American Congregational Song to 1950

The three hundred year span of time from 1640 to 1940 saw the development of great variety in congregational singing throughout America. Beginning with the Psalters of the first colonists, Americans contributed widely varying styles of songs and hymns, culminating with the popular and influential gospel song.

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English Hymnody to 1950

Over a period of time the writers of metrical psalms turned to fashioning free paraphrases of psalm texts. Eventually, in the seventeenth century, several English authors began to write hymn texts independent of the specific words of Scripture. Nineteenth-century fervor for hymn singing culminated with the publication of the most famous and influential of all hymnbooks, Hymns Ancient and Modern. The first half of the twentieth century witnessed growth in the study of hymnology, which led, in turn, to a variety of carefully planned hymnals that have had great influence to the present day.

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A Prayer of Praise

In the Old Testament Deborah is the only woman who was given the title “prophet.” These words are the opening verses of this great woman’s extended song of praise for the mighty works God had performed on behalf of Israel and the victory He had granted the people over their enemies. Recognizing and glorifying God’s intervention and faithfulness are essential parts of a life dedicated to His service.

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Great Eighteenth-Century Hymnists

Two men from the eighteenth century have had a more comprehensive influence on church music in the ensuing ages than any others, with the possible exception of Johann Sebastian Bach. They are Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley. Watts (1674-1748) is actually considered the father of English hymnody. Born in Southampton, England, he was a precocious … Read more Great Eighteenth-Century Hymnists

WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS

Isaac Watts is considered the father of English hymnody. He was born in Southampton, England in 1674. He was a precocious child who learned to read almost as soon as he could speak and wrote verses while still a young boy. He was firmly attached to the principles of the Nonconformists, for which his father had suffered imprisonment, and was therefore compelled to decline the advantages of the great English universities, which at that time received only Church of England students.

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