The Worship Quote of the Week for (03/11/2008):

The Old Hymns
Sometimes we may think that we are the first generation of Christians to experience intense discussions (or arguments) over appropriate texts, instrumentation, and musical styles for corporate worship. Not so! Todayís WORSHIP QUOTE OF THE WEEK is taken from the preface of an 1891 hymnal. The author is Basil Manly Jr., one of the four founding faculty members of our seminary here in Louisville; his argument, even 117 years ago, is that we canít afford to lose the old hymns. Does this sound like it could have been written in 1991?

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), from the preface of MANLY'S CHOICE: A NEW SELECTION OF APPROVED HYMNS FOR BAPTIST CHURCHES, Louisville, Kentucky: Baptist Book Concern, 1891. This rare volume, containing only the texts of the hymns, was given to me by a friend in our church. She was cleaning out the piano bench at home and thought I might appreciate it. She was right. Thank you, Stacy. A rough count shows that there are 254 hymns; 53 authored by Isaac Watts, 22 by Charles Wesley, and 16 by John Newton.

For more information on Basil Manly, Jr., take a look at]

Have a great week!

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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