The first book published in colonial America was the Bay Psalm Book. According to the website of the Cambridge Reformed Presbyterian Church (which my friend Dr. Christian Adjemian pastors),
“The book was published in 1640 in what is now Cambridge, Massachusetts in a print shop now long gone, located in what is today Harvard Square…The preface to the Bay Psalm Book was written by John Cotton…(and is) an explanation and defense of the American Puritan understanding that the Book of Psalms is God’s hymnbook for the Church. This is a belief that was shared by all Presbyterian churches until the 19th Century.”
One of the ten existing copies of this work is on display as “America’s First Book” in the Library of Congress. The Bay Psalm Book was used extensively throughout the colonies and went through many revisions and improvements.
My point in drawing your attention to this is to encourage you to read the preface which supports and defends the practice of the church singing the psalms in its worship. The preface begins with this eloquent statement:
“The singing of Psalms breathes out nothing but holy harmony and melody…”
but then quickly raises the concern against the church setting psalm singing aside: