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Instrumental Music in Public Worship: Views of John Calvin, Westminster Assembly, Christian History
SATURDAY, JULY 13, 2019
Posted by: Still Waters Revival Books | more..
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Instrumental Music in Public Worship: The Views of John Calvin, the Westminster Assembly and Christian History

"To sing the praises of God upon the harp and psaltery," says Calvin, "unquestionably formed a part of the training of the law and of the service of God under that dispensation of shadows and figures, but they are not now to be used in public thanksgiving."1 He says again: "With respect to the tabret, harp, and psaltery, we have formerly observed, and will find it necessary afterwards to repeat the same remark, that the Levites, under the law, were justified in making use of instrumental music in the worship of God; it having been his will to train his people, while they were yet tender and like children, by such rudiments until the coming of Christ. But now, when the clear light of the gospel has dissipated the shadows of the law and taught us that God is to be served in a simpler form, it would be to act a foolish and mistaken part to imitate that which the prophet enjoined only upon those of his own time."2 He further observes: "We are to remember that the worship of God was never understood to consist in such outward services, which were only necessary to help forward a people as yet weak and rude in knowledge in the spiritual worship of God. A difference is to be observed in this respect between his people under the Old and under the New Testament; for now that Christ has appeared, and the church has reached full age, it were only to bury the light of the gospel should we introduce the shadows of a departed dispensation. From this it appears that the Papists, as I shall have occasion to show elsewhere, in employing instrumental music cannot be said so much to imitate the practice of God's ancient people as to ape it in a senseless and absurd manner, exhibiting a silly delight in that worship of the Old Testament which was figurative and terminated with the gospel."3

ENDNOTES: 1. On Ps. lxxi. 22. 2. On Ps. lxxxi. 3. 3. On Ps. xcii. 1.

FROM: INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN THE PUBLIC WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH, By John L. Girardeau (Still Waters Revival Books, [1888] 2000), pp. 63, 64 -- FREE MP3s at: http://www.sermonaudio.com/go/148354 (free MP3s) FREE ONLINE BOOK at: http://www.covenanter.org/reformed/2015/7/27/john-l-girardeaus-book-on-instrumental-music-in-the-public-worship-of-the-church.

More quotes on this topic from INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN THE PUBLIC WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH, By John L. Girardeau, are at http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/instcalv.htm

FROM: INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN THE PUBLIC WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH

By John L. Girardeau

(Still Waters Revival Books, [1888] 2000), "Historical Argument" pp. 158, 159, 161, 165, 170, 179.


The Heresy of Instrumental Music in Public Worship

With reference to the time when organs were first introduced into use in the Roman Catholic Church, let us hear Bingham:1 "It is now generally agreed among learned men that the use of organs came into the church since the time of Thomas Aquinas, Anno 1250; for he, in his Summs, has these words: 'Our church does not use musical instruments, as harps and psalteries, to praise God withal, that she may not seem to Judaize."...Mr. Wharton also has observed that Marinus Sanutus, who lived about the year 1290, was the first who brought the use of wind-organs into churches, whence he was surnamed Torcellus, which is the name for an organ in the Italian tongue....Let us pause a moment to notice the fact, supported by a mass of incontrovertible evidence, that the Christian church did not employ instrumental music in its public worship for 1200 years after Christ....It deserves serious consideration, moreover, that notwithstanding the ever-accelerated drift towards corruption in worship as well as in doctrine and government, the Roman Catholic Church did not adopt this corrupt practice until about the middle of the thirteenth century....When the organ was introduced into its worship it encountered strong opposition, and made its way but slowly to general acceptance. These assuredly are facts that should profoundly impress Protestant churches. How can they adopt a practice which the Roman Church, in the year 1200, had not admitted...Then came the Reformation; and the question arises, How did the Reformers deal with instrumental music in the church?...Zwingle has already been quoted to show instrumental music was one of the shadows of the old law which has been realized in the gospel. He pronounces its employment in the present dispensation "wicked pervicacity." There is no doubt in regard to his views on the subject, which were adopted by the Swiss Reformed churches...Calvin is very express in his condemnation of instrumental music in connection with the public worship of the Christian church...In his homily on 1 Sam. xviii. 1-9, he delivers himself emphatically and solemnly upon the subject: "In Popery there was a ridiculous and unsuitable imitation [of the Jews]. While they adorned their temples, and valued themselves as having made the worship of God more splendid and inviting, they employed organs (emphasis added), and many other such ludicrous things, by which the Word and worship of God are exceedingly profaned, the people being much more attached to those rites than to the understanding of the divine Word..." Whatever may be the practice in recent times of the churches of Holland, the Synods of the Reformed Dutch Church, soon after the Reformation, pronounced very decidedly against the use of instrumental music in public worship. The National Synod at Middleburg, in 1581, declared against it, and the Synod of Holland and Zealand, in 1594, adopted this strong resolution; "That they would endeavor to obtain of the magistrate the laying aside of organs, and the singing with them in the churches...." The Provincial Synod of Dort also inveighed severely against their use...The Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon, ...upholds an apostolic simplicity of worship. The great congregation which is blessed with the privilege of listening to his instructions has no organ "to assist" them in singing...The non-prelatic churches, Independent and Presbyterian, began their development on the American continent without instrumental music. They followed the English Puritans and the Scottish Church, which had adopted the principles of the Calvinistic Reformed Church...It has thus been proved by an appeal to historical facts, that the church, although lapsing more and more into defection from the truth and into a corruption of apostolic practice, had no instrumental music for twelve hundred years; and that the Calvinistic Reformed Church ejected it from its services as a element of Popery, even the Church of England having come very nigh to its extrusion from her worship. The historical argument, therefore, combines with the scriptural and the confessional to raise a solemn and powerful protest against its employment by the Presbyterian Church. IT IS HERESY IN THE SPHERE OF WORSHIP (emphasis added).

ENDNOTES:
1. Works, Vol. iii., p. 137, ff.


FROM: INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN THE PUBLIC WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH

By John L. Girardeau

(Still Waters Revival Books, [1888] 2000), pp. 132, 133.


Instrumental Music in Public Worship: History Surrounding the Westminster Assembly.

HYMNS, THE REFORMATION, THE WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY & EXCLUSIVE PSALMODY (PURITAN WORSHIP & FREE MP3s)

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Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church, by John Calvin (3 Free MP3)

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Classic Biblical (Reformation) Worship (Free)

Instrumental Music in Public Worship: The Views of John Calvin, the Westminster Assembly and Christian History

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