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HYMNS


If however, the number as well as the quality of good hymns available for general use is to be regarded, the authors of the Olney Hymns are entitled to be placed at the head of fgyper all the writers of this Calvinistic school. The greater N, ,W¢, ,, number of the Olney Hymns are, no doubt, homely and didactic; but to the best of them, and they are no inconsiderable proportion, the tenderness of Cowper and the manliness of John Newton (1725-1807) give the interest of contrast, as well as that of sustained reality. If Newton carried to some excess the sound principle laid down 'by him, that “ perspicuity, simplicity and ease should be chiefly attended to, and the imagery and colouring of poetry, if admitted at all, should be indulged very sparingly and with great judgment, ” if he is often dry and colloquial, he rises at other times into “ soul-animating strains, ” such as “ Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God ”; and sometimes (as in “ Approach, my soul, the mercy seat ”) rivals Cowper himself in depth of feeling. Cowper's hymns in this book are, almost without exception, worthy of his name. Among them are “ Hark, my soul, it is the Lord, ” “ There is a fountain filled with blood, ” “ Far from the world, O Lord, I flee, ” “ God moves in a mysterious way ” and “ Sometimes a light surprises.” Some, perhaps, even of these, and others of equal excellence (such as “ 0 for a closer walk with God ”), speak the language of a special experience, which, in Cowper's case, was only too real, but which could not, without a. degree of unreality not desirable in exercises of public worship, be applied to themselves by all ordinary Christians.

During the first quarter of the 19th century there were not many indications of the tendency, which afterwards became manifest, to enlarge the boundaries of British hymnody. Lfffxlry The Remains of ”Henry Kirke White, published by

, y, ,, ,, s Southey in 1807, contained a series of hymns, some of

which are still in use; and a few of Bishop Heber's hymns and those of Sir Robert Grant, which, though offending rather R Grant too much against John N ewton's canon, are well known and popular, appeared between 1811 and 1816, in the Christian Observer. In John Bowdler's Remains, published Bowden soon after his death in 1815, there are a few more of the same, perhaps too scholar like, character. But the chief hymn-writers of that period were two clergymen of the Established Church-one in Ireland, Thomas Kelly, and the other in England, William Hurn-who both became Nonconformists, and the Moravian poet, James Montgomery (17-71-1854), a native of Scotland.

Kelly was the son of an Irish judge, and in 1804 published a small volume of ninety-six hymns, which grew in successive Kelly editions till, in the last before his death in 1854, they amounted to 765. There is, as might be expected, in this great number a large preponderance of the didactic and commonplace, But not a few very excellent 'hymns may be gathered from them. Simple and natural, without the vivacity and terseness of Watts or the severity of Newton, Kelly has some points in common with both those writers, and he is less subjective than most of the “ Methodist ” school. His hymns beginning “ Lo I He comes, let all adore Him, ” and “ Through the day Thy love hath spared us, ” have a rich, rnelodious movement; and another, “ We sing the praise of Him who died, ” is distinguished by a calm, subdued power, rising gradually from a rather low to a very high key.

Hum published in 1813 a volume of 370 hymns, which were afterwards increased to 420. There is little in them which Hum deserves to be saved from oblivion; but one at least, “ There is a river deep and broad, ” may bear comparison with the best of those which have been produced upon the same, and it is rather a favourite, theme. The Psalms and Hymns of James Montgomery were published in 1822 and 1825, though written earlier., More cultivated Mmm and artistic than Kelly, he is less simple and natural. ome,7, His “ Hail to the L0rd's Anornted, ” “ Songs of praise the angels sang” and “ Mercy alone can meet my case ” are among his most successful efforts. During this period, the collections of miscellaneous hymns for congregational use, of which the example was set by the Wesleys, Whitfield, Toplady and Lady Huntingdon, had greatly multiplied; and with them the practice 32222, (for which, indeed, too many precedents existed in hymns. the history of Latin and German hymnody) of every collector altering the compositions of other men without scruple, to suit his own doctrine or taste; with the effect, too generally, of patching and disfiguring, spoiling and emasculating the works so altered, substituting neutral tints for natural colouring, and a dead for a living sense. In the Church of England the use of these collections had become frequent in churches and Chapels, principally in cities and towns, where the sentiments of the clergy approximated to those of the Nonconformists. In rural parishes, when the clergy were not of the “ Evangelical ” school, they were generally held in disfavour; for which, even if doctrinal prepossessions had not entered into the question, the great want of taste and judgment often manifested in their compilation, and perhaps also the prevailing mediocrity of the bulk of the original compositions from which most of them were derived, would be enough to account. In addition to this, the idea that no hymns ought to be used in any services of the Church of England, except prose anthems after the third collect, without express royal or ecclesiastical authority, continued down to that time largely to prevail among high churchmen. Two publications, which appeared almost simultaneously in 1827-Bishop Heber's Hymns, with a few added by Dean Milman, and John Keble's Christian Year (notahymn- book, but one from which several admirable hymns I, :, '::':, ';n have been taken, and the well-spring of many streams K¢b;e of thought and feeling by which good hymns have since been produced)-introduced a new epoch, breaking down the barrier as to hymnody which had till then existed between the different theological schools of the Church of England. In this movement Richard Mant, bishop of Down, M t was also one of the first to co-operate. It soon received an a great additional impulse from the increased attention which, about the same time, began to be paid to ancient hymnody, and from the publication in 1833 of Bunsen's Gesangbnch. Among its earliest fruits was the Lyra apostoliea, containing hymns, sonnets and other devotional poems, most of them originally contributed by some of the leading authors of the Tracts for the Times to the British M agazine; the finest of which is the pathetic “ Lead, kindly Light, amid th' encircling gloom, ” by Cardinal Newman-Well known, and universally admired. From that time hymns and hymn- Newman writers rapidly multiplied in the Church of England, ° and in Scotland also. Nearly 600 authors whose publications were later than 1827 are enumerated in Sedgwick's catalogue of 1863, and about half a million hymns are now in existence. Works, critical and historical, upon the subject of hymns, have also multiplied; and collections for church use have become innumerable-several of the various religious denominations, and many of the leading ecclesiastical and religious societies, having issued hymn-books of their own, in addition to those compiled for particular dioceses, churches and chapels, and to books (like Hymns Ancient and Modern, published 1861, supplemented 1889, revised edition, 1905) which have become popular without any sanction from authority. To mention all the authors of good hymns since the commencement of this new epoch would be impossible; but probably no names could be chosen more fairly representative of its characteristic merits, and perhaps also of some of 'its defects, than those of Josiah Conder and James Edmeston among English Nonconformists; Henry Francis Lyte and Charlotte Elliott among evangelicals in the Church of England; John Mason Neale and Christopher Wordsworth, bishop of Lincoln, among English churchmen of the higher school; Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Edward H. Plumptre, Frances Ridley Havergal; and in Scotland, Dr Horatius Bonar, Dr Norman Macleod and Dr George Matheson. American hymn-writers belong to the same schools, and have

been affected bv the same influences. Some of them have