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Joseph Irons

Short Name: Joseph Irons
Full Name: Irons, Joseph, 1785-1852
Birth Year: 1785
Death Year: 1852

Irons, Joseph, son of William Irons, of Ware, was born at Ware, Nov. 1785, and was for some years the friend of John Newton when the latter was Rector of St. Mary, Woolnoth, and an attendant upon his ministry. On the death of Newton, Irons joined the Nonconformists, and was for some time Pastor of a Nonconformist Chapel at Sawston, and then of the Grove Chapel, Camber well, London. He died April 3, 1852.

J. Irons's reputation as a preacher amongst the Nonconformists was very great. His sermons were intensely Calvinistic and very powerful; and the perorations, not unfrequently in poetical blank verse, were most striking and effective. His hymns are powerful, and at times poetical, but from their strong Calvinistic teaching have failed to become popular. They were published for use by his own congregation, and until several were adopted by Spurgeon in his Our Own Hymn Book, 1866, and Snepp in his Songs of Grace & Glory, 1872, were seldom found in any other collection for congregational use.

J. Irons's poetical works, including those in which his hymns appeared, were:—
(1) Zion's Hymns intended as a Supplement to Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns. Printed for the Author by G. Youngman, Saffron Walden, 1816. This edition contained 247 hymns. It was enlarged, 2nd ed., 1819,; 3rd ed., 1825; 5th ed., 1827 (611 hymns). The title was afterwards changed to Zion's Hymns, for the use of Zion's Sons and Daughters. (2) Nymphas. Bride and Bridegroom communing. A Paraphrastic Exposition of The Song of Solomon, in Blank Verse, 1840; (3) Judah. The Book of Psalms Paraphrased in Spiritual Songs for Public Worship, 1847; and (4) Calvary. A Poem in Blank Verse.
From his Zion's Hymns, the following hymns, in addition to a few annotated under their respective first lines, are in common use:—
i. From the 1st edition, 1816:-—
1. Hark, 'tis the Shepherd's voice. The Good Shepherd.
2. Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove. Before Sermon.
3. Jehovah's love first chose His Saints. The Father's Love.
4. Precious Bible, what a store. Holy Scriptures.
5. See from Zion's fountain rises. The Water of Life.
6. Zion, beloved of God. The Church the Bride of Christ.
ii. From the 2nd edition, 1819 :—
7. In yonder realms where Jesus reigns. The heavenly Mansions.
8. O the happiness arising. Happiness in Christ.
9. What boundless and unchanging love. The Father's Love.
iii. From the 3rd edition, 1825:—
10. Are the saints predestinated? Predestination.
11. Arise, my soul, with songs to own. Praise for Covenanting grace.
12. Aspire, my soul, to yonder throne. The Father Infinite.
13. Awake, awake, ye saints of God. Holiness of the Church desired.
14. Father, we glory in Thy choice. Holy Trinity.
15. For ever, 0 delightful word. Praise of God everlasting.
16. Hark, how the choir around the throne. Triumphs of Grace.
17. Hark, how the glorious hosts above. The Church Triumphant.
18. Holy Father, let Thy love. Holy Trinity.
19. How safe are all the chosen race. Final Perseverance.
20. I sing the gracious, fixed decree. Predestination.
21. Jesus saw His Church elected. The Church the Bride of Christ.
22. Let party names no more be known. Unity desired.
23. Now let Jehovah's covenant love. Saints precious to Jesus.
24. O my Lord, how great Thy wonders. Praise for Redemption.
25. Of Israel's covenant I boast. Praise for Covenanting Grace,
26. One with Christ, 0 blissful thought. Union with Christ.
27. Praying soul, dismiss thy fear. Christ the Intercessor.
28. Rising on the One Foundation. The Church the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
29. We sing the Father's Love. Holy Trinity. His paraphrases of the Psalms given in his Judah, &c, 1847, are almost unknown to modern hymn-books. The following are in common use:-
30. My heart expands with good enditing. Ps. xlv. This is given in Spurgeon's Our Own Hymn Book., 1866, as "Warm with love my heart's inditing."
31. My soul lies grovelling low. Ps. cxix.
32. O give thanks unto the Lord. Ps. cvii.
Although the use of these hymns is mainly confined to Spurgeon and Snepp, a few are found in other collections both in Great Britain and America.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

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