The Hymns and Hymn Writers of the Church: An Annotated Edition of the Methodist Hymnal

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Fb&c Limited, 2015 M06 16 - 587 páginas
Excerpt from The Hymns and Hymn Writers of the Church: An Annotated Edition of the Methodist Hymnal

I am pleased to have a part in preparing a book for people interested in hymnody.

The plan of the book is much the same as that followed in Hymn Studies, but this work is far more elaborate and valuable than that well-known book. The hymns are given in full, with careful criticism and historic notes. The book contains also biographical sketches of all the authors of hymns and composers of tunes.

It is one of the duties of the pastor to be familiar with his Hymnal, and it is the privilege of the intelligent layman as well. This work contains many valuable facts and opinions, criticisms and approbations that can be found nowhere else.

The Methodist Hymnal is a valuable book with a remarkable history. Before the organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church several hymn books of Wesleyan origin were used in this country. Among these were Select Hymns, Hymns and Psalms, Redemption Hymns, and Mr. Wesley's first Pocket Hymn Book; but the Methodist people in America had no book in common.

At the organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1784, A Collection of Psalms and Hymns for the Lord's Day was prepared for the new organization. It was printed in London in 1784, and came to America in sheets with the famous Sun day Service. The "collection," however, contained only one hundred and eighteen selections, and was altogether inadequate to meet the needs of the growing Church.

About 1790 a Pocket Hymn Book, printed in Philadelphia, appeared containing a pastoral letter to the "members and friends" of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and signed by Bishops Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury. It contained some three hundred hymns, and was sold for half a dollar. This book was essentially a reprint of a Pocket Hymn Book edited and published by Robert Spence, a Methodist class leader of York, England. All subsequent official hymn books of the Methodist Episcopal Church are enlargements and improvements of the Coke-Asbury book.

The editorial work of preparing this annotated edition of the Methodist Hymnal has been very great, as can readily be seen. Dr. Wilbur Fisk Tillett, of Vanderbilt University, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, has been associated with me in this work, and much of the value of the book is due to his careful and painstaking labor.

We send forth this work confidently hoping that it will be appreciated and praying that it may be of some use in advancing the kingdom of our Christ in the earth.

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