Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


The Old Hymns

The following was written in 1891, though it could have been printed in the past decade. I wonder what the contemporary Christian music he wondered about sounded like.
For some years it has been apparent that the rage for novelties in singing, especially in our Sunday-schools has been driving out of use the old, precious, standard hymns. They are not memorized as of old. They are scarcely sung at all. They are not even contained in the undenominational song-books which in many churches have usurped the place of our hymn books.

We cannot afford to lose these old hymns. They are full of the Gospel; they breathe the deepest emotions of pious hearts in the noblest strains of poetry; they have been tested and approved by successive generations of those that loved the Lord; they are the surviving fittest ones from thousands of inferior productions; they are hallowed by abundant usefulness and tenderest memories. But the young people of to-day are unfamiliar with them, and will seldom hear many of them, if the present tendency goes on unchecked.
—Basil Manly Jr. (1825-1892) in his preface for Manly's Choice: A New Selection of Approved Hymns for Bapstist Churches, Louisville, Kentucky: Baptist Book Concern, 1891.


  • At 4/27/2008 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with Mr. Manly. As much as I love contemporary music, it is the older hymns that tie the generations together.

    I'm sure he would also object to messing about with the poet's words, too.

    "...Tho the eye of sinful man, thy glory may not see..." just sounds better.


  • At 4/28/2008 8:49 AM, Anonymous kenny said…

    I wub my wife. :)

  • At 4/28/2008 12:03 PM, Anonymous Linda+ said…

    According to Marion Hatchett, one of my seminary professors and Chair of the Text Committee for The Hymnal 1982, there was a big uproar in the early to mid-1800's between the people who wanted to retain shape-note singing and those who wanted to move on to "modern" hymns.

    My observation is that where there is music, there is tension. Every age has something wonderful to offer, although my preferences run to Ambrose of Milan and Venantius Hnorius Fortunatus, or "Latin, 6th cent.; translated by John Mason Neale."

  • At 4/28/2008 4:55 PM, Blogger Perpetua said…

    I was surprised that he used the words about survival of the fittest. He seemed to be using the argument from Darwin on the Origin of Species, applying it to hymns.


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