Singing of Psalms – by Robert Shaw (1795-1863)

Exclusive Psalmody

Comments on the Westminster Puritan and Use of the Psalter.

Singing of Psalms
by Robert Shaw (1795-1863)

Robert Shaw (1795-1863) was a Scottish Presbyterian:

“Singing of psalms. This was enjoined, under the Old Testament, as a part of the ordinary worship of God, and it is distinguished from ceremonial worship (Ps. 69:30-31). It is not abrogated under the New Testament, but rather confirmed (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). It is sanctioned by the example of Christ and his apostles (Matt. 26:30; Acts 16:25). The Psalms of David were especially intended by God for the use of the Church, in the exercise of public praise, under the former dispensation; and they are equally adopted to the use of the Church under the present dispensation. Although the apostle insist much upon the abolition of ritual institutions, they give no intimation that the Psalms of David are unsuitable for gospel-worship; and had it been intended that they should be set aside in New Testament times, there is reason to think that another psalmody would have been provided in their room. In the book of Psalms there are various passages which seem to indicate that they were intended by the Spirit for the use of the Church in all ages. ‘I will extol thee, my God, O King,’ says David, ‘and I will bless thy name for ever and ever’ (Ps. 145:1). This intimates, as the excellent [Matthew] Henry remarks, ‘that the Psalms which David penned should be made use of in praising God by the Church to the end of time.’ We ought to praise God with our lips as well as with our spirits, and should exert ourselves to do it ‘skilfully’ (Ps. 33:3). As this is a part of public worship in which the whole congregation should unite their voices, persons ought to cultivate sacred music that they may be able to join in this exercise with becoming harmony. But the chief thing is to sing with understanding, and with affections of heart corresponding to the matter sung (Ps. 47:7; I Cor. 14:15; Ps. 108:1)” (An Exposition of the Confession of Faith by Robert Shaw, eBook found here).