University of Chicago Library.
Besides the main topic this book also treats of
Subject No. On f age Subject No. On page
AND THEIR SONGS
, = V , "
' I 3 o= J
o o s
o o o
F. D. HEMENWAY, D.D.
CHAS. M. STUART, B.D.
NEW YORK: HUNT &> EA TON
CINCINNATI: CRANSTON & STOWE
r c c c c - c
= c c c c t
c c c c , . t
,= ==' c , c
" c _
CC C CC -;
C C C c C c t c . C .
CC CC C C C C C
Copyright, 1891. by
HUNT & EATON,
Theology and music unite and move on, hand in hand,
through time, and will continue eternally to illustrate, embel-
lish and enforce, impress, and fix in the attentive mind the
grand and important truths of Christianity. ANDREW LAW.
It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were
as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thank-
ing the Lord ; and when they lifted up their voice with the
trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised
the Lord, saying, For he is good ; for his mercy endureth
forever : that then the house was filled with a cloud, even
the house of the Lord. 2 CHRON. v, 13.
*T*HE substance of this volume appeared in
more extended form in the " Life and
Select Writings " of the late Professor Hem-
enway, of Garrett Biblical Institute. The
abridgment was supervised .by Rev. Charles
M. Stuart, who edited the original work and
who is also responsible for the added chapters
on the hymns- of the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries. For the matter contained in these
additional chapters free use was, made of Nut-
ter's Hymn Studies, Tillett's Annotated Hymn--
Book of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South,
Duffield's English Hymns, Hatfield's The Poets
of the Church, and " Hymn Notes," contrib-
uted by Professor F. M. Bird to The Independ-
ent, for which acknowledgments are here made.
CHAPTER I. Page
The Singer and the Song 9
Hymns of the Ancient Church 25
Earlier Mediaeval Hymns . ; . . . 42
Later Mediaeval Hymns . 56
Hymns from German Authors 74
Earlier English Hymns 93
Watts and Wesley = 104
Hymns of the Eighteenth Century 125
Hymns of the Nineteenth Century. 148
THE SINGER AND THE SONG.
A S we turn our attention to lyric poetry in
general, the first thing which impresses
us is its antiquity. The oldest human litera-
ture has come to us in this form. The most
ancient books of the Hindus, and, as many
think, the most ancient of all human _books,
are the famous Vedic hymns, which, by the
most moderate calculation, are nearly three
thousand years old. The entire number
of these is one thousand and twenty-eight ;
and as early as 600 B. C. their verses, words,
and syllables had been carefully enumer-
ated. The oldest of the Chinese sacred books
is the third of the ante-Confucian classics
called by them the Book of Odes frag-
ments of which are seen scattered over tea-
chests and other articles of Chinese manu-
10 GOSPEL SINGERS.
facture. As to the relative antiquity of the
Vedas in Hindu literature and the Book of
Odes in Chinese literature there is no differ-
ence of opinion ; but it is impossible to deter-
mine with certainty, or even a high degree of
probability, the absolute age of either. The
general estimate of those most competent to
form an opinion on the subject is that both
may date from one thousand to twelve hun-
dred years before Christ ; thus, in the matter
of age, ranking with the Davidic psalms.
Coming to Christian lyric poetry, we are at
once struck with its vast extent and incom-
parable wealth. It is estimated that in the
German language alone there are eighty thou-
sand Christian hymns, 1 and in the English
forty thousand. Even as early as 1751, says
Kurtz, in his Church History, J. Jacob V.
Moser collected a list of fifty thousand printed
hymns in the German language.
Not only is the gross amount so consider-
able, its diffusion is still more to be noted.
Next to the Christian sacred books, nothing
in literature has been so multiplied as copies
of Christian hymns. Copies of some of these
THE SINGER AND THE SONG. II
may be counted literally by the million. They
rival the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Com-
mandments in their hold on human memories.
There are not a few into whose memories
verses of hymns came earlier than verses of
Scripture, and they will be more likely to
speak them with their dying breath.
A hymn is the most subtle and spiritual
thing which a man can create. It must be in
fact, if not in form, a transcript of his high-
est and holiest experiences ; for the distin-
guishing characteristic of lyric poetry is the
stamp it bears of the personal consciousness.
The most perfect expressions of the Christian
creed and life are found in the hymns of the
Church. As influences for good they are at
once subtle and powerful, swaying our natures
as nothing else can. "What care I," says
Falstaff, " for the bulk and big assemblage of
a man ? Give me the spirit, Master Shallow,
give me the spirit." Now, the spirit of hu-
manity and of the Christian Church, in v a sense
infinitely higher than Shakespeare's hero could
understand, is found in lyric poetry as no-
where else. The subtle essence, the delicate
12 GOSPEL SINGERS.
hues, the delicious fragrance, and ethereal beau-
ty of spiritual character are here most vari-
ously and beautifully exhibited.
Bishop Wordsworth, in the somewhat elab-
orate essay on Christian hymns prefixed to his
Holy Year, complains that while the ancient
hymns are distinguished by self-forgetfulness,
the modern are characterized by self-conscious-
ness. As illustrative examples he cites the
following : " When I can read my title clear, ' '
" When I survey the wondrous cross," " I hold
the sacred book of God," " My God, the spring
of all my joys;" and he also quotes, as illus-
trating not only this egotistical character, but
also a certain reprehensible self-assurance",
and a familiar and even amatory style of ad-
" Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to thy bosom fly,"
which he says he has heard " given out to be
sung by every member of a large, mixed con-
gregation, in a dissolute part of a populous
and irreligious city."
Seldom were words ever written which be-
tray a more absolute want of comprehension
THE SINGER AND THE SONG. 13
of the whole subject of lyric poetry. Its one
grand, distinguishing characteristic is the fact
that we see here, as nowhere else, the glory of
individual life and experience. It must be
confessed that there are hymns which illustrate
some of the objectionable tendencies pointed
out by the distinguished prelate ; but certainly
the hymns he specifies show very clearly how
a hymn can be a genuine lyric, reflecting most
clearly and vividly the individual conscious-
ness and yet be thoroughly free from obtrusive
egotism. The most perfect 'and most univer-
sally intelligible model of religious poetry holds
such language as the following: " The Lord is
my shepherd ; / shall not want. He maketh
me to lie down in green pastures : he leadeth
me beside the still waters." Wiser was Lu-
ther, who used to thank God for these same
little words these words of personal confes-
sion and appropriation. It is comparatively
unimportant whether the hymn stand in the
singular or plural number; the one thing
essential is that it be a crystallization of per-
sonal thought and experience. The great
hymns of the Church the hymns of the ages
14 GOSPEL SINGERS.
hymns which stand pre-eminent as expres-
sions of the life of God in the soul of man
are almost uniformly such as come most di-
rectly out of the experience of the writer.
Charles Wesley's hymns are eminently autobi-
ographic. That grand hymn which has so long
held the place of honor in both English and
American Methodist hymn-books, " O for a
thousand tongues to sing," was written on
the first anniversary of Mr. Wesley's spiritual
birth. Equally evident is it that his holiest
aspirations and his most blissful experiences
are given voice in such hymns as " O love
divine, how sweet thou art ; " " Love divine,
all love's excelling;" "Vain, delusive world,
adieu." Two of his hymns, very familiar to
Methodists, were addressed to his wife on her
" Come away to the skies, my beloved, arise,
And rejoice in the day thou wast born."
" Come, let us ascend, my companion and friend,
To a taste of the banquet above." 2
The connection of the hymn " God moves
in a mysterious way " with Cowper's personal
history is well known. 3 John Newton's most
THE SINGER AND THE SONG. 1 5
characteristic, though by no means most
famous or most beautiful, hymn is a mere tran-
script of his spiritual autobiography : "I saw
one hanging on the tree."* The hymn of Anne
Steele which is most universally known and
most frequently used, "Father, whate'er of
earthly bliss," is beyond question the simple
outbreathing of her personal trust and submis-
sion beneath the heavy burdens of sorrow
which she, more than others, was called to
bear. 5 Charlotte Elliott's " Just as I am " is
the expression of the experience into which
she herself had come after long and painful
preparation. John Keble's most frequently
used hymn, " Sun of my soul," exhibits the very
characteristic which is so offensive to Bishop
Wordsworth. 6 And, as we look through the
whole range of hymnology, and consider the
hymns which all agree to understand, to love,
and to use, we shall find the great majority of
them to be couched in the language of per-
sonal confession and appropriation, such as
shows them to be the outpouring of the most
sacred and most spiritual experiences.
As a means of Christian influence hymns are
l6 GOSPEL SINGERS.
most serviceable, and sometimes well-nigh ir-
resistible. The pure waters of holy song will
sometimes make their way into places dark
and deathful, which no other influence from
heaven can reach. A few years since a little
party of American travelers, happening to be
in Montreal, took occasion to visit the cele-
brated Grey Nunnery, one of the wealthiest
religious houses on this continent. As we
were being conducted through the establish-
ment we came to the school-room containing
the orphan children, kept there as one branch
of their charities. For our entertainment the
children were set to singing. What was our
surprise and delight to hear them sing our
common Protestant Sunday-school hymns,
such as " I have a Father in the promised
land," " I want to be an angel," " There is a
happy land I " What other form of evan-
gelical influence could have made its way so
successfully through the bolts and bars of that
There is a familiar incident connected with
one of Phoebe Gary's hymns which may. well
be taken as representative of a very large class
THE SINGER AND THE SONG. \J
of similar instances showing the power of sa-
cred song. A few years since two men, Amer-
icans one middle-aged, the other a young
man met in a gambling-house in Canton,
China. They had been engaged in play to-
gether during the evening, and the young man
had lost heavily. While the older one was
shuffling the cards for a new deal, his com-
panion leaned back in his chair and began
mechanically to sing a fragment of Miss
Gary's exquisite hymn, " One sweetly solemn
thought." As these words, so tender and so
beautiful, fell on the ear of the man hardened
in sin, dead memories in his heart came to life
again. He sprang up excitedly, exclaiming:
"Where did you learn that hymn? I can't
stay here! " And, in spite of the taunts of
his companion, he hurried him away, and con-
fessed to him the story of his long wanderings
from a happy Christian home. At the same
time he expressed his determination to lead a
better life, and urged his companion in sin to
join him. The resolution was kept, the man
was reclaimed, and the story of his recovery
came back to bless Miss Gary before slu died.
1 8 GOSPEL SINGERS.
This hymn, God's invisible angel, had gone
with the man through all those weary years
of sin, and finally led him back to purity and
An oft-repeated incident connected with
one of the best hymns of Charles Wesley well
illustrates the power of this means of influ-
ence. The only daughter of a wealthy and
worldly nobleman was awakened and con-
verted at a Methodist meeting in London.
This was to her father an occasion of bitter
grief and disappointment, and he at once set
about winning her back to her former associa-
tions. Having vainly tried other means to
draw her away from her newly found faith, he
at last formed a plan the object of which was
to bring to bear upon her the combined influ-
ence of her former most intimate associates
and friends, and that, too, under such condi-
tions that she would be unable to resist it.
He arranged to invite to his own home a
number of her gay and worldly associates, hop-
ing by their influence to entangle her again
in the meshes of fashionable dissipation. The
company assembled, and all in high spirits
THE SINGER AND THE SONG. 19
entered upon the pleasures of the evening.
According to the plan preconcerted, several
of the party took their turn in singing a song,
of course selecting such as comported with the
gayety and worldliness of the occasion. Then
the young lady herself, being an accomplished
musician, was called upon. She distinctly
saw that the critical hour had come. Pale,
but composed, she took her seat at the piano,
and, after running her fingers over the keys,
sang these verses of Charles Wesley's incom-
parable hymn :
" No room for mirth or trifling here,
For worldly hope, or worldly fear,
If life so soon is gone ;
If now the Judge is at the door,
And all mankind must stand before
The inexorable throne !
" No matter which my thoughts employ
A moment's misery or joy ;
But O ! when both shall end,
Where shall I find my destined place?
Shall I my everlasting days
With fiends or angels spend ?
" Nothing is worth a thought beneath,
But how I may escape the death
That never, never dies ;
20 GOSPEL SINGERS.
How make mine own election sure ;
And, when I fail on earth, secure
A mansion in the skies.
" Jesus, vouchsafe, a pitying ray ;
Be thou my guide, be thou my way
To glorious happiness.
Ah ! write the pardon on my heart,
And whensoe'er I hence depart,
Let me depart in peace." 7
She had conquered. Truths so solemn and
weighty, borne on soul-moving music, and il-
lustrated by the humility and heroism of her
who now sat in her own father's house, in the
midst of this joyous company, alone with God,
could not be resisted. The father wept aloud,
and afterward himself became a trophy of his
daughter's courage and fidelity.
As an instrument of expression song is
equally serviceable. It gathers up into itself
our sweetest, saddest, most heroic, and most
spiritual experiences. When the soul comes
to its divinest heights song is sure to be there.
If it is not already in waiting the inspired soul
at once creates it, as did Mary the " Magnificat "
and Simeon the " Nunc Dimittis." Rarely was
there ever witnessed a scene of more thrilling
THE SINGER AND THE SONG. 21
interest than that of the reunion of the Old
and New School divisions of the Presbyterian
Church, which took place in Pittsburg in May,
1869. On the day appointed the two bodies
met in their respective places, and then, hav-
ing formed in the street in parallel columns,
joined ranks, one of each assembly arm in
arm with one of the other, and so marched to
the place where the services were to be held.
As the head of the column entered the church,
already crowded, save the seats reserved for
the delegates, the audience struck up the
hymn, "Blow ye the trumpet, blow," and
when all were in their places, " All hail the
power of Jesus' name! " After the reading
of the Scriptures came the hymn of Watts,
" Blest are the sons of peace." The interest
of the occasion culminated when Dr. Fowler,
the moderator of the New School Assembly,
at the close of his remarks, turned to Dr.
Jacobus, the moderator of the Old School As-
sembly, and said : " My dear brother modera-
tor, may we not, before I take my seat, per-
form a single act symbolical of the union
which has taken place between the two
22 GOSPEL SINGERS.
branches of the Church ? Let us clasp hands !"
This challenge was immediately responded to,
when all joined in singing the grand old dox-
ology of Bishop Ken, " Praise God, from
whom all blessings flow ! " And at the con-
clusion of Dr. Jacobus's remarks, amid flow T
ing tears and with swelling hearts, the thou-
sands present joined in singing the precious
hymn, written just about a century before, by
that grand and tuneful Baptist minister, John
Fawcett, himself a convert of George White-
field, "Blest be the tie that binds." Little
did those happy Presbyterians think or care
that two of the hymns for this hour of their
supreme gladness were furnished by Method-
ists, one by a Congregationalist, one by an
Episcopalian bishop, and one by a Baptist.
And so do hymns bear interesting and con-
clusive testimony to the catholicity of Chris-
tianity and the essential unity of the Church.
In them we see what is essential and perma-
nent as contrasted with that which is merely
formal and ephemeral. They do, indeed, re-
flect the surface of the Christian consciousness,
whose phenomena are continually changing ;
THE SINGER AND THE SONG. 2$
but the hymns which have a life so permanent
as to be accounted the " hymns of the ages "
come out of the very depths of that conscious-
ness. For the most part, such hymns do not
so much illustrate the variety and separations
of the Church as its oneness. Christianity is
simply the one life of Jesus Christ, and, how-
ever multitudinous may be the channels
through which it flows, it is every-where and
always one. And so our hymnody is a visible
evangelical alliance, where Catholic and Prot-
estant, Oriental and Occidental, the ancient
and the modern, Calvinist and Arminian,
Unitarian and Evangelical, blend indistinguish-
ably in the one grand and universal song. One
of the best illustrations of this is furnished in
the history of a hymn which all Protestant
Christians agree to place in the very front rank
of hymns, " Rock of ages, cleft for me." Its
author, Mr. Toplady, was one of the best and
bitterest of Mr. Wesley's opponents, the points
of difference between them being mainly such
as were involved in the Calvinistic controversy.
Especially was he disgusted at the Wesleyan
doctrine of Christian perfection as being, in his
24 GOSPEL SINGERS.
view, inconsistent with the doctrines of grace ;
and so he wrote this hymn, which expresses
the utter nothingness qf human merit, and
represents the soul as finding its only refuge
in the merit of Christ, giving to it this contro-
versial title : " A living and dying prayer for
the holiest believer in the world." The hymn
was at once caught up by Christian people, and
by none more eagerly than by the Methodists,
against whom it was written, and who to-day
sing it as heartily as they do the hymns of
Charles Wesley himself. Thus did -Mr. Top-
lady the hymn-writer demonstrate his one-
ness with the very people against whom Mr.
Toplady the polemic had leveled his keenest
HYMNS OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH. 25
HYMNS OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH.
TN our attempts to illustrate this subject of
hymnology we must labor under one embar-
rassment. Many of the most notable hymns
were written in other languages than, ours, and
a lyric poem never bears translation well. That
adjustment of sound to sense, of rhyme and
meter to thought, which makes a poem perfect
in one language, if once it be disturbed for
purposes of translation, can never be perfectly
restored. When these beautiful crystals of
thought and feeling are broken, their high and
peculiar value is gone. At the best we can
only use the fragments, in each of which may
be seen some gleam of the original glory, to
help us to conceive what that glory really was.
Some of the best and most eminent hymns,
whose names are as household words, have
never been known, and can never be known by
us in their true and proper character. We do
26 GOSPEL SINGERS.
not see them face to face ; and that image of
them which is reflected in the best translation
is more or less distorted and imperfect. They
have lost in great measure their distinctive
poetic character the music of numbers, the
nice adjustment of epithets, the delicate hues
of spiritual beauty, and many of those gleams
of personal life and experience which consti-
tute the peculiar charm of lyric poetry.
The oldest hymn of the Christian Church
outside of the Bible is that known as the " Tris-
agion," or, more commonly, by its Latin name,
" Tersanctus " " Thrice holy." It is the
earliest of the many echoes which the song of
the seraphim, as heard by Isaiah, has awakened
in Christian literature. Neither its precise date
nor author, nor the circumstances of its origin,
can now be ascertained. 8 All we are quite
certain of is that it goes back to the second
century of Christian history to that age which
touched upon the work of the apostles them-
selves and that it has from the first held its
place in the holy of holies of Christian worship ;
for it is found in all- the ante-Nicene liturgies as
well as in the principal ones of later times.
HYMNS OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH. 27
With the exception of one or two brief doxol-
ogies, it contains the oldest uninspired words
of Christian praise in any language. It runs
through the Christian centuries like a thread of
gold, joining in one the praises of devout hearts
in every age and clime. Even in the words of
translation in which we know it its simplicity
and beauty, its strength and majesty, are most
" It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we
should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto
thee, O Lord, holy Father, almighty, everlasting God.
Therefore with angels and archangels, and all the com-
pany of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious name,
evermore praising thee, and saying, Holy, holy, holy Lord
God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Glory be to thee, O Lord most high ! "
With this hymn should be mentioned an-
other not unlike it in spirit and history. It
also originated probably in the second century,
though if we give much place to internal evi-
dence we must assign to it an origin some-
what later than the " Tersanctus." From the
earliest times these have been associated to-
gether, both having held a place in the com-
munion service. We refer to the " Gloria in
28 GOSPEL SINGERS.
Excelsis," 9 a longer hymn than the " Tersanc-
tus " and more emotional; of wider scope and
burning utterances, " with whose ringing ac-
cents of praise mingles the miserere of con-
scious sin." It begins among the angels, tak-
ing up the strains of angelic rapture which
once it was permitted to mortal ears to hear,
" Glory to God in the highest, and on earth
peace, good-will to men ; " but speedily does
it come down into this mortal and sinful life,
taking up with solemn iteration the one prayer
of guilty humanity, " Have mercy upon us."
We are told that the early martyrs were wont
to sing this hymn on their way to their death;
and yet, like the blessed Christ, whose nature
and offices are in it so distinctly reflected, it is
equally suited to all who dwell in this mortal
" Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, good-
will to men. We praise thee, we bless thee, we glorify
thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory, O Lord
God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty. O
Lord, the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ ; O Lord God,
Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the
sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Thou that takest
away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Thou
that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer.
HYMNS OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH. 29
Thou that sittest at the 'right hand of God the Father,
have mercy upon us.- For thou only art holy ; thou
only art the Lord; thou only, O Christ, with the Holy
Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father."
There is still another hymn which is in
many regards more notable than either of
those already mentioned. It is at once a hymn
and a creed ; or, rather, as Mrs. Charles beau-
tifully says, " It is a creed taking wing and
soaring heavenward ; it is Faith seized with a
sudden joy as she counts her treasures, and
lays them at the feet of Jesus in a song; it
is the incense of prayer rising so near the rain-
bow round about the throne as to catch its
light and become radiant as well as fragrant-
a cloud of incense illumined into a cloud of
glory." We refer to the " Te Deum Lauda-
mus," J " perhaps the grandest anthem of Chris-
tian praise ever written. It is not necessary
to give it in full in this place, for scarcely any
thing in Christian literature is more familiar ;
but we will not forego the satisfaction of tran-
scribing a few of its grand sentences- sen-
tences which have been heard in every great
cathedral in the world, and wakened the echoes
of every clime beneath the sun :
30 GOSPEL SINGERS.
" We praise thee, O God ; we acknowledge thee to be the
Lord. All the earth doth worship thee, the Father ever-
lasting. To thee all angels cry aloud, the heavens and
all the powers therein. To thee cherubim and seraphim
continually do cry, Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Sab-
aoth. Heaven and earth are full of the majesty of thy
glory. The glorious company of the apostles praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the prophets praise thee. The
noble army of martyrs praise thee. The holy Church
throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee. . . .
Day by day we magnify thee ; and we worship thy name
ever, world without end."
These three great anonymous hymns of the
early Church never assumed a perfect metrical
form, but only that of measured prose, in this
regard resembling the songs and snatches or
fragments of song which are found in the New
Testament itself. But what is wanting in po-
etical structure is more than made up in dig-
nity, simplicity, and universal intelligibleness.
With little loss they have been translated into
many of the languages into which the Bible
itself has gone ; and every-where they stand
to express the catholicity of Christianity and
the unity of believers. They belong peculiarly
and exclusively to no sect or section of the
Church, but equally to the entire Church.
Neither Churchman nor Romanist can claim
HYMNS OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH. 31
exclusive proprietorship in them, but, like the
Bible itself, of which they are so evidently the
offspring, they belong to all who " profess and
call themselves Christians," of every tongue
We may not leave these earliest Christian
hymns without reflecting upon the grand and
sacred mission they have fulfilled. They have
lifted heavenward the worship of countless
millions. They have gone through the world
like sweet-voiced angels, leading our discord-
ant natures into harmony. In the cathedral,
the humble village church, the cell of the
monk, the palace of the king, the tent of the
norhad ; in the catacombs, by the martyr's
stake ; beneath arctic skies and torrid suns ;
in Asia, Africa, Europe, America, the islands
of the sea; wherever the angel having the
everlasting Gospel to preach has gone there
have this blessed trio gone too. And in the
supreme hour of mortal life they have been
uttered by the bedside of the dying, lifting
the soul into heavenly rapture even from the
depths -of mortal, agony. So it is that men
32 GOSPEL SINGERS.
" Learning here, by faith and love,
Songs of praise to sing above."
The oldest uninspired Christian hymn which
can with certainty be traced to its author was
written by Clement of Alexandria, who died
not later than 220 A. D. Of his personal his-
tory we know comparatively little ; but as to
his intellectual and spiritual life we have better
information. He represents the famous city
of Alexandria, which, more than any other,
was the meeting-place between the life of the
East and the West. Here was originated the
Hellenistic dialect of the Greek language,
which has for its precious contents the Septu-
agint version of the Old Testament, the writ-
ings of Philo and Josephus, and the books of
the New Testament. One of his teachers
came from Ionia, the birthplace of the grand-
est poem in all literature ; another from Ccele-
Syria, the vigor and glory of whose civilization
is to-day most eloquently attested by the won-
derful ruins at Baalbec ; another still came from
Assyria, a name suggestive of all that is ven-
erable in antiquity and illustrious in achieve-
ment ; while yet another came from Italy, but
HYMNS OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH. 33
originally from Egypt. He became familiar
with Jewish lore at the school of Tiberias, and
he learned Christianity from Pantaenus, who
stood at the head of the Academy in Alex-
andria. When Pantsenus left this position to
enter upon a mission to the heathen of India
and the East Clement became his successor,
and he in turn was succeeded by his own dis-
ciple, Origen, the most eminent and learned of
all the Christian fathers of the third century.
It is probable that the persecution under Sep-
timius Severus, A. D. 202, compelled Clement
to flee from Alexandria, and we hear of him
about ten years later visiting Jerusalem, and
from thence to Antioch, commended to the
Antiochans by the Bishop of Jerusalem as " a
virtuous and tried man, and one not alto-
gether unknown to them."
There is a special interest connected with
Clement's hymn as being the earliest versified
Christian hymn, and so the distinguished
leader of a shining host. It has been very
justly described as " a collection of images in-
terwoven like a stained window, of which the
eye loses the design in the complication of
34 GOSPEL SINGERS.
colors, upon which may be traced, as in quaint
old letters on a scroll, winding through all the
mosaic of tints, Christ all in all." There are
several metrical versions accessible to the En-
glish reader, but the strictly literal rendering
of Mrs. Charles will give a more just idea of its'
substance, though none at all of its poetic
structure and beauty :
" Mouth of babes who cannot speak,
Wing of nestlings who cannot fly,
Sure guide of babes,
Shepherd of royal sheep,
Gather thine own artless children
To praise in holiness,
To sing in guilelessness,
With blameless lips,
Thee, O Christ ! Guide of children.
Lead, O Shepherd
Of reasoning sheep !
Holy .One, lead,
King of speechless children !
The footsteps of Christ
Are the heavenly way !
Fountain of mercy,
Worker of virtue,
HYMNS OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH. 35
Of those who praise God, Christ Jesus
The heavenly milk
Of the sweet breasts
Of the bride of graces
Pressed out of thy wisdom !
With tender lips nourished
By the dew of the Spirit replenished
Their artless praises,
Their true hymns,
O Christ, our King !
Of the doctrine of life,
We hymn together ;
We hymn in simplicity,
The mighty child,
The chorus of peace,
The kindred of Christ,
The race of the temperate ;
We will praise together the God of peace." n
The eminent biblical scholar Rev. E. H.
Plumptre has made an excellent metrical ver-
sion, which may be helpful in bringing us
face to face with the original. We transcribe
two stanzas :
"Shepherd of sheep, that own
Their Master on the throne,
Stir up thy children meek
With guileless lips to speak,
In hymn and soul, thy praise.
36 GOSPEL SINGERS.
O King of saints, O Lord !
Mighty, all-conquering Word ;
Son of the highest God,
Wielding his wisdom's rod ;
Our stay when cares annoy,
Giver of endless joy ;
Of all ; our mortal race
Saviour of boundless grace
O Jesus, hear!
* * * *
Lead us, O Shepherd true !
Thy mystic sheep, we sue.
Lead us, O holy Lord,
Who from thy sons dost ward,
With all-prevailing charm,
Peril and curse and harm ;
O path where Christ hath trod ;
O way that leads to God ;
O word, abiding aye ;
O endless light on high,
Mercy's fresh-springing flood,
Worker of all things good ;
O glorious life of all
That on their Master call-
Christ Jesus, hear."
But that version of the hymn which is most
distinctly lyrical in its character, though it de-
parts very widely from the archaic simplicity
of the original, is the one commencing
Shepherd of tender youth.
It was made by the late H. M. Dexter, D.D.,
HYMNS OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH. 37
editor of The Congregationalist newspaper,
published in Boston. This version is now very
widely used, and is met with in most of the
leading hymnals both of America and Great
Britam. It is of special interest and signifi-
cance that this oldest of our versified hymns is
so full of Christ, and, at the same time, so clear
in its recognition of his relation to children.
May the singing of it by the churches in this
latter day bring us into more perfect sympathy
with that Saviour who pronounced upon child-
hood the benediction which carries in its bo-
som all blessed possibilities : " Of such is the
kingdom of God ! "
But the most conspicuous figure in ancient
hymnody is that of Ambrose, the famous
bishop of Milan and pastor of Monica, the
the mother of Augustine. He was a man of
unusual breadth and energy of character, and
it was given him to achieve a remarkable his-
tory. The son of a prominent civil officer, he
was himself governor of the province of Milan,
and as such was present to keep the peace in
a large popular assembly convened to consider
the matter of electing a bishop, when, by the
38 GOSPEL SINGERS.
voice of a child, he was himself designated for
the office. After what was doubtless a sincere
but ineffectual attempt to resist the will 'of the
people in this regard, he was baptized, dis-
tributed his property to the poor, and eight
days after was inducted into the episcopal of-
fice. He performed the duties of this high
office with zeal truly apostolic, asserting, as no
man had ever done before him, the loving in-
tolerance of Christianity as against heathen
religions. Over more than one emperor he
exerted a strong, if not absolutely command-
ing, influence. Theodosius the Great vener-
ated him as father, and openly declared that
he was the only bishop worthy of the title.
. When, in a fit of passion, this same Theodosius
inflicted terrible cruelties upon the rebellious
Thessalonians, Ambrose refused to admit him
to the altar until he had done public penance.
A special interest attaches to Ambrose be-
cause of his connection with the personal his-
tory of the distinguished Augustine, one of the
greatest men of his time or of any time. For
thirteen years had Monica carried on her heart
the great burden of a wayward son, waiting
HYMNS OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH. 39
upon God in faith and prayer, and ministering
to him with maternal patience and tenderness.
The stubbornness and rebellion of the young
man seemed to mock all her hopes, and she
sought refuge and strength in the sympathy
of the good Ambrose. With bitter weeping,
she poured her solicitude and sorrow into his
ear. "Wait," said the man of God, "wait
patiently ; the child of these tears cannot per-
ish." The event justified the prophecy; for
before Monica's star went down the sun of
Of all the men of the ancient Church the
impress of Ambrose upon her hymnody is
deepest. Though the tradition which connects
his name with the " Te Deum Laudamus " is
not to be trusted, yet to him must be accord-
ed the higher honor of having introduced the
singing of psalms, and especially antiphonal
and responsive singing, in the Western Church.
There are about a dozen hymns extant which
the Benedictine editors ascribe to Ambrose,
besides a very considerable number of the
same general character which are designated
Ambrosian. They are all remarkable for dig-
40 GOSPEL SINGERS.
nity and simplicity, both in style and struct-
ure, and the permanence of their life and wide
extent of their influence would seem to indi-
cate that a\hymn " when unadorned is adorned
the most." Born in the midst of theologic
strife, these hymns have served not only as
instruments of devotion, but as weapons against
heresy, and for fifteen hundred years have been
counted among the choice treasures of Chris-
tian literature. Among the best of these hymns
of Ambrose, in their most approved English
translations, are :
Now doth the sun ascend the sky,
translated from the Latin original, which Dan-
iel calls Ambrosian, by the Rev. Edward Cas-
wall ; this hymn was chanted by the priest-
hood, in full choir, at the death-bed of William
the Conqueror in A. D. 1087 ; and
The morning kindles all the sky, 13
translated by Mrs. Elizabeth Charles, the author
of the Schonberg-Cotta Family. Another ver-
sion, by Rev. Dr. A. R. Thompson, begins :
The morning purples all the sky.
A third Ambrosian hymn of importance is,
HYMNS OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH. 41
Redeemer of the nations, come. 14
It is difficult for us fully to appreciate the
mission and influence of these ancient hymns.
They served not only as channels of devotion,
but as witnesses for the truth and as safe-
guards against error. The testimony which
Augustine himself gives as to the influence of
the church music on his heart may well be
taken as truthfully illustrative of the value of
this feature of public religious service. " The
hymns and songs of thy Church moved my soul
intensely. Thy truth was distilled by them
into my heart. The flame of piety was kin-
dled, and my tears flawed for joy." ia This
practice of singing had been of no long stand-
ing at Milan. It began about the year when
Justina persecuted Ambrose (A. D. 386). The
pious people watched in the church, prepared
to die with their pastor. Augustine's mother
sustained an eminent part in watching and
praying. Then hymns and psalms, after the
manner of the East, were sung with a view of
preserving the people from weariness ; and
thence the custom spread through the Chris-
tian churches. 16
42 GOSPEL SINGERS.
EARLIER MEDIAEVAL HYMNS.
ROM the testimony of Augustine, quoted
at the close of the preceding chapter, we
are led to understand that hymns and music
were all the time coming into greater promi-
nence in the services of the Church. As was
therefore to be expected, the number of hymns
representing the mediaeval period of Christian
history, which, in round numbers, may be taken
as extending from the close of the fifth cent-
ury to the close of the fifteenth (500-1500), is
many times greater than those representing
the ancient Church. At the beginning of the
sixth century it is doubtful if there were in all
one hundred Christian hymns in addition to
the Jewish psalms, which were then doubtless
widely used. When Luther arose it is esti-
mated that there were at least one thousand.
As compared with those of the ancient Church
mediaeval hymns are less extensive but more
intensive. They comprehend less, but ex-
EARLIER MEDIAEVAL HYMNS. 43
press more, and so are more likely to be used
with loving interest. As was to be expected,
the development of church life continually
tended to more elaborate and impressive cere-
monial, and hence church music seems to have
undergone a process of rapid development.
Hymns began to appear in greater numbers,
and were appropriated to a greater variety of
ecclesiastical uses. But they came very wide-
ly to be regarded as intended mainly for pub-
lic service, the exclusive property of the church
and choir. Hence, instead of simple lyrical effu-
sions, as were many of the Jewish psalms,
suited to the individual, the family, and child-
hood, we recognize a tendency to make the
hymn a stately and formal matter, fitted to
hold a place in grand and impressive church
ceremonials. In the earlier part of this me-
diaeval period we find the hymns clustering
about the person and offices of Jesus Christ
and of the Holy Ghost ; but in the latter part
of this period some of the most famous such,
for instance, as the " Celestial Country " and
the " Dies Irae " look forward to the second
advent and the future life, though others were
44 GOSPEL SINGERS.
devoted to the praise of saints and the cele-
bration of relics. But in all this period, as
well as in the preceding, the hymns which have
become universal and permanent are those
which express, in directest and simplest man-
ner, the deep aspirations of the devout heart
for salvation and life through the offices of
the Saviour and the power of the Holy Ghost.
Bernard's " O sacred head, now wounded,"
Gregory's "Veni, Creator Spiritus," King
Robert's " Veni, Sancte Spiritus," and the
" Veni, Redemptor Gentium " of Ambrose
are illustrations in point.
The earliest of these mediaeval hymns which
have come to a wide celebrity were written by
Venantius Fortunatus, an Italian gentleman,
scholar, priest, and finally bishop, who was
born about A. D. 530, and died A. D. 609.
As in many other instances, these songs are
more famous than the singer. Indeed, it is
not probable that his name would have come
down to these later Christian centuries had it
not been made illustrious by his justly cele-
brated hymns. That hymn of his called from
its opening words " Vexilla Regis Prodeunt "
EARLIER MEDIAEVAL HYMNS. 4$
has been pronounced by Dr. John Mason
Neale " one of the grandest in the treasury of
the Latin Church." It was composed to cele-
brate the reception of certain relics by his pa-
troness and friend Queen Radegund, and
Gregory, Bishop of Tours, previous to the con-
secration of the church at Poictiers. It came
at once to be used as a processional hymn,
and, from the character of the theme, in those
services of the Church devoted to the memory
of our Saviour's passion and death. 17 Several
English versions of this hymn have been made,
among the best of which is one by Rev. John
The royal banner is unfurled ;
and one by Dr. John Mason Neale :
The royal banners forward go.
Of these the first is best suited for general use
as a hymn, though the second represents the
original more faithfully and vividly.
There is another hymn of Fortunatus
" Salve Festa Dies " some of the associations
of which are still more notable. It was the
most widely used of all the processional hymns
46 GOSPEL SINGERS.
during the Middle Ages. It was sung by Je-
rome of Prague in the midst of his dying ago-
nies. Cranmer translated it into English, and
wrote a letter to King Henry VIII. requesting
its formal authorization for use in the churches,
together with other similar hymns and lita-
nies. This translation of Cranmer has been
lost, but the letter is still preserved among
the state papers of Great Britain. Several
English versions of this hymn have been made,
one of the best of which is that commencing
Welcome, happy morning ! age to age shall say. 18
Contemporary with Fortunatus was Gregory
the Great, born of a noble family in Rome
about 550, and dying 604 a man equaled
by no other of his time and by very few of
any time. A monument of his relation to
church music is the Gregorian chant, which
places him not by the side of Ambrose in this
regard, but clearly above him. This was in-
tended for the choir and the people to sing
in unison. It is one of the many interesting
facts connecting the name of Gregory with
Great Britain that the first attempt to intro-
EARLIER MEDIEVAL HYMNS. 47
duce this chant into the churches resulted in
a tumult in which many lives were lost.
Another of the most interesting associations
of Gregory with English-speaking peoples is
through the great hymn which is prevailingly
ascribed to him, "Veni, Creator Spiritus."
By many this hymn has been attributed to
Charlemagne, but by most, and with better
reason, to Gregory. 19 No other hymn has
had more honorable recognition in the serv-
ices of both the Catholic and Protestant di-
visions of the Church. It has been used at the
coronation of kings, the creation of popes, the
consecration of bishops, the opening of synods
and conferences, and the ordination of minis-
ters. After the Reformation it was one of the
first hymns translated into both German and
English, and has doubtless in these versions
come to its best -and most spiritual uses.
Bishop Cosin's English version was intro-
duced into the Book of Common Prayer
in 1662, and later into the Methodist Disci-
pline, the ordinal of which was taken sub-
stantially from the English prayer-book. At
no point in the services of either the Episcopal
48 GOSPEL SINGERS.
or Methodist Church is the effect more impres-
sive than when, after the solemn hush of si-
lent prayer, the bishop and clergy take up
" Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
And lighten, with celestial fire," etc.
On account of a slight irregularity in the meter
of the last two lines this version of Bishop
Cosin is not found in many of the hymn-
books, though it has very properly been given
a place in the Methodist Hymnal. Many other
versions of this hymn into English have been
made, most of them within the last half cent-
ury. One of the best is that commencing
... O come, Creator, Spirit blest !
Still another hymn of Gregory, translated by
Ray Palmer, is found in recent collections :
O Christ, our King, Creator, Lord !
With Gregory's " Veni, Creator Spiritus "
should be associated one of somewhat later
date, but almost equally notable in character
and history ; namely, the " Veni, Sancte Spir-
itus," which has been pronounced by an emi-.
EARLIER MEDIAEVAL HYMNS. 49
nent authority " the loveliest of all the hymns
in the whole circle of Latin poetry.-' Its au-
thor was Robert II., King of France, who was
born 972, came to the throne 997, and died in
1031. We know little of his life; but it has
been well said that if we knew nothing the
hymn itself gives evidence of having been
composed by one " acquainted with many sor-
rows and also with many consolations." Of
the former, the history of the troublous times
in which the king lived is sufficient proof; of
the latter, the hymn is sweetly expressive.
The king was a great lover of music, and used
sometimes to go to the church of St. Denis
and take direction of the choir at matins and
vespers, and sing with the monks. It is said
by Dean Trench that some of his musical as
well as hymnic compositions still hold their
place in the services of the Catholic Church.
The extraordinary perfection of the hymn
" Veni, Sancte Spiritus " has made it exceed-
ingly difficult to produce a satisfactory ver-
Of the many excellent versions of this pre-
cious hymn, that of Ray Palmer is one of the
50 GOSPEL SINGERS.
best and most musical, though it departs from
the very simple measure of the original :
Come, Holy Ghost, in love. 20
Two hymnists of lesser note stand about
midway between Gregory the Great and King
Robert ; namely, Andrew of Crete, who* was
born about 660 and died in 732, and John of
Damascus, who died about a half century
later. Both were born in that oldest of cities,
Damascus, which, from the time of Abraham,
has stood forth, always with distinctness and
sometimes with commanding influence, in the
history of the world. The former, in his later
years, was Archbishop of Crete. He partici-
pated in the monothelite controversy, which
even then agitated the Church in some locali-
ties, at first giving his influence in favor of
this heresy, but afterward strongly against it.
One of the best known of the hymns from his
pen which are still retained by the Churches
is that commencing
Christian, dost thou see them ? 2l
The original was written for use in the second
week of the great fast of Lent, and this fact is
EARLIER MEDIAEVAL HYMNS. 5 1
very clearly reflected in the hymn itself. The
translation is by Dr. Neale. One other hymn
of similar character, from this same author,
has found a place in some modern hymn-
O the mystery passing wonder.
More interest attaches to the personal his-
tory of John of Damascus, as he is also more
eminent as a hymn-writer. Born at Damascus,
he was for some years a priest in Jerusalem,
where he also held, an important civil office
under the caliph. He was an accomplished
scholar, and entered into the theological con-
troversies of his time with great zeal and elo-
quence. But as many another has done, he
held " the unsheathed sword of controversy
until its glittering point drew down the light-
ning." He retired from the lists, and spent
the last years of his life in literary and relig-
ious exercises in a convent between Jerusalem
and the Dead Sea. He has been called the
greatest poet among the Greek fathers, as he
is also the last. His best known hymn,
The day of resurrection, 89
$2 GOSPEL SINGERS.
was written as a hymn of victory, and was
" sung at the first hour of Easter morning,
when, amid general exultation, the people
were shouting, ' Christ is risen.' " Its intrinsic
excellence is only equaled by its appropriate-
ness to the soul-stirring occasion. " Of the
many hymns of the Church which celebrate
the resurrection, perhaps no other one in com-
mon use was written so near the very spot
where this crowning miracle of our holy relig-
ion actually occurred."
St. Joseph of the Studium, born in the isl-
and of Sicily 808, and dying 883, is repre-
sented in our modern collections by several
The most popular of his hymns is the one
O happy band of pilgrims.
The version is by Dr. Neale, and is a general
favorite a bright and joyous Christian hymn.
Joseph was early driven from his native island
to Thessalonica, where he was first a monk and
ultimately an archbishop ; but in consequence
of the fierce iconoclastic persecution, was
EARLIER MEDIEVAL HYMNS. 53
obliged to betake himself to the covert of the
Western Church. Later he was taken by pi-
rates, and enslaved in the island of Crete ; but
it is said of him that he *' made use of his cap-
tivity to bring his captors in subjection to the
faith." Afterward he betook himself to Rome,
from which place he went into exile with his
friend Photius. Recalled from this, he devoted
himself to literary pursuits, and wrote many
hymns, most of which, however, being in praise
of saints, are little known.
In this general period of Christian history
lived that man who may rightly be designated
the illustrious leader of the most of hymn-
writers in our own language the Venerable
Bede. Few men of this period stand so fully
commended to our attention and our admira-
tion. Noble in character, profound in scholar-
ship, unwearied in labors, wise and zealous in
his devotion to the Church, he was a man to be
both revered and loved. It is said of him that
he took great delight in the singing of hymns,
and in his last sickness, when his asthma pre-
vented his sleeping, he was wont to solace
himself in this way. Among the hymns for
54 GOSPEL SINGERS.
which the modern Church is indebted to Bede
The great forerunner of the morn.
A hymn of glory let us sing.
A hymn for martyrs sweetly sing.
This last is perhaps the best known. It was
inserted in the earlier editions of the Hymns
Ancient and Modern, the version being changed
from that of Dr. Neale. The original has stan-
zas of eight lines, each of which begins and
ends with the same line. To illustrate, we
transcribe two stanzas :
" Fear not, O little flock and blest,
The lion that your life oppressed ;
To heavenly pastures ever new
The heavenly Shepherd leadeth you ;
Who, dwelling now on Zion's hill,
The Lamb's dear footsteps follow still ;
By tyrant there no more distressed,
Fear not, O little flock and blest.
And every tear is wiped away
By your dear Father's hand for aye ;
Death hath no power to hurt you more
Whose own is life's eternal shore.
EARLIER MEDIAEVAL HYMNS. 55
Who sow their seed, and sowing 1 weep,
In everlasting joy shall reap,
What time they shine in heavenly day,
And every tear is wiped away."
Another of these hymns shows still more
power of lyrical expression, and is not unsuited
for use in the congregations :
" A hymn of glory let us sing ;
New hymns throughout the world shall ring ;
By a new way none ever trod
Christ mounted to the throne of God.
" The apostles on the mountain stand,
The mystic mount in holy land ;
They, with the virgin mother, see
Jesus ascend in majesty.
" The angels say to the eleven,
Why stand ye gazing into heaven ?
This is the Saviour, this is he ;
Jesus hath triumphed gloriously.
" They said the Lord should come again,
As these beheld him rising then,
Calm, soaring through the radiant sky,
Mounting its dazzling summits high.
" May our affections thither tend,
And thither constantly ascend,
Where, seated on the Father's throne,
Thee, reigning in the heavens, we own ! "
56 GOSPEL SINGERS.
LATER MEDIAEVAL HYMNS.
JN a desolate region near the river Seine, in
the north-easterly part of France, is a wild
valley inclosed by mountains, which in the
eleventh century was a nest of robbers, and for
that reason was called " The Valley of Worm-
wood ; " but after the banditti were driven out
it was called Clairvaux " Clear Valley."
Here, in 1115, was established a monastery of
the Cistercian Order, with a young man of
twenty-four as abbot, famous in history as
Bernard of Clairvaux. So magical was his in-
fluence that speedily this sterile valley became
one of the great centers of power for all Eu-
rope, rivaling even Rome itself. From it were
sent out missionaries to all parts of France,
Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, England,
Ireland, Denmark, and Sweden for the estab-
lishment of new monasteries, or the reforma-
tion of old ones ; so that at the time of Ber-
nard's death, thirty-seven years later, there
LATER MEDIEVAL -HYMNS. - 57
were no less than one hundred and sixty mon-
asteries which had been formed under his
Bernard was .born in a small town in Bur-
gundy in the year 1091, and was educated at
the University of Paris. His father was a
knight, his mother .a saint. To this superior
woman, as to the mothers of Augustine and
the Wesleys, must be attributed much of the
strength of character exhibited by her remark-
able son.. She brought all her children
seven sons and a daughter as soon as -they
saw the light, to the altar, that she might sol-
emnly consecrate them to God ; which conse-
cration she followed up by wise, tender, patient,
and loving instruction. As a result, strong re-
ligious impressions were early made upon the
mind of Bernard, who was the third of her
sons, and after his mother's death they ma-
tured into his taking the vows of monastic
Bernard was altogether the grandest man of
this dark time. Luther calls him " the best
monk that ever lived." In. his personal influ-
ence he was mightier than kings or popes, and
$8 GOSPEL SINGERS.
was often the chosen and trusted counselor of
both. He was repeatedly sought as bishop for
influential centers in the Church, but steadily
refused all ecclesiastical preferment.
What distinguished Bernard above all other
men of his time, and most men of all time,
was the union in his character of a piety singu-
larly ardent and spiritual with transcendent
administrative ability. Almost the only man
fully worthy to be compared with him in this
regard is John Wesley. He was both contem-
plative and practical. He felt the full power
of the forces of the invisible world, and under
their pressure he brought to bear upon
the outward world a many-sided activity. He
felt himself to be in the world on God's errand.
"I must," he says, "whether willing or un-
willing, live for him who has acquired a prop-
erty in my life by giving up his own for me."
" To whom am I more bound to live than to
him whose death is the cause of my living ?
To whom can I devote my life with greater
advantage than to him who promises me the
life eternal ? To whom with greater necessity
than to him who threatens the everlasting fire ?
LATER MEDLEY AL HYMNS. 59
But I serve him with freedom, since love brings
freedom. To this, dear brethren, I invite you.
Serve in that love which casteth out fear, feels
no toils, thinks of no merit, asks no reward,
and yet carries with it a mightier constraint
than all things else." In such words as these
do we see the secret of his wonderful and sub-
Seven poems from the pen of Bernard have
been preserved ; but most of his hymns which
are in use are from one of these different ver-
sions of different parts. The best known of
these hymns are :
O sacred head now wounded.
Of Him who did salvation bring.
We sinners, Lord, with earnest heart.
Jesus, thou joy of loving hearts.
Jesus, the very thought of thee.
O Jesus, King most wonderful.
O Jesus, thou the beauty art. 83
The first of these is the most famous, and
indeed one of the most distinguished of all
mediaeval hymns. In its present form it is a
60 GOSPEL SINGERS.
translation of a translation, and hence is, in a
special sense, a monument of the unity of the
Christian Church. Its first translator into
German, and in some sense co-author, was
that prince of German hymnists, Paul Ger-
hardt; while the translator into English w'as
the distinguished American Presbyterian, Dr.
James W. Alexander. In this version the
hymn is adopted in most English hymnals of
recent date ; the only ones showing any dis-
position to pass it by being those of the so-
called liberalistic faith, it being unacceptable
in them because of the prominence it gives to
the death of Christ. Dr. Philip Schaff says:
" This classical hymn has shown an imperish-
able vitality in passing from the Latin into the
German and from the German into the En-
lish, and proclaiming in three tongues, and in
the name of three confessions the Catholic,
the Lutheran, and the Reformed with equal
effect, the dying love of our Saviour and our
boundless indebtedness to him." It was this
hymn which the missionary Schwartz sang,
literally with his dying breath. Indeed he was
thought to be already dead, and his friend and
LATER MEDIAEVAL HYMNS. 6l
fellow-laborer, Gericke, with several of the
native Tamil converts, began to chant over his
lifeless remains this hymn of Bernard, which
had been translated in Tamil, and was a spe-
cial favorite with Schwartz. The first verse was
finished without any sign of recognition, or
even of life, from the still form before them ; but
when the last clause was over, the voice which
was supposed to be hushed in death took up
the second stanza of the hymn, completed it
with distinct and articulate utterance, and then
was heard no more. His spirit had risen on
this hymn into the society of angels and the
presence of God.
By an eminent authority Adam of St. Vic-
tor is pronounced " the greatest of the Latin
hymnologists of the Middle Ages." So little
is known of his personal history that it is still
a matter of uncertainty whether he was born
in the island of Great Britain or in Brittany in
France, though probably the latter. He pur-
sued his studies at Paris, and his works show
him to have been a man of thorough literary and
theological culture. He was contemporary
with Bernard of Clairvaux, but seems to have
62 GOSPEL SINGERS.
outlived him by at least a quarter of a century.
He was the most prolific as well as elegant
hymn-writer of the mediaeval period, leaving be-
hind him about one hundred hymns, of which
at least one half are of acknowledged excellence.
As often happens, however, his hymns have a
special charm and subtlety which seem almost
indissolubly connected with the language in
which they were written, and so have baffled the
translators. Very few of them have come into
our own language in a form which either does
justice to the original, or is well suited for use
in public worship. Miller, in his Singers and
Songs of the Church^ quotes two from the
People s Hymnal:
The Church on earth with answering love.
The praises that the blessed know.
The famous hymns of this period are " The
Celestial Country," the " Stabat Mater," and
the " Dies Iras ; " which have been pronounced,
and in the order given, the most beautiful,
the most pathetic, and the most sublime of
The author of the first was Bernard of
LATER MEDIEVAL HYMNS. 63
Cluny, of whom we know almost nothing save
the name, and that he lived in the first half of
the twelfth century. Even the place of his
birth is a matter of uncertainty, most author-
ities placing it in Morlaix, in Bretagne ; others
in Morlas, in .the Pyrenees Mountains, while
one author gives his birthplace to England,
and classes him with her illustrious writers.
Bernard's great poem " De Contemptu
Mundi " contains three thousand lines, writ-
ten in a meter so difficult as to give color to
the claim of the author that he could never
have written without the special help and
inspiration of God. Each line in the orig-
inal consists of three parts, the first two of
which rhyme with each other, while the lines
themselves are in couplets of double rhyme.
The music of the original is easily recognized,
even by those who are not familiar with the
Latin tongue :
" Hora novissima, tempora pessima, sunt vigilemus
Ecce minaciter, imminet arbiter, ille supremus,
Imminet, imminet, et mala terminet asqua coronet
Recta reniuneret, anxia liberet, aethera donet." 24
A portion of this poem was translated a few
64 GOSPEL SINGERS.
years since by Dr. Neale, and given to the
public under this title " The Rhythm of Ber-
nard de Morlaix, Monk of Cluny, on the Ce-
lestial Country " from which version have
been taken the hymns in common use from
Bernard. These are :
The world is very evil.
Brief life is here our portion.
For thee, O dear, dear country.
Jerusalem, the golden.
The editor of The Seven Great Hymns of the
Mediczval Church calls this last poem " a descrip-
tion of the -celestial land, more beautiful than
ever before was wrought out in verse." " The
hymn of this heavenly monk," says Christo-
phers, " has found its way into the hearts of
all Christians, and into the choirs and public
services of all Christian churches." Perhaps
no other hymns on heaven -are more widely
used, or more strictly ecumenical, than those
which have been made from this poem. It
may not be without interest to read the testi-
mony of the author of the version as to the
music to which these words should be sung:
LATER MEDIAEVAL HYMNS. 65
" I have been so often asked to what tune the
words of Bernard should be sung that I may
here mention that of Mr. Ewing, the earliest
written, the best known, and, with children,
the most popular ; that of my friend, the Rev.
H. L. Jenner, perhaps the most ecclesiastical ;
and that of another friend, Mr. Edmund Sed-
ding, which, to my mind, best expresses the
meaning of the words." Of these the tune
Ewing is in common use in the American
churches, and is certainly fully deserving of
the honor of being permanently associated
with " Jerusalem, the golden."
The " Stabat Mater " was written a hundred
years later by Jacobus de Benedictus, a man of
a noble Italian family, and a jurist of eminent
distinction. Broken-hearted at the death of
his wife who lost her life by an accident at a
theater he renounced the world to join the
order of St. Francis, seeking by self-inflicted
physical tortures to chastise -his soul into sub-
mission and peace. It is also related, though
this has been questioned, that his sorrows drove
him to insanity and death.
The hymn is characterized in a pre-eminent
66 GOSPEL SINGERS.
degree by tenderness and pathos ; in these re-
gards surpassing all other hymns of the Latin
Church. One of the best translations of it is
that made by our own distinguished scholar
and statesman, the late General John A. Dix,
ex-Governor of the State of New York.
We quote a few lines of this version, which
is faithful and felicitous in diction and
measure : 25
" Near the cross the Saviour bearing
Stood the mother lone, despairing,
Bitter tears down-falling fast ;
Wearied was her heart with grieving,
Worn her breast with sorrow heaving,
Through her soul the sword had passed.
" Ah ! how sad and broken-hearted
Was that blessed mother, parted
From the God-begotten One ;
How her loving heart did languish,
When she saw the mortal anguish
Which o'erwhelmed her peerless Son !
" Who could witness, without weeping,
Such a flood of sorrow sweeping
O'er the stricken mother's breast ?
Who contemplate, without being
Moved to kindred grief by seeing,
Son and mother thus oppressed ?
LATER MEDIEVAL HYMNS. 6/
" For our sins she saw him bending,
And the cruel lash descending
On his body stripped and bare ;
Saw her own dear Jesus dying,
Heard his spirit's last outcrying,
Sharp with anguish and despair.
" Gentle mother, love's pure fuuntain !
Cast, O cast on me the mountain
Of thy grief, that I may weep ;
Let my heart, with ardor burning,
Christ's unbounded love returning,
His rich favor win and keep."
There is a companion hymn to this, written
by the same author, which has but recently
been brought to the attention of the Christian
public." It is called the " Mater Speciosa,"
as might the other be called the " Mater Do-
lorosa." From the oblivion of centuries it has
been rescued by editors and translators of the
present generation, Dr. Neale having given his
English version of this hymn to the public in
1866. As the "Stabat Mater" represents
Mary standing at the cross, the " Mater Spe-
ciosa " represents her by the manger. As,
therefore, the first is a hymn for Good Friday,
the latter is a Christmas hymn of singular del-
68 GOSPEL SINGERS.
icacy, beauty, and warmth of feeling. We -
quote a part of Dr. Neale's version :
" Full of beauty stood the mother
By the manger, blest o'er other,
Where her little one she lays-;
For her inmost soul's elation,
In its fervid jubilation,
Thrills with ecstasy of praise.
"O ! what glad, what rapturous feeling
Filled that blessed mother, kneeling
By the sole-begotten One !
How, her heart with laughter bounding,
She beheld the work astounding,
Saw his birth the glorious Son !
"Jesus lying in the manger,
Heavenly armies sang the stranger,
In the great joy-bearing part ;
Stood the old man. with the maiden,
No words speaking, only laden
With this wonder in their heart.
" Mother, fount of love still flowing,
Let me, with thy rapture glowing,
Learn to sympathize with thee ;
Let me raise my heart's devotion
Up to Christ with pure emotion,
That accepted I may be "
But the great hymn of this period, and of all
LATER MEDLEVAL HYMNS. 69
periods, is the " Dies Irae." It is commonly
attributed to a Franciscan monk of the
thirteenth century- Thomas of . Celano-^-but
the evidence as to the identity of the author is
by no means conclusive. Thomas was a per-
sonal friend as well as pupil of St. Francis,
and was selected by Pope Gregory to write
his life. His native home was in a small town
in the kingdom ,of Naples; but so little is
known of him that not even the dates of his
birth and death can be accurately given. In
truth, then, this great hymn may be fitly char-
acterized as " a solemn strain, sung by an in-
visible singer." " There is a hush in the great
ch6ral service of the universal Church, when
suddenly, we scarcely know whence, a single
voice, low and trembling, breaks the silence ;
so low and grave that it seems to deepen the
stillness, yet so clear and deep that its softest
tones are heard throughout Christendom and
vibrate through every heart grand and echo-
ing as an organ, yet homely and human, as if
the words were spoken rather than sung. And
through the listening multitudes solemnly
that melody flows on, sung not to the multi-
7O GOSPEL SINGERS.
tudes, but ' to the Lord/' and therefore carry-
ing with it the hearts of men, till the singer is
no more solitary ; but the self-same, tearful,
solemn strain pours from the lips of the whole
Church as if from one voice, and yet each one
sings as if alone to God."
The hymn has been a force in the world of
letters as well as that of religious thought and
experience. It has passed into upward of two
hundred translations, and has called forth the
admiration of the most eminent scholars. The
sturdy Dr. Johnson confessed, with Sir Walter
Scott, that he could not recite it without tears.
Mozart made it the basis of his celebrated
requiem, and became so intensely excited by
the theme as to hasten his own death. With
what power do those few stanzas burst upon us
in Scott's " Lay of the Last Minstrel ! "
" Then mass was sung, and prayers were said,
And solemn requiem for the dead,
And bells tolled out their mighty peal,
For the departed spirit's weal ;
And ever in the office close
The hymn of intercession rose ;
And far the echoing aisles prolong
The awful burden of the song
LATER MEDIAEVAL HYMNS. Jl
' Dies irae, dies ilia,
Solvet saeclum in favilla ; '
While the pealing organ rung ;
Were it meet with sacred strain
To close my lay, so light and vain,
- Thus the holy fathers sung:
" That day of wrath, that dreadful day,
When heaven and earth shall pass away,
What power shall be the sinner's stay?
How shall he meet that dreadful day ?
" When, shriveling like a parched scroll,
The flaming heavens together roll ;
When louder yet, and yet more dread,
Swells the high trump that wakes the dead ! '
" O ! on that day, that wrathful day,
-When man to judgment wakes from clay,
Be thou the trembling sinner's stay,
Though heaven and earth shall pass away ! "
This version by Sir Walter Scott is not
strictly a translation, nor yet an imitation, but
rather one of the many echoes which the " Dies
Irae " has awakened in the literature of the
world. It is, however, faithful to the spirit of
the original, and of remarkable power. The
hold which it had on the mind of its eminent
author was shown by his frequent repetition of
it in the delirium of his final illness.
72 GOSPEL SINGERS.
As already stated, the versions of this hymn
may be counted by the hundred. A single
author collected about eighty versions into the
German language alone. A large number of
excellent versions have been made into our
own language by Irons, Coles, Earl Roscom-
mon, Crashaw, Stanley, General Dix, and
others. Several of these are of marked excel-
lence ; but that of Dean Stanley has pome ad-
vantages for being set to music, white it is at
the same time very faithful as a translation.
The opening line of this version is :
Day of wrath ! O dreadful day !
The version of Dr. Irons will, howe~r, be
thought by many to represent more vividly
the spirit of the original, though the meter is
such as to make it very difficult to find irvusic
for it adapted to the ordinary use of a congre-
gation. From this version we transcribe :
" Day of wrath ! O day of mourning !
See ! once more the cross returning,
Heaven and earth in ashes burning !
" O what fear man's bosom rendeth,
When from heaven the Judge descendeth,
On whose sentence all dependeth !
LATER MEDLEVAL HYMNS. 73
" Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth,
Through earth's sepulchers it ringeth,
All before the throne it bringeth !
" Death is struck, and nature quaking,
All creation is awaking,
To its Judge an answer making !
" Lo ! the book, exactly worded,
Wherein all hath been recorded ;
.Thence shall judgment be awarded !
" What shall I, frail man, be pleading ?
Who for me be interceding,
When the just are mercy needing ?
" Righteous Judge of retribution,
Grant thy gift of absolution
Ere that reckoning day's conclusion ! "
About a century earlier dates the more joy-
ous but less famous counterpart of the " Dies
Irae," known as the " Dies Ilia." Its author
is unknown. It is well represented in the ex-
cellent version of Mrs. Charles :
Lo ! the day, the day of life !
74 GOSPEL SINGERS.
HYMNS FROM GERMAN AUTHORS.
^ "P HE hymns of Germany have been her true
national liturgy. In England the worship
of the Reformed Church was linked to that of
past ages by the Prayer-book ; in Germany by
the hymn-book." We can mark some connec-
tions between the hymns and music of the
Middle Ages and the psalmody of the German
Church, showing the steps by which the one
passed over into the other.
The humble beginnings of German hymnol-
ogy, which have come to a development so mar-
velously rich, were made in the ninth century.
In the time of Charlemagne the only part
which the people were allowed to take in the
services of the church was to chant the " Kyrie
Eleison " in the litany, and that only on ex-
traordinary occasions, such as the great feasts,
processions, and the consecration of churches.
But in Germany during the following century
short verses in the vernacular were introduced
HYMNS FROM GERMAN AUTHORS. 75
at such times, of which the refrain was " Kyrie
Eleison," and this was the beginning of hym-
nody in the German language. The oldest
German Easter hymn dates from the twelfth
century. The Latin hymn, " In the midst of
life," one sentence of which stands in the En-
glish Prayer-book in the order for the burial
of the dead, and is said actually to have been
taken by Robert Hall as a text for the prepa-
ration of a sermon, under the impression that
it was a sentence of holy Scripture, was writ-
ten by Notker, a learned Benedictine, near the
beginning of the tenth century. It was sug-
gested to him as he was watching some work-
men who were building the bridge of Martins-
burg at the peril of their lives. The hymn at-
tained to a wonderful celebrity, and was even
used as a battle-song, until finally its use in
this way was forbidden on account of its being
supposed to exercise a magical influence. It
was early translated into German, and this
version formed a part of the service for the
burial of the dead as early as the thirteenth
The Flagellant fanaticism exerted an impor-
?6 GOSPEL SINGERS.
tant influence in fostering and establishing the
practice of singing hymns in the vernacular of
the people. Processions of these pious pil-
grims would go through the towns and cities
singing hymns and chants which found ready
access to the hearts of the people, and became
a very influential factor in this extraordinary
movement. The great Hussite movement,
which stirred the Church more profoundly and
interested some of the most cultured and spir-
itual men of the fifteenth century, gave new
impetus and dignity to this tendency, so that
really useful popular hymns were originated.
In 1 504 a considerable volume of hymns, which
had been in use among the " Bohemian Breth-
ren," was published by Lucas, one of their
bishops. In the fifteenth century German
hymns came to be used in special services and
solemnities of the Church, and, in some cases,
even at the principal service and at mass.
Mixed hymns, half Latin and half German,
also contributed their influence to breaking
down the barrier between the learned clergy
and the common people, and also between the
Church and the home. Translations and adap-
HYMNS FROM GERMAN AUTHORS. 77
tations of the old Latin hymns now begin to
appear. In this later mediaeval period, too, we
mark for the first time a type of hymn which
has too often since then re-appeared, and some-
times in forms peculiarly shocking and profane.
Secular and love songs were, by slight changes,
appropriated to religious uses, carrying the
original melody with them into the service of
But it was reserved for the Church of the
Reformation to show the true office of the
hymn and to illustrate its character. As the
warmth of spring releases the streams from
their icy fetters, and calls back again their rip-
pling melodies, so did the light and warmth
of the Reformation era bring back into the
homes and hearts of the people their long-lost
music. This is illustrated in the sudden and
extraordinary multiplication of hymns, and the
great variety of uses to which they were ap-
propriated. When Luther arose there were
not, so far as can now be told, more than one
thousand hymns in the entire Church ; now
there are more than one hundred thousand.
Then the hymn wa^s something grand, formal,
78 ' GOSPEL SINGERS.
artistic, suited for liturgical use, the peculiar and
exclusive property of the priest, the choir, and
the temple ; now the Church is beginning to
learn that the whole universe is set to music ;
that the echoes of the " morning stars " are
always resounding in our air ; that wherever
there is a worshiper there may be, and ought
to be, a hymn. As the earliest Christian hymn
whose author can be identified is suited es--
pecially to childhood and the life of the home ;
as the " Magnificat " and the " Nunc Dimit-
tis " were primarily private and personal rather
than public and liturgical ; as the psalms of
the Jews touch upon all conditions of their life,
many of them seeming to be for the household
or the individual rather than the great assem-
bly, so again hymns became the liturgy of the
people, and the words of joyous, holy song
shook the world.
Martin Luther was so passionately fond of
music that it used -to be said of him that his
soul could find its fullest expression only
through his flute amid tears. "Music, "said
he, " is one of the most beautiful and noble
gifts of God. It is the best solace to a man in
HYMNS FROM GERMAN AUTHORS. 79
sorrow ; it quiets, quickens, and refreshes the
heart. I give music the next place and the
highest honor after theology." A similar tes-
timony he bears also to poetry, confessing that
he has been " more influenced and delighted
by poetry than by the most eloquent oration
of Cicero or Demosthenes." His enemies
said of him that he did more harm by his
hymns than by his sermons; and Coleridge
says "he did as much for the Reformation by
his hymns as by his translation of the Bible."
Thirty-seven of Luther's hymns have been
preserved, some of them being versions of the
Hebrew psalms, others versions of the old
Latin hymns, while still others are original
both as to form and subject-matter. The
earliest of these is believed to be that one the
English version of which commences,
Flung to the heedless winds, 27
which was called forth by the martyrdom of
two young Christian monks, who were burnt
alive at Brussels. Interpreted by such an
event, it is a sublime and characteristic testi-
mony to the same faith which is so resplen-
dent in Luther's entire history. But his great
80 GOSPEL SINGERS.
hymn, and perhaps, taken all in all, his most
characteristic production, is that commencing
" Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott " "A strong
tower is our God." Rough and rugged, full
of strength, but with little beauty, it is emi-
nently worthy of him whose very words were
half battles. It was composed at the time
when the evangelical princes delivered their
protest at the second Diet of Spires, in 1529,
from which event the name " Protestant " had
its origin. The hymn at once became one of
the watchwords of the Reformation, as it has
since come to be regarded the national hymn
of Germany. After Luther's death, one day
Melanchthon was at Weimar, with his banished
friends Jonas and Creuziger, and heard a little
girl singing this hymn in the street. " Sing
on, my little maid," said he ; " you little know
what famous people you comfort."
One of the very best of the many English
versions of this hymn is that by Rev. Dr.
A mighty fortress is our God. 38
Even more characteristic is Carlyle's version :
A safe stronghold our God is still.
HYMNS FROM GERMAN AUTHORS. 8 1
This hymn has had a notable history. As its
origin was coincident with the Protestant
name, so it has ever been regarded as one of
the great representative hymns of the Protest-
ant Church. It was sung by that noble Chris-
tian hero Gustavus Adolphus on the morning
of the day on which he sealed his fidelity to
God with his blood.
The hymn of Gustavus Adolphus 89 is, in
many regards, more perfect and better suited
for ordinary use than that of Luther. It seems
to have come from the royal author whose
name it bears, but in what precise form can-
not now be determined. It has, however,
been conjectured that thVsubstance of it, and
perhaps much of the language, was written by
Gustavus, and that, his chaplain, Fabricius,
threw it into its perfect metrical form ; but it
cannot now be determined whether the origi-
nal was in Swedish or German, though, as
representing the king himself, the former would
seem to have special interest. There are few
better hymns of Christian trust and courage
than this. A community in our own land, on
that terrible Monday when we learned of the
82 GOSPEL SINGERS.
disastrous defeat at Bull Run, found in this
old battle-hymn words adapted to the trying
" Fear not, O little flock, the foe
Who madly seeks your overthrow ;
Dread not his rage and power ;
What though your courage sometimes faints?
This seeming triumph o'er God's saints
Lasts but a little hour."
The Hussite movement was represented in
the fifteenth century by the " Bohemian
Brethren," and among these Christians, even
before Luther arose, a very considerable psalm-
ody was developed. This was one important
source of the hymnody of the Lutherans.
Both in doctrine and life the Church of the
Reformation was not a little indebted to such
" reformers before the Reformation " as Huss
Rev. Michael Weisse (died 1540), a German
minister in Bohemia, translated many of the
Bohemian hymns and added some of his own.
The first line of the hymn by which he is rep-
resented in many modern collections is,
Christ the Lord is risen again.
Rev. Bartholomew Ringwaldt was born at
HYMNS FROM GERMAN AUTHORS. 83
Frankfort-on-the-Oder in 1530, spent his life
as a Luth'eran pastor at Langfeld, in Prussia,
and died in 1598. Many of his hymns were
born of the sufferings which he and his people
endured from " famine, pestilence, fire, and
floods." The hymn
Great God, what do I see and hear ?
was suggested by that greatest of hymns the
" Dies Irae." It has marked power, though it
must be confessed that the meter of the En-
glish version is not well suited to the dignity
and solemnity of the theme.
Contemporary with Ringwaldt was the
Rev. Martin Boehme (Behemb) (1537-1621),
author of the very beautiful and comprehensive
hymn which Miss Winkworth has translated,
" Lord Jesus Christ, my life, my light."
Rev. George Weiszel (1590-1635), the author
of the hymn translated by Miss Winkworth,
"Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates," was
born at Donnau, in Prussia, and spent the last
year of his life as pastor at Konigsberg. The
hymn above mentioned exhibits rare felicity
in lyric expression, and we are well prepared
to believe that his influence may be traced in
84 GOSPEL SINGERS.
the more numerous hymns of his junior con-
temporary in Konigsberg, Professor Simon
Bach (died 1658), who composed one hundred
and fifty hymns and religious poems.
What Luther was among the singers of the
Reformation era such was Paul Gerhardt (1606-
1670) in the period of the Thirty Years' War.
Indeed, as a writer of hymns he decidedly out-
ranks his great master and leader. Luther is
represented in the world of song by thirty-
seven hymns. But very few of these are now
used, especially outside of Germany. Ger-
hardt is represented by one hundred and
twenty-three hymns, some of which are among
the most spiritual and most ecumenical of
modern hymns. Some of the choicest hymns
of John Wesley are translated from this older
master, who, in a higher sense than Wesley,
" learned by suffering what he taught in song."
Among the hymns in common use are:
O sacred head now wounded.
Extended on a cursed tree.
Here I can firmly rest.
Jesus, thy boundless love to me.
HYMNS FROM GERMAN AUTHORS. 85
Commit thou all thy griefs.
Give to the winds thy fears.
Gerhardt has been called " the prince of
German hymn-writers." His hymns have pen-
etrated all ranks of society, and into the com-
pany of all classes of worshipers, and are emi-
nently songs of the heart. The mother of the
eminent German poet Schiller taught them
to her child, and some of them continued to
be favorites with him during his life. Doubt-
less these hymns must be recognized as one
factor, and it may be a very important factor,
in the education of him who has "been pro-
nounced, next to Goethe, the greatest poet of
The excellent hymn-version of the Creed,
We all believe in one true God,
one of the most perfect compositions of the
kind ever written, and specially suited for use
on sacramental occasions and fellowship and
covenant meetings, was written by Rev. To-
biah Clausnitzer (1619-1684). He was edu-
cated at Leipsic, was sometime chaplain of
the Swedish forces during the " Thirty Years'
86 GOSPEL SINGERS.
War," and was finally settled as pastor in the
Few hymn-writers of the eighteenth cent-
ury stand so eminent as scholar, preacher,
and poet as Johann Andreas Rothe (1688
1758). For many years he was intimately as-
sociated with the famous Count Zinzendorf,
and pastor at the scarcely less celebrated
Herrnhut. He wrote a learned work on the
Hebrew Bible. To his power as a preacher
Count Zinzendorf bears most emphatic testi-
mony : " The talents of Luther, Spener,
Francke, and Schwedler were united in him."
Some of the count's hymns were dedicated
to him, and he dedicated to the count his own
Now I have found the ground wherein.
This hymn is specially dear to Methodists, not
only because of its superior merit, but also
because of the wealth of associations which
cluster about it. It represents the Moravians,
who, under God, were instrumental in bring-
ing the Wesleys into spiritual life and liberty.
It was translated by John Wesley, whose best
work in hymnology consisted in bringing the
HYMNS FROM GERMAN AUTHORS. 87
precious spiritual hymns of the Germans into
the English language, thus making them ac-
cessible to the multitudes of which he be-
came the spiritual leader. Almost the last
words of Mr. Fletcher, of Madeley, were two
lines from the second verse of this hymn :
" While Jesu's blood, through earth and skies,
Mercy free, boundless mercy- cries."
Few hymns in any language are so full of
devout and tender expression as those of Ben-
jamin Schmolke (1672-1737). His father was
a clergyman. Benevolent friends assisted him
to enter upon his studies in the University of
Leipsic, but he was soon able to do some-
thing toward defraying his own expenses by
publishing some of his earlier poems. The
whole number of hymns written by him was
more than one thousand. As Rist said of
himself, so might Schmolke say: "The dear
cross has pressed many songs out of me."
He was the subject of severe and extraordi-
nary personal afflictions. A destructive con-
flagration, which destroyed half the town in
which he lived, involving the people in great
suffering, the loss of two of his children by
88 GOSPEL SINGERS.
death, his own hopeless invalidism by paral-
ysis, and finally his total blindness from the
same cause, were the dark background with
which contrasts the radiant glory of such
words of resignation and trust as
" My Jesus, as thou wilt !
may thy will be mine !
Into thy hand of love
1 would my all resign.
Through sorrow, or through joy,
Conduct me as thine own,
And help me still to say,
My Lord, thy will be done."
The best known hymns of Schmolke are :
Welcome, thou Victor in the strife.
My Jesus, as thou wilt.
The great poet in the Mystical School in
German hymnology was Gerhard Tersteegen
(1697-1761). From Catherine Winkworth's
Christian Singers of Germany we condense
the following account of this most remarkable
and interesting man. He was the son of a
respectable tradesman, and after such educa-
tion as he could get at the grammar-school
of his native place, was apprenticed to his
elder brother, a shopkeeper at Muelheim.
HYMNS FROM GERMAN AUTHORS. 89
Here, under the influence of a tradesman, he
was converted, and was led to devote himself
to the service of God. As his days were oc-
cupied, he used sometimes to pass whole nights
in prayer and fasting. That he might have
more freedom for spiritual exercises, he left
his brother, and took up the occupation of
weaving silk ribbons, living for some years en-
tirely alone in a cottage, except that in the
day-time he had the company of the little girl
who wound his silk for him. His relations
who seem to have been a thriving and money-
getting set of people were so ashamed of this
poor and peculiar member of the family that
they refused even to hear his name mentioned,
and when he was sick he suffered great priva-
tions for want of care.
His spiritual experiences were at first marked
by violent contrasts. Upon the peace and
comfort of his early Christian life a season of
darkness supervened, and for five years he was
the subject of extreme and painful doubts.
From this fearful dungeon in " Doubting Cas-
tle " he was suddenly and gloriously delivered,
and in his gratitude wrote with his own blood
90 GOSPEL SINGERS.
a new covenant of self-dedication. He began
at once to devote himself to the spiritual wel-
fare of those about him. Soon he found him-
self entirely occupied with a sort of unofficial
ministry, which speedily took permanent form
and became his life-work. Peremptorily de-
clining all pecuniary assistance, he opened a
dispensary for his support, making it a means
of ministering to the souls as well as the
bodies of men. So famous did he become in
this double ministry that people came to him
from other lands England, Holland, Sweden,
and Switzerland so that he found his strength
and resources taxed to their utmost. But
amid it all he maintained an unvarying humil-
ity, affectionateness, devoutness, and simplicity.
From such a life none but the most spiritual
hymns could come, and Tersteegen's are high-
ly and justly prized. Among them are :
Lo ! God is here ! Let us adore.
God calling yet ! Shall I not hear ?
Thou hidden love of God, whose height.
O Thou to whose all-searching sight.
Though all the world my choice deride.
HYMNS FROM GERMAN AUTHORS. 9!
Two famous Moravians, both bishops, made
very material contributions to the hymnology
of this period Count Zinzendorf and Bishop
Spangenberg. The history of Nicolaus Lud-
wig Zinzendorf (i 700-1760) is too well known
to require any sketch of it here. In an emi-
nent sense he stands in church history and in
hymnology as a representative Moravian, hav-
ing renounced his civil honors and cares to de-
vote himself to the religious work of the Mo-
ravian Brethren. The hymns 30 by which he is
best known are all in versions made by John
Eternal depth of love divine.
Jesus, thy blood and righteousness.
I thirst, thou wounded Lamb of God.
The last of these is very familiar and very
precious to all who look to Wesley as their
spiritual father. The second was written on
the island of Saint Eustatius on his return
from visiting the Moravian missionaries in the
Bishop Aug. Gottlieb Spangenberg (1704-
1792) is second only to Count Zinzendorf him-
92 GOSPEL SINGERS.
self in the history of the Moravian Church,
and was greatly his superior in theological cult-
ure. In 1735 he became an assistant of Zin-
zendorf at Herrnhut, and acted as a kind of
missionary bishop to the Moravian churches
in England, the West Indies, and North
America. In Georgia he came in contact with
John Wesley, who had gone out with Ogle-
thorpe as a missionary to the Aborigines.
The meeting was a most memorable one for
Wesley, and was one important means of
bringing him to a .realizing sense of his great
This good bishop is represented in English
hymnology by John Wesley's version of one
of his very choicest hymns, such as indeed a
bishop might write :
High on his everlasting throne.
EARLIER ENGLISH HYMNS. Q3
EARLIER ENGLISH HYMNS.
TN many important particulars English hymns
are distinguished from those of every other
language. Many of them are translations of
the best and most famous hymns of other
tongues. Nearly all the great hymns of the
mediaeval time are represented by English ver-
sions. This is true also of the most cherished
and most spiritual of the French and German
hymns. The great body of English hymns
have been produced in the modern period of
church history, and hence reflect the most re-
cent phases of church life and work. As among
English-speaking peoples evangelical move-
ments have taken a greater variety of form,
and have incorporated more various methods
than have been employed elsewhere, so here
the hymn has been appropriated to a greater
variety of uses. In addition to the ordinary
demands of public worship and the necessities
of the individual life, which, though they do not
94 GOSPEL SINGERS.
essentially change, are yet all the time becom-
ing more perfectly interpreted and more ade-
quately expressed, there are many institutions
which have been called into existence by the
life of the Church in this period. The modern
prayer-meeting, revival meetings, conferences,
conventions, synods, Sabbath-schools, and re-
form movements have all created a demand
for a special type of religious service. Hence,
in no other language is there so great a variety
of hymns ; in no other has the hymn been
more perverted and degraded from its proper
character, and in no other is the vast and va-
ried wealth of hymnology more fully exhibited.
The oldest English hymn now in common
use " The Lord descended from above " 31
is a translation of some verses of the eight-
eenth psalm, made by Thomas Sternhold, who
died in 1549. He was " Groom of the Robes "
to Henry VIII. and Edward VI. He made a
metrical version of the first fifty-one psalms,
which, with versions of the remainder made by
John Hopkins, were attached to the Book of
Common Prayer. As to the character of these
men, as shown by this work, doubtless the
EARLIER ENGLISH HYMNS. 9 5
judgment of quaint old Thomas Fuller will be
generally approved : " They were men whose
piety was better than their poetry ; and they
had drunk more of Jordan than of Helicon."
And yet the psalm above cited fully vindicates
by its own intrinsic excellence the taste and
judgment of those who have so long kept it in
its seat of honor.
With this should be associated that transla-
tion of the one hundredth psalm made by
All people that on earth do dwell. 32
Of its author we know almost nothing, not
even the dates of his birth and death. He
was a clergyman, was sometime a chaplain in
the" army, and shared the exile of Knox, in
Geneva, in 1555. The psalm was first pub-
lished in 1561, and is not only one of the old-
est, but also one of the most ecumenical of
The name of Bishop John Cosin (1594-1672)
is deserving of most honorable mention, be-
cause of his translation of the " Veni, Creator
Spiritus " " Come, Holy Ghost, our souls in-
spire." Few men of his time held a greater
96 GOSPEL SINGERS.
variety of distinguished positions or received
more flattering testimonials of personal popu-
larity and influence. Though made to feel the
virulent opposition of his Puritan enemies,
and to suffer from their unjust charges of
leaning toward popery, yet he stands in the
history of the Church fully vindicated, and a
noble example of a man true to the Church,
and true also to his own convictions. He ex-
pended his emoluments and the profits arising
from the sale of his works liberally for the
cause of learning and religion, founding no less
than eight scholarships at Cambridge. His one
hymn has a higher place of honor than any
other in our language, having for two centuries
and a half maintained its place in the service
for the ordination of elders. It is a most sat-
' isfactory instance of " poetic justice," in a sense
much fuller and more perfect than that in which
the phrase is ordinarily used, that the hymn
of Gregory, who taught Britain her first lesson
in practical Christianity, should be the only
one which has been given a place in the ritual
of the English Church.
Another bishop whose hymns have come to
EARLIER ENGLISH HYMNS. 97
almost equal honor, and in some regards even
superior, is Thomas Ken (1637-1711). Early
left an orphan his mother dying when he was
but five and his father when he was fourteen
he was brought up by his half-sister, the wife
of the celebrated Izaak Walton. He was edu-
cated at Oxford ; was first rector of Bright-
stone, in the Isle of Wight, and afterward
Bishop of Bath and Wells. King Charles used
to say : " I must go and hear Ken he will tell
me of my faults." He was one of the seven
bishops imprisoned and brought to trial -for re-
sisting the tyranny of James II. His most
enduring monument is his " Morning and Ev-
ening Hymns." Says one writer: " Had he
endowed three hospitals he would have been
less a benefactor to posterity." His grand
old doxology in long meter is heard wherever
the English language is spoken. It is almost
as catholic as the English Bible itself. The
following hymns are his :
Glory to thee, my God, this night.
Awake, my soul, and with the sun.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.
98 GOSPEL SINGERS.
Though the name of Nahum Tate (1652-
1715) is eminent in English hymnology, yet
the associations connected with it are not all
grateful. His active life commenced as clergy-
man of a country parish in Suffolk, from which
he subsequently removed to London. But in-
temperance and improvidence cast a blight
over his life and a shadow upon his memory.
In connection with Nicholas Brady he pre-
pared the metrical version of the Psalms
which is now printed in the Book of Common
Prayer in place of the older one of Sternhold
and Hopkins, which version Montgomery
justly characterizes as being '* nearly as inani-
mate as the former, though a little more
refined." Nicholas Brady (1659-1726), his
associate in this work, studied at Christ College,
Oxford, and was graduated at Trinity College,
Dublin. He was afterward chaplain to a
bishop and prebend to the Cathedral of Cork,
and later in life taught a school in Richmond,
The Psalter of Tate and Brady was first pub-
lished in 1696, with tunes in 1698, and with a
supplement of hymns in 1703. From this
EARLIER ENGLISH HYMNS. 99
work several hymns in common use have been
taken, though it is impossible to determine
which were written by Tate and which by
Brady. Among them are the following :
O render thanks to God above.
O God, we praise thee, and confess.
While shepherds watched their flocks by night.
As pants the hart for cooling streams.
O Lord, our fathers oft have told.
Even at this day the thoughtful student can
hardly take into his hands a book more suggest-
ive or more stimulating than Mason's Self-
Knowledge. In depth, solidity, clearness, and
comprehensiveness it has few equals in our
language. The young person who makes it
the subject of constant and loving study is sure
to be richly rewarded. John Mason, the hymn-
writer (died 1694), was grandfather of the John
Mason who was the author of this treatise.
Little is known of his life, save that for twenty
years he was rector of a parish in Buckingham-
shire, where he was very highly esteemed for
his piety and his devotion to his flock. Baxter
called him " the glory of the Church of En-
100 GOSPEL SINGERS.
gland." In 1683 he published his Spiritual
Songs, to which were afterward added Peniten-
tial Cries, mainly from the pen of Rev. Thomas
Shepherd. Many traces of these hymns of
Mason are found in the later works of Watts,
Pope, and the Wesleys. Of the one hymn of
his which is most used, David Creamer says
that it is " certainly one of the best specimens
of devotional poetry in the English language."
The hymn is :
Now from the altar of our hearts.
One hymn from the Penitential Cries of
Thomas Shepherd (1665-1739) has been pre-
served in most of our modern hymn-books,
though in a form so much changed from the
original as almost to destroy its identity.
Indeed, in most books the hymn is credited to
Mr. G. N. Allen, who made the alterations,
rather than to Mr. Shepherd, the original
author. It begins
Must Jesus bear the cross alone ? 33
The earliest of the considerable number of
Baptists who have been eminent as English
EARLIER ENGLISH HYMNS. IOI
hymn-writers is Joseph Stennett (1663-1713),
who spent his life as pastor of a small congre-
gation of Seventh-day Baptists in the city of
London. He was also accustomed to preach
to other congregations on the first day of the
week, which makes it pretty certain that his
sympathy with his people was as Baptists
rather than as Sabbatarians. In addition to his
duties as pastor he also, for some years,
received young men into his house to be
trained for the ministry. He died in his forty-
ninth year, and among his last words were : " I
rejoice in the God of my salvation, who is my
strength and my God." He published two
small collections of original hymns- Hymns for
the Lord's Supper and Hymns on the Believer s
Baptism. His familiar hymn,
Return, my soul, enjoy thy rest,
is one of the most frequently used of our Sab-
There is one English hymn, dating probably
from the sixteenth century, whose history is
specially interesting. It comes from an old
Latin hymn which Dean Trench assigns to the
102 GOSPEL SINGERS.
eighth or ninth century. We refer to that
dearest of all our hymns on heaven,
Jerusalem, my happy home.
In a very old book of religious songs now kept
in the British Museum it stands with this title :
" A Song, Made by F. B. P., to the Tune of
Diana." It has been conjectured doubtfully
by most, but confidently by some that " F. B.
P.' ' is an alias for Francis Baker, Priest, who
was for a long time confined as a prisoner in
the Tower, so that this is one of the many
hymns which have come up out of the depth
of suffering and bitter wrong. A later and
more beautiful form of this hymn " O mother
dear, Jerusalem " was given to the public by
David Dickson in the early part of the seven-
The hymn as it appears in our modern
hymn-books is considerably altered from the
text as found in the book in the British Mu-
seum. It is called by Miller " the hymn of
hymns," and certainly holds a very warm place
in the hearts of Christian worshipers in every
communion. A young Scotchman on his
EARLIER ENGLISH HYMNS. 103
death-bed in the city of New Orleans several
years ago was visited by a Presbyterian minis-
ter. He continued to shut himself up from the
good man's efforts to reach his heart. Some-
what discouraged, at last the visitor turned
away, and scarcely knowing why, began to
sing, " Jerusalem, my happy home." A tender
chord was touched in the heart of the young
man. With tears he exclaimed : " My dear
mother used to sing that hymn ! " The tender
memories awakened by the hymn opened his
heart to religious truth. He was led through
penitence into peace, and thus was made ready
for the " happy home " whither his mother had
already preceded him.
104 GOSPEL SINGERS.
WATTS AND WESLEY.
ISAAC WATTS (1674-1748) is pronounced
by Montgomery the " father of modern
hymnody " " almost the inventor' of hymns
in our language." He was son of a school-
master, and deacon of an Independent church
in Southampton, England, a locality which is
embalmed in the imagery of some of his
hymns. So precocious in intellect was he
that almost his earliest cry was for a book ;
and he actually commenced the study of Latin
at four, of Greek at nine, of French at ten,
and of Hebrew at fourteen, and this intellect-
ual activity was continued through a long and
most fruitful life. Says Dr. Johnson : " Few
men have left behind such purity of character
or such monuments of laborious piety. He
has provided instruction for all ages, from
those who are lisping their first lessons to
the enlightened readers of Malebranche and
Locke." And the judgment of this extraordi-
WATTS AND WESLEY. IO5
nary critic in the matter of hymns is sufficiently
indicated by such sentences as the following :
" It is sufficient for Watts to have done better
than others what no one has done well." " His
devotional poetry is, like that of others, un-
satisfactory. The paucity of its topics enforces
perpetual repetition, and the sanctity of the
matter rejects the ornaments of figurative dic-
Only as a writer of hymns is the fame of Dr.
Watts pre-eminent. When, at the age of
eighteen, on a certain Sabbath, he was com-
plaining to one of his fellow-worshipers at the
Independent chapel where his father was dea-
con of the character of the hymns sung there,
the reply was : " Give us better, young man."
He accepted the challenge, and the church
was invited to close the evening service, with
a new hymn commencing :
" Behold the glories of the Lamb
Before his Father's throne ;
Prepare new honors for his name,
And songs before unknown" 35
a hymn which is retained in many of our hymn-
books, and is still sung with reverence and de-
IO6 GOSPEL SINGERS.
light. Such was the beginning of the most il-
lustrious career as a hymn-writer which, with
not more than a single exception, it has ever
been given to mortal to fulfill. The author of
that first hymn has made more material con-
tributions to the apparatus of Christian wor-
ship in the English tongue than any other
man, and his hymns are familiar and precious
wherever that language is spoken. Less pro-
lific and less versatile than some others, espe-
cially than Charles Wesley, with whom he is
most frequently compared, with less of poetic
genius and less of spiritual fervor and joy, his
hymns are so devout, so scriptural, so catholic,
and so simple, and, in the main, so correct in
diction and in sentiment, that they meet a
general want more perfectly than any other.
Though Wesley wrote seven or eight thousand
hymns, and Watts only six hundred and ninety-
seven, yet it is probable that more of Watts 's
hymns are in common use than of Wesley's.
A recent writer says : " Judging from the re-
sults of an examination of seven hundred and
fifty hymn-books, it is safe to assign to Watts
the authorship of two fifths of the hymns
WATTS AND WESLEY. IO/
which are used in public worship in the En-
glish-speaking world." In the Hymns and
Songs of Praise, one of the best and most
broadly representative of the hymn-books used
by the Calvinistic churches of this country,
Watts is represented by one hundred and
ninety-one hymns and Charles Wesley by
ninety- nine; while in the Methodist Hymnal
Watts has but seventy-eight and Wesley three
hundred and seven. The facts as to actual
use, however, may be considerably different
from what would be indicated by these figures;
and we need but to glance over the list of
Watts's leading hymns to be convinced that
they constitute a very large proportion of the
staple hymns for public religious service.
Among the most eminent of these are such as
Alas ! and did my Saviour bleed.
Am I a soldier of the cross?
Before Jehovah's awful throne.
Blest are the sons of peace.
Come, sound his praise abroad.
IO8 GOSPEL SINGERS.
Come, let us join our cheerful songs.
Come, ye that love the Lord.
Father, how wide thy glory shines.
From all that dwell below the skies.
Give me the wings of faith to rise.
He dies ! the friend of sinners dies.
How vain are all things here below.
How beauteous are their feet.
I'll praise my Maker while I've breath.
Jesus shall reign where'er the sun.
Let every tongue thy goodness speak.
My God, the spring of all my joys !
O God, our help in ages past.
The heavens declare thy glory, Lord.
There is a land of pure delight.
Unveil thy bosom, faithful tomb.
When I can read my title clear.
When I survey the wondrous cross.
Why do we mourn for dying friends ?
Why should we start and fear to die ?
WATTS AND WESLEY. 1 09
Some of these hymns are in a special sense
autobiographic. Nearly all of them bear in a
marked degree the stamp of the poet's per-
sonal experience. It has been alleged that the
How vain are all things here below,
was written on the occasion of the rejection
of his offer of marriage to Elizabeth Singer.
To the character of the scenery about South-
ampton are doubtless due some of the most
striking and beautiful passages of his hymns.
It is situated on the south coast of England,
at the head of Southampton Water, between
the Itchen on the east and the Anton on the
west, with the Isle of Wight in the distance,
at the mouth of the bay. This island is sepa-
rated from the main-land by an interval of
from one to six miles, and serves as a vast nat-
ural breakwater, making this port one of the
safest and most eligible in the United King-
dom. The scenery of the island is of remark-
able beauty, and the climate so salubrious that
in one part the death-rate is lower than in
any other locality in the United Kingdom.
110 GOSPEL SINGERS.
The tradition is that these conditions furnished
the costume of expression for the hymn,
There is a. land of pure delight.
Certain it is that the language is such as ex-
actly suits them, and by their aid we feel its
force and beauty.
There is little doubt that the imagery of
one of the verses of another hymn may have
been suggested by the same associations.
Only one familar with the sea and accustomed
to study its various moods would have been
so felicitous in seizing upon and interpreting
the most perfect symbol of rest which nature
contains water in repose :
" There I shall bathe my weary soul
In seas of heavenly rest,
And not a wave of trouble roll
Across my peaceful breast."
The hymn in which this verse stands has
been perhaps as often used as- any of his
hymns. It was sung on the field of Shiloh,
the night after the battle, under circumstances
of peculiar impressiveness. A Christian offi-
cer had been severely wounded, and, being
WATTS AND WESLEY. Ill
unable to help himself, lay all night on the
field. Says he : " The stars shone out clear
above the dark battle-field, and I began to
think about God, who had given his Son to
die for me, and that he was up above the
glorious stars. I felt that I ought to praise
him even while wounded on that battle-ground.
I could not help singing :
' When I can read my title clear
To mansions in the skies,
I'll bid farewell to every fear,
And wipe my weeping eyes.'
There was a Christian brother in the brush
near me. I could not see him, but I could
hear him. He took up the strain. Another,
beyond him, heard and joined in, and still
others too. We made the field of battle ring
with the hymn of praise to God. "
/ Many volumes might be filled with illustra-
tive anecdotes bearing upon the use of some
line, stanza, or whole hymn even, which Watts
has written. The full history of his hymns, if
it could be written, would be a great part, and
a very interesting part, of the history of Prot-
estant Christianity among English-speaking
112 GOSPEL SINGERS.
peoples for the last hundred years. Scarcely
another couplet in the entire range of hymnol-
ogy has been so often quoted in the great
crisis-hour of individual spiritual history as
" Here, Lord, I give myself away,
Tis all that I can do."
Few verses appropriate to the dying hour are
so often quoted, and with such satisfying ef-
" Jesus can make a dying bed
Feel soft as downy pillows are,
While on his breast I lean my head,
And breathe my life out sweetly there."
And how often have the lines of the previous
verse been the experience of God's children;
" O would my Lord his servant meet,
My soul would stretch her wings in haste ! "
Dr. Doddridge wrote to Watts of the pow-
erful effect produced by the singing of one of
his hymns in his own congregation. He had
preached from Heb. vi, 12: "Followers of
them who through faith and patience inherit
the promises ; ' ' and at the close of the ser-
mon gave out the hymn,
" Give me the wings of faith to rise."
WATTS AND WESLEY. 113
So perfectly suited were these words to the
matter of the discourse, and so tender the as-
sociations awakened, that many could not sing
for their emotion, and many sung amid tears.
It is an interesting fact that the last words
which fell from the lips of John Wesley were
written by Watts. When the supreme mo-
ment came he was struggling to repeat that
grand hymn of gratitude and victory:
" I'll praise my Maker while I've breath,
And when my voice is lost in death
Praise shall employ my nobler powers."
This hymn Wesley began on earth, but fin-
ished it, if he ever finished it at all, "before
the throne of God."
Some of the very best of the hymns of Watts
owe their present perfection and much of their
usefulness to the finishing touches of John
Wesley. The hymn "^Before Jehovah's awful
throne " is an instance in point. As at first
written it commenced :
" Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice,
Let every land his name adore ;
The British isles shall seent the noise
Across the ocean to the shore.
114 GOSPEL SINGERS.
" Nations attend before his throne,
With solemn fear, with sacred joy," etc.
Wesley dropped the first verse altogether, and
changed the first two lines of the second to
" Before Jehovah's awful throne,
Ye nations, bow with sacred joy ; "
thus making a suitable beginning for a hymn
which is almost unequaled in our language for
strength and majesty.
Many of the hymns of Watts are a part of
the universal language of English-speaking
Christians, and are almost as sure to be known
as the Bible itself. But a few of them have
been selected by the critics as entitled to
special mention because of their rare perfec-
tion as lyric poems. The two most frequently
mentioned with the highest praise are :
My God, the spring of all my joys.
When I survey the wondrous cross.
As examples of special felicity in versifying
t he Psalms the following have been quoted :
O God, our help in ages past.
The heavens declare thy glory, Lord.
WATTS AND WESLEY. 115
The other great name in Christian hym-
nody is that of Charles Wesley (1708-1788).
He wrote more hymns and, we will add,
more good hymns than any other ten men
who have written hymns in the English lan-
guage. Watts wrote less than seven hundred,
Doddridge less than four hundred, Mont-
gomery less than two hundred, while Charles
Wesley wrote from seven to eight thousand !
Of course, some of these are such as not
even his most ardent admirers can find much
pleasure in reading, but others exhibit a
wealth and beauty of lyrical expression truly
marvelous. A prominent actor in the most
important evangelical movement since the
days of the apostles, his hymns have the
rare merit of reflecting every significant
phase of that movement ; so that if the
question be asked to-day, What is Method-
ism as a creed, an experience, a life? a more
adequate answer can be found in these hymns
than anywhere else, not excepting the Ser-
mons of John Wesley or the Institutes of
Richard Watson. No man can sing them
heartily and habitually, " with the spirit and
1 1 6 GOSPEL SINGERS.
the understanding also," without coming to a
just and discriminating sense of the real genius
In unusual measure these hymns bear the
stamp of the author's personal history and ex-
perience. Even his letters to her who after-
ward became his wife were often written in
verse ; and when we remember that he was at
this time a clergyman, forty years of age, and
leading a most active and laborious life, we
shall realize how absolutely irrepressible his
poetic proclivities must have been.
The Wesleyan Hymn-book of Great Britain
contains six hundred and twenty-seven of his
hymns, and many others are met with, scat-
tered through the various hymnals of other
denominations. Robert Southey says of them
that they have been " more devoutly com-
mitted to memory " and " oftener repeated on
a death-bed " than any others. But life is a
more just and adequate test than death, and
with even more emphasis may it be said that
no hymns have ministered to the wants of the
human soul, in the great crisis of spiritual his-
tory, more frequently or more helpfully than
WATTS AND WESLEY. 117
these. We hear among them voices for all
phases and grades of spiritual experience, and
all forms of Christian work awakening con-
viction, penitence, pardon, assurance ; rejoic-
ing in sins forgiven, in communion with God,
in prospect of heaven ; the closet, the family,
the church ; evangelistic work, charitable work,
reform work, every thing which lies between
the fearful ruin wrought by sin and the glori-
ous consummation of the work of human re-
covery. Every condition in life, every occu-
pation, and almost every event is here repre-
sented. Among his general captions we find :
" Hymns for Watch-Nights," " New- Year's
Day," "The Lord's Supper," "The Nativity
of Our Lord," " Our Lord's Resurrection," ,
" Hymns Occasioned by the Earthquake,"
" Hymns for Times of Trouble and Persecu-
tion," " Hymns for Methodist Preachers,"
" Hymns for the Use of Families," " Hymns
for Children," " Prayers for Condemned Male-
factors," " Hymns for the Nation," " Funeral
Hymns," etc. Among the titles of individual
* ' ~
hymns are such as these : " For a Family in
Want," "To be Sung at Tea-table," "Fora
Il8 GOSPEL SINGERS.
Persecuting Husband," "At Sending a Child
to a Boarding-school," "A Collier's Hymn,"
"For an Unconverted Wife," "For One Re-
tired into the Country," " A Wedding-song,"
" On Going to Work ; " and the more common
captions, such as " For Sabbath," " Bereave-
ment," "Sleep," " Morning and Evening." To
many a devout Methodist these hymns have
been, as indeed they are suited to be, " the
key of the morning and the bolt of the night."
Indeed, these hymns, beautiful and felicitous
as they often are in the mere matter of expres-
sion, seldom seem like mere words, but like
" a heart poured out into a heart a child-like,
dependent human, heart into the great, infi-
nite, tender heart of God."
One of the most notable of Charles Wesley's
hymns is that known as "Wrestling Jacob,"
beginning, " Come, O thou Traveler unknown."
Watts said of it : "I would rather be the au-
thor of that single poem than of all the
hymns which I have ever written." John
Wesley indicated his own estimate of this tes-
timony by incorporating it into the biograph-
ical notice of his brother in the Minutes of
WATTS AND WESLEY. 119
the Conference at the time of his death.
Dean Trench says of it : " Though not emi-
nently adapted for liturgic use, it is yet quite
the noblest of Charles Wesley's hymns." 36
Considered as a poetical composition, this
opinion might be generally acquiesced in ; but
considered as a hymn, this can by no means
be true. It neither belongs to" the highest
class of Christian hymns, nor does it satisfy
the highest conditions of utility. It is by no
means from the mere accident of being with-
out music well suited for popular use that it is
so seldom heard, even in the social meetings,
but because it is not well suited to answer the
purpose of a hymn. But its eminent script-
uralness, its deep spirituality, its felicity of
style, its vividness, and its thoroughly sus-
tained interest from beginning to end bear
eloquent testimony to the wonderful genius of
Robert Southey pronounces " Stand the
omnipotent decree ' ' " the finest lyric in the
English language ; " but if the judgment of
those who have made much 'use of the Wes-
leyan hymns and so have made up their
120 GOSPEL SINGERS.
judgment by the test of experience rather
than of literary taste is of any value, there
are many finer among the hymns of Mr. Wes-
The hymn, " O for a thousand tongues to
sing," which has from the first occupied the
place of honor in the Methodist hymn-books
of Great Britain and America, was written on
the first anniversary of his spiritual birth, and
so is, doubtless in an eminent degree, the out-
pouring of his own rapturous emotions.
" Come away to the skies, -my beloved, arise,
And rejoice in the day thou wast born ; "
" Come, let us ascend, my companion and friend,
To a taste of the banquet above,"
were both addressed to his wife on her birth-
But beyond question the most popular, if
not the most famous, of Charles Wesley's
hymns is "Jesus, Lover of my soul." Says
Henry Ward Beecher : " I would rather have
written that hymn than to have the fame of
all the kings that ever sat on the earth. ...
WATTS AND WESLEY. 121
It will go on singing until the last trump brings
forth the angel-band ; and then, I think, will
mount up on some lip to the very presence of
God." "Two lines of this hymn," says Rev.
Theodore L. Cuyler, " have been breathed fer-
vently and often out of bleeding hearts. When
we were once in the valley of death-shade,
with one beautiful child in the new-made grave
and the other threatened with fatal disease,
there was no prayer which we said oftener than
' Leave, O leave me not alone !
Still support and comfort me ! '
We do not doubt that tens of thousands of
other bereaved and wounded hearts have tried
this piercing cry out of the depths." Of the
origin of this hymn it is only certainly known
that it was written in 1739 and appeared in a
volume of Hymns and Sacred Poems (1740)
with the title, " In Temptation."
One of the most solemn and impressive of all
these hymns of Charles Wesley reflects the
scenery of Land's End even more vividly than
do any of Watts's that of Southampton. The
122 GOSPEL SINGERS.
second verse of the hymn " Thou God of glo-
rious majesty " reads as follows :
" Lo ! on a narrow neck of land,
'Twixt two unbounded seas, I stand
Secure, insensible ;
A point of time, a moment's space,
Removes me to that heavenly place,
Or shuts me up in hell."
The hymn above mentioned as praised by
Southey " Stand the omnipotent decree "
doubtless derives much of its special interest
and impressiveness in that it was written " For
the Year 1756 " a time when men were ap-
palled by the terrible calamity of the great
Lisbon earthquake. Read in the light of this
fearful catastrophe, the sublimity of its almost
unequaled utterances is fully evident.
Come, let us join our friends above,
was a special favorite with John Wesley. It
is the concluding part of what was originally a
long poem of more than a hundred lines ; which
poem has been divided into four hymns, which,
in the Methodist Hymnal, are made to follow
each other in proper order. The part com-
Come, let us join pur friends above,
WATTS AND WESLEY. 123
is a tender and beautiful tribute to the mem-
ory of the pious dead. One of the most tender
traditions of the later years of John Wesley is
that which represents him as having, on one
occasion, come to the chapel in City Road,
where he was to preach that evening, and as
the shades of the evening were gathering
around him, standing with his head bowed on
his hand, as if holding communion with the
invisible world ; and then giving out this
hymn, in which he seemed to gather up the
precious memories which bound him to the
first band of heroic workers, of which he was
then almost the sole survivor :
" Come, let us join our friends above
That have obtained the prize,
And on the eagle-wings of love
To joys celestial rise. . . .
" One family we dwell in Him,
One church above, beneath,
Though now divided by the stream,
The narrow stream of death.
One army of the living God,
To his command we bow ;
Part of his host have crossed the flood.
And part are crossing now.
124 GOSPEL SINGERS.
"Our old companions in distress
We haste again to see,
And eager long for our release,
And full felicity.
E'en now by faith we join our hands
With those that went before ;
And greet the blood-besprinkled bands
On the eternal shore."
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY HYMNS.
HYMNS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
'"THE service rendered to vital Christianity
in the eighteenth century by the hymns of
Watts and Wesley cannot be over-estimated.
" As vestals in those dark days they kept the
sacred flame alight ; and when the Spirit of
the Lord breathed upon the land they were
the first songs of awakened Christianity.
Warming cold devotions, rebuking lifeless or-
thodoxy, testifying against Arian error, they
performed in the first century the real service
which evangelical hymns have performed in
other periods for the Church. In the very
dawn of church history the Arian bishop, Paul
of Samosata, banished from the churches the
hymns which had been in use since the second
century, because they were addressed ' to
Christ as God,' and interfered with the prog-
ress of Arian error. As Frederick the Great
and his clique found- the Gesangbuch a bar to
the progress of rationalist tenets, and sought
126 GOSPEL SINGERS.
to tone down its rich evangelism to the neutral
tint of a negative theology, so the Arianism
of the eighteenth century, finding a formida-
ble obstacle in the Trinitarian doxologies then
attached to the Psalter, and an invincible foe
in Watts's hymns, demanded that nothing
should be sung in worship but the Psalms of
David. Many independent congregations, it
is believed, were preserved from the infection
of Arian error by nothing else than the intro-
duction of hymn-books."
The channel having been opened, there be-
gan at once to rise a tide of song which has
not since gone down. It has widened and
deepened until the whole earth has been blessed
by its ministry. The hymn-book is now and
every-where the companion of the Bible and
prayer-book. If one wants to realize the power
of hymnology as an aid to devotion let him
conceive, if he can, the quality of a social re-
ligious service without song.
Among Watts's contemporaries none so
nearly approaches the master singer as the
saintly Philip Doddridge (1702-1 751). He, like
Watts, had an ancestry which had honorably
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. I2/
suffered persecution for conscience' sake, and
his early training was largely in the hands of a
devoted mother, eminent for intelligence and
piety. Very beautiful is the tribute paid by
Doddridge to his parents. " I was brought
up," he says, " in the early knowledge of re-
ligion by my pious parents, who were in their
character very worthy of their birth and edu-
cation ; and I well remember that my mother
taught me the history of the Old and New Tes-
taments, before I could read, by the assistance
of some blue Dutch tiles in the chimney-place
of the room where we commonly sat ; and the
wise and pious reflections she made upon those
stories were the means of enforcing such good
impressions. on my heart as never wore out."
When the testing time came and it came
early young Doddridge proved himself worthy
of his lineage. Confronted with the problem
of getting an education with slight means, he
promptly declined the Duchess of Bedford's
offer to see him through Cambridge University
and comfortably settled in a living because it
was conditioned upon his entering the minis-
try of the Established Church.
128 GOSPEL SINGERS.
At twenty-one he accepted a call to Kib-
worth, in Leicestershire, the limitations of
whose opportunities he sets forth as follows :
" It is one of the most unpolite congregations
I ever knew, consisting almost entirely of
farmers and graziers, with their subalterns. I
have not so much as a tea-table in my diocese,
although above eight miles in extent, and but
one hoop petticoat in the whole circuit ;. and
were it not for talking to the cattle, admiring
the poultry, and preaching twice every Sab-
bath I should certainly lose the organs of
In 1729 he was called to minister to the
Castle Hill congregation at Northampton,
where his life-work was done and where he la-
bored indefatigably for more than a score of
years as pastor, teacher, and author. There
he married Miss Mercy Maris in 1730, and
here were produced his admirable commentary
on the Scriptures and his learned, lectures on
divinity. The Rise and Progress of Religion in
the Soul is a devotional classic, and has been
singled out as the most useful book of its kind
produced in the eighteenth century. It has
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 1 29
passed through numberless editions in our own
language, and has been translated into a large
number of other languages to 'the edification
of thousands. To this work more than to any
other the Church is indebted for Wilberforce
and his scarcely less noted defense of Chris-
tianity ; and multitudes of others from all
conditions of life have been led to Christ for
pardon and life through its searching and win-
As choice and useful as his justly famous
prose classic, and appealing to an even wider
constituency of readers, are some of Dodd-
ridge's hymns. Most of them were composed
in connection with his sermons. They were
intended to summarize in song -the doctrine of
the discourse which might thus find a hearing
denied to it otherwise. In the striking figure
of the Rev. Dr. James Hamilton : " If amber
is the gum of fossil trees, fetched up and floated
off by the ocean, hymns like these are a spirit-
ual amber. Most of the sermons to which
they originally pertained have disappeared for-
ever ; but, at once beautiful and buoyant, these
sacred strains are destined to carry the devout
130 GOSPEL SINGERS.
emotions of Doddridge to every shore where
his Master is loved and where his mother-
tongue is spoken."
There are few hymns more closely identified
with Methodist class and prayer meetings than
the jubilant " O happy day, that fixed my
choice," which was appended to a sermon on
2 Chron. xv, 15. Well might Montgomery
say : " Blessed is the man who can take the
words of this hymn and make them his own
from a similar experience." There is no strain
in heaven or on earth which charms the ear
even of the spiritually dull as does the glow-
ing rapture of a soul new born into the king-
dom. His " Hark ! the glad sound, the Sav-
iour comes," which was written to be sung at
the close of a Christmas sermon based upon
Luke iv, 18, 19, is, in the judgment of many,
his masterpiece. Lord Selborne denominates
it "as sweet, vigorous, and perfect a composi-
tion as can any where be found." Other fa-
miliar hymns are : " Lord of the Sabbath,
hear our vows," written for a sermon on " the
rest which remaineth for the people of God "
(Heb. iv, 9); " How gentle God's commands,"
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 131
a fine example of his gentler manner, and his
metrical conclusion of a sermon on I Pet. v, 7 ;
" Grace, 'tis a charming sound," appended to
a sermon on Eph. ii, 5 ; and "Awake, my
soul, stretch every nerve," a paraphrase in
stirring measure of the apostolic exhortation in
Phil, iii, 12-14. O ne of his choicest composi-
tions, beginning, " While on the verge of life
I stand," was suggested by a dream in which
the author seemed to meet with Christ, and re-
ceive from the Master words of commendation
The closing scenes of Dr. Doddridge's life
were a fitting crown to the beauty of its un-
folding. Exposure brought on a serious trou-
ble, to get rid of which he sailed to Lisbon,
whence, as he said to a friend, he could as well
go to heaven as from his own Northampton
study. He steadily failed in body, but was
more than compensated in the exaltation of
his communings with God. Frequently he
exclaimed to his wife : " Such delightful and
transporting views of the heavenly world as my
Father is now indulging me with no words
can express." Cure was not in the climate,
132 GOSPEL SINGERS.
and soon after the arrival in Lisbon his saint-
ly soul went home to God. The longings of
the pure heart were fulfilled ; the perfect joy
was his at last.
" Where Jesus dwells my soul would be,
It faints my much-loved Lord to see ;
Earth, twine no more about my heart,
For 'tis far better to depart."
When Mr. Spurgeon, the famous English
divine, was a child, he was brought under the
influence of the Rev. Richard Knill, a preacher
and missionary of rare unction and eminent
personal qualities. One day at morning
prayers Mr. Knill, taking the lad upon his
knee,, said, solemnly,- in the presence of the
family : " This child will one day preach the
Gospel, and he will preach it to great multi-
tudes. I am persuaded that he will preach
in the chapel of Rowland Hill." He then
gave the boy sixpence to learn the hymn :
" God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform."
And a promise was exacted that when, accord-
ing to the prediction, he did preach in Row-
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 133
land Hill's chapel, that hymn should be sung.
Years after, in an emergency, Mr. Spurgeon
was invited to preach in Rowland Hill's chap-
el, and consented on condition that the hymn
" God moves in a mysterious way " should be
sung. The request was cheerfully acceded to
and the invitation accepted. It would be im-
possible to describe the emotions of the
preacher as he brought to mind the remarka-
ble series of providences connecting his pres-
ence in that pulpit with the memorable scene
of his childhood days.
The hymn sung under these extraordinary
circumstances was written by William Cowper
(1731-1800), "the most popular poet of his
generation, and the best of English letter-
writers," as his biographer Southey declares.
It is said to have been composed under cir-
cumstances no less extraordinary. According
to one tradition, Cowper on a certain occasion
thought he had been divinely ordered to a par-
ticular part of the River Ouse, there to drown
himself. The driver of the carriage missed
his way, and upon returning home the poet
wrote this hymn. Another tradition is that it
134 GOSPEL SINGERS.
was written during a solitary walk in the fields
when the poet had a presentiment of returning
insanity. Montgomery refers to it as a lyric
of high tone and character, and rendered aw-
fully interesting by the circumstances under
which it was composed in the twilight of de-
parting reason. This hymn was the last con-
tributed by Cowper to the Olney collection
that undying " monument to perpetuate the
remembrance of an intimate and endeared
friendship " between himself and $he Rev.
- It is to Cowper also that we owe the hymn
which, perhaps, more than any other is the
favorite of the social prayer-meeting and camp-
meeting, and which has aided thousands of in-
quiring hearts to the decision that brings spir-
itual light and life " There is a fountain filled
with blood." Literary criticism has had no
friendly word for this hymn ; but it has made
its way to almost universal favor and use. A
historian! of the literature of the eighteenth
century says : " This hymn still finds its place
amid the familiar utterances of piety, but we
cannot think, is often used by any congrega-
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 13$
tion of worshiping people in these days." In
this country it would be perfectly safe to say
that it is one of the very few hymns known
and loved by nearly every congregation of
worshiping people. The history of its use in
the general revivals in this land and in Britain
would show that tens of thousands had sent
up to God on the wings of this hymn the jubi-
lant thought of their hearts as they recalled
"the fountain filled with blood " which had
" washed all their sins away.' ' An interesting in-
cident is related of its being sung by mill hands
in a factory-room at Belfast, Ireland, v with so
much fervor that the manager an unbeliever
was fain to withdraw lest he should dissolve
his professed atheism in tears of contrition.
From Cowper, too, we have that most ex-
quisite of aspirations, " O for a closer walk
with God," which v has gone into the hymnody
of all Churches ; " Far from the world, O Lord,
I flee," which was inspired by witnessing the
intense devotion of a fellow-worshiper in Jthe
church at Huntingdon; and "Jesus, where'er
thy people meet," which was written for the
opening of a social prayer-room at Olney.
136 GOSPEL SINGERS.
The pathos and tragedy of Cowper's life are
too well known to need rehearsing here. The
mental malady to which he was predisposed
from early youth took an aggravated form at
three separate periods of his life, unseating
reason and rendering work impossible ; and
" the poet who of all English artists has written
the noblest hymns for depth of religious feel-,
ing and for loveliness of quiet style ; whose life
was blameless as the water-lilies which he
loved and the way of life of which on silent
streams he made his own ; whose heart
breathed the sweetest air of natural piety, and
yet could sympathize with the supersensuous
world in which Guyon lived, died in ghastly
hopelessness, refusing comfort to the last."
" O poets, from a maniac's tongue was poured the death-
less singing ;
O Christians, to your cross of hope a helpless hand is
O men, this man, in brotherhood your weary paths be-
Groaned inly, while he taught you peace, and died while
you were smiling."
Altogether different from the gentle Cow-
per was his friend, the Rev. John Newton
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 137
(1725-1807), at whose suggestion the Olney
hymn-book was undertaken, and who contrib-
uted by far the larger proportion of the collec-
tion. He was a native of London, blessed
with a pious mother whose influence was sad-
ly counteracted by an indifferent father. The
young Newton went to sea and abandoned
himself to the most vicious practices. A copy
of The Imitation of Christ was providentially
brought under his notice. An impression was
made which was re-enforced by exposure to
imminent peril from shipwreck. The outcome
was a happy conversion, and, as the epitaph
which he wrote for himself records, " John
Newton, clerk, once an infidel and libertine,
a servant of slaves in Africa, was, by the rich
mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to
preach the faith he had long labored to de-
stroy." For some time after his conversion
Newton was in the slave-trade, but subsequent
enlightenment convinced him of its inhuman
nature. He secured a position on shore, made
his first attempt at preaching in 1758, and in
1764 became curate at Olney.' In 1799 he
138 GOSPEL SINGERS.
moved to London, where, eight years later, he
Newton's hymns, with few exceptions, are
very ordinary. The exceptions, however, rank
with the most popular and most widely used
" How tedious and tasteless the hours," which
has articulated the outpouring of many a saint
who felt it to be the transcript of his own. ex-
perience, has been in every edition of the
Methodist Episcopal Hymn- Book from its first
edition. "Safely through another week," a
favorite hymn for Sabbath morning worship,
was originally written as a hymn for Saturday
evening and modified for use on the Lord's
day. " How sweet the name of Jesus sounds "
is Newton's lyrical expression of the thought
suggested by Sol. Song i, 3, " Thy name is as
ointment poured forth." It is one of the
choicest hymns in our language, and a worthy
companion of that sweetest of mediaeval strains
from the lyre of Bernard of Clairvaux, "Je-
sus, Dulcis Memoria," of which it is said to be
an echo. "Amazing grace, how sweet the
sound," is manifestly autobiographic, and with
his " In evil long I took delight " shows how
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 139
keen his contrition and thorough his repentance
were. " Come, my soul, thy suit prepare," has
had extended popularity as a favorite with
Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, who was wont to have
his congregation sing it just before the prayer
in public service. " Though troubles assail
and dangers affright," a hymn especially dear
to souls who have seen trouble, has a verse
commonly omitted from the church collections
for theological reasons, but which represents
the superb trust of the writer :
" We may, like the ships,
By tempest be tost
On perilous deeps,
But cannot be lost.
" Though Satan enrages
The wind and the tide,
The promise engages,
The Lord will provide."
Such a thought was only natural to one who
had been almost miraculously preserved from
shipwreck, and transformed from a servant of
slaves to a minister of Jesus Christ. Other
favorites are the fine hymn of the Church,
" Glorious things of thee are spoken," sug-
140 GOSPEL SINGERS.
gested by the eighty-seventh Psalm ; " Mary
to the Saviour's tomb," based upon the narra-
tive in John xx, 11-16; "'Tis a thing I long
to know," which so strikingly sets forth the
longing of many an honest follower of Jesus
for assurances of acceptance ; " While with
ceaseless course the sun," one of our most
effective New Year hymns ; and " One there
is above all others," the rhythmical setting of
a thought which has cheered many an outcast
and brought comfort to the friendless.
Detail has been allowed to Cowper and
Newton which cannot here be given the other
hymnists of this period. Their Olney collec-
tion, which, next to the productions of Watts
and the Wesleys, ranks as the most important
of the century, would justify this. The revival
opened the fountains of melody in many hearts
which in one way or another found their way
into the general tide of church song.
From John Byrom (1691-1763), a Lancashire
worthy of strong feeling, in whom faith burned
like " a hidden flame," we have the fine Christ-
mas hymn, " Christians, awake, salute the happy
morn;" and from Robert Seagrave (born 1693),
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 141
whose zeal for the promotion of godliness in
the Established Church was not fully appre-
ciated by his superiors, the useful and popular
" Rise, my soul, and stretch thy wings."
Joseph Grigg (1719-1768) was the author of
some admirable lyrics, but chiefly remarkable
for his "Jesus, and can it ever be?" which
was written when the poet was ten years old.
William Hammond (1719-1783), a graduate
of Cambridge University and a probable con-
vert of Whitefield's, who subsequently became
a minister in the Moravian Church, gave to
the Church the vigorous and heart-stirring,
"Awake, and sing the song," and that fine
prayer-song, " Lord, we come before thee now."
Joseph Hart (1712-1768), who for the last
eight years of his life was an eminently success-
ful pastor, out of the depth of an extraordi-
nary experience produced one of the tenderest
invitation hymns ever written, " Come, ye sin-
ners, poor and needy."
John Cennick (1717-1755), who, like Ham-
mond, went from the Methodists to the Mora-
vians, furnished " Jesus, my all, to heaven is
gone," and " Children of the heavenly King,"
142 GOSPEL SINGERS.
which, however, owe much to editorial emen-
dation. Cennick was also the author of the in-
vocation and thanksgiving inscribed on John
Wesley's family tea-pot, which is still preserved.
Benjamin Beddome (1717-1795) and Samuel
Stennett (1727-1795) were Baptist preachers
and sons of Baptist preachers. To the former
we owe, " Witness, ye men and angels, now,"
and to the latter, " On Jordan's stormy banks
Robert Robinson (1/35-1790) and John
Fawcett (1739-1817), also Baptist ministers,
were both converted under Whitefield, and
became the authors of imperishable hymns.
From the former we have, " Come, thou
Fount of every blessing," and from the lat-
ter, "Blest be the tie that binds," which
latter was written upon his determination to
stay with the humble Wainsgate parish after
having received and accepted the call to an
influential church in Lpndon.
The author of " Hail, thou once despised
Jesus," was John Bakewell (1721-1819), one of
John Wesley's most useful local preachers,
and, according to the inscription on his tomb,
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 143
one who " adorned the doctrine of God our
Saviour eighty years, and preached his glori-
ous Gospel about seventy years." At Bake-
weH'shome Thomas Olivers (1725-1799) com-
posed that ode of singular power and beauty,
" The God of Abraham praise," of which
Montgomery says : " There is not in our lan-
guage a lyric of more majestic style, more ele-
vated thought, or more glorious imagery. It
was written for a Jewish melody furnished
by Signer Leoni, which had charmed Olivers.
"All hail the power of Jesus' name" has
been denominated the Methodist " Te Deum."
It was written by Edward Perronet (died 1792),
a comrade of the Wesleys, until separated from
them by doctrinal differences, and a son of Rev.
Vincent Perronet, vicar of Shoreham, Kent,
always the steadfast and ardent friend of the
Augustus M. Toplady (1740-1778) was the
son of a British army officer and a native of
Surrey, England. During a visit to Ireland
he was converted under the preaching of a
fervent but unlettered local preacher, and ma-
triculated at Trinity College, Dublin, to study
144 GOSPEL SINGERS.
for the ministry. At eighteen his reading of
Dr. Manton's sermons decided his bias toward
Calvinism, and at twenty-two he was ordained
a minister in the Established Church. He was
an impressive preacher and popular, and his
power as a controversialist was great. The
acrimonious debate with Wesley has been al-
ready referred to. It was given to Toplady to
write the hymn " Rock of ages," by some con-
sidered the finest hymn in our language, and
one of the most widely usefuHn any language.
From Wales came the exquisite strains
of William Williams (1717-1791), whose
"O'er those gloomy hills of gladness" is a
noble missionary. hymn sung for years before
missionary societies were founded ; and whose
" Guide me, O thou great Jehovah," is a gen-
John Berridge (1716-1793) was a zealous
minister of the Established Church, who itin-
erated extensively, despite the protest of his
ecclesiastical caretakers, and who, a bachelor
himself, wrote a marriage hymn, " Since Jesus
freely did appear," which is found in several
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 145
A few hymns composed by women have
come down to us from this period. " Father,
whate'er of earthly bliss," was written by Anne
Steele (1716-1778), of whom it has been said
that " no woman, and but few men, have writ-
ten so many hymns which have had general
acceptance in the Church." She was reared
in comfortable circumstances among the hills
of Hampshire, near Southampton, England.
An injury received while young involved many
years of suffering, and the drowning of her
intended husband on the day preceding the
day set for their marriage added great sorrow
of heart. Her tender and beneficent minis-
tries among the villagers and her gracious dis-
position endeared her greatly to all. In death
she uttered the triumphant testimony, " I
know that my Redeemer liveth."
Selina Shirley (1707-1791), daughter of
Washington, Earl of Ferrers, and wife of
Theophilus Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon who
is credited with the hymn beginning in most
collections with the line, " When thou, my
righteous Judge, shalt come," was one of the
most remarkable women of her time. Her
146 GOSPEL SINGERS.
piety and liberality were equally conspicuous,
and in an age when it required courage to be
religious at all, even in church circles, her re-
ligion was as ardent as it was sincere. Even
George III. "wished there was a Lady Hunt-
ingdon in every diocese in the kingdom," when
a bishop complained of her zeal for godliness.
Her house was the favorite resort for the lead-
ers of the evangelical revival, and she was often
their companion on preaching tours. She
founded Trevecca College in South Wales, for
the education of young men for the ministry,
and before her death consented to the organ-
ization of the "Connection" which bears her
name. Among her chaplains were Romaine
and Whitefield, and with the latter she may
be said to have founded the Calvinistic branch
of Methodism. Dying at eighty-four, she could
fairly say, " My work is done. I have noth-
ing to do but to go to my Father."
"How blest the righteous when he dies," a
hymn much in use at funerals, was written by
Mrs. Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825), who
is, perhaps, more widely known by her " Ode
to Life," which Wordsworth committed to
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 147
memory, and, though " not in the habit of
grudging people their good things," wished
" he had written these lines : "
" Life ! We've been long together,
Through pleasant and through cloudy weather ;
'Tis hard to part when friends are dear,
Perhaps 'twill cost a sigh, a tear ;
Then steal away, give little warning,
Choose thine own time ;
Say not, ' Good-night/ but in some brighter clime
Bid me 'Good-morning.' "
148 GOSPEL SINGERS.
HYMNS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.
HE tide of hymn-writing which began to
gather under the influence of the Wesley-
an revival of the eighteenth century rose to a
flood before the middle of this century, and
shows no sign of abatement. " Every man
hath a psalm," and in some way or other finds
a publisher. Each denomination has its own
collection, which incorporates material from
every source, and becomes in turn a source by
inviting special contributions. To attempt an
enumeration of the hymn- writers of this cent-
ury would be to defeat the purpose of this
work, which is simply to give some account of
the origin and historyof familiar hymns.
It is a spring day in 1822. A missionary
meeting is in progress at the Wesleyan Chapel
in Liverpool. The learned and saintly Adam
Clarke presides. The speaker is a man in mid-
dle life. He is of medium height, and has
a thin, clear, intelligent countenance. His
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 149
suit of black is adorned with voluminous breast
ruffles, after the fashion of an earlier day. The.
address which has touched his hearers to a
lively interest in the absorbing theme is being
concluded. The speaker becomes a seer. In
clear vision he beholds the victorious progress
of the Christian evangel and the kingdoms of
our Lord and of his Christ. His heart pours
itself out in triumphant ascription :
Hail, to the Lord's Anointed,
Great David's greater Son !
Hail, in the time appointed,
His reign on earth begun !
He comes to break oppression,
To set the captive free ;
To take away transgression,
And rule in equity."
The service is over ; but Dr. Clarke, charmed
with the poem which seizes the spirit and ex-
hibits some of the principal beauties of the He-
brew bard, begs the manuscript and prints it
with his commentary on the seventy-second
Psalm, of which it is a versification. The
speaker was James Montgomery (1771-1854),
who has been called by some, but with mani-
fest exaggeration, " the Cowper of the nine-
ISO GOSPEL SINGERS.
teenth century." He was the son of a Mora-
vian clergyman, and received his early training
under Moravian influences at the settlement in
Fulneck,. Yorkshire, England. As shop-boy
he discovered his bent toward literature, which
had free exercise when he became editor of
the Sheffield Iris in 1/94. This journal, as
the Register, had been edited by Montgom-
ery's employer, Mr. Gales, who sought refuge
in America from government persecution for
radical views. With these views Montgomery
sympathized, and twice found himself in pris-
on for their expression. To this imprisonment
we owe some of his best hymns. The greater
part of his life was spent in Sheffield, and
among many beautiful ministries was his care
for the sisters of his exiled employer. He
seems to have been subject to occasional de-
pressions, and from one of these moods we
have the hymn beginning, " O where shall rest
be found." In 1814 he formally associated him-
self with the United Brethren, which is sup-
posed to have been the occasion of writing
" People of the living God." His " Hark, the
song of jubilee," was composed for a mission-
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 151
ary anniversary, and his " Prayer is the soul's
sincere desire M was written at the request of
Rev. E. Bickersteth for the latter's Treatise
on Prayer. Of his "Angels from the realms
of glory," it is said by a competent critic that
" for comprehensiveness, appropriateness of
expression, force, and elevation of sentiment
it may challenge comparison with any hymn
that was ever written in any language or coun-
try." Montgomery's achievements were not
limited to hymn-writing. His critical work
was not inconsiderable, either as to quantity or
quality. His lectures on literature were re-
ceived with great favor, and his literary serv-
ices we.fe recognized by the government which
had twice imprisoned him with a place on the
pension list yielding an income of ^150 per
annum. He died in 1854, and was honored
with a public funeral.
It was an exciting day in Scotland, that
memorable i8th of May, 1843. The General
Assembly of the Presbyterian Church sat in
Edinburgh, and citizens of every station were
canvassing on street, in store, and at the
hearthstone the probable outcome of the mo-
152 GOSPEL SINGERS.
mentous session. Leaders in the Church had
taken a stand against the abuse of patronage
and the interference of the civil courts. Would
they follow their convictions and leave the
Established Church ? The answer was deci-
sive and dramatic. " Dr. Welsh, the moderator,
took the chair, invoked the divine presence,
and calmly said that the Assembly could not
be properly constituted without violating the
terms of union between Church and State.
He read a protest against any further proceed-
ings, bowed to the representative of the crown,
stepped down into the aisle, and walked to-
ward the door. To follow him Was to forsake
the old Church, its livings, salaries, manses,
pulpits, and parishes. Dr. Chalmers had
seemed like a lion in reverie, and all eyes were
turned upon him. Would he give up his chair
in theology ? He seized his hat, took the new
departure, and after him went more than four
hundred other ministers with, a host of elders.
A cheer burst from the galleries. In the street
the expectant crowd parted and admired the
heroic procession as it passed. Lord Jeffrey
was sitting in his room quietly reading when
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 1 53
some one rushed in, saying : ' What do you
think ? More than four hundred of them have
gone out.' Springing to his feet, he ex-
claimed : ' I am proud of my country. There
is not another land on earth where such a deed
could have been done.'" Among the noble
four hundred was Horatius Bonar, minister of
the North Church at Kelso, then in the thirty-
fifth year of his age, and sixth of his ministry.
Of them all and some of them, like Chalmers,
Guthrie, and Candlish, are among the most
gifted of any time none comes nearer the
heart of the Church at large than this sweet
psalmist of our modern Israel. His work was
monumental, and in its reach circled the earth.
The " Kelso " tracts brought a message of
mercy to thousands who never saw or heard
the herald of the message ; and his hymns of
faith and hope have sung themselves into the
deepest affections of the saints in all denomi-
nations. His life was rarely beautiful and
other-worldly. He lived in an atmosphere of
prayer. One of his children cherishes the re-
membrance of " the voice of prayer coming
from the locked study, where he knelt or paced
154 GOSPEL SINGERS.
up and down, sometimes for hours." A young
servant in the house owed her conversion to
this. She thought : " If he needs to pray so
much, what will become of me if I do not
pray ? " It is impossible that from a heart
thus turned to heavenly things aught but heav-
enly music should come. To him we owe that
loveliest lyric of the heavenly land, " Beyond
the smiling and weeping," and that most ex-
quisite of personal testimonies, "I heard the
voice of Jesus say," which the Anglican
Bishop Fraser, of Manchester, declared to
be " the finest hymn in the English language."
When asked to designate his own favorite, Dr.
Bonar selected the one beginning, "When the
weary seeking rest," a beautiful poem con-
structed on the theme of Solomon's prayer in
the temple, concluding each stanza with the
" Hear then in love, O Lord, the cry
In heaven, thy dwelling-place on high."
Perhaps the most general favorite in the
Church, if we may judge by its distribution
among the denominational collections, is the
hymn, " I lay my sins on Jesus'," which, pro-
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 1 55
ceeding in joyful triumph at the redemption
in Christ, closes appropriately with an earnest
longing for the ripeness of character which
comes from a life fully consecrated to Christ.
Other favorites are the " Pilgrim Song ; " "A
few more years shall roll ; " " I was a wandering
sheep," which has been used with telling em-
phasis in revival-meetings ; and " Thy way, not
mine, O Lord," a tender and trustful song of
the heart. Dr. Bonar's hymns were composed
under varied circumstances. "Sometimes,"
we are told, " they were timed by the numbers
of the trickling brook that babbled near him ;
sometimes attuned to the ordered tramp of
the ocean, whose crested waves broke on the
beach by which he wandered ; sometimes set
to the rude music of the railway train that hur-
ried him to the scene of duty; sometimes
measured by the silent rhythm of the midnight
stars that shone above him." The rich legacy
bequeathed by this saint to the Church in his
devotional poetry will become more and more
apparent as it becomes better known. It is
doubtful if the century will pVoduce a singer
whose tones are at once so rich and various,
156 GOSPEL SINGERS.
and so thoroughly imbued with the spirit of
Widely different in spirit and outcome from
the movement in Edinburgh was the so-called
Tractarian movement which agitated the En-
glish establishment during the third and fourth
decades of this century. Like the Wesleyan
movement, it began in Oxford University, and
was in some measure a protest against the
evangelicalism engendered by the spread of
the Wesleyan spirit. The contention of its
promoters was for a restoration of the very
ecclesiasticism against which Wesley had re-
belled, and which the most devoted and earnest
part of the Church regarded as the deadliest
foe to real spiritual life and activity. The out-
come was as might have been expected. While
some of its adherents remained in the
Church of England, not a few went over to
Rome. This movement had its singers, and
it is with them we have to do. Earliest,
and in some respects chiefest, among them
was John Keble (1792-1866), whose Chris-
tian Year, issued in 1827, is, perhaps, the
most popular book of devotional poetry (the
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 157
Psalms always excepted) in literature. From
this work we have the beautiful morning
and evening hymns, "New every morning is
the love," and " Sun of my soul, thou Saviour
dear," based respectively upon Lam. iii, 22,
23, and Luke xxiv, 29. The impression which
this work made upon the public mind was
almost revolutionary. It prepared the way
for the rapid spread of Tractarianism, and,
singularly enough, by its free handling of re-
ligious subjects, opened the path also for the
advent of biblical criticism, than which Tracta-
rianism dreaded nothing more. According to
Dean Stanley, The Christian Year has taken
its place next to the Authorized Version and
Prayer-Book, far above the Homilies and Ar-
ticles. " For one who would enforce an argu-
ment by quoting the eleventh article, or the
homily on Charity," he says, " there are a hun-
dred,, who would appeal to The Christian Year"
Perhaps the most noticeable quality in Keble's
hymns is the knowledge of Scripture displayed.
The thought is lucid, the diction vivid, and
there is a spiritual fervor which makes them
158 GOSPEL SINGERS.
The very year (1833) from which the Trac-
tarian movement is commonly reckoned, a
Church of England clergyman was impatiently
waiting at a Mediterranean sea-port to take
passage home. He was sick in body and anx-
ious in mind. An orange boat was ready to
sail. He secured passage, and the homeward
voyage was begun. But the boat was be-
calmed and the impatient spirit sought solace
in verse-making. Here, on June 16, was writ-
ten the hymn, " Lead, kindly Light, amid the
encircling gloom," which for beauty of sug-
gestion and felicity of expression stands al-
most unrivaled in our tongue. The writer was
John Henry Newman (1801-1890), then a
presbyter in the Church of England, and, as
the incumbent of St. Mary's, a teacher of
almost unparalleled influence with. Oxford stu-
dents. He took his place in the current agi-
tation, and became at once the most influen-
tial of its leaders. He entered the Roman
communion in 1845 '> ' m l %79 he was designated
a cardinal, and in 1890 he died.
Belonging to the same coterie was Frederick
William Faber (1815-1 863), whose hymns have
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 159
a sweetness and tender suggestion which en-
dears them to all lovers of sacred poetry. He
was, like Newman, a magician with words,
and not a little of the spell which both exercise
in their writings lies in the fascination of felicit-
ous phrasing. There is, perhaps, no more win-
ning interpretation of the heart's longing for
heaven than his " O paradise, O paradise ! " or
no more enrapturing melody for a pilgrimage
song than his " Hark, hark, my soul ! angelic
songs are swelling.' ' Many a discouraged work-
er has taken heart again by the ringing remem-
" Right is right, since God. is God,
.And right the day must win."
And, despite its alleged questionableness of
doctrine and faultiness of figure, hosts of .wor-
shipers find comfort and inspiration in remem-
" There's a wideness in God's mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea."
The Tractarian movement gave an impetus
to the study of the Latin and Greek Church
fathers which was not without its effect upon
hymnody. The hymn-writers of the early
l6o GOSPEL SINGERS.
centuries were again made vocal in translations,
and some of our most cherished lyrics are from
these sources. Kasily chief among all the
workers in this field was John Mason Neale
(1818-1866), whose "Jerusalem, the golden,"
has made known to us " the sweetest of all the
New Jerusalem hymns of heavenly homesick-
ness which have taken their inspiration from
the last two chapters of Revelation." Dr.
Neale's career reads like a romance. His
championship of the extreme views advocated
in the Tractarian movement subjected him to
the crudest persecution. Although his life
was divided between stupendous toil and the
most abounding labors of piety and benevo-
lence, he was under the inhibition of his bishop
for fourteen years, and was once burned in
effigy. His work was of the hardest and his
income a pittance. He wrote children's stories
for bread, and was manifestly content to serve
the Church he loved, though she heeded not
his loyalty and regarded with suspicion his sin-
cere and enthusiastic devotion. Next to Dr.
Neale stands Edward Caswall (1814-1878),
who has given us " Jesus, the very thought of
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. l6l
thee," the unapproachably fine translation of
Bernard's famous " Jesu dulcis memoria," and
" My .God, I love thee not because I hope for
heaven thereby," the scarcely less famous hymn
of Francis Xavier. To John Chandler (1806-
1876), whose service in this line entitles him
to rank with Neale and Caswall, we are in-
debted for the hymn beginning, " The royal
banner is unfurled," a rendering of " one of the
grandest hymns in the treasury of the Latin
Church," the Passion hymn of Venantius For-
Contributions were also brought in from the
German sources, the principal worker in this
field being Catherine Winkworth (1829-1878),
who rendered this service not. so much to fur-
nish specimens of German hymn-writing "as in
the hope," as she herself says " that these utter-
ances of Christian piety, which have comforted
and strengthened the hearts of many true
Christians, in their native country, may speak
to the hearts of some among us to help and
cheer those who must strive and suffer, and to
make us feel afresh what a deep and true
communion of saints exists among all the chil-
1 62 GOSPEL SINGERS.
dren of God in different Churches and lands."
To Miss Jane Borthwick, a native of Scotland,
who, with her sister, published a valuable se-
lection from the Hymns from the Land of Lu-
ther, we owe the hymn, " My Jesus, as thou
wilt," which has already had a wonderful his-
tory in bringing a message of comfort to hearts
stricken with bereavement.
The services to hymnody rendered by, Miss
Winkworth and Miss Borthwick naturally sug-
gest the further contributions to the service of
song made by female writers. Harriet Auber
(1773-1862) was born in London, and was a
devout member of the Church of England.
She had a fine literary taste, and her render-
ing of the Psalms ranks with the best produced
in this century. Psa. Ixxii becomes in her
version the favorite missionary hymn, " Has-
ten, Lord, the glorious time;" and Psa. Ixxxi
the equally popular hymn of praise, " O God,
our strength, to thee our song."
Mrs. Felicia D. Hemans (1794-1835), in spite
of the most discouraging circumstances, be-
came one of the most popular poets of her day.
That she undervalued her own work is manifest
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 163
from her expressed regret " that the necessities
of providing for a family obliged her to waste
her mind upon. mere desultory effusions." Two
verses of the hymn by which she is represented
in most of our hymnals, " Calm on the bosom
of thy God," are inscribed on her tomb in
the church at Dublin, Ireland, where she is
Mrs. Margaret Mackay (born 1801) is a Scotch
story- writer and poet, who, from the quiet
aspect of a Devonshire cemetery and the con-
cordant inscription upon a headstone, " Sleep-
ing in Jesus," received the suggestion which
gave us that cherished hymn, "Asleep in Jesus,
There is, perhaps, no more beautiful ex-
pression of devout faith and child-like trust
than is found in the hymn, " Father, I know
that all my life," by Anna Lsetitia Waring
(born 1820), a native of South Wales and a
singer of unusual gifts.
That hymn, an especial favorite with chil-
dren, " I think when I. read that sweet story
of old," was written in a stage-coach by Mrs.
Jemima Luke (born 1813), wife of an Inde-
164 GOSPEL SINGERS.
pendent minister in England, while on her
way to a school festival.
Elizabeth Codner (born 1835), who writes,
" Lord, I hear of showers of blessing," is also
the wife of a clergyman living in London, and
is favorably known for her benevolent activity.
The hymn was born out of a heart anxious for
the salvation of some young friends who had
been greatly impressed with the recital of
events connected with the revival in Ireland in
1860. While quietly communing with herself
and longing to impress upon the young people
an individual appeal "without effort," she says,
" words seemed to be given me, and they took
the form of this hymn." Few hymns have
been more serviceable in evangelistic work.
Who that ever heard Mr. Ira D. Sankey sing
"The ninety and nine " will ever forget the
melting pathos and infinite tenderness of its
loving suggestion ? The tune was his own, and
came into his mind during a service at which
the topic presented was " The Good Shepherd."
The hymn was written by Mrs. Elizabeth C.
Clephane (1830-1869), of Melrose, Scotland,
who wrote it for a periodical edited by Dr. Ar-
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 165
not, and who passed into the presence of the
Good Shepherd a few years before her hymn
was winged with music for its world-wide flight.
A city pastor was called to the bedside of a
young woman dying of consumption. School
associations had brought her under the influ-
ences of a teacher hostile to the Christian, and
indifferent to any, religion. The girl was high-
ly cultivated, and argued the claims of religion
with the pastor as if the contest were not for
life and death, but for dialectical supremacy.
His importunity at length annoyed her. She de-
clined to further discuss the topic, and upon
allusion to it would turn her face to the wall.
Finally, the pastor, addressing her by name, said
earnestly : " I have not called to argue with you
another word, but before leaving you to meet
the issues of eternity I wish to recite a hymn."
He then repeated with touching emphasis the
hymn "Just as I am, without one plea," and
left her. He thought it would not be worth
while to call again, but the imminence of death
and peril of soul were too great to be de-
nied any help he might offer, and he went to
her once more. She turned to face him. In
1 66 GOSPEL SINGERS.
her sunken eyes was a gleaming radiance and
upon her face an ineffable light. Placing her
wasted hands in his, she said, with deep emo-
"Just as I am, without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidd'st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come ! I come ! "
" O, sir," she said, " Tve come, Pve come!"
This is but one instance among hundreds in
which this hymn has made an appeal denied
to argument and the logician's skill, and
brought the human soul and its divine Sa-
viour into at-one-ment. The writer of the hymn
was Charlotte Elliott (1789-1871), a native of
Brighton, England, and blessed with an an-
cestry famous for intellectual and spiritual at-
tainments. At twenty-two she became, and
through her long life continued, an invalid.
At thirty-three she was brought into a rich re-
ligious experience through the ministry of the
saintly Caesar Malan, of Switzerland, and annu-
ally kept the day on which it occurred as a
sacred festival. Her now famous hymn ap-
peared in 1836, and was written for the Inva-
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. l6/
lid's Hymn-Book, a work compiled by her, and
to which, in its several editions, she contrib-
uted over a hundred hymns. In the furnace
of much bodily pain and sorrow of heart were
her exquisite hymns fashioned. Years of pa-
tient suffering went into their making, and not
unlikely imparted that quality which makes
them a store-house of consolation for God's
chastened and chosen ones. From her pen
also came that matchless petition for perfect
loyalty in every dispensation, " My God, my
Father, while I stray," which so pathetically
hints of a brave heart suffering.
" Then when on earth I breathe no more
The prayers oft mixed with tears before,
I'll sing upon a happier shore
' Thy will be done, thy will be done.' "
Of this and the hymn " Just as I am," Miss
Frances R. Havergal says : " There is a beau-
tiful fitness in the fact that these two far thrill-
ing chords were struck by the same hand.
For only the heart that said ' Just as I am '
can truly say ' Thy will be done.' "
The Miss Havergal quoted above was her-
self a singer of verses as sweet and helpful as
1 68 GOSPEL SINGERS.
her piety was deep and gracious. She was
born at Astley, Worcestershire, England, De-
cember 14, 1836. Her father was an accom-
plished minister and musician, and the daugh-
ter early developed a passion for music and
unusual gifts of composition. Fancying that
her choice of the musician's vocation was a
self-gratification, she even prayed that the gift
might be withdrawn if a peril to her spiritual
life. Her prayer was " to be white at any
cost." The gift was consecrated to divine
uses, and became a ministry of blessing to
multitudes. Visiting at a friend's home, she
asked God for the conversion of some uncon-
verted inmates and a special blessing upon the
others, and the prayer was signally granted.
Her joy poured itself out in her well-known
and searching consecration hymn, " Take my
life, and let it be." Too ill to attend church
on Sunday, the chiming bells called out from
her heart the stirring response, " Tell it out
among the nations that the Lord is King."
Miss Havergal died in 1879. Her life literally
went out in song.
A hymn which has won wide and abiding
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 169
popularity is " Nearer, my God, to thee," the
metrical rendering of Jacob's vision at Beth-el
recorded in Gen. xxviii, 11-19. It was writ-
ten by Mrs. Sarah Flower Adams (1805-1849),
the gifted daughter of one of the founders of
English journalism, and a member of the con-
gregation organized by the eloquent William
Johnson Fox, to whose collection the hymn
was contributed. In some quarters its use has
been objected to on the grounds that its
author was a Unitarian, and that it contains
no reference to Christ. This objection might
with equal force be urged against large sec-
tions of the Old Testament. Allied " Chris-
tian" emendations have been tried upon the
hymn, but have found no acceptance. x If one
may judge from poetical expression in a dra-
matic composition (not an absolute test, it is
true), Mrs. Adams was as orthodox as the
most sensitive could require. In a lovely
hymn from her Vivia Perpetua she sings :
" Part in peace Christ's life was peace,
Let us live our life in him ;
Part in peace Christ's death was peace,
Let us die our death in him ;
I/O GOSPEL SINGERS.
Part in peace Christ promise gave
Of a life beyond the grave,
Where all mortal partings cease :
Brethren, sisters, part in peace."
Certain it is that her life was one of beautiful
ministry, and her death was radiant with the
spirit of resignation and hope.
Richly supplementing the songs of the sister-
hood are the melodies of their brother singers.
The hymnist who of all others I'm the early
part of the century ranks next to Montgomery
in the contribution of serviceable hymns for
congregational worship is Thomas Kelly (1769-
1855). He was a native of Ireland and a min-
ister of the Established Church until his fervor
led to differences with his superiors. Later,
from conviction, he became a dissenter. He
was a scholar, poet, musician, and evangelist.
Having independent means, he gave unstint-
edly to every good cause, and after an extended
term of blessedly diligent, laborious, and fruit-
ful service he died at a ripe age. Among his
best hymns are the missionary hymn, " On
the mountain's top appearing," based upon
Isa. lii, 7 ; the hymn of the Church, " Zion
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. I /I
stands with hills surrounded," based upon Psa.
cxxv, 2 ; and " We sing the praise of him who
died," based upon Gal. vi, 14, a hymn of which
Sir Roundell Palmer says, " I doubt whether
Montgomery ever wrote any thing quite equal
Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847) was a
Church of England clergyman whose life is
full of singularly noble and pathetic touches.
After years of arduous and loving service
among a rough, seafaring people on the Devon
coast he is ordered to the Continent for a re-
spite and in the hope of restoring shattered
health. He goes and returns. The hope is
futile* But he must go again. He insists
upon preaching once more. His hardy fisher
people and their little ones throng the church.
He speaks to them of the broken body and
shed blood of the Saviour. They listen breath-
lessly as to a dying man. He bids them fare-
well and seeks his room. On the evening of
the same day he places in the hands of a friend
the words of that peerless evening hymn,
"Abide with me, fast falls the eventide," and
soon after goes abroad to die.
172 GOSPEL SINGERS.
Like Lyte in talents and devotion was Reg-
inald Heber (1783-1826), who, after a brilliant
university career, accepted the bishopric of
Calcutta, arid in three years wore out his life
in unremitting toil. Three hymns, all eminent
in their way, we owe to him. His " Holy,
holy, holy, Lord God Almighty," is perhaps
the most perfect hymn of ascription in our
language. The pre-eminent missionary hymn,
"From Greenland's icy mountains," was writ-
ten in a few hours to meet the demand of his
father-in-law for a hymn to be sung at a mis-
sionary service the next day. " Brightest and
best of the sons of the morning," although
criticised as an "apostrophe to a star," is nev-
ertheless one of our best Christmas hymns.
Bernard Barton (1784-1849), the " Quaker
poet," sometimes restive under the routine of
his duties as bank clerk, gave to the Church that
noble testimony to its most convincing apology,
" Walk in the light, so shalt thou know."
Henry Kirke White (1785-1806), the youth
of promise who had Southey for his enthusi-
astic biographer and Lord Byron for his eulo-
gist, and from whom,
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS.
" When life was in its spring,
And his young muse just waved her joyous wing,
The spoiler swept that soaring lyre away
Which else had sounded an immortal lay,"
gave us his experience in passing from doubt
to assurance in the hymn, " When marshaled
on the nightly plain."
James Edmeston (1791-1867), author of
" Saviour, breathe an evening blessing," was a
London architect, and this favorite hymn was
written, we are told, after reading in Salte's
Travels in Abyssinia the words, " At night
their short evening hymn, ' Jesus forgives us,'
stole through the camp." For years this hymn
was part of the evening service in the church
where its author worshiped.
The general choir includes singers of almost
every station in life and of almost every degree
of culture. Sir Robert Grant (1785-1838), the
accomplished Governor of Bombay, India,
contributes the touching litany cry, " Saviour,
when in dust to thee," and the joyous hymn
of gratitude and praise, " O worship the King
all glorious above."
Sir John Bowring (1792-1872), the distin-
1/4 GOSPEL SINGERS.
guished scholar and diplomatist, writes that
triumphant hymn of the cross, " In the cross
of Christ I glory," which to some may seem
an anomaly, since its author was a leader
among the English Unitarians, whose creed
has no place for the cross.
Sabine Baring-Gould, an Episcopal clergy-
man of varied culture and an industrious stu-
dent, contributed " Onward, Christian sol-
diers," which ranks in the very front of our
few good soldier songs.
Edward Mote (1797-1836), a Baptist min-
ister in England, wrote " My hope is built on
nothing less " when a layman, and the refrain,
" On Christ, the solid rock, I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,"
flowed into his mind while on his way to busi-
George Keith, a London bookseller, is cred-
ited (upon evidence, however, which is by
no means conclusive) with writing one of the
noblest lyrics and richest possessions of the
Christian Church, the hymn " How firm a
foundation, ye saints of the Lord," which is
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS.
based upon the quartette of texts, I Pet. i, 4;
Isa. xli, 10 ; xliii, 2 ; and xlvi, 4.
To Thomas Moore (1779-1852), poet, mu-
sician, and man of the world, we are indebted
for the familiar "Come, ye disconsolate," the
resounding song of Miriam, " Sound the loud
timbrel," and that sweetest, tenderest, and
most touching of lyrics, " O thou who driest
the mourner's tear."
Hugh Stowell (1799-1865), a churchman of
broad sympathies and strongly evangelical,
gave us " From every stormy wind that
blows," than which none is dearer to the hearts
of devout people.
Dean Henry Alford (1810-1871), eminent
in scholarship and in service to the universal
Church of Christ, describes in thrilling lines
his vision of the Church triumphant in the
hymn " Ten thousand times ten x thousand,"
and rang out the glorious call for the Church
militant, " Forward be our watchword," writ-
ten for an occasion which did not take place
until after its author had passed away.
A hymn of the heavenly land, sung every-
where, and an especial favorite with children,
170 GOSPEL SINGERS.
" There is a happy land," was written by a
Scotch teacher, Andrew Young, who found
himself charmed by an Indian tune and com-
pelled to write a hymn for it.
The list of American hymn-writers, until
within a quite recent date, was not large. But
now in this country, as in England, the inter-
est in psalmody and the demand for new col-
lections are so great as to call out a multitude
of singers, many of whose compositions find a
more or less permanent place in the general
Of the early singers perhaps the most in-
fluential is Thomas Hastings (1784-1872), a
Presbyterian layman whose services to church
music cannot be overestimated. Of his hymns
perhaps the most popular are : " Gently, Lord,
O gently lead us," which appeared first in
Spiritual Songs for Social Worship " (1832),
edited by Dr. Hastings and Lowell Mason
(1792-1872); the missionary hymn, "Hail to
the brightness of Zion's glad morning," based
upon Isa. lii, 7 ; and the funeral hymn, " Jesus,
while our hearts are bleeding."
One of the happy illustrations that in a
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS.
hymn-book denominational differences are dis-
regarded is found in the fact that the favorite
Methodist hymn of consecration, " Lord, I am
thine, entirely thine," was written by an emi-
nent Presbyterian divine, Samuel Davies (1723-
1 761), who succeeded Jonathan Edwards as pres-
ident of Princeton College. It was manifestly
written as a communion hymn, its title being
." Self-dedication at the table of the Lord."
A hymn endeared to many by its connec-
tion with the most sacred hours of sorrow is
"I would not live alway," which was written
by an Episcopalian clergyman and well-known
philanthropist, W. A. Muhlenberg (1796-1877).
The hymn, the authorship of which was then
unknown, was presented for adoption by a
committee of which Dr. Muhlenberg was one,
and rejected as being " good, but sentimental."
Dr. Muhlenberg himself voted for its exclusion.
Dr. H. U. Onderdonk, who had presented it,
secured its reconsideration and adoption. In
after years Dr. Muhlenberg said of this com-
position, " I do not believe in the hymn at
all ; it does not express the feelings of the
saint, and I should not write it now."
1/8 GOSPEL SINGERS.
What is probably the most popular hymn
of the Church, " I love thy kingdom, Lord,"
was written by a Congregationalist, Dr. Timo-
thy D wight (1752-1847), the eminent theolo-
gian and president of Yale College, whose life
is one of the romances of scholarship.
The hymn-book further illustrates how a
simple service may be multiplied and made
indefinitely useful. There are several singers
of just one song that is, of just one song
which has commanded the general suffrage for
its incorporation in the standard collections.
Such are some of our hymns of heaven.
Mrs. Lydia Baxter (1809-1874), a devout
and active member of the Baptist Church, gave
us " There is a gate that stands ajar," which
has shown the way into the beautifuL city for a
host which else might have passed it un-
S. Fillmore Bennett, a physician, wrote
" There's a land that is fairer than day," and,
it is said, dashed it off in fifteen minutes upon
hearing the remark from a friend that things
" would be all right by and by."
So also the favorites, " In the Christian's
.NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 179
home in glory," by Samuel Young Harmer, a
Methodist minister ; " My heavenly home is
bright and fair," by William Hunter (1811-
1877), also a Methodist minister ; " I will sing
you a song of that beautiful land," by Mrs.
Helen Huntington Gates, a member of the
Presbyterian Church and author of the song so
much admired by President Lincoln, begin-
ning " If you cannot cross the ocean ;" and " O,
think of the home over there," by D. W. C.
Huntington, of Genesee Conference in the
Methodist Church ; and " Safe in the arms of
Jesus," by Mrs. Francis Jane (Crosby) Van
Alstyne (born in 1823), the blind singer, who
composed this hymn in fifteen minutes at the
request of Mr. G. W. Doane, the musician,
who furnished her the theme. Mrs. Van Al-
styne, who writes as "Fanny Crosby," is the
ready writer of over five thousand hymns,
some of which have become widely popular in
Sunday-school and social meetings.
To this category belong also some names
cherished for hymns of Christian experience.
Such are Mrs. Elizabeth -Payson Prentiss(i8i8-
1878), author of the devotional classic, Step-
180 GOSPEL SINGERS.
ping Heavenward, who has given us the favor-
ite prayer-song, " More love to thee, O Christ,"
and Mrs. Phoebe Hinsdale' Brown (1783-1861),
whose " I love to steal awhile away " was
written under circumstances of touching inter-
est. She was wont to seek the seclusion of a
grove near her humble home that she might
have an opportunity for religious meditation
and prayer. Her visits there were miscon-
strued by a neighbor, who roughly told Mrs.
Brown of her suspicions. " I went home,"
the latter says, " and that evening was left
alone. After my children were all in bed ex-
cept my baby I sat down in the kitchen with
my child in my arms, when the grief of my
heart burst forth in a flood of tears. I took
pen and paper and gave vent to my oppressed
heart in what I called ' My apology for my
twilight rambles. Addressed to a lady.' "
When prepared for Nettleton's Village Hymns
the poem was altered to its present form.
A few native hymns have been found worthy
to rank among the first favorites in the uni-
versal Church. Such is the hymn " My faith
looks up to thee," written by Ray Palmer
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. l8l
(1808-1887), a Congregational minister who
served successful pastorates in the State of
New York, and was for years Corresponding
Secretary of the American Congregational
Union. This hymn was composed when the
author was twenty-two years old and a school
teacher in New York city. " It was born in
my heart," he says, " and demanded expres-
sion. There was not the slightest thought of
writing for another eye, least of all of writing
a hymn for Christian worship. I gave form to
what I felt by writing the stanzas with little
effort. I recollect I wrote them with very
tender emotion, and penned the last line with
tears:" Another beautiful hymn by this writer
is the one beginning, " Jesus these eyes have
never seen." It was Dr. Palmer's favorite,
and he passed away with the words of one
verse upon his lips :
" When death these mortal eyes shall seal,
And still this throbbing heart,
The rending veil shall thee reveal,
All-glorious as thou art."
Another hymn which has had wide accept-
ance is " One sweetly solemn thought," written
1 82 GOSPEL SINGERS.
by Phcebe Gary (1824-1871). The hymn ap-
pears in two forms. The original was written
in 1852 after Sunday morning service in " the
little back third-story bedroom " of a friend's
house in New York. The revised form, which
constitutes the basis of the hymnal versions,
was written by her for a book of Hymns for
All Christians, compiled by herself and her
pastor, Dr. Deems. A familiar story of its
blessed work is that a young man, thought-
lessly singing it in a gambling-house in China,
aroused the conscience of a fellow-gambler,
who subsequently became converted.
A hymn which is exceedingly and deserv-
edly popular here, and which will steadily
commend itself to an ever-enlarging audience,
is the stirring soldier-song, " Stand up, stand
up for Jesus." It was written by George Duf-
field (1818-1883), a prominent Presbyterian
minister, during the revival in Philadelphia in
1857. Called to the bedside of a dying fellow-
worker, Dr. Duffield asked what message he
should take to the association under whose aus-
pices the revival was being carried forward.
"Tell them," said the dying man, " to stand up
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 183
for Jesus." Dr. Duffield preached on the follow-
ing Sunday from the words, " Stand therefore,
having your loins girt about with truth," etc.,
and read the verses as a concluding exhortation.
Our national hymn, one of the noblest and
most inspiring ever written, was composed in
1832 by Samuel Francis Smith (born 1808),
then a theological student, afterward a Baptist
pastor of repute. It was suggested by the tune
" America, " which the author found in a Ger-
man music-book given to him by Lowell Ma-
son. The same author has given us one of
our most popular missionary hymns, " The
morning light is breaking," which was contrib-
uted to the Psalmist in 1843.
- There is nothing more interesting in a re-
view of hymnody than the disclosure that to
reach the heart of humanity one must sing of
redemption. The singer may, or may not,
have his affiliations with the evangelical
Church ; but if his song is to live and to pass
into the current of men's thought it must sing
"The praise of Him who died," or of the
hopes begotten in Him who died, " the just for
the unjust, that he might bring us to God."
1 84 GOSPEL SINGERS.
Thus our most exquisite Christmas hymn,
"Calm on the listening ear of night," which
Oliver Wendell Holmes pronounces " one of
the finest and most beautiful hymns ever writ-
ten," was composed by E. H. Sears (1810-
1886), a leading minister in the Unitarian de-
nomination. Another Christmas hymn, "It
came upon the midnight clear," by the same
author, is much and justly admired.
Oliver Wendell Holmes (born 1809) is an-
other " singer of the liberal faith " who has
contributed a hymn, " O love divine, that
stooped to share," which for its pronounced
and acceptable Christian sentiment has been
incorporated into many denominational collec-
tions. There are few nobler lyrics of adora-
tion than the same writer's " Lord of all being,
William Cullen Bryant (1805-1886), one of
America's greatest poets, is also classed with
the Unitarians, which does not prevent his
" Deem not that they are blest alone " from
bringing, its suggestion of comfort and conso-
lation to men and women who are at the
farthest remove from him theologically.
NINETEENTH CENTURY HYMNS. 185
There is not in any collection a more exqui-
site and tenderly suggestive hymn of Christ's
love than that given by John Greenleaf Whit-
tier (born 1807) in his
" We may not climb the heavenly steeps
To bring the Lord Christ down ;
In vain we search the lowest deeps,
For him no depths can drown.
" But warm, sweet, tender, even yet
A present help is he ;
And faith has yet its Olivet,
And love its Galilee."
Thus it has ever been. " From the day
when Mary, the mother of Jesus, sang the first
Christian hymn to the latest that has entered
our modern hymn-books one name, which is
above every name, has made all its music."
And thus it will ever be.
" Christ, Son of God, and Christ, the Son of n:an,
Christ on the cross and Christ in kingly reign !
So sang the saints when first the song began;
So shall- it rise, a never-ending strain."
1 Dr. Schaff says that the number of German hymns
cannot fall short of one hundred thousand. Dean George
Ludvig von Hardenberg, of Halberstadt, in 1786 pre-
pared a catalogue of first lines of seventy-two thousand
seven hundred and thirty-three hymns, and the number,
not completed then, has been greatly increased since.
a Of these two hymns the first was composed for his
wife's twenty-ninth birthday, October 12, 1755 ; the
second seems to have been generally " for Christian
friends," and appeared in the author's Hymns and Sa-
cred Poems, 1749. It was. of this latter hymn that the
saintly Fletcher said : " When the triumphal chariot of
perfect love gloriously carries you to the top of perfec-
tion's hill ; when you are raised far above the common
heights of the perfect ; when you are almost translated
into glory, like Elijah then you may sing this hymn."
3 Said to have been composed during a solitary walk
in the field, when the poet was tortured by an apprehen-
sion of returning madness. It was the last he ever wrote
for the famous Olney collection.
4 Part of the hymn found in the Olney collection, en-
titled " Looking at the Cross," and beginning
" In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career."
1 88 GOSPEL SINGERS.
6 A selection from a poem of ten stanzas, entitled
" Desiring Resignation and Thankfulness," the first
stanza of which is
" When I survey life's varied scene,
Amid the darkest hours,
Sweet rays of comfort shine between,
And thorns are mixed with flowers."
8 From the " Evening Hymn " in the Christian Year.
The original has fourteen stanzas, of which the third,
seventh, eighth, and last three verses are usually given in
7 This, one of Wesley's "Hymns for Children," is
given entire in the Methodist Hymnal, No. 968, and be-
gins : " And am I only born to die ? " Two stanzas are
8 The " Trisagion " is said to have been first intro-
duced into the Liturgy in the reign of the younger The-
odosius (408-450), but it is probably much older. Tra-
dition has it that it was supernaturally communicated to
the terror-stricken population of Constantinople during
an earthquake by St. Proclus (A. D. 434).
9 The " Gloria " consisted originally of the few words in
Luke ii, 14, to which subsequent additions were made
first in the Greek, then in the Latin Church' until in
the fifth century it is found substantially in its present
10 There is a legend to the effect that Ambrose com-
posed and sang the " Te Deum " by inspiration when he
baptized Augustine ; also, that they sang it responsively.
This latter suggestion has been poetically wrought out
by Mrs. Margaret J. Preston in " The First Te Deum."
See her Colonial Ballads, 1887. It is generally be-
lieyed to be a composite of some Greek morning hymns
and metrical renderings of scriptural passages.
11 The best authorities doubt the genuineness of this
hymn, claiming that while it is beautiful and interesting,
it probably belongs to a later age.
19 See Methodist Hymnal, No. 885.
13 See Methodist Hymnal, No. 233.
14 Dr. Schaff calls this the best of the Ambrosian
hymns, full of faith, rugged vigor, austere simplicity, and
bold contrasts. We subjoin the first and last stanzas
(of seven) in Dr. Ray Palmer's translation :
" O Thou, Redeemer of our race !
. Come, show the Virgin's Son to earth ;
Let every age admire the grace ;
Worthy a God thy human birth !
" With light divine thy manger streams
That kindles darkness into day ;
Dimmed by no night henceforth, its beams
Shine through all time with changeless ray."
Trench calls the translation by John Franck one of the
choicest treasures of the German hymn-book, and
Bunsen says it is ." even deeper and lovelier than the
Latin." See Lyra Germanica, First Series, page 186.
16 Confessions, ix, 6, " How greatly did I weep in thy
hymns and canticles, deeply moved by the voices of thy
sweet-speaking Church ! The voices flowed into mine
ears, and the truth was poured forth into my heart,
whence the agitation of my piety overflowed, and my
tears ran over, and blessed was I therein."
18 Confessions, ix, 7.
17 The original is still in use in the Roman Church,
being sung on Good Friday, during the procession in
which the consecrated host is carried to the altar. This
hymn is selected as one of "the seven great hymns of
the mediaeval Church," by the editor of a work bearing
that name, and published by A. D. F. Randolph & Co.,
18 This famous hymn is said by Rev. John Ellerton, the
translator, to be, with the same author's " Crux ben-
edicta nitet," the earliest instance of elegiac verse in
Christian song. The transfusion of Ellerton's, which
finds a place in the hymn collections, is in a different
measure from the original, which runs :
"Salve festadies, toto venerabilis aevo,
Qua Deus infernum vicit, et astra tenet,
Salve festa dies, toto venerabilis asvo."
Throughout the poem the first two lines of this verse
form the third line of the other verses alternately. The
festal day referred to is Easter.
19 Besides Charlemagne and Gregory the authorship
has been claimed for Rabanus, Archbishop of Mayence
(776-856). Dry den's version in English has been com-
mended by Warton as " a most elegant and beautiful
little morsel, and one of his most correct compositions."
It opens :
" Creator Spirit, by whose aid
The world's foundations first were laid,
Gome, visit every pious mind ;
Come, pour thy joys on human kind ;
From sin and sorrow set us free,
And make thy temples worthy thee."
20 The translation by Ray Palmer is found in the
Methodist Hymnal, No. 284. Miss Winkworth furnishes
a translation of this hymn from the German for the
Lyra Germanica, which, according to competent author-
ity, is a finer translation than any that profess to be
from the Latin. We give the second and third stanzas :
u Come, Father of the poor, to earth ;
Come, with thy gifts of precious worth ;
._ Come, Light of all of mortal birth !
" Thou rich in comfort ! Ever blest
The heart where thou art constant guest,
Who giv'st the heavy laden rest."
81 See Methodist Hymnal/No. 1047, where" it has been
considerably altered. Dr. Neale, the translator, thinks it
" extremely pretty " as a song, but not intended for
82 Methodist Hymnal, No. 230. It is still in use in the
Greek Church, and Neale, in his Hymns of the Eastern
Church (page 92),, quotes a graphic account of the cel-
ebration in which it is sung.
23 The hymns of Bernard, cited here, are all in the
Methodist Hymnal, the second and fourth being espe-
cial favorites with our people. " Of him who did salva-
tion bring " was at one time credited to Charles Wes-
ley ; the matter and style of the poem betraying, as was
thought, the Wesleyan genius. It was discovered after-
ward in a book of translations by A. W. Boehm (1673-
1722), and has since been properly assigned. "Jesus,
the very thought of thee," has been denominated " the
sweetest and most evangelical (as the " Dies Irae" is the
grandest, and the " Stabat Mater" the most pathetic)
hymn of the Middle Ages." Trench, selecting fifteen of
the forty-eight or fifty quatrains for his " Latin Poetry,"
remarks : " Where all was beautiful, the task of selecting
was a hard one."
192 GOSPEL SINGERS.
84 The late Rev. S. W. Duffield essayed a translation,
preserving the original measure, thus :
" These are the latter times ; these are not better times;
Let us stand waiting ;
Lo ! how, with awfulness, He first in lawfulness,
"Of the "Stabat Mater" (Dolorosa) Dr. Schaff says:
" It is the most pathetic . . . hymn of the Middle Ages,
and occupies second rank in Latin hymnology. Sug-
gested by the incident related in John xix, 25, and the
prophecy of Simeon (Luke ii, 35), it describes, with
overpowering effect, the piercing agony of Mary at the
cross, and the burning desire to be identified with her,
by sympathy, in the intensity of her grief. It furnished
the text for the noblest musical compositions of Pales-
trina, Pergolesi, Haydn, and others. . . . The soft, sad
melody of its verse is untranslatable.",
20 The " Stabat Mater " (Speciosa) was brought to pub-
lic notice through the researches of A. F. Ozanam (1852),
and introduced more particularly to American readers
by Dr. Philip Schaff in an article in Hours at Home,
May, 1867. The question of authorship is not settled,
and Dr. Coles argues a twofold authorship of the hymns
from internal evidence.
"Methodist Hymnal, No. 911. The two martyrs re-
ferred to are Henry Voes and John Esch, whose mar-
tyrdom took place in 1523. Alter the fires were kin-
dled they repeated the Apostles' Creed, sang the " Te
Deum," and prayed in the flames : "Jesus, thou Son of
David, have mercy upon us !" The original poem con-
sists of twelve nine-line stanzas, and begins :
" Ein neues Lied wir heben an."
The tenth stanza is the basis of the hymn quoted. Pro-
fessor Bayne, in his recent Life of Luther, speaks of it
as a " ballad rugged, indeed, and with little grace or
ornament of composition, but tingling, every line of it,
with sincerity and intensity." The meter is preserved
in the following :
" With joy they stepped into the flame,
God's praises calmly singing.
Strange pangs of rage, amazement, shame
The sophists' hearts are wringing :
For God they feel is here."
28 Methodist Hymnal, No. 166. The imagery of the
hymn is derived from the forty-sixth Psalm. The hymn
has commonly been assigned to 1529; but the recent
discovery 'of a print dating apparently from February,
1528, has led Kostlin to assign the hymn to 1527, the
year of the pestilence, and of Luther's severest spiritual
and physical trials. Dr. Bayne says of Luther's hymns :
" It may be said generally that they are characterized by
a rugged but fundamentally melodious rhythm, a piercing
' intensity and expressiveness, with tender, lovely, pictur-
esque touches here and there. Above all, they are sin-
cere. They seem to thrill with an intensity of feeling
beyond their power of expression, like the glistening
of stars whose silence speaks of God."
"Methodist Hymnal, No. 569. The authorship of
this hymn was long ascribed to Altenburg, a pastor in
Thuringia ; but recent researches, according to Miss
Wirtkworth, have made it clear that he only composed
the chorale, and that the hymn itself was written down
roughly by Gustavus himself, after his victory at Leipsic,
and reduced to regular verse by his chaplain, Dr. Fab-
ricius, for the use of the army.
194 GOSPEL SINGERS.
30 Zinzendorf was a prolific writer. He is said to have
composed about two thousand hymns, many of which
were produced extemporaneously. The Brethren took
them down and preserved them. Zinzendorf says of
them, in speaking of his services at Berlin : " After the
discourse I generally announce another hymn appro-
priate. When I cannot find one, I compose one ; I say,
in the Saviour's name, what comes into my heart."
Quoted by Josiah Miller.
31 Methodist Hymnal, No. 152. The second verse of
the hymn, as written by Sternhold, was :
" On cherubs and on cherubims
Full royally he rode,
And on the wings of all the winds
Came flying all abroad."
Duffield says it is related of the learned Scaliger
whether father or son is not stated that he would rather
have been the author of this stanza than to have written
his own works.
38 Methodist Hymnal, No. u. This was the first
British composition to which the tune " Old Hundred "
was united, and, as is seen, gave its own name to the
tune. The authorship is contested, Duffield, in his
English Hymns, assigning it to John Hopkins, who, with
Sternhold, Kethe, and others, published a rendering of
33 Methodist Hymnal, No. 666. The first verse orig-
inally stood :
" Shall Simon bear thy cross alone,
And other saints be free ?
Each saint of thine shall find his own,
And there is one for me."
84 Methodist Hymnal, No. 1044. The hymn has been
traced to the collection of " Williams and Boden " (1801),
where it is credited to the Ecktngton. Collection. Duf-
field conjectures that as Rev. James Boden, one of the
editors, lived and died near Eckington, Yorkshire, this
may have been his version of " F. P. B.'s " hymn. For a
fine critical and historical sketch of this famous hymn
see W. C. Prime's monograph, '-' O mother dear, Jerusa-
lem " (New York, third edition, 1865). The Latin hymn
referred to as given by Daniel ( Thesaurus Hymnologicus)
consists of forty-eight lines, and begins :
Urbs beata Jerusalem dicta pacis visio.
The ""F. B. P." version, as given by Dr. Bonar, opens :
" Hierusalem, my happy home,
When shall I come to thee ?
When shall my sorrows have an end ?
Thy joys when shall I see ? "
and contains twenty-six stanzas.
35 It is only proper to state that the assignment of this
hymn to that occasion is based upon a tradition which,
according to Dr. E. F. Hatfield, an authority on the sub-
ject, " is probably founded on the fact that the hymn ap-
pears as No. I of his first book."
36 Dean Stanley says of the same composition : " It is
not only a hymn, but a philosophical poem, disfigured,
indeed, in parts by the anatomical allusions to the shrunk
sinew, but filled, on the whole, with a depth and pathos
which might well excite Watts to say that ' it was worth
all the verses he himself had written,' and induce Mont-
gomery to compare it to the action of a lyrical drama."
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGC
36 936 213