Musical Instruments In Public Worship

Dear Sir,

…I notice an answer to a question relating to musical instruments used in places of worship, saying there is no warrant for such in the Word of God. I should be very much obliged for your opinion of the exhortation to praise God with all kinds of instruments, contained in the last Psalm.

Yours truly, T. B.



The use of musical instruments formed a part of the service of the Old Testament ceremonial law. When we said, “There spiritual worship, we judged every one would fully understand us to mean the worship of the New Testament; the other being done away.” (Heb. 7:18; 8:13.)

Why plead for the use of instruments of music, and leave out the dance?

There is the game exhortation for the dance as for music: “Praise him with the timbrel and dance; praise him with stringed instruments and organs” (Psalm 150:4); and the dance was practised by Miriam and the women with her. The temple had its ritual. The priests recited the Ten Commandments, offered up the daily sacrifice morning and evening, and chanted the Psalms appointed to be Sung during the service, accompanied by “trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music.” (1 Chron. 16:42; 2 Chron. 5:18.)

But instrumental music has no place whatever in the spiritual worship of God.

By what authority does any one assume the right to pick out one or more of those typical rites and introduce them into the heart service and worship of God?

Spiritual religion is a contrast to this Popish mockery, and opposed to the farrago of superstition, called “ritual.” All the Levitical rites are swallowed up in Christ; and he who attempts to rake them up and add them to Christ, carnalizes the worship of the Saviour. Alas !

Antichrist rules with a high hand; the Church of England is going post haste after Borne; and the general Dissenters are trying to outrun her.

And are the lovers of truth starting on the road after them?

Suffer us to remind them that the church of Christ is planted by the Saviour, and is renewed by his grace to worship him in spirit and in truth; and hence must wage war with all opposition to his spiritual kingdom. We therefore repeat that there is no warrant for the carnal service of musical instruments in the house of God, any more than there is for carnal professors to form part with the righteous.

(Gospel Standard Editor – Joseph Hatton – 1883)

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