Excellent New Hymnal

Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs is an excellent new hymnal. It has nearly 1,000 songs covering more than eight centuries of hymnody. The songs are arranged according to the timeline of Scripture, from eternity past to eternity future. It contains more than 7,000 Scripture references and 450 historical sketches about hymns and their writers and other interesting and educational comments. There are a great many rare old hymns, including ones by Benjamin Beddome (36), Dawson Burns (8), Benjamin Cleavland (4), William Cushing (5), Samuel Deacon (9), David Denham (9), John Fawcett (9), Benjamin Francis (5), Benjamin Keach (9), Thomas Kelly (24), John Leland (5), Samuel Medley (17), Lelian Morris (4), John Needham (18), Johnson Oatman, Jr. (5), John Rippon (6), John Ryland (6), William Stennett (9), and Joseph Swain (6), to mention a few. The hymnal restores all of the lyrics that have been dropped in other hymnals, such as the full seven stanzas of “How Firm a Foundation” and the three stanzas that Baptist pastor John Rippon added to “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.” The tune name and meter are given for each selection, thus allowing the songs to be sung by different tunes. For example, “Give Me Jesus” and “Face to Face” are both in meter, so the tunes can be interchanged. (The first number is the number of syllables in the first line of the song, and the second number is the number of syllables in the second line, etc.) “Amazing Grace,” “My Faith Has Found a Resting Place,” and “Lead Me to Calvary” are (called common meter) and can be interchanged. By the use of meter, known tunes can be used for unknown songs. This is facilitated by the hymnal’s complete tune and metrical indexes. For example, Benjamin Keach’s largely unknown hymns (died 1704) are mostly in the meter so they can be sung to tunes such as “Lead Me to Calvary,” even though they also have their own unique tunes. The songs contain notations indicating music dynamics (e.g., pp – very soft, ff – very loud, and rall – gradually slower) and intro marks to assist musicians. The spiritual depth of the selections is great. There is nothing contemporary here, nothing frivolous like so many of the Stamps-Baxter songs, very few of the more shallow revivalist songs. This hymnal is a much needed treasure trove for serious, biblical congregational singing. The publisher is Melody Publications, www.melodypublications.com.

(Friday Church News Notes, May 7, 2021, www.wayoflife.org fbns@wayoflife.org , 866-295-4143)