Have been reading a fantastic little article on church song from a 19th century london preacher.
Here is a couple of good quotes:
“It was, I think, Sir Philip Sidney, who first said, “Let me make the ballads of a poeple, and I do not care who make theirs;’ — an epigrammatic and exaggerated way of putting a great truth; and with due allowance for the epigram, I would venture to say, “Let me determine the psalmody of a church, and I do not care who preaches its sermons.”
Speaking of the early persecuted Christians –
“They did not,” says Theodoret,”like the captives of Babylon, hang up their harps upon the willows; for they sang praises to their Creator in every part of his empire.”
Tertullian on psalm singing in marriages –
“Amongst patristic notes of the hymnology of the fist three centuries, we find Tertullian urging marriages with believers, on the singular group that ‘Psalms and hymns may be harmoniously sung by the happy apir, who can provoke one another to sing the better to their God; otherwise, says he, “What would the unbelieving husband sing to the wife, or the wife to the unbelieving husband?”
“They say the people are misled by the verses of my hymns. I frankly confess this also. Truly they have in them a high strain above all other influences. For can any strain have more of influence that the confession of the Holy Trinity, which is proclaimed, day by day, by the voice of the whole people? Each is eager to rival his fellows in confessing, as he well knows how, in sacred verse – his faith in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus all are made teachers, who else were scarce equal to being scholars.”