巡礼者の小道(Pursuing Veritas)


宗教改革の霊性と詩篇歌――ジャン・カルヴァンと詩篇の驚異(John Calvin on the Wonder of the Psalms by アングス・スチュワート)+『詩篇歌への序言』(1543年)〔英文〕

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The Wonder of the Psalms(詩篇の驚異) ーby Angus Stewart



In the Preface to his commentary on the Psalms, John Calvin confesses that words cannot convey the wonder of this inspired book:


"The varied and resplendid [i.e., resplendent] riches which are contained in this treasury it is no easy matter to express in words … the greatness of [the Psalms] does not admit of being fully unfolded" (Baker ed., p. xxxvi; pages given in Roman numerals refer to this book).


For Calvin, the Psalms are a unique book in the canon of Holy Writ.


There is no other book in which there is to be found more express and magnificent commendations, both of the unparalleled liberality of God towards his Church, and of all his works;


there is no other book in which there is recorded so many deliverances, nor one in which the evidences and experiences of the fatherly providence and solicitude which God exercises towards us, are celebrated with such splendour of diction, and yet with the strictest adherence to truth;


in short, there is no other book in which we are more perfectly taught the right manner of praising God, or in which we are more powerfully stirred up to the performance of this religious exercise (pp. xxxviii-xxxix).


The Psalms are full of the riches of biblical doctrine, and the saints find in them great blessedness and peace.


In one word, not only will we here find general commendations of the goodness of God, which may teach men to repose themselves in him alone, and to seek all their happiness solely in him;


and which are intended to teach true believers with their whole hearts confidently to look to him for help in all their necessities;


but we will also find that the free remission of sins, which alone reconciles God towards us, and procures for us settled peace with him, is so set forth and magnified, as that here there is nothing wanting which relates to the knowledge of eternal salvation (p. xxxix).


The Genevan reformer sees in the Psalms a training ground for vital Christian godliness, especially "bearing the cross." Undoubtedly he is thinking of the words of the Lord Jesus and the "whole course of the life of David" (p. xliv).


Moreover, although The Psalms are replete with all the precepts which serve to frame our life to every part of holiness, piety, and righteousness,


yet they will principally teach and train us to bear the cross; and the bearing of the cross is a genuine proof of our obedience, since by doing this, we renounce the guidance of our own affections, and submit ourselves entirely to God, leaving him to govern us, and to dispose of our life according to his will,


so that the afflictions which are the bitterest and most severe to our nature, become sweet to us, because they proceed form him (p. xxxix).


One outstanding feature of the book of Psalms, in Calvin’s estimation, is that they cover the whole range of Christian emotions and infirmities, exposing our hearts to the searching eye of our Father in heaven and calling or drawing us to self-examination.


"I have been accustomed," writes Calvin, "to call this book, I think not inappropriately, The Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul" (pp. xxxvi-xxxvii). He explains the reason for this insightful title:


… there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn … all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities,


in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated.


The other parts of Scripture contain the commandments which God enjoined his servants to announce to us.


But here the prophets themselves, seeing they are exhibited to us as speaking to God, and laying open all their inmost thoughts and affections, call, or rather draw, each of us to the examination of himself in particular, in order that none of the many infirmities to which we are subject, and of the many vices with which we abound, may remain concealed.


It is certainly a rare and singular advantage, when all lurking places are discovered, and the heart is brought into the light, purged from that most baneful infection, hypocrisy (p. xxxvii).


The Psalms and Prayer(詩篇と祈り)

Flowing from this, Calvin praises the Psalms for their teaching concerning Christian prayer. He speaks glowingly of the privilege and access we have to the courts of the Almighty:


… it appeared to me to be requisite to show … that this book makes known to us this privilege, which is desirable above all others-that not only is there opened up to us familiar access to God, but also that we have permission and freedom granted us to lay open before him our infirmities, which we would be ashamed to confess before men (p. xxxviii).


He proceeds to speak of the usefulness of the Psalms as an aid to true and earnest prayer, for "It is by perusing these inspired compositions, that men will be most effectually awakened to a sense of their maladies, and, at the same time, instructed in seeking remedies for their cure" (p. xxxvii).


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This is striking, since many see Reformed Psalm singing as a hindrance to real supplication. "True prayer," they say, "is stirred by singing hymns [of human composition]."


The great Reformer was of another mind: "In a word, whatever may serve to encourage us when we are about to pray to God is taught us in this book" (p. xxxvii). The believer will recognise the truth of these words on the vital connection between the Psalms (read and sung) and fervent prayer:


Genuine and earnest prayer proceeds first from a sense of our need, and next, from faith in the promises of God. It is by perusing these inspired compositions, that men will be most effectually awakened to a sense of their maladies, and, at the same time, instructed in seeking remedies for their cure.


In a word, whatever may serve to encourage us when we are about to pray to God is taught us in this book. And not only are the promises of God presented to us in it, but oftentimes there is exhibited to us one standing, as it were, amidst the invitations of God on the one hand, and the impediments of the flesh on the other, girding and preparing himself for prayer:


thus teaching us, if at any time we are agitated with a variety of doubts, to resist and fight against them, until the soul, freed and disentangled form all these impediments, rise up to God; and not only so, but even when in the midst of doubts, fears, and apprehensions,


let us put forth our efforts in prayer, until we experience some consolation which may calm and bring contentment to our minds (pp. xxxvii-xxxviii).


Calvin identifies the Psalms as the best help in prayer: "a better and more unerring rule for guiding us in this exercise cannot be found elsewhere than in The Psalms" (p. xxxvii). On this basis, he reaches a significant conclusion:


In short, as calling upon God is one of the principal means of securing our safety, and as a better and more unerring rule for guiding us in this exercise cannot be found elsewhere than in The Psalms, it follows, that in proportion to the proficiency which a man shall have attained in understanding them, will be his knowledge of the most important part of celestial doctrine (p. xxxvii).


If this is true, we must confess how much we need the Psalms! Can we ever have enough of them, if Christian prayer (which Heidelberg Catechism, Q. & A. 116, calls "the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us") is as strong or as weak as our heartfelt grasp of the Psalms?


Calvin’s reasoning here ought to stir us up to read, sing and meditate on the Psalms. Is the Genevan Reformer here identifying the problem with prayer in our land? Ignorance of the Psalms and the popularity of modern, uninspired hymnody?


Calvin identified essentially three elements in the public worship of God's church: the Word (read and preached), the sacraments (baptism and the Lord's Supper) and prayer (spoken and sung—the Psalms!).


Writes Barry Gritters, "although singing is one of the two forms of prayer, and is itself worship, Calvin claims that the singing-prayers stimulate more and deeper prayers and, thus, better worship" ("Music in Worship: The Reformation's Neglected Legacy (1)," Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, vol. 42, no. 1 [November, 2008], p. 86). Calvin declares,


Furthermore, it is a thing most expedient for the edification of the church to sing some psalms in the form of public prayers by which one prays to God or sings His praises so that the hearts of all may be roused and stimulated to make similar prayers and to render similar praises and thanks to God with common love (Articles for the Organisation of the Church and its Worship at Geneva [1537]).


Thus singing the prayers of the Psalms stirs us up to further praying and praising.


The Psalms and Worship(詩篇と礼拝)

Of course, Calvin eulogizes of the Psalms not only with respect to Christian doctrine, piety and prayer, but also Christian worship. As well as regulating our adoration, the Psalms assure us that God delights in heartfelt, biblical worship.


Besides, there is also here prescribed to us an infallible rule for directing us with respect to the right manner of offering to God the sacrifice of praise, which he declares to be most precious in his sight, and of the sweetest odour (p. xxxviii).


The Psalms not only teach us the acceptable way of praising God, they also quicken us in that calling by the Holy Spirit.


… in short, there is no other book in which we are more perfectly taught the right manner of praising God, or in which we are more powerfully stirred up to the performance of this religious exercise (pp. xxxviii-xxxix).


Listen to Calvin extol the soul-stirring effect of believing Psalm-singing in the vernacular:


The psalms can stimulate us to raise our hearts to God and arouse us to an ardor in invoking as well as in exalting with praises the glory of His name. Moreover by this, one will recognize of what advantage and consolation the pope and his creatures have deprived the church, for he has distorted the psalms, which should be true spiritual songs, into a murmuring among themselves without any understanding

(quoted in Charles Garside, Jr., The Origins of Calvin's Theology of Music: 1536-1543, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 69, part 4 [Philadelphia: The American Philosophical Society, 1979], p. 10).


In our day, it is not only "the pope and his creatures" who deprive the church of congregational Psalm-singing. In evangelical churches, uninspired hymns are far more frequently sung than the 150 Psalms and Psalm-singing is often derided as "dead," as if Christ's words are not "spirit" and "life" (John 6:63)!


Reading, preaching and singing the Psalms generated Calvin's love for them. Herman J. Selderhuis states,


Three facts are brought forward by Erwin Mulhaupt in his [1959 work] to explain Calvin's affection for this Bible book. First of all the Psalms were of special significance to Calvin personally.


He recognised much of himself in David and in difficult times he found comfort and strength in this book of the Bible. Secondly the Psalms are the only book from the Old Testament from which Calvin preached on Sundays.


Thus the Psalms were the only exception to his customary practice to preach from the New Testament on Sundays while the Old Testament was reserved for weekdays.


Thirdly Mulhaupt mentioned that Calvin has furthered the singing of Psalms during the church service like no other (Calvin's Theology of the Psalms [Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007], p. 14).


In a footnote, Selderhuis observes that, in a later book (1981), "Mulhaupt gives the same three reasons, but he then mentions the one of the singing of the Psalms first" (p. 14, n. 4; italics mine).


Apparently Mulhaupt came to see that Psalm-singing especially increased Calvin's love for the longest book in the Bible.


Calvin understood the implications of the excellence of the Psalms with respect to the content of the church’s sung praise. In his "Epistle to the Reader" prefixed to the Genevan Psalter (1542), he argues,


Now what Saint Augustine says is true, that no one is able to sing things worthy of God unless he has received them from him. Wherefore, when we have looked thoroughly everywhere and searched high and low, we shall find no better songs nor more appropriate for the purpose than the Psalms of David, which the Holy Spirit made and spoke through him. And furthermore, when we sing them, we are certain that God puts the words in our mouths, as if he himself were singing in us to exalt his glory.


In the terms of this statement, modern hymns surely are not "worthy of God," since they have not been "received ... from him." "Searching high and low," including through the myriads of uninspired hymnals, "we shall find no better songs nor more appropriate for the purpose than the Psalms of David, which the Holy Spirit made and spoke through him."


Singing the Psalms, unlike singing modern hymns, we have assurance that the content of our praise pleases and magnifies Him: "we are certain that God puts the words in our mouths, as if he himself were singing in us to exalt his glory."


No wonder Calvin laboured so hard in the face of much opposition to establish congregational singing in Geneva! This was even one of the essentials Calvin and Farel insisted upon in the Articles for the Organisation of the Church and its Worship at Genevawhich they presented to the city council (16 January, 1537).


In instituting church order for the people to "live according to the gospel and the Word of God," Calvin's Articles required (amongst other essentials):

(1) citizens to subscribe to the confession of faith,

(2) excommunication to be used as an effective tool of church discipline,

(3) singing of Psalms in public worship,

(4) catechising children in biblical doctrine to maintain the covenant, and

(5) drafting of ordinances for marriage.


Calvin's statement ("it is a thing most expedient for the edification of the church to sing some psalms in the form of public prayers by which one prays to God or sings His praises so that the hearts of all may be roused and stimulated to make similar prayers and to render similar praises and thanks to God with a common love") coming in these Articles makes it clear that for the Genevan Reformer congregational Psalm-singing is vital in the reform of the church.


Calvin also wanted quality tunes—grave and majestic—to which to sing the Psalms. Thus he states in his preface to the Genevan Psalter: 


There must always be concern that the song be neither light nor frivolous, but have gravity and majesty, as Saint Augustine says. And thus there is a great difference between the music one makes to entertain men … and the Psalms which are sung in the church in the presence of God and his angels.


In his early years there, Calvin was not impressed with the quality of the singing at Geneva, so he took the practical step of requiring that the catechism classes for the children include the memorizing and singing of Psalms. Church office-bearers and Christian school teachers had a role here. Calvin states, 


Write a letter to the judges of the consistory to acquaint them with the fact that the Lord desires that the youth learn to sing the Psalms, and that the principal of the school and his headmaster teach the music of the said Psalms (quoted in Ford Lewis Battles, The Piety of John Calvin [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978], p. 142).


Calvin's love for the Psalms led him to labour for many years in the production, enlargement and improvement of French Psalters. In Strasbourg in 1539, when he was about thirty, Calvin published his first Psalter, consisting of nineteen Psalms in French translation—six by himself and thirteen by Clement Marot.


Calvin's first Genevan Psalter (1542) included seventeen more metrical Psalms by Marot plus revisions of earlier versions. The 1543 edition contained fifty Psalms.


By 1551, this had grown to eighty-three. Marot died in 1544; his work was continued by Theodore Beza. Louis Bourgeois was the main musical editor, but tunes in the Genevan Psalters were also supplied by Guillaume Franc (cantor and music teacher in Geneva), Pierre Certon and Maistre Pierre (probably Pierre Davantes). 


Steadily expanding Psalters continued to be produced in Geneva: in 1562 [two years before Calvin's death and to his great delight] there appeared a metrical Psalter with all 150 Psalms.


This Psalter was reprinted [an amazing] sixty-two times in its first two years and was translated into [an even more amazing] twenty-four languages (William L. Holladay, The Psalms through Three Thousand Years [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993], p. 199).


Following the Genevan Reformer, Holliday states, "it was the Calvinist movement that was the primary source for the adaptation of Psalms for congregational singing," before quoting two scholars to the same effect:


The singing of Psalms was one of the incontestably distinguishing marks of Calvinist culture in Europe and America in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries [though not, alas, today—to the great loss of many professed Calvinists].


Calvinists were convinced that they could legitimately appropriate the psalms to themselves ... The Psalms were their songs which they sang as the elect people of God in a covenant relationship with Him (p. 198).


Sadly, few today experience this living connection with the Psalms as "their songs." Uninspired hymns are sung well nigh, if not wholly, exclusively, and the God-breathed Psalms are widely viewed as boring and (largely) irrelevant.


Our Calvinist forebears would have wondered if modern Christians' knowledge of predestination and God's covenant of grace were deficient.


However, with the recovery of the truths of election and God's covenant friendship comes the recovery of the singing of God's Psalms, as not only "theirsongs" (the songs of the Old Testament and New Testament church, especially the Reformed churches) but our songs.


We marvel and wonder at the rich treasury of the Psalter, and, as Calvin puts it, "we are certain that God puts [His] words in our mouths, as if he himself were singing in us to exalt his glory."






Preface to the Psalter - by John Calvin(ジャン・カルヴァン著『詩篇歌への序言』)



From the facsimile edition of: "Les Pseaumes mis en rime francoise par Clément Marot et Théodore de Béze. Mis en musique a quatre parties par Claude Goudimel. Par les héritiers de Francois Jacqui" (1565)


Published under the auspices of La Société des Concerts de la Cathédrale de Lausanne and edit, in French, by Pidoux, Pierre, and in German by Ameln, Konrad. (Baeroenreiter-Verlag, Kassel, 1935).




As it is a thing much required in Christianity, and one of the most necessary, that every one of the faithful observe and uphold the communion of the Church in his neighborhood, frequenting the assemblies which are held both on Sunday and other days to honor and serve God:


so also it is expedient and reasonable that all should know and hear that which is said and done in the temple, thus receiving fruit and edification.


Understanding is Essential(理解することの不可欠性)


For our Lord did not institute the order which we must observe when we convene in his Name, solely to amuse the world by seeing and looking at it; rather, however, he wished that profit would come from it to all his people: as Saint Paul witnesseth, commanding that all which is done in the Church be directed towards the common edification of all:


this the servant would not have commanded had it not been the intention of the Master. But this cannot be done unless we are instructed to have intelligence of all that has been ordained for our profit.


Because to say that we are able to have devotion, either at prayers or ceremonies, without understanding anything of them, is a great mockery, however much it is commonly said.


This is a thing neither dead nor brutish, this good affection toward God: rather it is a lively movement, proceeding from the Holy Spirit, when the heart is properly touched, and the understanding enlightened.


And, in fact, if one is able to be edified by the things which one sees, without knowing that which they signify, Saint Paul would not forbid so rigorously speaking in an unknown tongue: and he would not use this reasoning, that there is no edification, unless there is a doctrine.


However, if we really wish to honor the holy ordinances of our Lord, which we use in the Church, the primary thing is to know what they contain, what they mean to say, and to what end they tend, in order that their usage may be useful and salutary, and consequently right ruled.


Elements in Worship(礼拝の諸要素)


Now there are briefly three things which our Lord commanded us to observe in our spiritual assemblies: namely, the preaching of His Word, prayers public and solemn, and the administration of the sacraments. I abstain from speaking about sermons at this time, because there is no question about them.


Touching the other parts which remain, we have the express commandment of the Holy Spirit that prayers should be made in a language commonly known to the people; and the Apostle has said that people ought not to answer Amen to that prayer which has been said in a foreign tongue.


However, this is because that prayers are made in the name and person of all, that each should be a participant.


Thus it is a very great impudence on the part of those who introduced the Latin language into the Church where it is not generally understood.


And there is neither subtlety nor casuistry which can excuse them, because this practice is perverse and displeasing to God. Moreover, there is no reason to assume that God finds agreeable to him that which runs directly counter to his wishes, and, so to speak, in spite of him.


And so nothing affects him more than to go thus against his forbidding, and to boast of this rebellion as if it were a holy and very laudable thing.


Sacraments Conjoined with Doctrine(教理と結合したサクラメント)


As for the Sacraments, if we look thoroughly at their nature, we will recognize that it is a perverse custom to celebrate them in such a manner that the people may not merely look upon them, but may understand the mysteries which are there contained.


Because if they are visible words (as St. Augustine calls them) it is necessary, not only that there be merely an exterior spectacle, but also that the doctrine be conjoined with it, to give it intelligence.


And also our Lord in instituting them has well demonstrated this: because he says that these are testimonies of the alliance which he has made with us, and which he confirmed by his death.


It is necessary, therefore, to give them their meaning that we might know and understand that which he has said: otherwise it would be in vain that our Lord opened his mouth to speak, if he had around him no ears to listen.


And so there is no need for a long dispute about that. And when the matter is examined with common sense, there is no one who will not confess that it is a pure frumpery to amuse the people with symbols which have no meaning for them.


Therefore it is easy to see that one profanes the Sacraments of Jesus Christ by administering them so that the people do not at all understand the words which are being said about them.


And in fact, one may see the superstitions which arise from such practice. Because it is commonly considered that the consecration, for instance of the water for Baptism, or of the bread and wine of Our Lord's Supper, is like a sort of incantation; that is to say, when one has breathed and pronounced with the mouth the words, creatures insensible of feeling feel the power, although men understand nothing.


But the true consecration is that which makes itself through the word of faith, when it is declared and received, as St. Augustine has said: that which is expressly contained in the words of Jesus Christ.


Because he did not say to the bread that it is his body: rather he addressed the word to the company of the faithful, saying, take, eat, and so forth.


If we wish therefore to celebrate truly this Sacrament, it is necessary for us to have the doctrine, by means of which that which is there signified is declared to us.


I say that that seems very strange to those who are not accustomed to it, as it happens with all new things: but it is very reasonable if we are disciples of Jesus Christ to prefer his institutions to our custom. And that which he instituted from the very beginning ought not to seem new to us.


If that is still incapable of penetrating into the understanding of anyone, it is necessary for us to pray to God that it please him to illuminate the ignorant, to make them understand how much wiser it is that all the men of the earth should learn not to fix themselves on their own senses, nor on the single mad wisdom of their leaders who are blind.


However, for the usage of our Church, it has seemed good to us to make public as a formulary these prayers and Sacraments in order that each may recognize that which he hears said and done in the Christian assembly.


However, this book will profit not only the people of this Church, but also all those who desire to know what form the faithful ought to hold to and follow when they convene in the name of Christ.


Two Kinds of Prayers (二種類の祈り)


Image result for praying man  oil painting puritan


We have thus gathered in a summary the manner of celebrating the Sacraments and sanctifying marriage; similarly the prayers and praises which we use.


We shall speak later of the Sacraments. As for public prayers, there are two kinds. The ones with the word alone: the others with singing. And this is not something invented a little time ago.


For from the first origin of the Church, this has been so, as appears from the histories. And even St. Paul speaks not only of praying by mouth: but also of singing.


And in truth we know by experience that singing has great force and vigor to move and inflame the hearts of men to invoke and praise God with a more vehement and ardent zeal.


Care must always be taken that the song be neither light nor frivolous; but that it have weight and majesty (as St. Augustine says), and also, there is a great difference between music which one makes to entertain men at table and in their houses, and the Psalms which are sung in the Church in the presence of God and his angels.


But when anyone wishes to judge correctly of the form which is here presented, we hope that it will be found holy and pure, seeing that it is simply directed to the edification of which we have spoken.


Expression Through Singing (歌うことを通した表現)


And yet the practice of singing may extend more widely; it is even in the homes and in the fields an incentive for us, as it were, an organ of praise to God, and to lift up our hearts to him, to console us by meditating upon his virtue, goodness, wisdom and justice: that which is more necessary than one can say.


In the first place, it is not without cause that the Holy Spirit exhorts us so carefully throughout the Holy Scriptures to rejoice in God and that all our joy is there reduced to its true end, because he knows how much we are inclined to rejoice in vanity.


As thus then our nature draws us and induces us to seek all means of foolish and vicious rejoicing; so, to the contrary, our Lord, to distract us and withdraw us from the temptations of the flesh and of the world, presents us all possible means in order to occupy us in that spiritual joy which he recommends to us so much.


Importance of Music (音楽の重要性)


Now among the other things which are proper for recreating man and giving him pleasure, music is either the first, or one of the principal; and it is necessary for us to think that it is a gift of God deputed for that use.


Moreover, because of this, we ought to be the more careful not to abuse it, for fear of soiling and contaminating it, converting it our condemnation, where it was dedicated to our profit and use.


If there were no other consideration than this alone, it ought indeed to move us to moderate the use of music, to make it serve all honest things; and that it should no give occasion for our giving free rein to dissolution, or making ourselves effeminate in disordered delights, and that it should not become the instrument of lasciviousness nor of any shamelessness.


Power of Music (音楽の力)


But still there is more: there is scarcely in the world anything which is more able to turn or bend this way and that the morals of men, as Plato prudently considered it.


And in fact, we find by experience that it has a sacred and almost incredible power to move hearts in one way or another. Therefore we ought to be even more diligent in regulating it in such a way that it shall be useful to us and in no way pernicious.


For this reason the ancient doctors of the Church complain frequently of this, that the people of their times were addicted to dishonest and shameless songs, which not without cause they referred to and called mortal and Satanic poison for corrupting the world.


Moreover, in speaking now of music, I understand two parts: namely the letter, or subject and matter; secondly, the song, or the melody.


It is true that every bad word (as St. Paul has said) perverts good manner, but when the melody is with it, it pierces the heart much more strongly, and enters into it; in a like manner as through a funnel, the wine is poured into the vessel; so also the venom and the corruption is distilled to the depths of the heart by the melody.


Why the Choice of the Psalms(なぜ詩篇を選ぶのか)


What is there now to do? It is to have songs not only honest, but also holy, which will be like spurs to incite us to pray to and praise God, and to meditate upon his works in order to love, fear, honor and glorify him.


Moreover, that which St. Augustine has said is true, that no one is able to sing things worthy of God except that which he has received from him.


Therefore, when we have looked thoroughly, and searched here and there, we shall not find better songs nor more fitting for the purpose, than the Psalms of David, which the Holy Spirit spoke and made through him.


And moreover, when we sing them, we are certain that God puts in our mouths these, as if he himself were singing in us to exalt his glory.


Wherefore Chrysostom exhorts, as well as the men, the women and the little children to accustom themselves to singing them, in order that this may be a sort of meditation to associate themselves with the company of the angels.


Singing with Understanding Required(理解を伴った賛美行為の必要性)


As for the rest, it is necessary to remember that which St. Paul hath said, the spiritual songs cannot be well sung save from the heart. But the heart requires the intelligence.


And in that (says St. Augustine) lies the difference between the singing of men and that of the birds. For a linnet, a nightingale, a parrot may sing well; but it will be without understanding. But the unique gift of man is to sing knowing that which he sings.


After the intelligence must follow the heart and the affection, a thing which is unable to be except if we have the hymn imprinted on our memory, in order never to cease from singing.


For these reasons this present book, even for this cause, besides the rest which has been said, ought to be singular recommendation to each one who desires to enjoy himself honestly and according to God, for his own welfare and the profit of his neighbors: and so there is need of all of it being much recommended by me: seeing that it carries its value and its praise.


But that the world may be so well advised, that in place of songs in part vain and frivolous, in part stupid and dull, in part foul and vile, and in consequence evil and harmful which it has used up to now, it may accustom itself hereafter to the singing of these divine and celestial hymns with the good king David.


Touching the melody, it has seemed best that it be moderated in the manner we have adopted to carry the weight and majesty appropriate to the subject, and even to be proper for singing in the Church, according to that which has been said.


From Geneva, this 10th of June, 1543