HYMNOLOGY OF CHRISTIANS KNOWN AS PARTICULAR BAPTISTS


Strict and Particular Baptists, as do other Christians, like to praise the Godhead in song and they enjoy singing about their Lord, their Faith, and their Hope. It was quite natural for S&PBs to have made use of hymnology from the whole range of Christian song writers. It would also be surprising if their hymnology had not developed according to their own beliefs and experiences. The hymn books that they use contain compositions by various well known hymn writers, including, Hart, Kelly, Kent, Medley, Newton, Steele, Ryland, Toplady, Watts, Wesley, and others. There is a wider range of hymns and spiritual songs by Hart and Watts than is normally found in other hymnbooks and there are hymns by evangelical composers who are very little known in some circles. The tunes used in worship are mostly well known among Christian congregations, together with a few lesser known compositions. The emphasis in worship is on the service of praise God-ward, not on human, carnal, entertainment.

As could be expected, S&PBs developed their own poets, these include Samuel Medley, who was a pastor in Liverpool, and William Gasdby, a pastor in Manchester. Their contribution to Christian song is significant. To impart a flavour of some of the lesser known hymns used by Strict Baptists I append the following hymns, by several composers, from Gadsby's Hymns published by Gospel Standard.

Hymn No. 667

Immortal honours rest on Jesus' head;
My God, my portion, and my Living Bread;
In Him I live, upon Him cast my care;
He saves from death, destruction, and despair.

He is my Refuge in each deep distress;
The Lord my strength & glorious righteousness;
Through floods and flames He leads me safely on,
And daily makes His sovereign goodness known.

My every need He richly will supply;
Nor will His mercy ever let me die;
In Him there dwells a treasure all divine,
And matchless grace has made that treasure mine.

O that my soul could love and praise Him more,
His beauties trace, His majesty adore;
Live near His heart, upon His bosom lean;
Obey His voice, and all His will esteem.

 

Hymn 523, (two verses only selected)

The gospel's the law of the Lamb;
My soul of its glories shall sing;
With pleasure my tongue shall proclaim
The law of my Saviour and King;
A sweet law of liberty this;
A yoke that is easy and mild;
Of love it the precious law is,
Unknown unto all but a child.

Its beauties all centre in Christ,
For Christ is the substance of it;
It makes broken hearts to rejoice,
And insolvent debtors will fit.
'Tis wisdom, 'tis strength, and 'tis love,
And all that are born from above,
By Jesus from Moses are freed.

Hymn 10

'Twas with an everlasting love
That God His own elect embraced;
Before He made the worlds above,
Or earth on her huge columns placed.

Long ere the sun's refulgent ray
Primeval shades of darkness drove,
They on His sacred bosom lay,
Loved with an everlasting love.

Then in the glass of His decrees,
Christ and His bride appeared as one;
Her sin, by imputation, His,
Whilst she in spotless splendour shone.

O love, how high thy glories swell!
How great, immutable, and free!
Ten thousand sins, as black as hell,
Are swallowed up, O love, in thee!

Loved, when a wretch defiled with sin,
At war with heaven, in league with hell,
A slave to every lust obscene;
Who, living, lived but to rebel.

Believer, here thy comfort stands, -
From first to last salvation's free,
And everlasting love demands
An everlasting song from thee.

 

Hymn 1014

Brethren, Let us walk together
In the bonds of love and peace;
Can it be a question whether
Brethren should from conflict cease?
'Tis in union
Hope, and joy, and love increase.

While we journey homeward,
let us Help each other in the road;
Foes on every side beset us;
Snares through all the way are strewed;
It behoves us
Each to bear another's load.

When we think how much the Father
Has forgiven, and does forgive,
Brethren, we should learn the rather
Free from and wrath and strife to live,
Far removing,
All that might offend or grieve.

Then, let each esteem his brother
Better than himself to be;
And let each prefer another,
Full of love, from envy free;
Happy are we,
When in this we all agree.

(In view of the current, unscriptural, emphasis on gender, it is necessary to point out that that such words as 'brethren', 'son' and 'sonship' are divine terms which are gender free. This is an important subject, which is related to the truth of the priesthood of all believers, that I explain elsewhere.)

Hymn 405 (one verse only selected)

'Twixt Jesus and the chosen race,
Subsists a bond of sovereign grace,
That hell, with its infernal train,
Shall ne'er dissolve nor rend in twain!

 

Hymn 514 (two verses only selected)

O what matchless condescension
The eternal God displays;
Claiming our supreme attention,
To His boundless works and ways,
His own glory,
He reveals in gospel days.

Would we view His brightest glory,
Here it shines in Jesus' face;
Sing and tell the pleasing story,
O ye sinners saved by grace;
And with pleasure,
Bid the guilty Him embrace.

 

Hymn 636 (one verse only selected)

The Sabbath was a day of rest;
The day the Lord Jehovah blest;
A lively type of Christ;
The labouring poor may venture here;
The guilty banish all their fear,
And lean on Jesus' breast.

 

Hymn 554 (two verses only selected)

Though we walk through this wilderness
God's promise is our stay;
His goodness He will make to pass
Before us in the way.

To keep our eyes on Jesus fixed,
And there our hope to stay,
The Lord will make His goodness pass
Before us in the way.

Hymn 1105 (one verse only selected)

Jesus, engrave it on my heart,
That Thou the one thing needful art;
I could from all things parted be,
But never, never, Lord, from Thee.

 

Hymn 7 (one verse only selected)

God shall alone the refuge be,
And comfort of my mind;
Too wise to be mistaken, He,
Too good to be unkind.

 

Hymn 134 (one verse only selected)

Hail, sovereign love, that first began
The scheme to rescue fallen man!
Hail matchless, free, eternal; grace,
That gave my soul a hiding place!

 

Hymn 527 (one verse only selected)

What a divine harmonious sound
The gospel trumpet gives:
No music can with it compare;
The soul that knows it lives.

 

Hymn 593 (one verse only selected)

Jesus is a mighty Saviour;
Helpless souls have here a Friend;
He has borne their misbehaviour,
And His mercy knows no end;
O ye helpless,
Come, and on His grace depend.

 

AND, THAT'S THE GOSPEL!

The purpose of this exercise is to give a small flavour of Strict & Particular Baptist Hymnology. Gadsby's Hymnbook is available in printed form and on CD-ROM.