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decimo. Having availed himself of the critical labors of his predecessors, and given the whole subject a patient and protracted investigation, Mr. Creamer's work may be considered hereafter as a standard authority on the subject of which he treats; and although there still remain disputed questions as to the authorship of some of the hymns, and there will ever be diversity of opinion as to their relative beauty and excellence, we hold ourselves and the church largely his debtors for this most interesting and instructive volume.
The work is divided into three parts. In the first, we have brief biographical and critical sketches of most of the authors from whom the poetry in our standard Hymn-book has been selected; and in the second, a chronological arrangement of the poetical productions of Charles and John Wesley, interspersed with historical observations and critical remarks. Our readers generally have, perhaps, little idea of the number and extent of the poetical publications of the two brothers; and our intention, in the present article, is, mainly, to follow our author in a rapid statement of the volumes issued by them.
Their first publication was “A Collection of Psalms and Hymns. London: Printed in the Year MDCCXXXVIII." This volume our author has not seen. It is exceedingly rare ; and all we know of it is derived from the statements of Mr. Jackson, and an incidental allusion in an article on “Methodism in Former Days," published in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine for 1845. It contained twenty-three psalms and forty-six hymns, most of them, however, selected from other authors, and was sold for eight pence.
To this succeeded, in the following year, (1739,) a duodecimo volume of two hundred and twenty-three pages, entitled “Hymns and Sacred Poems. By John and Charles Wesley." The poctry is not, however, entirely the production of the two brothers. There are twenty poems from Herbert, six written by Gambold, one by Dr. Hicks, one by Dr. More, and two by Samuel Wesley, senior. In this volume is contained a “congratulation to a friend, upon believing in Christ.” It bears unmistakeable evidence of its authorship, and is said to have been addressed by Charles to his brother John just after he had experienced the blessing of justification by faith. The reader will be pleased if we transcribe a few stanzas :
“ Bless'd be the Name that sets thee free,
The Name that sure salvation brings !
Has rose, with healing in his wings:
Away let grief and sighing flee;
“Still may his love thy fortress be,
And make thee still his darling care,
On eagles' wings thy spirit bear,
he all his graces give:
Yet here by faith submit to live ;
Nor seize thy heaven, till I may too." In this volume first appeared forty-nine of the hymns now found in the Methodist Hymn-book, including twenty-two translations from the German, one from the Spanish, and one from the French. Mr. Creamer inclines to the opinion that all these translations were made by the elder brother, although we cannot help believing, with the late Richard Watson, that there is in many of them “internal evidence of Charles's manner;" and although it has been said that we have no evidence at all that Charles ever studied the German language, yet were there, in his day, rude and literal English versions of many of the German hymns, which he may have used in the preparation of his own inimitable verses. That John wrote some of them is clear; but the question as to which, and how many, will probably never be settled.
Our author was probably napping when he intimates that the hymn beginning,
“ Thou true and only God, lead'st forth," is found only in the Wesleyan Collection. It is the second part of 207 in our book, as indeed he himself states on a preceding page.
In a third volume, issued by the two brothers in 1740, entitled "Hymns and Sacred Poems,” are found eighteen stanzas “On the Anniversary of One's Conversion," from which was taken the well-known hymn, the first in our own and in the Wesleyan Col lection :
"O for a thousand tongues to sing,” &c. In this volume were also four hymns, "all of which," says our author, “were probably addressed to Mr. Whitefield.” One of
them, written on his second embarkation for America, we deem well worthy of a place in the new selection now in process of preparation by a committee appointed by the late General Conference. We would entitle it, “ On a Voyage:"
“Glory to Thee, whose powerful word
Bids the tempestuous winds arise :
Of air, and earth, and seas, and skies !
“Let air, and earth, and skies, obey,
And seas thine awful will perform:
And shout to meet the gath'ring storm.
What though the floods lift up their voice,
Thou hearest, Lord, our louder cry:
Or shake the soul, when God is nigh.
“Headlong we cleave the yawning deep,
And back to highest heaven are borne,
And all the wat'ry world upturn.
Your roaring to disturb our rest :
The calm in a believer's breast.
Thou sea, the servant of his will ;
But fall when he shall say, 'Be still!'” Two years had hardly elapsed when a fourth volume, bearing the same title, was issued by the brothers. The poetry is almost entirely from the pen of Charles; and from it have been taken more of our standard hymns than from any other single volume. Among others in our collection :
“ 179. Arise, my soul, arise.
77. Come, O thou Traveler unknown.
This last hymn, it will be remembered, has been attributed by many compilers to Hill; and, on the strength of these bold assertions, the author of the article in this Review, for April, 1844, gave him credit for it. We are gratified in being enabled to correct the error, and assign it to its true source.
In the year 1745 appeared a volume entitled “Hymns on the Lord's Supper,” all of which seem to have been written by the two brothers. They are in number one hundred and sixty-six. A few of them had appeared in their previous publications. “Although,” says Mr. Jackson, “they all refer to one subject, they are distinguished throughout by a remarkable variety of thought and expression. The flame of devotion by which they are animated is bright and intense.”
A volume, entitled “HYMNS FOR THOSE THAT SEEK, AND THOSE THAT HAVE, REDEMPTION IN THE BLOOD OF Jesus Christ,” made its appearance in 1746. It was published anonymously, and seems to have been entirely overlooked by the biographers of the Wesleys. This was followed, in the succeeding year, by a tract of thirty-six pages, entitled “HYMNS OF PETITION AND THANKSGIVING FOR THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER, BY THE Rev. MR. JOHN AND CHARLES WESLEY;" and another, styled “HYMNS FOR ASCENSION Day."
In the year 1748 first appeared what is called the enlarged edition of the Psalms and Hymns, which were written almost entirely by Charles Wesley and Dr. Watts. Those by the latter are twenty-seven in number; and most of them were altered more or less by the founder of Methodism. We notice a few of the more prominent emendations. In the hymn beginning,
“ And must this body die," (554 in our collection,) Watts wrote in the second line,
" This mortal frame," altered by Wesley to,
“This well-wrought frame." In verse third the substitution of "ever" for “often” is a manifest improvement :
"And often (Wesley, ever) from the skies." The fifth verse is, in the original,
“ These lively hopes we owe
To Jesus' dying love ;
And sing his power above."
Thus amended by John Wesley :
« These lively hopes we owe,
Lord, to thy dying love :
And sing thy power above !" The alteration of the last verse of our 44th hymn is not so happy. Watts wrote :
“And thy soft wings, celestial Dove,
Will safe convey me home.” Wesley :
“May thy bless'd wings, celestial Dove,
Safely convey me home.” In the year 1749 Mr. Charles Wesley published two volumes of Hymns and Sacred Poems, bearing his own name only on the title-page. Our author appears to think this a sufficient evidence that all the poetry therein contained was of his own composition. We doubt the correctness of the inference, inasmuch as in those days there was little of that pride of authorship now so coinmon; and it is most certain that in the previous publications bearing the names of the two brothers, there are poems by different writers without a hint as to their origin. We please ourselves at any rate with the idea that the hymn found in this volume, and transferred to our book, beginning,
How happy are they,” was furnished by another hand, and inserted in the volume against the better judgment of the great Methodist lyrist. The hymns selected from this volume, now forming a part of our standard collection, amount to more than one hundred.
On occasion of the shocks of an earthquake in 1750, a tract, containing hymns on that subject, was issued by Charles Wesley; who, as our author tells us, was the author of the sermon on that subject, found, without credit, in the first volume of the Sermons of his brother John. To these succeeded, “Hymns for the Use of Methodist Preachers," in 1758; “Funeral Hymns ;" “Hymns for New Year's Day,” in which is found that wellknown lyric, the authorship of which has been much disputed :
“Blow ye the trumpet, blow." By many hymn compilers this has been credited to Toplady; and our author professes himself “exceedingly gratified thus unquestionably to verify its authorship,”