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Appendix to this Electronic Text: Provenance

This material originated in a series of lectures given at Princeton Theological Seminary. (The separately-published Syllabus is shown below.) The first lecture only, with added material, was published in the Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society in three parts:

Vol. V. No. 1. March, 1909. (sections I.-IV.)
Vol. V. No. 2. June, 1909. (sections V.-X.)
Vol. V. No. 3. September, 1909. (section XI.)

Page numbers are from that serialized publication.

Substantial parts of the other lectures, with additional material from a 1910 series of lectures, were incorporated in The English Hymn, 1915.


Lectures on the L. P. Stone Foundation
For 1906-1907.

by the
Rev. Louis F. Benson, D.D.

Editor of “The Hymnal”
Author of “Studies of Familiar Hymns”

The Lectures will be delivered in the Miller Chapel,
Monday, Feb. 11, to Friday, Feb. 15, at 5 P. M.
and Saturday, Feb. 16, at 11 A. M.

The Psalmody of the Calvinistic Reformation.

The object of these lectures is to study the origin and follow the practice of congregational song in the Reformed Churches. In its origin neither a spontaneous, popular movement, nor a development of Lutheran hymnody, but an element of the Calvinistic cultus, and distinct in method and principle.

1. The Genevan Psalter. Calvin’s endeavor to establish congregational song at Geneva. Conception and development of a metrical Psalter. First issue in 1539. Clement Marot’s part in it. La Forme des Prieres, 1542. Beza and the completed Psalter of 1562. Its spread in France.

2. The Psalter Music, an essential feature. Pains taken with it. Its popularity and great influence in spreading Psalm singing. The Huguenot psalmody; and adaptation of the Genevan tunes to many languages.

3. Calvin as the Founder of the Reformed Psalmody. His personal leadership and work. His views (a) as to the subject matter of praise, (b) as to the function of music in the cultus. His views and example the determining influence in Reformed psalmody.

The Psalmody of the English Reformation.

1. Failure to introduce an English hymnody: (a) along Lutheran lines. Coverdale’s Goostly Psalmes and Spiritual Songs; (b) by way of Englishing the Latin Church hymns. The Primers and Cranmer’s efforts for vernacular hymnody. The Prayer Books of Edward VI definitely establish English worship outside the area of hymnody.

2. The Calvinistic psalmody introduced into England. Sternhold imitates Marot: his Certayne Psalmes (1548-9), Edward’s Act of Uniformity (1549) as an authorization of metrical psalmody: gives great impulse to production and use. The Scripture Paraphrase.

3. Sternhold and Hopkins’ Psalter. The work of the Marian Exiles. Their One and Fiftie Psalmes (1556), the basis of English psalmody. Completion of Psalter (1562) under ‘moderate’ views. The appendix of hymns. The period dominated by Puritan predilection for psalms, but in time the appended hymns became a resource of the Puritans. The practice of psalmody: the tunes and ‘lining the Psalm.’

The Psalmody of the Scottish Reformation.

1. Early (Lutheran) balladry and spiritual song. Ane Compendious Booke. The Wedderburns of Dundee. Beginnings of Scottish Psalm singing (1546).

2. The Scottish Reformation Psalter: based generically on Sternhold and Hopkins, and specifically on the 1561 Edition of the Genevan Exiles’ Forme of Praiers. Completion of Psalter by General Assembly and Uniformity Act (1564). The liturgical status of psalmody in Scotland as contrasted with England. Principle of Church control and its exercise. The controversy as to ‘conclusions.’

3. The Psalmody of the Old Psalter Period (1564-1650). Contemporaneous descriptions. The song-schules, and decay of music. ‘Proper’ tunes, and rise of the “Common tunes.” Efforts to Anglicanize Scottish worship: the Psalter of King James.

The Psalmody of the Westminster Assembly.

Supremacy of Sternhold and Hopkins in England threatened in time of James I (a) by the impatience of culture at separation of poetry and devotion—e. g., Geo. Wither and his Hymns and Songs of the Church, 1623; (b) by Puritan demand for a more literal version.

1. The Westminster Assembly. The Long Parliament and psalmody reform. ‘Praise’ in the Directory for Worship. Rous’ Version as the proposed new Psalter. Barton’s Version. Rivalry of the two prevents parliamentary action.

2. The Westminster-Psalter period of Scottish Psalmody. Detrimental effects of Directory and the new Psalter (revised by General Assembly and printed without tunes in 1650). Two types of Restoration psalmody: efforts to reconstruct parochial psalmody.

The absence of hymns and efforts to add them. Simeon’s Spiritual Songs. Scottish Church becomes legislatively a hymn singing church in 1708. New movement toward hymns in 1741, inspired by Dr. Watts. Translations and Paraphrases, 1745, 1781. Enlargement of psalmody effected, but with disturbance.

The Reformed Psalmody in the American Colonies.

1. The Huguenot Psalmody, of Coligny’s colonies, and of New Amsterdam, connects American psalmody with the fountain head. The Genevan Psalter in America. The barrier of language confines it to narrow limits.

2. The Pilgrim Psalmody, at Plymouth and Salem. Ainsworth’s Booke of Psalmes set to the Genevan melodies. It merges (1667, 1692) in the Puritan psalmody.

3. The Puritan Psalmody (1629), an extension of that current in Church of England. Sternhold and Hopkins. The Puritan yearning for “purity” brings about beginnings of an American psalmody. The Bay Psalm Book, 1640: characteristics and Presbyterian use. Musical rendering.

4. The Dutch Psalmody. The Colonists’ Psalter (Dathen’s) a translation of Marot and Beza’s with the original Genevan music. Dutch characteristics. Attempt to preserve them in English Psalter of 1767. The Psalms and Hymns of 1789. The “Rule of Dort” and organization of R. P. D. Church as a hymn-singing church.

5. The Scotch-Irish Psalmody. Rous’s Version. The meagre musical equipment. Proportions of immigration elevate Rous into commanding position. The status of “the subject matter of praise” originally and under the Adopting Act.

The Reformed Psalmody in the American Presbyterian Church.

1. The Change in the type of Psalmody. Influence of the Great Awakening on psalmody. Whitefield’s part. Isaac Watts and his work. Early use of his Psalms Imitated. New York Controversy, 1744. Status as to (a) church control of psalmody; (b) subject matter of praise. The introduction of Watts slowly proceeding and always supported by Synod. The Second Church of Philadelphia case. Synod’s position.

2. The Psalmody a cause of division and controversy. Effects of Revolution in worship: low estate of psalmody. Presbyterian union and a proposed new version (1785). Barlow’s Revision of Watts, 1787. The question of hymns. The Psalmody Controversy: in Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky.

3. The Church as a Hymn-singing Church. The Directory of Worship, 1788. Reformed Psalmody passes over to the minor Presbyterian bodies. Attempts to conserve metrical psalmody. The first hymn books. Matter of Church control. Psalm singing practically banished. Efforts to restore it. Concluding reflections.

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