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Scripture:Psalm 136:1-9
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John Milton

1608 - 1674 Scripture: Psalm 136 Versifier of "Let Us with a Gladsome Mind" in Psalter Hymnal (Gray) Milton, John, was born in London, Dec. 9, 1608, and died there Nov. 8, 1674. His poetical excellences and his literary fame are matters apart from hymnology, and are fully dealt with in numerous memoirs. His influence on English hymn-writing has been very slight, his 19 versions of various Psalms having lain for the most part unused by hymnal compilers. The dates of his paraphrases are:— Ps. cxiv. and cxxxvi., 1623, when he was 15 years of ago. These were given in his Poems in English and Latin 1645. Ps. lxxx.-lxxxviii., written in 1648, and published as Nine Psalmes done into Metre, 1645. Ps. i., 1653; ii., “Done August 8, 1653;" iii., Aug. 9, 1653; iv. Aug. 10, 1653; v., Aug. 12, 1653; vi., Aug. 13, 1653; vii.Aug. 14, 1653; viii., Aug. 14, 1653. These 19 versions were all included in the 2nd ed. of his Poems in English and Latin, 1673. From these, mainly in the form of centos, the following have come into common use:— 1. Cause us to see Thy goodness, Lord. Ps. lxxxv. 2. Defend the poor and desolate. Ps. lxxxii. 3. God in the great assembly stands. Ps. lxxxii. 4. How lovely are Thy dwellings fair. Ps. lxxxiv. From this, "They pass refreshed the thirsty vale," is taken. 5. Let us with a gladsome [joyful] mind. Ps. cxxxvi. 6. O let us with a joyful mind. Ps. cxxxvi. 7. The Lord will come and not be slow. Ps. lxxxv. Of these centos Nos. 4 and 5 are in extensive use. The rest are mostly in Unitarian collections. There are also centos from his hymn on the Nativity, "This is the month, and this the happy morn" (q.v.). --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Isaac Watts

1674 - 1748 Scripture: Psalm 136 Author of "Psalm 136" in Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts, The Isaac Watts was the son of a schoolmaster, and was born in Southampton, July 17, 1674. He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In 1698, he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St., London. In 1702, he became pastor. In 1712, he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas' pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. It was a residence most favourable for his health, and for the prosecution of his literary labours. He did not retire from ministerial duties, but preached as often as his delicate health would permit. The number of Watts' publications is very large. His collected works, first published in 1720, embrace sermons, treatises, poems and hymns. His "Horae Lyricae" was published in December, 1705. His "Hymns" appeared in July, 1707. The first hymn he is said to have composed for religious worship, is "Behold the glories of the Lamb," written at the age of twenty. It is as a writer of psalms and hymns that he is everywhere known. Some of his hymns were written to be sung after his sermons, giving expression to the meaning of the text upon which he had preached. Montgomery calls Watts "the greatest name among hymn-writers," and the honour can hardly be disputed. His published hymns number more than eight hundred. Watts died November 25, 1748, and was buried at Bunhill Fields. A monumental statue was erected in Southampton, his native place, and there is also a monument to his memory in the South Choir of Westminster Abbey. "Happy," says the great contemporary champion of Anglican orthodoxy, "will be that reader whose mind is disposed, by his verses or his prose, to imitate him in all but his non-conformity, to copy his benevolence to men, and his reverence to God." ("Memorials of Westminster Abbey," p. 325.) --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A., 1872. ================================= Watts, Isaac, D.D. The father of Dr. Watts was a respected Nonconformist, and at the birth of the child, and during its infancy, twice suffered imprisonment for his religious convictions. In his later years he kept a flourishing boarding school at Southampton. Isaac, the eldest of his nine children, was born in that town July 17, 1674. His taste for verse showed itself in early childhood. He was taught Greek, Latin, and Hebrew by Mr. Pinhorn, rector of All Saints, and headmaster of the Grammar School, in Southampton. The splendid promise of the boy induced a physician of the town and other friends to offer him an education at one of the Universities for eventual ordination in the Church of England: but this he refused; and entered a Nonconformist Academy at Stoke Newington in 1690, under the care of Mr. Thomas Rowe, the pastor of the Independent congregation at Girdlers' Hall. Of this congregation he became a member in 1693. Leaving the Academy at the age of twenty, he spent two years at home; and it was then that the bulk of the Hymns and Spiritual Songs (published 1707-9) were written, and sung from manuscripts in the Southampton Chapel. The hymn "Behold the glories of the Lamb" is said to have been the first he composed, and written as an attempt to raise the standard of praise. In answer to requests, others succeeded. The hymn "There is a land of pure delight" is said to have been suggested by the view across Southampton Water. The next six years of Watts's life were again spent at Stoke Newington, in the post of tutor to the son of an eminent Puritan, Sir John Hartopp; and to the intense study of these years must be traced the accumulation of the theological and philosophical materials which he published subsequently, and also the life-long enfeeblement of his constitution. Watts preached his first sermon when he was twenty-four years old. In the next three years he preached frequently; and in 1702 was ordained pastor of the eminent Independent congregation in Mark Lane, over which Caryl and Dr. John Owen had presided, and which numbered Mrs. Bendish, Cromwell's granddaughter, Charles Fleetwood, Charles Desborough, Sir John Hartopp, Lady Haversham, and other distinguished Independents among its members. In this year he removed to the house of Mr. Hollis in the Minories. His health began to fail in the following year, and Mr. Samuel Price was appointed as his assistant in the ministry. In 1712 a fever shattered his constitution, and Mr. Price was then appointed co-pastor of the congregation which had in the meantime removed to a new chapel in Bury Street. It was at this period that he became the guest of Sir Thomas Abney, under whose roof, and after his death (1722) that of his widow, he remained for the rest of his suffering life; residing for the longer portion of these thirty-six years principally at the beautiful country seat of Theobalds in Herts, and for the last thirteen years at Stoke Newington. His degree of D.D. was bestowed on him in 1728, unsolicited, by the University of Edinburgh. His infirmities increased on him up to the peaceful close of his sufferings, Nov. 25, 1748. He was buried in the Puritan restingplace at Bunhill Fields, but a monument was erected to him in Westminster Abbey. His learning and piety, gentleness and largeness of heart have earned him the title of the Melanchthon of his day. Among his friends, churchmen like Bishop Gibson are ranked with Nonconformists such as Doddridge. His theological as well as philosophical fame was considerable. His Speculations on the Human Nature of the Logos, as a contribution to the great controversy on the Holy Trinity, brought on him a charge of Arian opinions. His work on The Improvement of the Mind, published in 1741, is eulogised by Johnson. His Logic was still a valued textbook at Oxford within living memory. The World to Come, published in 1745, was once a favourite devotional work, parts of it being translated into several languages. His Catechisms, Scripture History (1732), as well as The Divine and Moral Songs (1715), were the most popular text-books for religious education fifty years ago. The Hymns and Spiritual Songs were published in 1707-9, though written earlier. The Horae Lyricae, which contains hymns interspersed among the poems, appeared in 1706-9. Some hymns were also appended at the close of the several Sermons preached in London, published in 1721-24. The Psalms were published in 1719. The earliest life of Watts is that by his friend Dr. Gibbons. Johnson has included him in his Lives of the Poets; and Southey has echoed Johnson's warm eulogy. The most interesting modern life is Isaac Watts: his Life and Writings, by E. Paxton Hood. [Rev. H. Leigh Bennett, M.A.] A large mass of Dr. Watts's hymns and paraphrases of the Psalms have no personal history beyond the date of their publication. These we have grouped together here and shall preface the list with the books from which they are taken. (l) Horae Lyricae. Poems chiefly of the Lyric kind. In Three Books Sacred: i.To Devotion and Piety; ii. To Virtue, Honour, and Friendship; iii. To the Memory of the Dead. By I. Watts, 1706. Second edition, 1709. (2) Hymns and Spiritual Songs. In Three Books: i. Collected from the Scriptures; ii. Composed on Divine Subjects; iii. Prepared for the Lord's Supper. By I. Watts, 1707. This contained in Bk i. 78 hymns; Bk. ii. 110; Bk. iii. 22, and 12 doxologies. In the 2nd edition published in 1709, Bk. i. was increased to 150; Bk. ii. to 170; Bk. iii. to 25 and 15 doxologies. (3) Divine and Moral Songs for the Use of Children. By I. Watts, London, 1715. (4) The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament, And apply'd to the Christian State and Worship. By I. Watts. London: Printed by J. Clark, at the Bible and Crown in the Poultry, &c, 1719. (5) Sermons with hymns appended thereto, vol. i., 1721; ii., 1723; iii. 1727. In the 5th ed. of the Sermons the three volumes, in duodecimo, were reduced to two, in octavo. (6) Reliquiae Juveniles: Miscellaneous Thoughts in Prose and Verse, on Natural, Moral, and Divine Subjects; Written chiefly in Younger Years. By I. Watts, D.D., London, 1734. (7) Remnants of Time. London, 1736. 454 Hymns and Versions of the Psalms, in addition to the centos are all in common use at the present time. --Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907) ================================== Watts, I. , p. 1241, ii. Nearly 100 hymns, additional to those already annotated, are given in some minor hymn-books. --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907) ================= Watts, I. , p. 1236, i. At the time of the publication of this Dictionary in 1892, every copy of the 1707 edition of Watts's Hymns and Spiritual Songs was supposed to have perished, and all notes thereon were based upon references which were found in magazines and old collections of hymns and versions of the Psalms. Recently three copies have been recovered, and by a careful examination of one of these we have been able to give some of the results in the revision of pp. 1-1597, and the rest we now subjoin. i. Hymns in the 1709 ed. of Hymns and Spiritual Songs which previously appeared in the 1707 edition of the same book, but are not so noted in the 1st ed. of this Dictionary:— On pp. 1237, L-1239, ii., Nos. 18, 33, 42, 43, 47, 48, 60, 56, 58, 59, 63, 75, 82, 83, 84, 85, 93, 96, 99, 102, 104, 105, 113, 115, 116, 123, 124, 134, 137, 139, 146, 147, 148, 149, 162, 166, 174, 180, 181, 182, 188, 190, 192, 193, 194, 195, 197, 200, 202. ii. Versions of the Psalms in his Psalms of David, 1719, which previously appeared in his Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707:— On pp. 1239, U.-1241, i., Nos. 241, 288, 304, 313, 314, 317, 410, 441. iii. Additional not noted in the revision:— 1. My soul, how lovely is the place; p. 1240, ii. 332. This version of Ps. lxiv. first appeared in the 1707 edition of Hymns & Spiritual Songs, as "Ye saints, how lovely is the place." 2. Shine, mighty God, on Britain shine; p. 1055, ii. In the 1707 edition of Hymns & Spiritual Songs, Bk. i., No. 35, and again in his Psalms of David, 1719. 3. Sing to the Lord with [cheerful] joyful voice, p. 1059, ii. This version of Ps. c. is No. 43 in the Hymns & Spiritual Songs, 1707, Bk. i., from which it passed into the Ps. of David, 1719. A careful collation of the earliest editions of Watts's Horae Lyricae shows that Nos. 1, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, p. 1237, i., are in the 1706 ed., and that the rest were added in 1709. Of the remaining hymns, Nos. 91 appeared in his Sermons, vol. ii., 1723, and No. 196 in Sermons, vol. i., 1721. No. 199 was added after Watts's death. It must be noted also that the original title of what is usually known as Divine and Moral Songs was Divine Songs only. --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907) =========== See also in: Hymn Writers of the Church

John B. Wilkes

1785 - 1869 Scripture: Psalm 136 Arranger of "MONKLAND" in The Presbyterian Hymnal John Bernard Wilkes (1785-1869). Not to be confused with John Wilkes (?-1882).

John Antes

1740 - 1811 Scripture: Psalm 136 Adapter of "MONKLAND" in The Worshiping Church John Antes (b. Frederick, PA, 1740; d. Bristol, England, 1811) was a missionary, watchmaker, business manager, and composer. Born near the Moravian community of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, he was trained at the Moravian boys' school and later received religious education and further training as a watchmaker in Herrnhut, Germany. From 1770 to 1781 he served as a missionary in Egypt and from 1783 until his death was the business manager of the Moravian community in Fullneck, England. Although music was his avocation, Antes was a fine composer and musician. Among his compositions are a number of anthems, several string trios, and over fifty hymn tunes. Bert Polman

Ralph Harrison

1748 - 1810 Scripture: Psalm 136 Composer of "WARRINGTON" in Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.)

Marty Haugen

b. 1950 Person Name: Marty Haugen, b. 1950 Scripture: Psalm 136 Versifier of "Psalm 136: We Give Thanks unto You" in Sing! A New Creation Marty Haugen (b. 1950), is a prolific liturgical composer with many songs included in hymnals across the liturgical spectrum of North American hymnals and beyond, with many songs translated into different languages. He was raised in the American Lutheran Church, received a BA in psychology from Luther College, yet found his first position as a church musician in a Roman Catholic parish at a time when the Roman Catholic Church was undergoing profound liturgical and musical changes after Vatican II. Finding a vocation in that parish to provide accessible songs for worship, he continued to compose and to study, receiving an MA in pastoral studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul Minnesota. A number of liturgical settings were prepared for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and more than 400 of his compositions are available from several publishers, especially GIA Publications, who also produced some 30 recordings of his songs. He is composer-in-residence at Mayflower Community Congregational Church in Minneapolis and continues to compose and travel to speak and teach at worship events around the world. Emily Brink

Communauté de Taizé

Person Name: Taize Community Scripture: Psalm 136:1 Author of "Come and Fill Our Hearts" in Sing With Me

Arthur Sullivan

1842 - 1900 Person Name: Arthur S. Sullivan Scripture: Psalm 136 Composer of "CONSTANCE" in Psalter Hymnal (Gray) Arthur Seymour Sullivan (b Lambeth, London. England. 1842; d. Westminster, London, 1900) was born of an Italian mother and an Irish father who was an army band­master and a professor of music. Sullivan entered the Chapel Royal as a chorister in 1854. He was elected as the first Mendelssohn scholar in 1856, when he began his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He also studied at the Leipzig Conservatory (1858-1861) and in 1866 was appointed professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music. Early in his career Sullivan composed oratorios and music for some Shakespeare plays. However, he is best known for writing the music for lyrics by William S. Gilbert, which produced popular operettas such as H.M.S. Pinafore (1878), The Pirates of Penzance (1879), The Mikado (1884), and Yeomen of the Guard (1888). These operettas satirized the court and everyday life in Victorian times. Although he com­posed some anthems, in the area of church music Sullivan is best remembered for his hymn tunes, written between 1867 and 1874 and published in The Hymnary (1872) and Church Hymns (1874), both of which he edited. He contributed hymns to A Hymnal Chiefly from The Book of Praise (1867) and to the Presbyterian collection Psalms and Hymns for Divine Worship (1867). A complete collection of his hymns and arrangements was published posthumously as Hymn Tunes by Arthur Sullivan (1902). Sullivan steadfastly refused to grant permission to those who wished to make hymn tunes from the popular melodies in his operettas. Bert Polman

H. W. Baker

1821 - 1877 Scripture: Psalm 136:1 Author of "Praise, oh, praise our God and King" in Hymns and Tunes Baker, Sir Henry Williams, Bart., eldest son of Admiral Sir Henry Loraine Baker, born in London, May 27, 1821, and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated, B.A. 1844, M.A. 1847. Taking Holy Orders in 1844, he became, in 1851, Vicar of Monkland, Herefordshire. This benefice he held to his death, on Monday, Feb. 12, 1877. He succeeded to the Baronetcy in 1851. Sir Henry's name is intimately associated with hymnody. One of his earliest compositions was the very beautiful hymn, "Oh! what if we are Christ's," which he contributed to Murray's Hymnal for the Use of the English Church, 1852. His hymns, including metrical litanies and translations, number in the revised edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern, 33 in all. These were contributed at various times to Murray's Hymnal, Hymns Ancient & Modern and the London Mission Hymn Book, 1876-7. The last contains his three latest hymns. These are not included in Hymns Ancient & Modern. Of his hymns four only are in the highest strains of jubilation, another four are bright and cheerful, and the remainder are very tender, but exceedingly plaintive, sometimes even to sadness. Even those which at first seem bright and cheerful have an undertone of plaintiveness, and leave a dreamy sadness upon the spirit of the singer. Poetical figures, far-fetched illustrations, and difficult compound words, he entirely eschewed. In his simplicity of language, smoothness of rhythm, and earnestness of utterance, he reminds one forcibly of the saintly Lyte. In common with Lyte also, if a subject presented itself to his mind with striking contrasts of lights and shadows, he almost invariably sought shelter in the shadows. The last audible words which lingered on his dying lips were the third stanza of his exquisite rendering of the 23rd Psalm, "The King of Love, my Shepherd is:"— Perverse and foolish, oft I strayed, But yet in love He sought me, And on His Shoulder gently laid, And home, rejoicing, brought me." This tender sadness, brightened by a soft calm peace, was an epitome of his poetical life. Sir Henry's labours as the Editor of Hymns Ancient & Modern were very arduous. The trial copy was distributed amongst a few friends in 1859; first ed. published 1861, and the Appendix, in 1868; the trial copy of the revised ed. was issued in 1874, and the publication followed in 1875. In addition he edited Hymns for the London Mission, 1874, and Hymns for Mission Services, n.d., c. 1876-7. He also published Daily Prayers for those who work hard; a Daily Text Book, &c. In Hymns Ancient & Modern there are also four tunes (33, 211, 254, 472) the melodies of which are by Sir Henry, and the harmonies by Dr. Monk. He died Feb. 12, 1877. --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Anonymous

Scripture: Psalm 136 Author of "Give Thanks to God, for Good Is He" in The Cyber Hymnal In some hymnals, the editors noted that a hymn's author is unknown to them, and so this artificial "person" entry is used to reflect that fact. Obviously, the hymns attributed to "Author Unknown" "Unknown" or "Anonymous" could have been written by many people over a span of many centuries.

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