Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Calvin on the Psalms

I found an interesting jewel from Calvin on the Psalms at Adiophora(link) I'd love to follow my usual path here, and quote something similar from John Wesley, but of course Wesley was one of the main promoters of "Protestant" abandonment of Psalmody. Still, even Wesley wrote:
WE have now before us one of the choicest parts of the Old Testament, wherein there is so much of Christ and his gospel, as well as of God and his law, that it has been called the summary of both Testaments. The history of Israel; which we were long upon, instructed us in the knowledge of God. The book of Job gave us profitable disputations, concerning God and his providence. But this book brings us into the sanctuary, draws us off from converse with men, with the philosophers or disputers of this world, and directs us into communion with God. It is called, the Psalms, in Hebrew Tehillim, which properly signifies Psalms of praise, because many of them are such; but Psalms is a more general word, meaning all poetical compositions, fitted to be sung. St. Peter styles it, The book of Psalms. It is a collection of Psalms, of all the Psalms that were divinely inspired, composed at several times, on several occasions, and here put together, without any dependence on each other. Thus they were preserved from being scattered and lost, and kept in readiness for the service of the church. One of these is expressly said to be the prayer of Moses. That some of them were penned by Asaph, is intimated, 2 Chron. xxix, 30, where they are said to praise the Lord, in the words of David and Asaph, who is there called a seer or prophet. And some of the Psalms seem to have been penned long after, at the time of the captivity in Babylon. But the far greater part were wrote by David, who was raised up for establishing the ordinance of singing Psalms in the church of God, as Moses and Aaron were for settling the ordinance of sacrifice. Theirs indeed is superseded, but this will remain, 'till it be swallowed up in the songs of eternity. There is little in the book of Psalms of the ceremonial law. But the moral law is all along magnified, and made honourable. And Christ the foundation, corner and top-stone of all religion, is here clearly spoken of; both his sufferings, with the glory that should follow, and the, kingdom he would set up in the world.
- John Wesley, "Introduction to the Psalms," from his Commentary on the Whole Bible.

H.T. to R. Scott Clark at the Heidelblog for bringing the Calvin selection to my attention.

-TurretinFan

1 comment:

natamllc said...

And I would suggest that some of the Psalms are not as easily sung as in this one:::>

Psa 62:1 To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
Psa 62:2 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
Psa 62:3 How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
Psa 62:4 They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah

And I note this and suggest further maybe, just maybe, that Psalm was the "hymn" they sung?:::>

Mat 26:27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you,
Mat 26:28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Mat 26:29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."
Mat 26:30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Mat 26:31 Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'
Mat 26:32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee."


I could go further, if you like? :)