“Reader, dost thou find it so? Is it a pleasure to thee to sing Psalms? Dost thou sing them as an ordinance? Dost thou in faith expect a blessing upon thy singing? And is it indeed to thee the means of grace? If it be, use them more, and thou wilt find an increasing blessing; if it be not, consider well what has been said— repent of thine abuse of this precious ordinance—and pray for grace to observe it to the honour of God, to the edification of others, and to the profit of thine own soul; the Lord give thee a right understanding in this matter.
The neglect of it as an ordinance has led many people entirely to neglect it. I have scarce ever seen a congregation, in which every one joined in singing. This is a very great abuse, because it is defeating the end of God’s institution. He commanded Psalms to be sung for mutual edification. It was to be the service of the whole church. All were to join; whereas among us it is performed by some few, and they are sometimes set by themselves in a singing gallery, or in a corner of the church, where they sing to be admired for their fine voices, and others hear them for their entertainment. This is a vile prostitution of church music, and contrary to the letter and spirit both of the Old Testament and also of the New.”
William Romaine, An Essay on Psalmody (1775)