Saturday, October 09, 2010
The Directory for the Publick Worship of God: Part 15 of 16
Of Singing of Psalms.
Note: This is a series through the Westminter "Directory for the Publick Worship of God." You can read past posts by clicking the label below.
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 tunably 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.
Comment and analysis: The Directory encourages the singing of canonical psalms (cf. 1 Cor 14:26; Eph 5:19; Col 3:16; James 5:13). Note that singing is corporate whether in the home or church. The voice is the instrument to be tuned. Note also that psalm singing encouraged literacy. Reformed worship was marked by simplicity. This is most clear in the musical aspects of worship. Singing consisted of canonical psalms (and perhaps other parts of inspired Scripture) without accompaniment. How would this put an end to the so-called "worship wars" if we reclaimed the practice suggested by the Directory?