Monday, April 8, 2013

On a 300th anniversary

Dr. Ron Davis has provided more information about Joseph Stennett, the first Baptist hymnwriter — and a seventh-day Sabbatarian — in a Facebook entry:
Joseph Stennett (1663-1713), the first significant Baptist hymnwriter, died 300 year ago. Dr. Isaac Watt's Hymns and Scriptural Songs in Three Books (1707) contained Joseph Stennett hymns. Dr. John Rippon's A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors (1787) contained both Joseph Stennett and Samuel Stennett hymns. Samuel Stennett (1728-1795), Joseph Stennett's grandson, was a contemporary of Rippon in London, and sometimes they served as pulpit supply at one another's churches. The Rippon hymnal went through numerous editions and was the hymnal most used by Baptists in early America. The Stennett hymns were frequently sung into the late 19th century....

Edward Stennett (Joseph Stennett's father), Joseph Stennett, and Samuel Stennett, all served as Seventh Day Baptist pastors, and all were also writers. ....

.... My oldest psalter book is from 1763, my oldest Stennett book from 1732. The latter is volume one of four volumes of his written works published posthumously as The Works of the late Reverend and Learned Mr. Joseph Stennett. I would love to own volume four which contains fifty of his hymns for Communion. Thirty-seven of these Communion hymns were originally published in the 17th century (in 1697).
Dr. Davis provides some examples of Joseph Stennett's hymns including these verses:
Glory to God on high be giv'n,
Who shews this grace to sinful men:
Let saints on earth, and hosts of heav'n,
In concert join their loud amen.
Whenever One Sinner Turns To God, stanza 7

Awake my mind: awake my song;
Awake my heart; awake my tongue;
Join with the grateful praising throng;
In offerings to our common Lord.

Wherever fleeting winds can blow,
Wherever swelling waves can flow,
Where beast can rove, or plants can grow,
All creatures praise his name with one accord.
An Hymn
Joseph Stennett at Wikipedia