Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 


123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789


You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Letter II.


Letter II.

James Dodson




DEAR BRETHREN:—When engaged in the field of controversy, every weapon, too often irrespective of its merits, that seems to promise aid in bringing the contest to a desired issue, is, with eagerness, grasped by the contending parties. Hence, in matters of public dispute, they are disposed along with other devices to magnify the numbers that give countenance to their cause, forgetting that in morals and religion the word of God is “our all-sufficient rule, and not the sentiments of any number of fallible men: so that in fact they have sometimes been found right, who have seemed not only to have all the world, but almost all the church against them.”[1]

In matters of dispute, the antiquity of an opinion or practice is frequently deemed of weight in conducting to a proper decision. The wisdom of ancient times, it is said, must be revered. In the concerns of religion, there is a charm in antiquity not easily broken. With ancient usage, men are prone to associate the infallibility of the Apostolic age, and, gratuitously, suppose the fathers of a distant time more pious, as well as better acquainted with the practice which was regulated by the authority of inspiration; than those of modern days. It is not my intention to detract any thing from either the reputation or authority which the days of the Fathers can justly claim. It will, however, be found with most of the ancients, what is true of not a few of our modern friends,—that as our acquaintance advances, our veneration diminishes.

The truth is, fifty years after the death of the Apostles had not passed by, when the church they had planted with so much purity, and fostered with so much care, exhibited an aspect very different from what it did before. The historian Hegesippus, of the second century, pronounced the virgin purity of the church to have been confined to the Apostolic age. “Monstrous attempts were made, in that century, to reconcile falsehood with truth, light with darkness.”[2] In this age originated a bewildering mysticism, an idle monkish seclusion from the relations and duties of active life, and a multiplication of superstitious innovations, which cast a veil of darkness over the truth, substituting for the simplicity of the gospel an unseemly mixture of truth and error. Jerome, of the fourth century testifies that the “primitive church was tainted with gross errors while the Saviour’s blood was yet warm in Judea.” In the following periods the depravity increased. God, indeed, had still his hidden ones, and in their hearts and hands his own cause was preserved; yet the picture of the times is drawn, on the page of history, in dark colours. “There was no charity in works, no discipline in manners.” The practice of such periods can go but a little way in the settlement of controversies respecting divine institutions. For satisfaction, as to the appointments of God, we must rest, not on the practice of the Fathers, but on the records of inspired truth. Keeping this in recollection, it may, nevertheless, be interesting to know their matter and modes of worship. And as a somewhat imposing display of research into the early practice of the church, on the subject of Psalmody, has by various writers been made, it may not be inexpedient to inquire, how far their representations of that practice and the inferences they drew from it, are entitled to our confidence.

In the previous letter it has been intimated, that, on the subject of the church’s Psalmody, opinions have been expressed and practices authorized, which have, especially in the United States, given occasion to controversy among Christians. The introduction, in the latter part of the eighteenth century, of an Imitation of the Book of inspired Psalms, accompanied by hymns of mere human composure, into the public worship of the church, and the reasons of their introduction, in place of the inspired songs of Zion; calculated, as was foreseen, to banish, by supplanting, those inspired songs from the public Psalmody of the house of God, gave occasion to much dissatisfaction in the several departments of the great Presbyterian family. In vindication of this innovation of a new collection of sacred songs in place of those given by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, various writers appeared as advocates.[3]

The positions of the author of the “Discourse on Psalmody,” both as to the facts of history and the principles of his subject, will be understood by the following statements, in pp. 76, 77. They are as follow:

“It may be proper to lay before our readers some account of the time and circumstances in which the Psalms of David were first introduced into the Christian church. We have already said they were not in use for the first three centuries. They were introduced at Antioch, in the time of Leontius. Flavian and Diodorus, two persons, who had not attained to any ecclesiastical dignity, but had great influence among the people on account of their sanctity, were the first who made this innovation. They divided the choirs of singers at Antioch into two parts, and gave them the Psalms of David to sing alternately, or by turns. This usage first began at Antioch, spread every where, says Theodoret, and came abroad into all parts of the world. And it is no wonder that it spread speedily and extensively in the fourth century, an age devoted to Arianism. It must have been highly pleasing, to those who had embraced or patronised that heresy, among whom was the Emperor Constantius himself.” “It had the most effectual and immediate tendency to silence those Psalms and Hymns which were sung in honour of Jesus Christ, and which were the great objects which those heretics abhorred and opposed to the utmost.” In a previous part of the same page our author had affirmed of such a measure,—the use of the Psalms of David—that “It decided clearly in favour of that tenet of Arianism, that divine worship was to be paid only to the Father, and so had a direct tendency, so far as that part of worship went, to make heresy triumphant.” He continues: “Thus we have seen by what authority the Psalms of David have been introduced into the Christian church, and we know by what authority they have been continued in it, to the exclusion of an evangelical Psalmody. In both cases the authority has been entirely human. Divine institution and appointment cannot be pleaded with any plausibility, either from reason or Scripture.”

Such, as to the introduction of the Bible Psalm Book,—inspired Psalms,—into the Psalmody of the Christian church, and their character and tendency, being the views of our author, we find them amply illustrated in the course of his discussion. Without taking notice of all, we refer, as specimens of his opinions upon the subject, to a few of his other pages. Thus he gives us to understand his own persuasion to be—

“That the whole worship of the Old Testament was conducted in the name of the Lord Jesus, and that the songs of praise and thanksgiving especially under that dispensation, were expressly offered up to the Father, through Christ, are things which can never be proved, and the very reverse of them all appears to be the truth.” Preface, p. 7. When we sing the Bible Psalms, according to our author, we “substitute David for the Messiah, the law for the gospel.” This he says “in fact is the case when we sing of the actions, sufferings, victories, or exaltation of David, instead of those of our great High Priest and Captain of salvation.” Ibid. p. 11. And again: “It is no wonder that that part of our devotion, which should be the most lively of all, is found to be destitute of proper spirit and fervour, when we do not offer it up to God through that new and living way which he has consecrated for us—when we pay no proper regard to the great High Priest over the house of God.” Ibid. p. 12. “If we were to adhere strictly to the Old Testament Psalmody, we cannot be said to do any thing in the name of the Lord Jesus, much less to give thanks unto God and the Father, by him. No mention is therein made of the Father, as a distinct and proper object of our devotion, nor of the Son, as being the appointed way of our access to him.” P. 29. “It is manifest from the scriptures, that the Old Testament church had no access to God but through priests and sacrifices.” Pref. p. 7. “Whether these psalms (1 Cor. 14:26) were the effect of previous study and inspiration united, or of immediate suggestion, they were certainly not designed to attach the converts to the gospel to the religion of the Jews, or to inspire them with veneration and respect for the psalms of David.” P. 42. Of their use in the Church, “we hear nothing for the three first centuries.” Pp. 42-55.

Others, of less ability, about the same time and at a later day, as stated in the margin, followed in the same track of our author, referring substantially to the same historical records, and agreeing with him in his estimate of the scripture psalms; the index to which estimate had been previously furnished by Dr. Watts.

The results of these historical details found in this “Discourse,” and in what accompanied or followed it, may be reduced to these positions: First, That during the first three centuries of one era, hymns of human composition constituted the whole matter of the church’s psalmody;[4] and secondly, That the book of Psalms was not introduced into the Christian church as the matter of her praise, till error and heresy, to which its introduction was subservient, boldly attempted, in the fourth century, to veil the divine glories of the Redeemer.[5] And thirdly, That this divinely inspired book is without authority in the Psalmody of the Christian church, and is utterly unfit to be used in that sacred ordinance of religious worship.[6] A brief examination of these positions will dispose of this part of the subject now before us. And before we proceed farther, two remarks may be made. We, in this place, refer to this Discourse, chiefly, because as it is the ablest discussion on that side of the question, it is still handed about to confirm the doubting. It ought likewise to be noted, that the facts of the existence of hymns of human composition, at an early day, and their use in the church, are with us no matter of dispute. In the first three editions of the Apology, these facts were admitted in express terms, and we again repeat our language, “That they”—hymns of human composure—”were frequently used in public worship, we need not doubt. That many of them were intended to honour, and as many others both calculated and intended to dishonour, the Redeemer of men, neither the opinions of the times, nor the characters of the prime actors of those days forbid us to suppose.”

But when all this is granted, I assert, without any apprehension of well supported contradiction, that there is no ground to believe, that inspired songs were not used from the beginning in the church of God; or that uninspired hymns were exclusively adopted, or at all adopted, with divine approbation, in place of the book of Psalms. It is a specimen of bad reasoning to conclude that, because such hymns were admitted by worshipping assemblies, the admission and use of them were of divine institution.[7] Of no fairer character is the conclusion, that the admission of these proves the unfitness and rejection of David’s inspired odes. He must likewise be hard pushed, who concludes that because Arians opposed the psalms that were sung in honour of Christ, the orthodox did not retain those indited by the Spirit of God. And surely the candour is not greatly to be admired, which repeatedly more than intimates that the friends of the use of the inspired book of Psalms, in Psalmody, are hostile to the doctrine of the Deity of Jesus;[8] and as little accordant with reverence for the oracles of God is the allegation, that the use of any portion of them tends to the dishonour of the Saviour of the Church. But such allegations, in the present instance, we would ascribe to an undue ardour of zeal in an unhappy cause, rather than to habitual conviction of judgment. But let us not anticipate. We turn to the witnesses adduced in support of the averments made, and their testimony shall be briefly considered.

The witnesses are Pliny, the Roman governor of Bythinia; Tertullian, as reported by Basnage; Origen, Eusebius, and Mosheim; together with the supposed implications of the action of certain councils of later ages. The points of inquiry will not be forgotten: The exclusive use of hymns of human composure during the first three centuries; and the introduction of the book of Psalms, not till the fourth century, and then by Arian heretics.

The first witness adduced is the junior Pliny. He was born at Como, in Italy, A.D. 62, and died A.D. 113; and, through various grades of high office, he reached that of the Proconsulate of Bythinia, under the Emperor Trajan, and for a time was engaged in carrying into effect the imperial edicts against Christians. He is celebrated as a fine writer and an eloquent lawyer, the associate and friend of the illustrious Tacitus. His testimony of the Christian character, being that of an enemy, is of great value. His correspondence on the subject with the Emperor occurred, perhaps, in A.D. 103. His testimony as to the facts stated, whether obtained from apostate Christians, or tortured confessors and martyrs, is worthy of credit. What is it? Besides their refusal to worship idols,—

“The whole of their fault or error is this—that they used to meet together on a stated day—the sabbath—at an early hour, and, Carmenque Christo, quasi Deo, dicere secum invicem—to repeat or sing among themselves alternately an ode to Christ as to God; and by oath to bind themselves not to commit any wickedness, not to be guilty of theft, robbery, or adultery, nor to falsify their word,” &c. The weight of this testimony rests on the terms, carmen dicere, to recite an ode or prayer. The word carmen signifies “any set form of words, whether in prose or verse,”[9] and dicere, to speak—not canere, to sing—is of very general import. The words, correctly enough, might be rendered—”Among themselves, one after another, they were accustomed to address a prayer to Christ, as to God.” But having no disposition to dwell on mere verbiage, we shall not object to the version usually given. They uttered a hymn or an ode to Christ, as to God. We insist, however, that had the Bythinian Christians recited or chanted the second, the eighth, the forty-fifth, the seventy-second, the hundred and second, or the one hundred and tenth psalm, they would literally have addressed Christ as God. In any one of these sacred songs, and in many others, they would have celebrated the glories of the Redeemer’s character. Compare psalms 45., 97., 102., 110., with Heb. 1:1-9, and this truth, to the reader, will be evident, as it was to the Apostle Paul. The fact is remarkable, that the Apostle, in conducting his argument in favour of the personal glories and Mediatorial exaltation of Messiah, against the raise views of his countrymen, confirms and illustrates it by the authority of the book of psalms. In every ode of that sacred collection to which he turned, he found the Son of God, the Saviour of men, either securing, possessing, or dispensing the blessings of his kingdom. If the Spirit of God taught an Apostle to find his Redeemer in them, may we not inquire,—By what spirit are they instructed, who say he is not to be found in those sacred psalms? and affirm that their use is not honourable to his cause; “it deprives him of divine honour.”[10] Believe not every spirit.

Irenaeus, who had been instructed by a disciple of the Apostle John, in proving the Deity of Jesus Christ, urged the testimony of the 45th psalm. The facts related by Pliny he learnt from Christians, or those who had been professedly such, upon their examination at his bar; and not from his own inspection of their psalm book. Of that it is not likely he had much knowledge; and whether it was from the book of Psalms or not, he certainly does not say.

What then, is the argument? Pliny says the Bythinian Christians addressed themselves to Christ, as to God, in a poetic composition,—carmen—therefore, they did not sing the inspired songs of scripture, but hymns of human composition! Had they not inspired songs? Why not sing one of them? The testimony of the Proconsul of Bythinia gives no countenance to the modern hymn book, as set up against that of inspiration.

The next witness brought upon the stand is Tertullian, as reported by Basnage. Tertullian, a native of Carthage, belonged to the second and third centuries. Educated a lawyer, he ultimately became a distinguished Presbyter. He was a man of talents, zealous, bold, and active. With a mind not very well balanced, he was severe in manners, and inclined to superstition. He was, in his time, the chief Latin writer in the cause of Christianity. His works still furnish important material to the historian. We shall attend to this African father himself, in the passage of his Apology for Christianity, to which reference on the subject before us has been made. It will be observed that the description is not of the regular public worship of God, but of occasional entertainments where devotional exercises were performed—very probably the Agapae of that time—the “love feasts,” which, on account of their great disorders, were afterwards abolished. Of this feast, or supper, Tertullian says,

“Since the occasion of the entertainment is a worthy one, judge of the order of its management, as regards religious duty. It allows of nothing low or unbecoming. Before a prayer is offered to God, none is seated at table. A sufficiency is taken to satisfy those who eat, and the quantity drunk is what delicacy and propriety admit. Thus satisfied, they bear in mind that by them, in the night, God is to be worshipped. They converse as those who know that they are heard of the Lord. Having washed their hands, and the lights being furnished, every one, as he may be able, is invited in their midst, either from the holy scriptures, or from the resources of his own mind, to sing praise to God.”[11]

What is the amount of the testimony of this father? It is this: At certain meetings, not of divine appointment, Christians were wont to assemble and temperately, but plentifully, to eat and drink most probably the love-feast, subsequently the occasion of much scandal. With their social eating and drinking, they connected the religious exercises of prayer and praise. They, too, conversed together with seriousness. Each one was called upon individually to take a part, especially in praise, and in the exercise to appear in the middle of the company. It was an individual action—quisque, every one—and he was allowed to find the matter of his praise in the holy scriptures, inspired songs, or in the resources of his own mind—de proprio ingenio. In all this we have nothing of the stated ordinances of the church’s public worship; while there is sufficient indication of an intermingling of superstitious rites with religious observances. But it is affirmed that hymns of human composure, and not inspired songs, were used by the Christians of that age; and Tertullian is here adduced in proof of this, while he tells us, in the instance given, that they drew their songs from the holy scriptures, as well as from their own genius. The existence and use of hymns of human composure we have already admitted. The use of scripture songs, before the fourth century, Tertullian asserts. But those who take the other side of the question, on this testimony of the Carthagenian Presbyter, reason thus: Tertullian informs us that, in his day, on certain occasions, some Christians in praising God derived the matter of their praise either from the holy Scriptures, or from their own ingenuity; therefore scripture songs were not then in use; but hymns of human composition alone! Such are the premises, such the conclusions, and such is the proof of the positions assumed. Tertullian, however, does not reason thus.

The next witness is Origen. He was a native of Egypt, the co-temporary of Tertullian, greatly distinguished by his talents, learning, labours, and sufferings, as well as for his errors. The testimony of this distinguished man, now adduced on the subject of Psalmody, is very brief. It is simply the statement of the French historian, Basnage, representing Origen as exhorting the people “to strive by their hymns, by their psalms, by their spiritual songs, crying to God that they might obtain the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Of this fact we have no reason to doubt; and, as is alleged, probably, that father referred to the apostolic injunction—Col. 3:16. But what does this prove? Do not the sacred scriptures contain psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs? This is now admitted by all? Did not the apostle refer to those inspired compositions? Or were hymns of human invention used by the church in the apostolic age? The proof! Origen perhaps meant what Paul meant; but did Paul intend mere human compositions, to the exclusion of the Bible psalms? Of this again. Origen proves nothing for the divine authority of the modern hymn book; and less, if possible, for the exclusion of the book of inspired odes from the church’s Psalmody.

But we are referred to Eusebius, the father of ecclesiastical history. This distinguished man was born at Caesarea, the theatre of his actions, and of his elevation, in A.D. 270, and lived till about 340. His writings were very numerous. He was a learned man, and an able ecclesiastic. The friendship between him and Constantine the Great appears to have been mutually sincere and ardent. Their intercourse was frequent and confidential. His orthodoxy however was doubted, and some of his principles, as a historian and moralist, have been subjected to animadversion.[12]

His testimony on the subject of Psalmody is found in his account of the action of the Council at Antioch, in the case of the heresy of Paulus of Samosata, an opposer of the truth of the Deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The verity of the history is not disputed. Paulus was a heretic, a vain, arrogant, and, it seems, an impious and immoral man. The direct and great object of the, council appears to have been his conviction as a heretic, and his degradation from ecclesiastical office. The reference to Psalmody is not as a specific charge, but incidental, as a proof of his hostility to the Godhead of Christ. The reference intimates what no one denies—the existence of hymns of human composition—but proves nothing as to the divine authority for their use in place of Bible songs, and as little for the expulsion of the book of Psalms from, or its unsuitableness to be used in, the Psalmody of the church. Paulus refused to celebrate the deity of Christ in a modern hymn, but had hymns composed, and sung in the church, in his own praise and in his own presence, representing him as more than human.[13] For his denial of the Godhead of the Saviour, for his impieties and immoralities, he was excommunicated. But what does all this say as to the exclusive use of modern hymns? the unfitness of inspired Psalms? or for their exclusion from the matter of the church’s praise? Nothing, nothing whatever. But why pursue the subject? Upon other themes those writers would not reason as is done in this case. And why continue to give currency to such conclusions upon such evidence?

The early existence of such hymns as are pleaded for, we admit. A careful examination will afford reason to believe that, in the second and third centuries, they were the fugitive productions of individuals, privately used, and without any special authority, at length finding their way into the public assembly. This was after the age of the apostles, and in a period when the innovations of superstition advanced with rapid steps, laying the foundation and gathering the material of the dark and unsightly superstructure of the Man of sin and Son of perdition. It, too, will appear to be more than probable that the innovation was first made in favour of error and heresy by the enemies of evangelical truth. There is not a particle of evidence to induce a belief of the existence in the church during the apostolic age of such hymns.

Bardesanes, a native of AEdessa, a man of mind, of a Gnostic sect, and of course a zealous opponent of the doctrine of the Godhead of Christ, in the second century, was among the first, if not the first, that was distinguished for the composition of new hymns. The Gnostic doctrines were poetic, and they were made popular, and widely extended by the hymns and odes of this heretical poet, and those of his more distinguished son, Harmonius, who, with his father, espoused the same bad cause. Bardesanes “IMITATED David, that he might be adored and recommended by similar honours. For this purpose he composed 150 psalms.”[14] Into those psalms and hymns he infused his corrupt and mystic doctrines, rendering them agreeable to the taste of his readers “by the charms of novelty, and the embellishments of oriental style.” And it is added, “Thus the Syrian church was in danger of being overflowed with Gnostic errors through the mighty vehicle of song.”

It was in the following age that Paulus of Samosata, at Antioch, opposed the divinity of Christ, and rejected every thing calculated to discountenance his heresy, while he had hymns composed and sung in his own praise, and in the swollen language of the times, was “called an angel come down from heaven.”[15] We envy not the critical judgment, nor can we admire the religious taste of the men who, in the absence of all adequate evidence, can suppose that that heretic, to suit his own purpose, introduced inspired Psalms. His apparent self-contradiction in objecting to some hymns as modern, while he admitted those in praise of himself, which were equally new, is not of difficult explanation. Heretics are seldom consistent with themselves, and the hymns of such poets as Bardesanes of a previous age,—a professed Christian but opposer of Christ’s religion,—which circulated extensively in the Syrian church, might be referred to, and by him be used, as ancient, compared with the more orthodox odes of a later date.

The fair character of the hymns reputed as orthodox, of which any thing is known, from the paucity of their number, can, with no certainty, be ascertained. The testimony of the votaries of superstition in their favour, says very little for them, as meeting the demands of a pure worship, or of the sanction of them by divine authority. In these respects, such as have come down to us are calculated to make upon our minds no favourable impression. Ephraem, the Syrian, who flourished some two hundred years after Bardesanes, was the most noted and celebrated as an orthodox hymnologist. And what was his character? What the character of his hymns? The following extract gives a sample of his orthodoxy; it is taken from his prayer to Basil, appended to his funeral oration upon that father, one of the canonized saints of the Romish calendar; and one of their demon mediators; and never did popish votary address him more devoutly in prayer than this Ephraem Syrus, the most famed hymnologist—orthodox hymnologist—of the early church, who is still celebrated as such in our own day by orthodox men! This Ephraem thus addresses the lately-departed spirit of Basil:—

“Intercede for me, a very miserable man; and recall me by thy intercessions, O Father; thou who art strong, pray for me who am weak; thou who art cheerful, for me who am heavy; thou who art wise, for me who am foolish. Thou who hast treasured up a treasure of all virtues, be a guide to me, who am empty of every good work.” At the commencement of his oration on the forty martyrs, he invokes them, saying—“Help me, O ye saints, with your intercessions; and, O ye blessed, with your holy prayers.” And the dead mother of one of those martyrs he thus addresses:—“I entreat thee, O holy, faithful, and blessed woman, pray for me to the saints, saying; ‘Intercede, ye that triumph in Christ, for the little and miserable Ephraem, that he may find mercy, and by the grace of Christ may be saved.’” And again, “Now, ye most holy men and glorious martyrs of God, help me, a miserable sinner, &c. I have endeavoured with the whole affection and desire of my mind, to recreate your fathers and brothers, kindred and relations. For behold they sing, and with exultation and jubilee glorify God, who has crowned your virtues, by setting on your most sacred heads incorruptible and celestial crowns; they with exceeding joy stand about the sacred reliques of your martyrdoms, wishing for a blessing, and desiring to bear away holy medicines, both for the body and the mind. I beseech you, stand before the throne of the divine Majesty for me, Ephraem, a vile and miserable sinner, that by your prayers I may deserve to obtain salvation.” He had just before said to those departed spirits: “Bestow a blessing on me, who, though weak and feeble, having received strength by your merits and intercessions, have, with the whole devotion of my mind, sung a hymn to your praise and glory before your holy reliques.”[16] Such was the character of the most distinguished of the orthodox hymnologists of the early church, and without any warning, recommended to our regard as an example to be followed, and as a witness of the divine authority in the church for the use of such hymns!

As this celebrated Ephraem was a worshipper of departed spirits before their relics, by the singing, of hymns to their praise, and by praying to them; so he prayed for them, and composed orthodox hymns, in which those prayers were expressed. Thus in a funeral hymn, on occasion of the decease of a deacon, he sings—

Behold our brother is departed
From this abode of wo:
Let us pray in his departure
That his guide may he propitious.
Beatify him in the mansions above.
May his eyes behold thy grace.
Feed him with thy lambs.[17]

Ephraem saw the power of poetry and music in the promotion of the heresies of the Gnostic school, of which the Arian faction was a branch. His superstitions, mingled with some orthodoxy, he recommended by the charms of those fascinating arts. He is said “to have borrowed the polish of his armour from the skill of his opponents, the melody of his versification from the mellifluous strains of” the son of Bardesanes. “He adopted the music of the popular heresy, and accommodated his measures to them.” In his hymns, as in his prayers, he might mingle his praises of the Redeemer as God, with those addressed to saints, and thus at once bear witness to the divinity of Christ and the saintship of demons. Like such hymns, in those days, the sign of the cross was introduced in company with an endless train of relics, to testify to the religion of Christ, as the image of Mary with the child Jesus in her arms was adopted and made available as a testimony in the Nestorian controversy.[18] The entire history of those ages shows the great and lamentable extent to which the novelties of a low superstition had taken the place of the truth and purity of the religion of Christ. The multiplication of fugitive hymns greatly ministered to this. “Sectaries and heretical parties often had recourse to church Psalmody, as a means of giving spread to their own peculiar religious opinions.” Hence, “All those songs which had not been for a long time in use in the church, were particularly liable to suspicion.” The evils arising from the multiplication and use of those hymns and short doxologies, which were added to “the Psalms which had been in use from the earliest times,” to the serious and reflecting became offensive. “To this practice much opposition was expressed. It was demanded that, in conformity with the ancient usage, nothing should be used in the music of the public worship, but what was taken from the sacred scriptures.”[19] Accordingly the council of Laodicea forbade the introduction into the church of private or unauthorized Psalms—ιδιωτιους ψαλμους. So the Council of Braga, as shall hereafter be noticed. The manner of the Psalmody had become corrupt as well as the matter. Pambo in Egypt inveighed against the use of theatrical heathen melodies in the Psalmody of the church; so did Isidore of Pelusium. Instead of songs of praise to God, the hymns used by contending parties became the watch-words of faction. “Thus,” says the “Biblical Repertory,”—Thus one of the most sacred portions of the worship of the church militant, in which it was designed to approximate most closely to the services of the church above, degenerated into the mere watch-word of a party, and the signal for strife and controversy.” Unhallowed was the origin and bitter have been the fruits of a departure from the scripture Psalmody.

Of the practice in the Apostolic age there can be little doubt. The Saviour, while yet with his disciples, set them an example, from which they were not likely to depart—The hillel was sung by him and them. The proselytes from the house of Israel, usually constituted the nucleus of every church. This the Acts of the Apostles abundantly prove. These converts were peculiarly attached to their ancient forms, and to the sacred Books which were so familiar to their minds. Had it been proposed to exclude their inspired songs from their assemblies, and to substitute others of human device in their place, the whole church would have been convulsed. On this point, however, there was no dispute between the Jewish and the Gentile Christian. The singing of the inspired Songs of Zion constituted no part of the yoke of bondage. In the expressions of their holy joy, they were commanded to “sing Psalms.” The uniform silence on this subject, the calm in the church respecting it, is proof that all united in the use of scripture Songs. The appeals of the Son of God himself, to the book of Psalms, in proof of his glory, were too recent to be forgotten—the very frequent appeals of his apostles to these holy hymns in exhibition of his character, too deeply impressed his church, to permit any dispute upon the point. It was not then known, that their use “flattened devotion—made worship dull—darkened their views of God the Saviour, and tended to make heresy triumphant.” No, no; the book of Psalms was then understood, and its power was felt by the church. All that has ever appeared in opposition to this is mere confident assertion, unsupported by any adequate evidence. If there were other than inspired Songs used in the Psalmody of the church, during that age, let some of them be produced, or indubitable evidence of their existence be made appear. This has not yet been done.

With the first century, the last of the apostles had passed away. The church, in the second age, was less pure than in the former. What was her practice, as to Psalmody, in the second century? She used songs of human composition, exclusively, say the patrons of innovation. We have seen a sample of their proof. Let us, however, inquire for ourselves. Whatever in this was the apostolic practice, was most likely to be that of the orthodox, in the period of which we speak. Pliny’s letter intimates to us, that Psalmody was a part of stated public worship. His expression intimates, that their mode was that of the Jews—dicere secum invicem—to sing alternately. The remarks before made will lead us to see, that, if the Bythinian Christians brought in the ancient mode, the ancient inspired song was much more likely to be retained. That song recognised Christ as God. Irenaeus, after the example of Paul, defended the divinity of Jesus by the forty-fifth psalm. According to the same, and other examples no less high, he could have argued the same point from many more. That the songs, then, which they used, were those found in the book of God, is an assumption better supported, than the hypothesis of those who take the other side.

Tertullian intimates, that Psalmody was a part of the ordinary worship of the church in his day. He expressly mentions the fact, that in the African church, the 133d Psalm was uniformly used at the administration of the Lord’s supper. Nor does he compliment those who only used it at that solemnity.[20] It would be a novel mode of reasoning, to conclude from this, that no other of the psalms were sung at the sacramental solemnity; and no less arbitrary to assert, that none other of that sacred collection was sung by the church.[21] We here have proof, that on the most solemn occasion of the church’s service, the Book of Psalms was employed in the second century; and why not on common occasions? We have no proof that in the stated worship of the church, any other collection was used, or divinely authorized. To assert it, is not to act the part of an enlightened instructor.

We now approach the third century. The state of the church was not better in this, than in the last age. The testimony of history furnishes little light on the practice of this period, as it respects Psalmody. This is the less to be regretted, as we must, after all, have recourse to a ‘more sure word of prophecy.’ Irenaeus, Tertullian, and others, of the preceding century, flourished in the beginning of this. The practice of the last, for aught that appears to the contrary, was the practice of this.

Of the practice of the fourth century we know more. Its writers were more numerous, and more reputable, than those of the third. Jerome, of Palestine, “whose learned and zealous labours will hand down,” says Mosheim, “his name with honour to the latest posterity,” informs us, that the 31st and 45th psalms were sung at the administration of the Lord’s supper; as was the 133d psalm, in the second century, according to Tertullian. In this Jerome is supported by Cyril, of Jerusalem his cotemporary.[22] Augustine, who in talent and piety was not surpassed by any in his age, testifies to the use of the book of Psalms, in the Psalmody of the church. It was used by himself in his own church; and, as a thing in course, on one occasion he mentions the singing of the 65th psalm.[23] That this father, who was deeply vexed in the experience of vital godliness, did not think that these songs tended “to flatten devotion,” appears from his Confessions. It is remarkable how those pathetic addresses are replenished with the language of the book of Psalms. With pleasure did he remember how, in early life, God taught him by that unequalled system of experimental godliness which it unfolds. “I read,” says he, “with pleasure the Psalms of David: the hymns and songs of thy church moved my soul intensely; thy truth was distilled by them into my heart; the flame of piety was kindled, and my tears flowed for joy.”[24] These hymns and songs, as appears from the following book, were no other than those of the Book of Psalms. He relates now, what took place at Milan, under the ministry of Ambrose, where he says: “This practice of singing has been of no long standing. It began about the year when Justina persecuted Ambrose.”[25] It is to this Mosheim adverts, when he incorrectly states, that David’s Psalms were introduced among the hymns of the church.[26] Before this time there was no Psalmody in the west. Again, when Augustine speaks of the effects of sacred music, he owns, “that the infirmity of nature may be assisted in devotion by Psalmody—When I remember my tears of affection, at my conversion under the melody of thy church, with which I am still affected, I acknowledge the utility of the custom.”' These Psalms he was prepared to vindicate against their revilers, as well as to use them in his church. “One Hilary,” says he, “took every opportunity of loading with malicious censures the custom—that hymns from the Book of Psalms, should be sung at the altar. In obedience to the commands of my brethren I answered him.”[27] “The Donatists, too,” a fiery sect of enthusiasts, “reproached the orthodox,” as the same venerable father informs us,[28] “because they sung with sobriety the divine songs of the prophets, while they (the Donatists) inflamed their minds with the poetic effusions of human genius.” His estimate of this Book may be learned from the fact, that, in his last sickness, he had David’s penitential Psalms inscribed upon the wall of his chamber.[29]

Athanasius of Alexandria, the correct, bold and suffering witness for orthodoxy, employed the Psalms of David in his church. For this we have the testimony of Augustine. When speaking of the abuse of sacred music, he adds: “Sometimes I could wish all the melody of David’s Psalms were removed from my ears and those of the church; and think it safer to imitate the plan of Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, who directed a method of repeating the Psalms, more resembling pronunciation than music.”[30]

Let us hear Athanasius himself on this subject. He, comparing the Book of Psalms with other books, thus speaks: “I believe that a man can find nothing more glorious than these psalms; for they embrace the whole life of man, the affections of his mind, and the emotions of his soul. To praise and glorify God, he can select a psalm suited to every occasion, and thus will find that they were written for him.” And Basil, his cotemporary, says: “The Book of Psalms is a compend of all divinity; a common store of medicine for the soul; a universal magazine of good doctrines, profitable to every one in all conditions.”[31] This is that Basil of Caesarea, who nobly stood out against the authority and influence of the Emperor Valens, who wished him to admit the Arians to the communion of his church; and who likewise secured great advantages to the orthodox of Cappadocia, his native state.

That Ambrose used the Book of Psalms is proved by the same testimony. Augustine was himself, for a time, a member of the church in Milan. Thence it spread into all the churches of the west. “The people, says the historian, were much delighted, their zeal for the doctrine of the Trinity was inflamed,” &c. The universality of the practice is evinced by the testimony of Jerome, already mentioned. “You could not,” he says, “go into the fields but you might hear the ploughman at his hallelujahs, and the vine-dresser chanting the Psalms of David.”

In the Apostolic Constitutions [32] we learn that “the women, the children, and the humblest mechanics, could repeat all the Psalms of David; they chanted them at home and abroad; they made them the exercises of their piety and the refreshment of their minds. Thus they had answers ready to oppose temptation, and were always prepared to pray to God, and to praise him, in any circumstance, in a form of his own inditing.”

The testimony of Chrysostom, the eloquent patriarch of Constantinople, who flourished in this age, is fully in point. He was no enemy to the Godhead of Christ. He ranked high among the orthodox divines of his day. “All Christians,” says this first of sacred orators, [33] “employ themselves in David’s Psalms more frequently than in any other part of the Old or New Testament. The grace of the Holy Ghost hath so ordered it that they should be recited and sung night and day. In the church’s vigils, the first, the midst, the last, are David’s Psalms. In the morning David’s Psalms are sought for; and David is the first, the midst, and the last. At funeral solemnities, the first, the midst, and the last, is David. Many who know not a letter can say David’s Psalms by heart. In private houses where the virgins spin—in the monasteries—in the deserts, where men converse with God,—the first, the midst, and the last is David. In the night, when men are asleep, he wakes them up to sing; and collecting the servants of God into angelic troops, turns earth into heaven, and of men makes angels, chanting David’s Psalms.” And on Psalm 145, this illustrious father remarks: “This psalm deserves special attention, for it contains the words which are always sung by those admitted to communion, saying, ‘All eyes wait upon thee, and thou givest them their meat in due time;’ for he who has been made a child, and partaker of the spiritual table, with propriety praises the Father.” And by Cyril we are told that at the communion solemnity they sung together, in Psalm 34th, “Come, taste, and see that the Lord is good,” &c.

Whatever may be the reputation of Cassian, as to literary attainments, his testimony in matters of fact is not liable to exception. He wrote in the fifth century. In vindicating the religious order, with which he was connected, he observes, [34] “The elders have not changed the ancient custom of singing psalms. The devotions are performed in the same order as formerly. The hymns which it had been the custom to sing at the close of the night vigils, namely, the 50th, 62d, 89th, 148th, &c. Psalms, are the same hymns which are sung at this day.” Could the singing of the Book of Psalms, had it been a novel practice at that time, have been called an ancient custom? Why conclude, when the term hymn is found in the writings of the fathers, that a song of human inditing is intended, when we find that the Psalms of Scripture are by them denominated hymns? But of this anon.

One word more respecting the introduction of the Book of Psalms into the Christian church. It has been very confidently and repeatedly affirmed that it had no place there in the first three centuries; and, that under Arian influence, it was introduced and supported in the fourth and following centuries. These round and unfounded assertions, are fully contradicted by the testimony of Tertullian, of Jerome, of Cyril, of Augustine, of Chrysostom, of Cassian, and of the Apostolic Constitutions. According to all of these, the songs of scripture, from the beginning, were employed in the Psalmody of the church; nor does it appear that at any time, the Arians were the friends either of their introduction or of their continuance. That Paulus, at Antioch, had hymns sung in his own praise, is admitted; and that, in other places, the orthodox and the Arians separated in singing the psalms, because the latter would have odes conformable to their heresy, is fully known. But as I am aware of no inspired Psalm that is conformable to the denial of the Saviour’s deity, I presume they sought their hymns from some other source than the Book of Psalms. Tell us what inspired psalm was suitable to the praise of Paulus, and to the celebration of his heresy?

But were not the Psalms of David first brought into use in the Christian church by Flavian and Diodore, at Antioch? So it has been asserted, but with a remarkable disregard of historical authority or proof. The truth is, the manner of singing, and not the matter sung, is the subject of record, in respect of the church of Antioch, at that time. The notice of the matter of Psalmody is only incidental, but, on that account, not the less important.

Suidas,[35] on the word χορος, chorus, informs us that “The choirs of churches were, in the time of Flavian, of Antioch, between A.D. 337 and 404, divided into parts, who sung the Psalms of David alternately; a practice which commenced at Antioch, and thence extended into all parts of the Christian world.” Observe, it was not the singing of David’s Psalms that is then said to have commenced, but the manner of singing them. And Flavian and Diodore were not Arians, who, according to Dr. Latta and his friends, were the only patrons of the scripture Psalmody, but the orthodox opposers of Leontius, the Arian bishop of that city.[36] “These provisions,” says Bingham, “were designed to restore and revive the ancient Psalmody, by reducing it to its primitive harmony and perfection.”[37] There is not the remotest intimation of any change or rejection, as respected the inspired matter of their sacred song.[38]

The foregoing statements show that the celebration of the praises of God, in the compositions of inspiration, obtained in Greece, Asia, and Africa, from the beginning, but that it was uniformly and universally practised in the churches in western Europe, is not so clear. On the authority of Augustine, Calvin [39] thinks that Psalmody was not general there before the time of Ambrose, bishop of Milan, who, under the persecution of the Arians, introduced it into that church; whence it spread into others, in the regions of the west. This fact accounts, in a satisfactory manner, for the representation of Mosheim, and others, that in this age the Psalms of David were first introduced as the matter of the church’s song. In most of those churches they had hitherto, from obvious causes, been generally destitute of this part of public worship. That was not an age of Bible Societies. Copies of the Scriptures were rare, and a Psalm Book not to be had. The defect was supplied as the Bible was translated into the vernacular tongues.

The subject has, in all ages of the church, claimed her attention; and, whatever unauthorized and restless, or vain individuals might effect, it never was the deliberate opinion of any, capable of consistent reflection, that her songs should, without limitation, be the spontaneous effusions of heated affections. The decisions of the council at Laodicea, in A.D. 364, and the second at Braga, in Spain, early in the 7th century, prove the contrary. The former decreed that no unauthorized psalms should be used in the church; the latter prohibited all except those of divine inspiration. These facts, together with Augustine’s reply to the revilings of Hilary, and the practice of the orthodox in his day, notwithstanding the reproaches of the raving Donatists, speak a language very different from that of the gentlemen whose representations are now under review.

To these more ancient witnesses for the early and continued use of the inspired book of Psalms, in the church’s Psalmody, we with pleasure add the testimony of distinguished authority of a later date. “Church Psalmody,” says the distinguished Neander, “passed over from the synagogue into the Christian church.”[40] And again, speaking of a period subsequent to the age of the apostles, he states that—”Besides the Psalms which had been used from the earliest times, and the short doxologies and hymns consisting of verses from the holy scriptures, spiritual songs composed by distinguished church teachers, were also introduced, among the pieces used for public worship, in the Western church. To the last named practice much opposition, it is true, was expressed. It was demanded, that, in conformity with the ancient usage, nothing should be used in the music of public worship, but what was taken from the sacred scriptures. As sectaries and heretical parties often had recourse to church Psalmody to spread their own religious opinions, all those songs which had not been for a long time in use in the church, were particularly liable to suspicion.”[41]

The evils of a spurious Psalmody called for the interposition of ecclesiastical authority. Thus in the fourth century the council of Laodicea decreed that unauthorized Psalms ought not to be used in the church;[42] and in the following century, A.D. 561, or 563, the hymnological abuses aroused the opposition of serious and thoughtful men, and called for ecclesiastical restrictions; and, before the full manifestation of the Man of sin, secured the decree of Braga, forbidding “the introduction of other poetry into the Psalmody of the church, beyond the songs of canonical scripture;”[43] a decree of Reformation which, under the Antichristian reign in the following century, 633, by the council of Toledo, was set aside.

These historical facts fully sustain all that we have stated on the subject: that the Book of Psalms had its place in the Psalmody of the church from the beginning; that the modern hymn was an innovation; that it was productive of mischief; and that the innovation met with individual and ecclesiastical opposition.

The judgment of distinguished men in our own country, likewise goes to establish the truth of the passing of the Psalmody of the Old Testament economy into that of the New Testament. The following is the language of impartiality: “From the Jewish synagogue, sacred music very naturally passed into the Christian sanctuary. Our blessed Lord himself, on that memorable night when he instituted the sacramental memorial of his dying love, furnished the transition act by concluding the solemnity with a hymn.[44] As the first Christians were drawn from the synagogue, they naturally brought with them those Songs of Zion, which were associated with all their earliest recollections and best feelings, and appropriated them to the services of the new dispensation.” And as to changes “in the hands of apostles or of Christian poets in apostolic times, we have no information. At a later period we find them in general use in the churches, and judged by the fathers the most estimable portion of their religious services. The Apostolical Canons contain the injunction; ‘Let another sing the hymns of David, and let the people repeat the concluding lines.’ We can hardly conceive it possible that the Psalms of David could have been so generally adopted in the churches, and so highly esteemed by the best of the fathers, unless they had been introduced or sanctioned by the apostles and inspired teachers.”[45]

Such are the views, upon the subject before us, of the men of character at Princeton, N. J., the oldest seat, in the United States, of Presbyterian literature, science, and theological lore. They amply sustain our statements. The question before us will not be misapprehended. It is not whether, as a fact, hymns of human composure were used, in the church, at an early day; but whether they were introduced, by divine authority, to the exclusion of the inspired psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; and whether the inspired songs were introduced by heretics to subserve the cause of heresy. The negative of these positions it was our aim to show, and in our views we are fully sustained by the historical statements now given. The question of the divine authority of the modern hymns of human composure, and of the fitness or unfitness of Bible Psalms for the Psalmody of the New Testament economy, will come before us as we advance. What has been stated will aid in leading to a fair conclusion on those points—historical facts—just now at issue.

Before concluding this letter, it may be of use to remark thee importance of a distinct perception of the subject of discussion, and of abiding by it while it is before us. It is not, then, a dispute as to any particular version of inspired Psalms or hymns or odes; but for a fair version, whether in prose or verse, of the book of Psalms. Nor is it an opposition to other sacred hymns besides those found in the book of Psalms. This form of the controversy is modern and of limited extent. The great point is the preservation of the book of Psalms in its proper place, in the church’s Psalmody. Had it not been excluded from that place, so extensively as it really is, by the churches in our country, and by arguments, we regret to say, utterly unworthy of enlightened and good men, it is not probable that the controversy would ever have disturbed the church’s peace. The occasional and passing use of a new hymn is a matter of small import compared with the entire rejection of the inspired book of Psalms from the church’s Psalmody, and for such reasons as have been generally assigned. Whether right or wrong, that the occasional use of such a hymn, though not to the exclusion of the inspired Book, had a place at an early—but not her earliest—day in the church, is acknowledged by all. The suggestion of modifications of the ancient Psalmody, or of the making of new hymns by the apostles, is all unfounded supposition. On this it is confessed, “we have no information. No book of new hymns, either by the Gnostics, Bardesanes, his son Harmonius, or by the demon and relic worshipper, the orthodox Ephraem, or any other, ever by authority took the place in the church of Zion’s inspired songs.”

It will be remembered, too, that we at present deal with the facts of history, and treat not of the inquiry of divine appointment; for really the fathers from the second century and onward, are of no authority in the settling of what are divine appointments, whatever weight they may have in the sustaining of papal superstitions. Any who have an adequate acquaintance with the history of those early ages of the church, will not accuse me of speaking in this case with undue severity. Hear a competent witness, while he refers to the “system of spiritual prostitution, superstition and tyranny,” which was the product of a “deeply-working spirit acting from within the church—far more potent than the authority of popes themselves, even about the walls of the Vatican.” And that “in the second and third centuries.” To enable us to judge of things at those periods, the writer recommends “those who may now be carrying the ‘Hymni Ecclesiae’[46] in their pockets or in their bosoms, to look into the history of monkery.” J. Taylor’s Ancient Christianity, pp. 108, 554.

The object with which we set out is not forgotten; the union of the visible church in this interesting part of her solemnities. In the mean time, many of you are practically dividing them. From the psalmody of most of your churches Zion’s inspired songs are in a state of exile; and the arguments most popular and frequently used to reconcile the Christian mind to their banishment, if they mean any thing, represent those divine compositions as Christless, and of course, “almost,” if not altogether, “contrary to the spirit of the gospel!” This controversy, in its modern shape, covers principles nearly affecting the character and authority of God’s revelation to man, and deeply touches the foundation of morals. We are far from imputing to those who go into the practice upon which we animadvert, the intention of producing or of vindicating such results; and to express our conviction of the evils now stated, we can assure our friends, is to us far from a pleasant task; while to speak plainly, we think, is not at variance either with manly courtesy or Christian kindness. And the case demands that we speak plainly.

[go to LETTER III.]


[1] Dr. Thomas Scott.

[2] Mosheim, I. 174.

[3] Of these the Rev. James Latta, D.D., a gentleman of reputation as a scholar and divine, was among the first and ablest. His “Discourse on Psalmody” was extensively read. To it we may repeatedly refer. This production was accompanied, or followed, by others, such as the “Discourse” on the same subject by the Rev. Mr. Freeman, and another by the Rev. Mr. Black, carrying out the leading thoughts of Dr. L. At a later period, on the same subject appeared “The Science of Praise,” by the Rev. Mr. Baird; and still later, “Strictures on an Apology for the Book of Psalms,” by the Rev. Henry Ruffner, and “Hints on the Church’s Psalmody,” printed in Carlisle, Pa., but anonymous. In another field of controversy, since that time, the reputed author of these “Hints” has had some notoriety. Both of the latter productions, and especially the “Hints,” were manifestly written in a state of mental excitement, badly qualifying for a serious, candid, and fair discussion of an important subject. They, of course, having nothing new in way of argument, may now, as formerly, be left unnoticed.

[4] Discourse, p. 76.

[5] Ibid. p. 77.

[6] Discourse, p. 77.

[7] The Episcopalian, in vindicating his views of ecclesiastical order, draws largely upon the practice of the second, third, and fourth centuries. The argument from this practice is of little weight with the Presbyterian; yet the argument from this source, in favour of Prelacy, is at least as strong, if not stronger, than that of the Presbyterian, in favour of a human Psalmody. That the worth of this kind of argument, in the one case, can be understood, and not in the other, is an instance, among many others, of human imperfection, and admonishes us to beware of, and to examine well, a favourite hypothesis.

[8] Discourse, pp. 48, 77.

[9] As Lex horrendi carminis erat. Livy 1,26. A law of terrible import.—Adam.

[10] Discourse, p. 77.

[11] Si honesta causa est convivii, reliquum ordinem disciplinae aestimate qui sit, de religionis officio. Nihil vilitatis, nihil immodestiae admittit. Non prius discumbitur, quam oratio ad Deum praegustetur. Editur quantum esurientes cupiunt; bibitur quantum pudicis est utile. Ita saturantur, ut qui meminerint etiam per noctem adorandum Deum sibi esse. Ita fabulantur, ut qui sciant Dominum audire post aquam manualem et lumina, ut quisque de scripturis sanctis vel de proprio ingenio potest, provocatur in medium Deo canere.—Tertul. Apol. Opera, p. 32.

[12] Life of Eusebius by Valesius.

[13] Neander, Hist, ii, 604.

[14] Ephraem the Syrian, as quoted by the Princeton Repertory of 1829, in an interesting article on “The sacred poetry of the early Christians,” p. 530.

[15] Neander, Hist. ii. 604.

[16] Sir I[saac] Newton’s Obs. on Daniel. Prot. Q. Rev. vol. i., 245, 246.

[17] Bib. Rep. for 1829. We omit the praises of the deacon, and give the prayers for him.

[18] Mosheim.

[19] Neander, Hist. ii. 318. Jones on the Canon, i. 60, 61.

[20] Hoc tupsallere non facile nosti, nisi quo tempore cum compluribus coenas.—Tertul. de Jejun. Op. 552.

[21] Some Presbyterian denominations, on sacramental occasions, uniformly sing the 45th or 103d Psalms. Would this fact authorize an historian to state, that they rejected from their Psalmody all the rest?

[22] Catech.

[23] Serm. 10.

[24] Milner.

[25] Conf[essions] B[ook] 9.

[26] Vol. I, 385.

[27] See Calv[in] Inst[itutes] B[ook] 37 ch. 20.

[28] Epist. 119, tom.2.

[29] Milner.

[30] Conf[essions] B[ook] 10.

[31] Basil on Psalms, i.

[32] Lib. 2, c. 57. The collection of regulations, known under the name of the “Apostolical Constitutions,” made its appearance in the fourth century. Though we may justly dispute its apostolical origin, it may be admitted of sufficient authority, as far as it indicates the customs of the third and following century. We see its testimony respecting the use of the Book of Psalms.

[33] Hom[ily] 6, on Penitence.

[34] Lib. iii. cap. 6.

[35] Lexicon.

[36] Hooker carries up the practice of singing, alternately, the Psalms of David to the days of Ignatius, the disciple and friend of the apostles.—Eccles. Polit.

[37] Antiq[uities] of the Church.

[38] Julian the Apostate, while at Antioch, about A.D. 381, was offended with the Psalmody of the church, and actually punished the Christians there for singing the 68th and 97th Psalms.—Milner.

[39] Instit[utes] lib. 3, cap. 26.

[40] Neand. Hist. i. 304.

[41] Hist. ii. 318.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ut extra psalmos vel scripturas canonicas nihil poetice compositum in ecclesia psallatur.

[44] The Hillel, some portion of Psalms 113 to 118. Princeton Bib. Repertory for 1829.

[45] Princeton Biblical Repertory for 1829.

[46] The hymns of the church.