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                  "Music is God's gift to man, the only art of heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to heaven." "Hymn singing reflects a congregation's spiritual vitality and their response to God's grace". One of the great powers that influence the world is the writer of favorite songs and hymns. Such a person approaches nearer to the hearts of the people than any one else.

 

A Mighty Fortress

Author & Composer : Martin Luther
Year : 1483 to 1546
English Translation : Frederick H. Hedge
Tune Name : " Ein' Feste Burg"
Scripture Reference : Psalm 46

The single most powerful Hymn of the Protestant Movement was Luther's " A Mighty Fortress s our God" based on Psalm 46.This Hymn became the battle cry of the people, a great source of strength and inspiration even for those who were martyred for their conviction. This Hymn has been translated into practically every known language and is regarded as one of the noblest and most classic example of Christian hymnody.

 

Abide with me

Author : Henry F. Lyte
Year : 1793 to 1847
Composer : William H.Monk
Tune Name : "Even Tide"
Scripture Reference : Luke 24:29

Henry F Lyte text for this Hymns was taken from the famous Emmaus walk and the statement that the disciples make " Abide with us for it is towards evening and the day is far spent " He wrote this Hymn just before his home-going. It has since become one of the favorite Hymn for Christians everywhere during times of sorrow and deep distress.

It happens to be one of Mahatma Gandhi's favourite Hymns and this Hymn played as the closing song at the �Beating Retreat" on Jan 29th at Delhi every year.

 

All Hail the Power

Author : Edward Perronet
Year : 1726 to 1792
Altered by : John Rippon
Year : 1751 to 1836
Composer : Oliver Holden
Tune Name : "Coronation"
Scripture Reference : Revelation 19 : 12 &16

This Hymn is often called the " National Anthem of Christendom". This Hymn has been translated to all languages where Christians is known . Where ever it is sung, it communicates to the spiritual needs of the human heart.

 

Fairest Lord Jesus

Author : Munster Gesangbuch
Year : 1677
Altered by : John Rippon
Year : 1751 to 1836
Composer : Schlesische Volkslieder
Tune Name : "Crusaders Hymn"

One of the best known accounts is that it is called the " Crusaders Hymns".

No one knows for certain who first translated the text from German into English. The English adaptation of the text by Richard Storrs Willis appeared in 1850

 

Guide me O thou great Jehovah

Author : William Williams
Year : 1717 to 1791
Translated : Peter Williams
Composer : John Hughes
Tune Name : "Cwn Rhondda"

Throughout the centuries the Welsh people have been recognised as one of the most enthusiastic groups of Singers. William Williams was preparing for Medical profession when he was touched by a sermon he heard and entered ministry. During his years of service he wrote almost 800 Hymns in Welsh. Some one said "What Isaac Watts has been to England, that and more has William Williams been to Wales" .

The imagery of the Hymn is drawn wholly or the Bible. The Hymn compares the forty years of journey of the Israelites to the promised land with the living of a Christian life as a "pilgrim (age) through the barren land."

The strong symbolic text with its virile tune has had great universal appeal, evidenced by the fact that the Hymn has been translated into over 75 languages.

 

How great thou art

OriginalAuthor : Rev Carl Bobberg
Year : 1886
Translated : Straut K Hine
Composer : Straut K Hine and
Manna Music of Swedish folk Melody

This is a twentieth century Hymn that became favourite with God's people during the last three decades .

The original text was a poem entitled " O Store Gud" written by a Swedish pastor, Rev Carl Boberg He was suddenly caught in a mid day thunderstorm with awe inspiring moments of flashing violence, followed by a clear brilliant sun. Soon afterwards he heard the calm, sweet songs of the birds in nearby trees. The experience prompted him to fall on his knees in humble adoration of his mighty God. The text was translated into German by Manfred von Glehn entitled " Wie gross bist Du".In 1925 , the text was translated into English by Rev E. G. Johnson. This literal translation is different from the text we know today. In 1927 it was translated into Russian by S. Prokhanoff from the German version.

In 1933 Rev S.K. Hine was in Ukraine were they learned the Russian version. The thought of the first three verses in English were born, line by line, amidst unforgettable experiences in the mountain region they were ministering.

 

Joyful Joyful

Author : Henry van Dyke
Year : 1852 to 1933
Composer : Ludwig van Beethoven
Tune Name : "Hymn to Joy"

This Hymn is generally considered by hymnologist to be one of the most joyous expressions of hymn lyrics in the English language. Apart from being a Presbyterian preacher he served as a Professor of Literature at Princeton University . He was also Ambassador to Holland and Luxenbourg.

 

Praise ye the Lord

Author : Joachim Naender
Year : 1650 to 1680
Translated : Catherine Winkworth
Composer : John Hughes
Tune Name : "Lobe Den Herren"
Scripture Reference : Psalm 103 1-6 / Psalm 150

Joachim called of all German- Calvinist reformed Hymn writers, and nearly all of his Hymns are triumphant expressions of praise. Though he died at the age of 30 was a noted scholar in theology, literature and music apart from being the Pastor of the Reformed pastor in Dusseldorf.

 

O God our help in Ages past

Author : Isaac Watts,
Year :1674-1748
Composer : Attr. to William Croft; harm. by W.H. Monk
Tune Name : St Anne
Scripture Reference : Psalm 90

This Hymn, considered to be one of the grandest in the whole realm of English Hymnody, is a paraphrase of Psalm 90. This Hymn undoubtedly ranks as one of the finest of Watts 600 or more Hymns.

 

This is my Father's world

Author : Maltbie D.Babcock
Year :1858-1901
Composer : Franklin L. Shepherd
Tune Name : "Terra Beata"

This Hymn is part of a 16 verse poem written by Rev Maltbie D. Babcock and published posthumously in 1901. The first verse of all the 16 verses start with " This is my Father's world". He was a skilled musician, performing on the Organ, piano and violin. He was a great admirer of nature as reflected in the text. He was characterized by his frequent expression" I'm going out to see my Father's world".

A writer noted " This Hymn is more than mere outburst of song of nature but rather a seasoned appreciation, beautifully worded of the unfailing trust in the ways and judgments of God. Message portrays " God's Presence, God's Personality, God's Power, God's Purpose"

Terra Beata is the Latin for � blessed earth"

 

Jesus shall Reign

Author : Isaac Watts,
Year :1674-1748
Composer : John Hatton
Tune Name : Duke Street
Scripture Reference : Psalm 72

This is one of the earliest Hymn written with a missionary emphasis. When this was written in 1719 the evangelical missionary movement had scarcely began. This is one of the finest missionary Hymns written and one that is widely used.

 

All to Jesus Surrender

Author : Judson W. Van DeVenter,
Year :1896
Music : Winfield S. Weeden,
Judson wrote this Hymn while he was conducting a meeting at East Palestine, Ohio, in the home of George Sebring developer of the town of Sebring, Florida). For some time, he had struggled between developing his talents in the field of art and going into full-time evangelistic work. At last the pivotal hour of his life came, and he surrendered all. A new day was ushered into his life. He became an evangelist and discovered down deep in his soul a talent hitherto unknown to him. God had hidden a song in his heart, and touching a tender chord, which caused him to sing.
Weeden published a number of books of religious music, but this song must have been one of his favorites: its title was on his tombstone.

 

Arise my Soul Arise

Author : Charles Wesley,
Year :1742.
Composer : Lenox, Lewis Edson, in The Chorister's Companion, by Simeon Jo
celyn and Amos Doolittle
It is said that a Wesleyan missionary laboring in the West Indies, "of two hundred persons, young and old, who received the most direct evidence of the forgiveness of their sins while singing �Arise, my soul.'

 

The Lord is my Shepherd

Author : Scottish Psalter
Year : 1850
Composer : Jessie S. Irvine
Tune Name : CRIMOND
Scripture Reference : Psalm 23

In a beautiful paraphrase of Psalm 23, the hymn gives us a reassuring-and challenging-image of God. He's celebrated as our shepherd, the One who provides for all our needs. And those words wash us with the "quiet waters" of peace because they assure us that God will never leave us in want. But the image of God as shepherd also confronts us with this challenging question: If God is our shepherd, are we sheep who follow and trust? Or do we wander our own way?
The gentle shepherd promises to lead us to pasture-to fill our every need. Yet often one looks for food somewhere else? Some neglect their faith and family to work long hours, not trusting God to provide in another way. Others hold onto unhealthy relationships, fearful of being left alone.
In hundreds of such ways, Christians wander from the Shepherd. And at the root of our wanderings lies a lack of trust in God and fear that he won't come through. Not content with the quiet pasture God's provided for today, we start worrying about tomorrow and devising our own plans to fill our needs..
"The Lord's My Shepherd, I'll Not Want" first appeared in print in the Scottish Psalter of 1650. In it, portions from various sources were combined to create the beautiful hymn we know today. Though it was well-loved in Scotland, "The Lord's My Shepherd" did not enjoy popularity outside the Church of Scotland for nearly 300 years. It finally appeared i

 

And Can it Be

Author : Charles Wesley
Year : 1738
Composer : Thomas Campbell
Tune Name : SAGINA
Scripture : Romans 5:8

Everybody loves a good mystery. Charles Wesley wrote it soon after He came to Christ. As he looks back on his life, he sees himself as a prisoner in a dark dungeon, chained by the sins that he committed-and even more "made captive" by the sin that was a part of his very being. One night, the gospel of Christ-the good news that Christ had died to meet his need-seemed.
Perhaps you may think that this hymn describes the dramatic experience of one who was rescued from the life of terrible sin and ruin... perhaps drugs, adultery, murder or who knows what? But at the time of his conversion, Charles Wesley had been a pastor in his church for over three years. And he had just returned from a "missionary" trip to America.
But in all of this religious activity, he had never experienced peace-the peace that only God can give. Peace cannot be manufactured or "faked". Christ had never come to dwell in his life. He looked good on the outside, but the mystery of a life committed to Christ was not to be found in him.
On May 20, 1738, around midnight, Charles Wesley was saved. Finally, he began to understand the great mystery of being "in Christ." It's a little like that night, 1900 years ago, when Jesus said to the Jewish religious leader: Nicodemus, "You must be born again." Nicodemus was a respected religious leader, but he wasn't born again. He had never experienced the "mystery."

 

I leave all things to God's direction

Author : Salomo Franck
Year :1659-1725
Composer :Georg Neumark 1657
Translated to English: August Crull (1845-1923)
Tune Name :Wer Nur Den Lieben Gott (German)
Bible Reference : Rom.8:28, 2 Pet.3:9, Is.38:17, Jer.29:11

When the composer of the song Georg Neumark was proceeding to the city of Keal from the city of Hamburg, he fell among thieves and was robbed completely by them. He was left with nothing to sustain his life. After reaching the city of Keal he somehow managed to procure a job of teaching to children from a wealthy family. The song "Wer Nur Den Leiben Gott" in German (If thou but suffer God to guide thee) was composed in this circumstance as an affirmation of his faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ Salomo Franck wrote the song "I leave all things to God's direction" which was later translated into English by August Crull (1845-1923) and used the music composed by Georg Neumark

 

To God be the Glory

Author : Fanny Crosby,
Year : 1820 to 1915
Composer : W. Howard Doane
Wherever the religion of Christ has found lodgment, the countless songs of Fanny Crosby, the subject of this sketch, have brought comfort to Christian hearts and stirred up inspiration that will abide as long as life shall last.

She became blind at the age of six weeks from maltreatment of her eyes during a period of sickness. When she was eight years old she moved with her parents to Ridgefield, Connecticut, the family remaining there four years. At the age of fifteen she entered the New York Institution for the Blind, where she received a good education. She became a teacher in the Institution in 1847, and continued her work until March 1, 1858. She taught English grammar, rhetoric, Roman and American history.

Her hymns have been in great demand and have been used by many of our most popular composers, among whom may be mentioned Wm. B. Bradbury, Geo. F. Root, W. H. Doane, Rev. Robert Lowry, Ira, D. Sankey, J. R. Sweney, W. J. Kirkpatrick, H. P. Main, H. P. Danks, Philip Phillips, B. C. Unseld, and others. She can compose at any time and does not need to wait for any special inspiration, and her best hymns have come on the spur of the moment... She learned to play on the guitar and piano while at the Institution, and has a clear soprano voice. She also received a technical training in music, and for this reason she can, and does, compose airs for some of her hymns.
"Safe in the arms of Jesus," probably one of her best known hymns, is her own favorite
The secret of this contentment dates from her first composition at the age of eight years. "It has been the motto of my life," she says. It is:

"O what a happy soul am I!
Although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be;
How many blessings I enjoy
That other people don't!
To weep and sigh because I'm blind,
I cannot, and I won't.''

 

My Jesus I love thee

Author : William Ralph Featherston
Date : 1864
Composer : Adoniram Judson Gordon
Tune : CARITAS
Scripture Reference : I John 4:19

Sixteen year old William Featherston of Montreal, Canada wrote this simple but profound hymn in 1862, not long after he was converted to Christ. William wrote no other hymns that we know of and his brief life ended just before his twenty-seventh birthday.
How could such a young man write this thoughtful hymn? The answer begs the question, as young or old, when a person comes to Christ, the Holy Spirit bestows a power that transcends the commonplace.
Though William lived only ten years after writing this hymn, perhaps, instinctively, he knew that his destiny was "endless delight", that he would sing an unending song of adoration to his Lord:
In mansions of glory and endless delight
I'll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright,
I'll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.'