Old Princeton views on EP and the Use of Instruments

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by Qoheleth, Sep 19, 2017.

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  1. Qoheleth

    Qoheleth Puritan Board Freshman

    What were some of the views of the Old Princeton theologians on EP and the use of instruments in worship? Do any of you know of anything they wrote on the topic? Also, what was the practice of the OPC when it was first established?
  2. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    The PCUSA allowed hymns to be sung via changing their directory for worship. They did not make any notices or change in CF 21.5 for some reason. The psalmody wars raged in America up to the PCUSA founding in 1788 and it may be they thought changing the CF would have been too radical or drive off any EP practicing churches to the Reformed Presbyterians? I am not sure. The should have changed the confession though in my opinion. As to instruments, that is largely a mid 19th century introduction and I'm not sure what Princeton profs wrote as the practice began to change with the introduction of cheap organs via the industrial revolution (the piano was not used until after the organ had led the way). Old School southerners such as Dabney and others wrote against them from the 1840s onward; Thomas Smyth, a Scottish import, defended them, as well as Watts.
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  3. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    Charles Hodge:

    "V. 19. Λαλοῦντες ἑαυτοῖς (i. e. ἀλλήλοις, as in 4, 32, and elsewhere), speaking to each other, not to yourselves. Compare Col. 3, 16, where it is,διδάσκοντες καὶ νουθετοῦντες ἑαυτούς, teaching and admonishing one another. "Speaking to each other," signifies the interchange of thoughts and feelings expressed in the psalms and hymns employed. This is supposed to refer to responsive singing, in the private assemblies and public worship of Christians, to which the well-known passage of Pliny: Carmen Christo quasi Deo dicunt secum invicem, seems also to refer. Whether the passage refers to the responsive method of singing or not, which is somewhat doubtful from the parallel passage in Colossians (where Paul speaks of their teaching one another), it at least proves that singing was from the beginning a part of Christian worship, and that not only psalms but hymns also were employed.

    The early usage of the words ψαλμός, ὕμνος, ῷδή, appears to have been as loose as that of the corresponding English terms, psalm, hymn, song, is with us. A psalm was a hymn, and a hymn a song. Still there 304was a distinction between them as there is still. A psalm was, agreeably to the etymology of the word ψαλμός, a song designed to be sung with the accompaniment of instrumental music. 2. It was one of the sacred poems contained in the book of Psalms, as in Acts 13, 33, ἐν τῷ ψαλμῳ τῷ δευτέρῳ, in the second Psalm; and Acts 1, 20, ἐν βίβλῳ ψαλμῶν, in the book of Psalms. 3. Any sacred poem formed on the model of the Old Testament Psalms, as in 1 Cor. 14, 26, where ψαλμόν appears to mean such a song given by inspiration, and not one of the psalms of David. A Hymn was a song of praise to God; a divine song. ARRIAN, Exped. Alex. 4, ὔμνοι μὲν ἐς τοὺς θεοὺς ποιοῦνται, ἔπαινοι δὲ ἐς ἀνθρώπους. AMMON. de differ. vocbl. ὁ μὲν γὰρ ὕμνος ἔστι θεῶν, τὸ δὲ ἐγκώμιον τῶν ἀνθρώπων. PHAVOR. ὕμνος· ἡ πρὸς θεὸν ᾠδή. Such being the general meaning of the word, Josephus uses it of those Psalms which were songs of praise to God: ὁ Δαυΐδος ᾠδὰς εἰς τὸν Θεὸν καὶ ὕμνους συνετάξατο, Ant. 7. 12, 3. Psalms and hymns then, as now, were religious songs; ὠδαίwere religious or secular, and therefore those here intended are described as spiritual. This may mean either inspired, i. e. derived from the Spirit; or expressing spiritual thoughts and feelings. This latter is the more probable; as not only inspired men are said to be filled with the Spirit, but all those who in their ordinary thoughts and feelings are governed by the Holy Ghost."


    Hodge both advocates singing of hymns and use of instruments in worship.
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  4. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    This is not surprising; Hodge was rather to the left of Samuel Miller (he married an Episcopalian gal, and they were already well accepting of the organ; hence the famous quote from Dabney*). I'm not sure, which is to say I've forgotten, if Miller addresses the subject of musical instruments. Again, that any PCUSA man from 1788 onward did anything other than advocate the view Hodge articulates, would be surprising; I'm of a mind there is not a one. If they were EP there would land in the RPs.
    *The first organ I ever knew of in a Virginian Presbyterian church was introduced by one of the wisest and most saintly of pastors, a paragon of old school doctrinal rigor. But he avowedly introduced it on an argument the most unsound and perilous possible for a good man to adopt that it would be advantageous to prevent his young people from leaving his church to run after the Episcopal organ in the city. Of course such an argument would equally justify every other sensational and spectacular adjunct to God’s ordinances, which is not criminal per se. Now this father’s general soundness prevented his carrying out the pernicious argument to other applications. A very bad organ remained the only unscriptural feature in a church otherwise well-ordered. But after the church authorizes such policy, what guarantee remains that one and another less sound and staid will not carry the improper principle to disastrous results? The conclusion of this matter is, then, that neither the piety nor the good intention of our respectable opponents is disparaged by us; but that the teachers and rulers of our church, learning from the great reformers and the warning lights of church history, should take the safer position alongside of Dr. Girardeau. Their united advice would easily and pleasantly lead back to the Bible ground all the zealous and pious laymen and the saintly ladies who have been misled by fashion and incipient ritualism. (note, 1by 1889 the war was over and lost; Dabney and Girardeau remained the few left holding the original nonconformist position). Review: INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN THE PUBLIC WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH. By John L. Girardeau, D. D., LL.D., Professor in Columbia Theological Seminary, South Carolina. Richmond: Whittet & Shepperson. 1888. The Presbyterian Quarterly, July 1889. https://www.naphtali.com/articles/worship/dabney-review-of-girardeau-instrumental-music/
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