across this the other day...Has anyone read it?

http://www.pap.com.au/ford/tf_psa00.htm

SINGING OF PSALMS

THE DUTY OF CHRISTIANS
UNDER THE NEW TESTAMENT

THOMAS FORD

Publisher's Preface

Thomas Ford (1598-1674) was minister of the Gospel at Exeter, and member of the Westminster Assembly of Divines.

Singing of Psalms the Duty of Christians was originally a series of sermons which the author preached to his congregation at a time when religion in England was splintering under the weight of sectarianism. Besides the infiltration of many strange doctrines at that time, numerous foreign worship practices were being introduced into England. Amongst those practices which pertained to the singing of praise, some were for excluding singing altogether, except under the influence of an extraordinary gift of the Spirit; while others were for composing new songs, to replace the inspired Psalms of David.

In this situation, Mr. Ford called upon his hearers to adhere to the ancient, approved, and appointed practice of singing the Psalms of David in the public worship of God. He shows, from Ephesians 5:19,
1. The duty itself: we must sing.
2. For the matter: we must sing Psalms.
3. For the manner: we must sing with the heart.
4. For the end: we must sing unto the Lord.

Because this work was the product of the author's pulpit ministrations, it would be inappropriate to class this book as a systematic, scholarly defence of Psalm-singing. Exact arrangment, and the usual references to numerous authorities, which would be expected in a scholarly work, are lacking. But as a more popular treatment of the subject, designed to be more poignant than stringent, the book presents the major arguments on behalf of Psalm singing in a striking manner, while being simple enough for most minds to follow.

One of the practical features of this work is the manner in which the author stresses the suitability of the Psalms as a means of instruction and admonition in the Christian life. He often pauses to reflect on the message of individual Psalms, and to show how they may be sung with heartfelt conviction by those who are exercised in spiritual things. Thus the book serves not only to point out the Christian's duty of singing Psalms, but also provides practical help towards fulfilling that duty.

Thomas Ford's book should also be of historical interest to those who have made Puritanism in general, and the Westminster Assembly of divines in particular, an area of study. Besides incidental statements regarding the cessation of extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, the Messianic interpretation of the Psalms, and contemporary allusions to the practice of Psalm-singing; there is, here, an undoubted example of using the word "Psalms," to refer exclusively to the Psalms of David, which sheds light on the original intent of the framers of the Westminster Confession of Faith, when they state in chapter 21, section 5, that "singing of psalms with grace in the heart" is a part of "the ordinary religious worship of God."

Yours in the Lord's service,
M. E. Winzer.
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by CalsFarmer
Are you binding us or merely suggesting?
Binding you to buy the book or suggesting the book? :lol: This is the library forum. Not sure if your EP spectrometer is tuned a bit tightly...not in the worship forum arguing for or against. Just a book by one of the Westminster Divines that would shed light on the historical situation and provide insight into the debates and the Westminster Standards themselves.
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
I received my copy yesterday. Ford was a member of the Westminster Assembly as the first post stated. I hope to do a little quote work from it later but after reading about half of it, I think I can say he would be EP. He argued that the passages in Eph. and Col. were about the Psalms. He argued that hymns and spiritual songs were the names of the psalms from teh Septuagint. He also said that he didn't mind people composing new songs but was rather more against imposing them. He dealt with arguments that if you can't sing anything but Scripture then what about praying other things...

I have much more reading to do in this book and others. Just to reiterate, this is a library thread and I'd rather not have the EP horse kicked again. The arguments that I just said Ford used have received extensive argument pro/con in other threads - check them out. I do find this interesting from a confessional/historical level though. And just because 1 member of the Assembly (Ford) held this view doesn't prove that all of them held it.

Andrew, received yours yet? If so, thoughts?

It can also be purchased from Reformation Heritage Books
http://www.heritagebooks.org/item.asp?bookId=2775

[Edited on 2-3-2006 by crhoades]
 

biblelighthouse

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by CalsFarmer
Are you binding us or merely suggesting?

Grace,

The Biblical command to sing Psalms is NOT equivalent to believing in exclusive Psalmody.

Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5 command Christians to sing Psalms. I believe it is a sin for churches to ignore the Psalms altogether.

However, I do NOT hold to EP. I believe we should sing Psalms, AND hymns, AND other theologically sound newly composed songs.

You can sing Psalms without being EP.




[Edited on 2-3-2006 by biblelighthouse]
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by VirginiaHuguenot
Originally posted by crhoades
Andrew, received yours yet? If so, thoughts?

It can also be purchased from Reformation Heritage Books
http://www.heritagebooks.org/item.asp?bookId=2775

[Edited on 2-3-2006 by crhoades]
I think it's excellent and fully representative of the views and teachings of the Westminster Assembly. :pilgrim::up:
Are you aware or have compiled a list of other Divine's views regarding singing in worship? Not worried about Calvin or men after the Assembly. Just worried about the Assembly men themselves. As you know I'm involved in a long and intensive study of the WCF and catechisms for my pastoral internship and primary source material is always enlightening. Thanks in advance!
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Robert Baillie on Psalm singing

Here is something interesting on the subject of psalm singing out of Robert Baillie, who as most know, was a Scottish commissioner to the Westminster Assembly. I have not reproduced the endnotes but have left the references in place in the quotations below. The two quotations are difficult to reconcile as far as indicating what Baillie's position was; the first might indicate inspired praise, or even uninspired, as was held by his college teacher Robert Boyd. However the second quotation seems to pull away from that conclusion. Keep in mind Baillie was all for keeping all the Scottish practices, including bowing in the Pulpit, and he was also not happy with the conclusion of the Assembly to drop the old doxologies from the new psalter.

Robert Baillie, A Dissuasive from the Errours of the Time (London, 1646).
p. 29 "œThe Doctrine of the Brownists."

As for the parts of the worship, in all of them they have some one singularity or other: They make all set-prayer, the very Lords prayer it self used Prayer-wise, not onely to be inconvenient and unlawful, but to be Idolatry, and the worship of the Devil(HHHH); howbeit Master Robinson here corrects his companions, and professeth that set prayer in some cases, is very lawfull worship (IIII).

The singing of Psalms in meter, not being formal Scripture, but a Paraphrase, to them is unlawfull (KKKK); much more the singing of any other songs in the Church, which are not expresse Scripture. They permit to sing Psalms in Prose, not as an act of immediate praise (LLLL); for set-Praise would be as idolatrous as set-Prayer; but as a matter of instruction and comfort, whereby God is glorified, as by all other actions, whether naturall, moral, or spirituall, which are done in faith.

But herein Master Smith is wiser then his fellows, telling us, That all Songs in the Church out of a Book, whether in Verse or Prose are Idolatry (MMMM); yet he admits of singing such Psalms as the Spirit dictates to any person immediately without Book (NNNN).

It seems the Brownists at Amsterdam have recanted their error in this point; for all of them sing now in strange tunes the Psalmes in meter, of Ainsworths exceeding harsh Paraphrase.

p. 81 "œThe carriage of the Independents in Holland, at Roterdam, and Arnhem"

And as if all these innovations had not been sufficient, they begun to put down all singing of Psalmes, and to set up in their place, their singing Prophets, making one man alone to sing in the midst of the silent congregaeion,[sic] the Hymnes which he out of his own gift had composed,(SS1). And this, as I am informed by some who have been present, is now the setled practice of the remainder of the Church of Arnhem.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by crhoades
Originally posted by VirginiaHuguenot
Originally posted by crhoades
Andrew, received yours yet? If so, thoughts?

It can also be purchased from Reformation Heritage Books
http://www.heritagebooks.org/item.asp?bookId=2775

[Edited on 2-3-2006 by crhoades]
I think it's excellent and fully representative of the views and teachings of the Westminster Assembly. :pilgrim::up:
Are you aware or have compiled a list of other Divine's views regarding singing in worship? Not worried about Calvin or men after the Assembly. Just worried about the Assembly men themselves. As you know I'm involved in a long and intensive study of the WCF and catechisms for my pastoral internship and primary source material is always enlightening. Thanks in advance!
My research into this question is ongoing, but here is some info which might be of interest:

Westminster Confession of Faith, 21.5:

"The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear; the sound preaching, and conscionable hearing of the word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith, and reverence; singing of psalms with grace in the heart; as also the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God: besides religious oaths and vows, solemn fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasions, which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in a holy and religious manner."

Westminster Directory of Publick Worship:
Of Singing of Psalms

"It is the duty of Christians to praise God publickly, by singing of psalms together in the congregation, and also privately in the family.

In singing of psalms, the voice is to be tenably and gravely ordered; but the chief care must be to sing with understanding, and with grace in the heart, making melody unto the Lord.

That the whole congregation may join herein, every one that can read is to have a psalm book; and all others, not disabled by age or otherwise, are to be exhorted to learn to read. But for the present, where many in the congregation cannot read, it is convenient that the minister, or some other fit person appointed by him and the other ruling officers, do read the psalm, line by line, before the singing thereof."

The Annotations of the Dutch Bible (1637) (English translation supervised by the Westminster Assembly) ordered and appointed by the Synod of Dordt (1618-1619) on Ephesians 5:19: "These three sorts of spiritual singing serve for one end. Namely to recreate the spirit; and are by some thus distinguished, that Psalms are all kind of spiritual songs, which are exercised, not only with the voice, but also with stringed instruments of music. Hymns, thanksgivings unto God, or metrical celebrations of God's grace to us: and spiritual songs such indicting as contains all manner of spiritual doctrines. See also Col. 3:16, and these several names seem to be taken from the several inscriptions of the Psalms of David" (spelling modernized).

The Westminster Annotations on Eph. 5.19 and Col. 3.16 apparently lack any comments on point to this issue. Daniel Fealty commented on the Pauline Epistles. Meric Casabon commented on the Psalms.

1673 Preface to the Scottish Metrical Psalter:

""¦ 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)" (the signatories include John Owen, Thomas Manton, Matthew Poole, Thomas Watson, Thomas Vincent and William Jenkyn).

Thomas Manton on Eph. 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."

Sources that need further research:

Thomas Goodwin, Exposition of the Epistle to the Ephesians

William Gouge, An Exposition of part of the fifth and sixt chapter of S. Paules Epistle to the Ephesians

Henry Hammond, A paraphrase and annotations upon the books of the Psalms, briefly explaining the difficulties thereof, folio, 1657. and A brief explanation of the obscure phrases in the Book of Psalms . . . Collected out of the writings of . . . Henry Hammond, and others, etc. [by J. Clutterbuck]. 8vo. 1702.

William Nicholson, David's Harp strung and tuned; or, an easie analysis of the wholebook of Psalms . . . With a . . . meditation or prayer at the end of every Psalm, framed for the most part out of the words of the Psalm, etc. folio. pp. 535. W. Leake: London, 1662.

John Prideaux, The Doctrine of Prayer . . . A new edition. To which are added certain godly prayers, from early editions of The Book of Common Prayer, and the Treatise of St. Athanasius on the use and virtue of the Psalms. By S. W. Cornish. 8vo. Oxford, 1841.

Richard Vines, The whole book of Psalms paraphrased . . . by G.Abbot. 4to. 1650.

John Wallis, Theological Discourses and Sermons on Several Occasions; containing 8 Letters and 3 sermons concerning the Blessed Trinity. The Life of Faith, in two sermons to the University of Oxford. God's Sovereignty and Justice, in two sermons before the Judges of Assize, from Gen. xviii. 25. The True Treasure, two sermons from Mat. vi. 19, 20, 21. God's Deliverances of his People; from 2 Cor. i. 10. Of Repentance; and Discourses concerning Melchizedek, Job, and the Titles of the Psalms, &c. 4to. London, 1692.

Joseph Caryl, A Sermon pressing to, and directing in, that great Duty of praising God. Preached to the Parliament, at Margaret'sWestminster, Octob: 8. 1656, from Psal. cxi. 1-5. being the day of their solemn thanksgiving to God for that late successe given . . . against the Spanish Fleet in its return from the West Indies. 4to. pp. 39. Printed by M. Simmons, and are to be sould by John Hancock: London, 1657.

John White, Davids Psalms in metre agreeable to the Hebrew . . . By the Reverend Mr. John White. 12o. 1655.

Works of George Gillespie

Letters of Robert Baillie

John Lightfoot, The Journal of the Proceedings of the Assembly of Divines

Mitchell & Struthers, Minutes of the Session of the Westminster Assembly

James Reid, Memoirs of the Westminster Divines

William Hetherington, History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines

William Symington, The Westminster Assembly of Divines

Patrick Millar, Four Centuries of Scottish Psalmody

S.W. Carruthers, The Everyday Work of the Westminster Assembly

General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, Directory for Family Worship

Other contemporary and later sources of interest include:

The Bay Psalm Book (1640)
The True Psalmody (1859)
Robert Shaw, An Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith
Select writings of Henry Ainsworth, John Cotton, Cotton Mather, William Perkins, Jean Daille, George Swinnock, William Binnie, William Romaine, Matthew Henry, Matthew Poole, David Dickson, Horton Davies, Michael Bushell, John McNaughter, John Calvin, Alexander Blaikie, John Murray, William Young, G.I. Williamson, Brian Schwertley, Douglas Comin, Rowland E. Prothero, Rowland Ward and others.
 
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