BY DIRECTION OF THE CONFERENCE
W. A. HAMMOND,
PRIMITIVE METHODIST PUBLISHING HOUSE,
HOLBORN HALL, CLERKENWELL ROAD, E.C.
(extract from the preface)
This hymnal for Sunday Schools is the third that has been prepared by the Primitive Methodist Church, its predecessors having appeared in 1862 and 1879 respectively. Those earlier issues served well their purpose and time, and rendered helpful service to the religious life and worship of our young people. It is felt, however, that the continued enlargement of Sunday School work, the great improvement in its methods and appliances, the retention for a longer period than formerly of the Scholars in the Schools, the increasing number of select and Adult Bible Classes, and especially the origin and development of the Christian Endeavour movement, have made desirable and, indeed, necessary, the preparation of a Hymnal better fitted than our present one to meet present and future needs. Happily recent years have witnessed have witnessed considerable activity in the production of excellent hymns for young people; so that compilers to-day have a much richer supply on which to draw than was available a quarter of a century ago.
There is no more hopeful sign of the times than the increased attention that is given by the Church generally to the religious education and spiritual culture of the young, and to their equipment for, and introduction to, suitable spheres of Christian work. And this larger and truer view of Christian obligation and opportunity has its recognition and recompense in the increasing number of young men and maidens who retain, on into adult life, their connection with the Sunday Schools. In the attainment of these great results a suitable Hymnal of poetic excellence, of intellectual strength, and of adaptability for expressing the needs and aspirations of the spiritual life of young people is sure to be a most valuable auxiliary.
In this collection it will be seen that an attempt has been made to provide suitable hymns for the different departments of our Sunday School work. There are hymns for young children, for the general School, and for select classes; hymns for Christian Endeavour Societies and Bands of Hope; hymns for Evangelistic and Consecration Services; hymns for Special Times and Seasons, as Anniversaries, Harvest Festivals, and occasions of national interest and importance. No section has been overlooked, but the needs of all have been considered, and, as far as possible, met.
It is the earnest hope and prayer of the Committee, in whose hands the preparation of this Hymnal has been placed, that it may be largelky used by the Holy Spirit to awaken, invigorate, and mould the spiritual life of many thousands of the young people in our Sunday Schools, and may thus cintribute in signal measure, and for many years to come, to the extension of the Kingdom of Christ in the Earth.
D. BOOTH, M.D., J.P. W.P. HARTLEY, J.P. D. SHEEN
W. BECKWORTH, J.P. T.H. HUNT
T. BEELEY, J.P. H.B. KENDALL, B.A. T. MITCHELL
G. BENNETT E. C. RAWLINGS Secretary
Publishing House, 48 - 50, Aldersgate Street, E.C.
As a Hymnal for Sunday School work, the contents of the book bear witness to the thoughts in the Preface that it is a book for many different aspects of the work. While some childrens hymns are included, these are often alongside hymns for the mature adult Christian.
The book has an index of Bible texts, refering to the hymn in which may be found some reference to the verse of Scripture. This is a valuable tool for deeper study. It is also useful for preachers looking for hymns relating to particular Bible passeges.
The references to the Band of Hope, and to the Christian Endeavour movement are interesting.
The Band of Hope is a temperence movement, founded by Jabez Tunnicliffe who was the first Pastor of Cradley Heath Baptist Church (in the Black Country, and one of the most southerly points of Staffordshire). He was preaching in another Baptist Church when he saw that the text in front of him, from the book of Acts, contradicted the Calvinistic teaching of limited (Particular) atonement. About a dozen people went with him to meet at Cradley Heath, which is a General Baptist Church; that is, in common with the Wesleys, proclaiming the universal scope of Christs atonement though not all people receive it.
The Christian Endeavour movement encourages personal and practical holiness of life. One of the features of the meetings is personal testimony.
Hymns of Dr JSB Monsell
Sing to the Lord a joyfull song (5 v. LM + refrain)
22 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness
160 Christ is risen! Hallelujah
238 Sinful, sighing to be blest;
296 To Thee, O dear, dear Saviour;
333 Lord of the living harvest,
342 So early in the morning, My Master!" called by Thee;
385 Fight the good fight with all thy might;
468 Rest of the weary, Joy of the sad,
601 On our way rejoicing, As we homeward move.
I include this list because Monsell is one of the hymn writers whose contribution arouses my curiosity. The Methodist hymn writers other than the Wesleys is worth study in its own right.
R J Higginson August 2000