Lining out

‘Lining out’ was the practice of having the minister or clerk sing a line of a psalm, which was then repeated by the congregation. It was a natural consequence of the seriousness attached to public worship by the Puritan element of the Church of England, which not only followed the precepts of Jean Calvin* in preferring psalms over hymns in divine service, but also tried to insist that the people sang them, line by line, and understood what they were singing. Following the execution of Archbishop Laud, who had tried to impose the Book of Common Prayer upon the Calvinistic Scottish people, and whose high Anglican practices had outraged English Puritans, the ‘Long Parliament’ set up an...

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