Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 1 March, 2009


"Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep

the testimony of thy mouth" (Ps. 119:88)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM

The Holy Spirit in Ephesians (14)

Be Filled With the Spirit! (I)    [download]

Ephesians 5:18

I. The Contrast

II. The Command

Psalms: 63:1-8; 18:14-19; 143:5-11; 4:1-8


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

The Holy Spirit in Ephesians (15)

Be Filled With the Spirit! (II)    [download]

Ephesians 5:18-21

I. By Singing

II. By Thanksgiving

III. By Submitting

Psalms: 95:1-6; 18:20-27; 136:1-12; 105:1-7

Contact Sean Courtney ( for CDs of the sermons.

CPRC website:

Quote to Consider:

John Murray: "Paul’s usage will show that the word ‘Spiritual’ is derived from the Holy Spirit. ‘Spiritual words’ (I Cor. 2:13) are words taught of the Holy Spirit. The ‘Spiritual man’ (I Cor. 2:15) is the man indwelt and controlled by the Holy Spirit. ‘Spiritual songs’ (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) are songs indicted by the Holy Spirit. ‘Spiritual understanding’ (Col. 1:9) is the understanding imparted by the Holy Spirit (cf. also Rom. 1:11; I Cor. 3:1; 10:3-4; 12:1; 15:44, 46; I Pet. 2:5)" (Epistle to the Romans, vol. 1, p. 254).

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

On the back table are new Standard Bearers and an important letter on Myanmar from Hope PRC Council.

The second offering this morning will be for our building fund.

Catechism: Monday, 6:30 PM - Campbells at the manse 

Tuesday, 10:15 AM - Beginners OT Class at the Murrays 

Tuesday, 4:30 PM - Jacob Buchanan 

Tuesday, 5:30 PM - Murrays 

Tuesday, 6:45 PM - Hamills

The Council meets tomorrow evening at 7:30 PM at the manse.

Ladies’ Bible Study meets this week Tuesday, 3 March, 10:15 AM, at the Murrays.

Midweek Bible Study meets on Wednesday, 7:45 PM at the manse. We will consider I Peter 2:4f. on "Living Stones, the Chief Cornerstone and the Spiritual Temple."

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is entitled "Jesus Sentenced to Death" (Mark 15:16-20) by Rev. Haak.

Offerings: General Fund - £1089.22.

Upcoming Lectures: Limerick, Fri., 6 March, 7:30 PM - John Calvin’s Battle for the Reformation 

S. Wales, Fri., 20 March, 7:15 PM - John Calvin’s Battle for the Reformation 

Portadown, Fri., 27 March, 8 PM - Calvin’s Battle for the Reformation, Part 2

Website Additions: New "Church Resources" and "Revivalism Resources" pages were added as were 1 Spanish and 4 Italian translations.

PRC News: Rev. R. Kleyn (Trinity, MI) declined the call he received from Byron Center. On the agenda of Classis West, which meets this week Wednesday: Loveland PRC consistory, at the request of the Covenant of Grace Fellowship in Spokane, and with the approval of the Domestic Mission Committee, has proposed that the fellowship in Spokane be organized into an instituted church of Christ. Rev. Smit will be installed as a foreign missionary on 19 March and plans to move to the Philippines in July.

John Calvin on Singing Psalms in Church

As to public prayers, there are two kinds: the one consists of words alone; the other includes music. And this is no recent invention. For since the very beginning of the church it has been this way, as we may learn from history books. Nor does St. Paul himself speak only of prayer by word of mouth, but also of singing. And in truth, we know from experience that song has a great power and strength to move and inflame the hearts of men to invoke and praise God with a heart more vehement and ardent. One must always watch lest the song be light and frivolous; rather, it should have weight and majesty, as St. Augustine says. And thus there is a great difference between the music that is made to entertain people at home and at table, and the Psalms which are sung in church, in the presence of God and His angels. Therefore, if any wish rightly to judge the kind of music presented here, we hope he will find it to be holy and pure, seeing that it is simply made in keeping with the edification of which we have spoken, whatever further use it may be put to. For even in our homes and out of doors let it be a spur to us and a means of praising God and lifting up our hearts to Him, so that we may be consoled by meditating on His virtue, His bounty, His wisdom, and His justice. For this is more necessary than one can ever tell.

Among all the other things that are proper for the recreation of man and for giving him pleasure, music, if not the first, is among the most important; and we must consider it a gift from God expressly made for that purpose. And for this reason we must be all the more careful not to abuse it, for fear of defiling or contaminating it, converting to our damnation what is intended for our profit and salvation. If even for this reason alone, we might well be moved to restrict the use of music to make it serve only what is respectable and never use it for unbridled dissipations or for emasculating ourselves with immoderate pleasure. Nor should it lead us to lasciviousness or shamelessness.

But more than this, there is hardly anything in the world that has greater power to bend the morals of men this way or that, as Plato has wisely observed. And in fact we find from experience that it has an insidious and well-nigh incredible power to move us whither it will. And for this reason we must be all the more diligent to control music in such a way that it will serve us for good and in no way harm us. This is why the early doctors of the church used to complain that the people of their time were addicted to illicit and shameless songs, which they were right to call a mortal, world-corrupting poison of Satan's.

Now in treating music I recognize two parts, to wit, the word, that is the subject and text, and the song, or melody. It is true, as St. Paul says, that all evil words will pervert good morals. But when melody goes with them, they will pierce the heart much more strongly and enter within. Just as wine is funnelled into a barrel, so are venom and corruption distilled to the very depths of the heart by melody.

So what are we to do? We should have songs that are not only upright but holy, that will spur us to pray to God and praise Him, to meditate on His works so as to love Him, to fear Him, to honour Him, and glorify Him. For what St. Augustine said is true, that one can sing nothing worthy of God save what one has received from Him. Wherefore though we look far and wide we will find no better songs nor songs more suitable to that purpose than the Psalms of David, which the Holy Spirit made and imparted to him. Thus, singing them we may be sure that our words come from God just as if He were to sing in us for His own exaltation. Wherefore, Chrysostom exhorts men, women, and children alike to get used to singing them, so as through this act of meditation to become as one with the choir of angels.

Then, too, we must keep in mind what St. Paul says, that devotional songs can be sung well only by the heart. Now the heart implies intelligence, which, says St. Augustine, is the difference between the singing of men and that of birds. For though a linnet, a nightingale, or a parrot sing ever so well, it will be without understanding. Now it is man's gift to be able to sing and to know what it is he is singing. After intelligence, the heart and the emotions must follow, and this can happen only if we have the hymn engraved in our memory so that it will never cease.

And therefore the present book needs little recommendation from me, seeing that in and of itself it possesses its own value and sings its own praise. Only let the world have the good sense henceforth to leave off singing those songs—in part vain and frivolous, in part stupid and dull, in part foul and vile and in consequence evil and destructive—which it has availed itself of up to now, and to use these divine and heavenly canticles with good King David. As for the melody, it has seemed best to moderate it in the way we have done, so as to lend it the gravity and majesty that befits its subject, and as might even be suitable for singing in church, according to what has been said.

(From Calvin's Preface to the Geneva Psalter of 1543)

For more articles, quotes, audio and video on Psalm-singing see our Psalm-Singing Resources.