Calvin: We Sing Psalms In Public Worship

It should always be seen to that the song should not be light and frivolous, but that it have weight and majesty, as saith St. Augustine; and also that there is a great difference between the music that is employed for the enjoyment of men at table, and in their houses, and the psalms which they sing in church in the presence of God and his angels. But when the form here given is rightly judged of, we hope that it will be found holy and pure; seeing that it is simply constructed for the edification of which we have spoken, as well as that the use of singing may be greatly extended. So that even in the houses and in the fields, it may be to us an incitement and an instrument or means to praise God and raise our hearts to him; and to console us in meditating on his power, goodness, wisdom, and justice, which is more necessary for us than we know how to express.

…This present book [the Genevan Psalter, 1543], for this cause, besides what otherwise has been said, ought to be particularly acceptable to every one who desires, without reproach, and according to God, to rejoice in seeing his own salvation, and the good of his neighbours; and thus has no need to be much recommended by me, as it carries in itself its own value and praise. Only let the world be well advised, that instead of songs partly vain and frivolous, partly foolish and dull, partly filthy and vile, and consequently wicked and hurtful, which it has heretofore used, it should accustom itself hereafter to sing these heavenly and divine songs, with good king David.

—John Calvin,
Preface to the 1543 Genevan Psalter

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