Brethren Archive

Hymnology and Poetry

isacar heriberto carrasquero said ...
un saludo amados hermanos de himnario evangelico.
que precioso es mantener el recuerdo de las sendas primitivas del evangelio,esta reminiscencia, por ejemplo la data nos trae a1840
cuanta agua ha pasado debajo de los puentes desde entonces, y haciendo un ejercicio de imaginacion nos remontamos a la epoca podriamos imaginar un pequeño grupo de hermanos regocijandose en componer canciones espirituales con el deseo e alabar a su salvador,
y alegrarnos que estas bellas canciones hallan trascencido hasta nosotros, eh? y agradecer el esfuerzo que uds hacen para publicar esto , seria valiosisimo tambien conocer la letra y el origen de algunos himnos emblematicos en particular, por ejemplo ( del homenaje y del honor) q se dice aca fue compuesto por un antiguo y famoso compositor y musico clasico. de mi parte muchas gracias y ruego para uds las mas ricas bendiciones del padre celestial. ysacar carrasquero venezuela.
Thursday, Jan 8, 2015 : 12:18
Tom said ...
Dear Isacar, thank-you for both your nice comments; I am sorry though that even with the help of Google Translate I couldn't completely understand the question asked on the "Christian Hymn Book" item which is why I haven't been able to provide an answer at the moment! Best, Tom
Saturday, Jan 17, 2015 : 13:27
Jeroen said ...
Thanks for this documentation and the uploaded mp3. Really beautiful songs.
Blessings of our Lord
Sunday, Dec 27, 2015 : 19:30
DavidS said ...
This early Brethren hymn book printed for the Christian Assembly at Tor in 1836 is available on Google Books:

CHRISTIAN HYMNS: Composed, Altered and Selected for the use of Christian Churches or Assemblies of Believers.
Printed for the Christian Church at Tor

Tor (or Torre) is part of what is now the South Devon seaside town of Torquay. The Open Brethren assembly, which became known as Tor Hill Gospel Hall, until its closure towards the end of the 20th Century, had its origins in the Christian Church/Assembly at Tor. It was also known as All Christians Church, Tor. It was started in 1834, just three years after Raleigh Street, Plymouth, by a group of Anglican dissenters led by Captain William Vivian (1803-36). William Vivian is incorrectly referred to as John Vivian in Beattie’s history and those who have followed him. William Vivian was from a wealthy Cornish family, the Truro Vivians. He was the son of Richard Vivian (1754-1825), rector of Bushey, Hertfordshire, where William was born. His grandfather was Thomas Vivian (1718-1793), vicar of Cornwood in Devon, a well known evangelical Anglican.

William attained the rank of Captain in the 52nd Regiment of the British Army. Later, he and his brother Edward moved to Torquay, where they were founding partners in the Torbay Bank. Edward became a leading figure in Torquay and his Vivian Institute is commemorated with a "Blue Plaque". William wrote a pamphlet called “The Cake of Barley Bread; or Emancipation of the People of Christ from Protestant Domination” (1835) explaining his reasons for leaving the Church of England and setting up the new church. This was then expanded to include a response to the published criticisms by the Rev Robert Bateman Paul who was in Torquay at the time. This book is held in the British library and others; reviews can be found old magazines on Google Books. Vivian died in 1836 aged just 33, only two years after the Tor Church was started.

Vivian also published poetry; so I suspect that he compiled this hymnbook and he may well have written many of the hymns in it. Many of the hymns display distinctive Brethren characteristics, even at this early date (e.g. I and XXXIV). He wrote one hymn: "Still in a world of sin and pain", which appeared in Denny’s “A Selection of Hymns” and the 1840 edition of the “Church of England Hymn-book”.

If anyone has any other information about Vivian, or these early days at Torquay, I would be interested in hearing from them.
Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 : 14:37
Tom said ...
Thanks a lot for that information David.
Monday, Jan 18, 2016 : 20:23
Timothy Stunt said ...
Having just encountered DavidS's note about William Vivian and the assembly at Tor I have been led to look at my notes on Vivian (made some years ago). They largely tally with (but add a few details to) David's information, but rather than inflict them on Tom's web-site I shall gladly email them to David as an attachment, if you can give me an address. Timothy Stunt
Thursday, Oct 12, 2017 : 21:13
Lois Hofmann Westerlund said ...
How can I thank you for this? Not able to get to corporate worship this morning, I am sitting in my corner, thinking, with longing. of the sweet, rich, worship-filled Breaking of Bread meetings I was privileged to enjoy as a child,in Baltimore, MD, and the thought came, "oh, if only someone would record some of the treasures of PB hymnody, much as Inter-Varsity has a CD of IVCF hymns being sung by students (many of which have a Brethern origin) . It is not just poignancy which makes me long to enjoy these hymns--they are without compare in expressing Biblical truth married to deep personal devotion, and expressing itself in fresh poetry. Now, if I can just figure out how to get them into my corner, where I meet with the Lord....
Monday, Apr 9, 2018 : 00:34
Tom said ...

Thanks for your comment Lois  Glad the recordings are useful to people 😊

Monday, Apr 9, 2018 : 19:40
Tom said ...

Another two hymn books I'd like to get are;

Good News Hymn Book Carefully Complied By W. H. B[room]


Choice Hymns for Sunday Schools, Gospel Tract Depot, 1881

Neither is worth anywhere near the prices those booksellers are hoping for, but other copies will appear eventually!

Wednesday, Aug 8, 2018 : 05:27
Tom said ...

Another book needed to get is;

Hymns and Spiritual Songs compiled in Bristol

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2020 : 20:08
Greg Edwards said ...
Hi Tom,

Forgive me for using this approach. My email account was hacked and is now defunct. I tried changing to my new email address as well as changing password for my account in my profile but I don't know if I've done it correctly. Would you mind checking my profile and letting me know my current status by responding to my new email address?
Saturday, Jan 23, 2021 : 09:00
ANDREW BURR said ...
My collection of old Little Flock hymn books includes one I would like to place. It is entitled 'Hymns and Spiritual Songs, With Appendix - Alphabetically Arranged' It is said to be a 'revised edition, stereotyped' and was published in London by Walter G Wheeler & Co.; but it is not dated. The hymns are divided into parts - 'For Worship', 'Scripture Reading' 'For Private Use', and 'The Gospel' (403 in all). There is then an Appendix with another 130. Each hymn has a suggested tune. It is bound like one of the 1881 books I have. It is not just a re-arrangement of one of the other books - 1856, 1881 or 1903, as it has hymns which are not in these. Indeed, the Index of first lines uses a * to mark those Hymns which have been' substituted for others in the previous editions [not identified] that were seldom or ever used' - but the *s do not account for all the 'new' hymns.
May be this is a familiar item to other uses of the website - but perhaps someone could shed some light?
Friday, Aug 13, 2021 : 03:03
Nick Fleet said ...
Andrew, I have the same although my copy is published by J. E. Hawkins of 17 Paternoster Row. W. G. Wheeler bought the business of James Hawkins in 1896 so your edition must date from after then but must just be a reprint of an earlier one. Hawkins published under his own name alone from 1867, before that he was with William Yapp as Yapp & Hawkins. Both Hawkins and Wheeler were associated with Open Brethren so the hymn book was not part of the Little Flock hymn book family as such. I would guess it's c.1870, it doesn't have any of JND's later hymns - it would need a bit of checking through all the hymns to see if any can be dated to a more precise date.
Monday, Aug 30, 2021 : 02:37
Timothy Stunt said ...

The copy of this hymn book in my possession has the same number of items and includes the Appendix but the title is Hymns and Spiritual Songs for the Children of God. Alphabetically arranged. Large Type Edition. It was published by J.E. Hawkins, some time before March 31st 1893 when my grandfather gave it to my Great Grandmother 'Mrs F[rancis] Stunt'.  Curiously, the first hymn in the Appendix is H F Lyte;s 'Abide with me' and the last in the appendix is Horatio Bonar's 'Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face'.  Being of the same metre, they are set to the same tune ('Eventide'), but in the Index of first lines Lyte's authorship is recognised, while Bonar's hymn has no acknowledgment, even though the authorship of other hymns by Bonar is recognised elsewhere in the Index.  Another curiosity is that, although the Appendix is arranged alphabetically, the last hymn seems to have been added on as an afterthought, beginning with the letter 'H'!       Timothy Stunt

Tuesday, Aug 31, 2021 : 04:38
Nick Fleet said ...
Timothy, my edition does give Bonar as the author for that last hymn, so must be an updated version of yours. Possibly the large type edition didn't sell out so quickly whereas the smaller type was reprinted more often?
Wednesday, Sep 1, 2021 : 19:32
ANDREW BURR said ...
There is a huge amount on this site about different hymnbooks in English: is much known about the hymns and hymnbooks in other languages that early brethren in Continental Europe might have used? I have never seen any information, for example, that the 1856 or 1881 Little Flock books were translated?

I came across a touching reference in a letter of JND's in French - [translated as]:

"Two or three hours ago, we have had in the house one of the sweetest deaths I have seen; the sister-in-law of Mlle M: such a perfect rest so sweet so confident, it was truly a delight to see, and edifying also. I am happy to have been there; it was a consolation for this dear soul. We sang at the meeting, at the moment when she expired: “Whether I live or whether I die, Thy heaven is open for me …"

The French couplet is - Que je vive ou que je meure, Ton ciel est ouvert pour moi.
Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021 : 01:34
Nick Fleet said ...
Andrew, I don't think translations of the English hymnbooks (as such) were used abroad until the 1951 edition was introduced among Taylor Brethren. In Germany, Holland, and France they had their own collections dating from about the same time as 1856 but, apart from a few hymns translated from English, they were home-grown compilations. J A von Poseck compiled a German one and this was added to by the Brockhaus brothers and others. The Swiss-French edition contained many hymns by H L Rossier. The Little Flock editions benefited from a few translations from these Continental books in due course. No doubt Michael Schneider can help us with more information (or corrections!). In Portugal and Brazil the hymnbooks had a lot of input from Richard Holden and Percy Ellis. The Swiss brethren have their own hymnbooks in both German and French. (Their latest Swiss-German edition now contains the tune 'Mary' by the late D G Spary of TW).
Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021 : 01:58
ANDREW BURR said ...
Yes - that is so as to the 1951 book.
The CMD tune Mary is named for Douglas Spary's wife! (He is the brother who - serving in the army at the time of his conversion - deliberately broke the Kings's regulations to get a discharge as the only way he could see to get out of combatant service!)
It would be very interesting to see what collection could be made of the old hymnbooks brethren used in other languages!
Thursday, Oct 21, 2021 : 23:15
Andrew Burr said ...
I notice that your collection does not include William Kelly's hymn book from 1894 - does anyone have one you could scan?
Wednesday, Dec 8, 2021 : 17:42
Sinésio Barreto said ...
The hymn book in Portuguese came to light in 1876 through Richard Holden, when he was living in Lisbon. These hymnals were printed in England and sent to Portugal and Brazil.
In 1898, from the 3rd edition, Stuart Edmund McNair and George Howes took over the compilation and from the 4th edition, it started to be printed in Lisbon.
In 1933, Mr. McNair built a printing shop in Brazil in the city of Teresópolis, and from there, the hymn book began to be printed in Brazil and sent to other Portuguese-speaking countries, until today.
Tuesday, Jan 18, 2022 : 04:53
Nick Fleet said ...
Thanks for that information, Sinésio - very interesting.
Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022 : 18:26
Hiereus said ...
In 1926 a hymnbook was published in Leipzig, in which were about 70 literal translations into German of hymns which were in the 1903 edition of the Little Flock..
Thursday, Jan 20, 2022 : 21:48
Nick Fleet said ...
Hiereus, that's interesting. I have the 1921 and 1934 editions (in PDF) but didn't know about the 1926 one. Is a scan of it available, please?
Friday, Jan 21, 2022 : 17:22

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