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Singing Psalms by Lewis Bayly (1575-1631)

Articles on Exclusive Psalmody
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Taken from the Practice of Piety (pages 154-155)

The Practice of Piety at Evening.

At evening when the due time of repairing to rest approaches, call together again all thy family; read a chapter in the same manner that was prescribed in the morning; then, in a holy imitation of our Lord and his disciples, sing a psalm [Mat. 26:30; Mark 14:26]. But in singing of psalms, either after supper, or at any other time, observe these rules:
Rules to be observed in Singing of Psalms.

1. Beware of singing divine psalms for an ordinary recreation, as do men of impure spirits, who sing holy psalms intermingled with profane ballads. They are God’s word: take them not in thy mouth in vain.

2. Remember to sing David’s psalms with David’s spirit (Matt. 22:43) [i.e. seeing Christ in the psalms].

3. Practice St. Paul’s rule—”I will sing with the spirit, but I will sing with the understanding also.” (1 Cor. 14:15).

4. As you sing uncover your heads (1 Cor. 11:4), and behave yourselves in comely reverence as in the sight of God, singing to God in God’s own words; but be sure that the matter make more melody in your hearts (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) than the music in your ear. For the singing with grace in our hearts is that which the Lord is delighted withal, according to that old verse:

Tis not the voice, but vow;
Sound heart, not sounding string;
True zeal, not outward show,
That in God’s ear doth ring.

5. Thou mayest, if thou thinkest good, sing all the psalms over in order, for all are most divine and comfortable; but if thou wilt choose some special psalms, as more fit for some times and purposes, and such as, by the oft usage, thy people may the easier commit to memory.

Then sing:

In the morning, Psalms 3, 5, 16, 22, 144.
In the evening, Psalms 4, 127, 141.
For mercy after a sin committed, Psalms 51, 103.
In sickness or heaviness, Psalms 6, 13, 88, 90, 91, 137.
When thou art recovered, Psalms 30, 32.
On the Sabbath day, Psalms 19, 92, 95.
In time of joy, Psalms 80, 98, 107, 136.
Before sermon, Psalms 1, 12, 147, and the 1st and 5th parts of the 119th.
After sermon, any Psalms which concerneth the chief argument of the sermon.
At the communion, Psalms 22, 23, 103, 111, 116.
For spiritual solace, Psalms 15, 19, 25, 46, 67, 112, 116.
After wrong and disgrace received, Psalms 42, 69, 70, 140, 144.

After the psalm, all kneeling down in a reverent manner, as is before described, let the father of the family, or the chiefest in his absence, pray… Then saluting one another, as becometh Christians who are the vessels of grace, and temples of the Holy Ghost, let them in the fear of God depart every one to his rest: using some of the former private meditations for evening.

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