Class and Idol in the English Hymn by Lionel Adey

By Lionel Adey

This ebook completes Lionel Adey's research of English hymnody which started with Hymns and the Christian 'Myth' (1986). quite a lot of grownup and college hymnals used among 1700 and 1939, Adey investigates the social context within which the hymns have been sung and their effect at the singers. Class and Idol within the English Hymn is pertinent not just to lecturers in fields of literature, faith, background, and psychology, but in addition to hymn enthusiasts, hymn writers, and clergy.

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Thus in "Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go" still the best hymn on work in English, there can be no mistaking the injunction to treat all honest toil as sacred: 26 Class and Idol in the English Hymn The task thy wisdom hath assign'd O let me cheerfully fulfil! In all my works thy presence find, And prove thine acceptable will. Lest we wonder how a clergyman dare describe twelve hours or more, six days a week, in mine or mill as "an easy yoke," Wesley was writing in 1749, somewhat before the Industrial Revolution got into full swing.

22 His line "Oh! " doubtless inspired a famous gospel hymn of the Second Evangelical Revival. 23 Yet Newton was no hypocrite, for he had himself sojourned with Lady Poverty and had met her daily among the depressed lacemakers of Olney. " "Hungry, and faint, and poor," implores Newton, "Behold us, Lord, . . " The soul's hunger and thirst, its poverty and nakedness, form the self-image of the "real Christian" who beholds himself and his world in the eternal perspective. Did the poor believer, despised and rejected of men, sustain himself with a fantasy of being chosen to enjoy eternal riches, as a lyric by Newton on "The Lord's Day" (II, 45) seems to imply?

All of the poem that survives in the hymn-book is an application of the Beatitude to the "lowly" heart in the hymn's opening and closing verses. 24 To trace the connotations of "pure" in the Bible from Temple furnishings or ritual incense, through the inner quality of the priest, prophet, or the righteous heart in Psalms and Proverbs, to the teaching of Jesus and St. Paul, and thence to the pure raiment of saints and gold of the Celestial City, would be to recapitulate Judaeo-Christian history and mythology.

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