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Sing with spirit and understanding - 1821


On this day 23 October 1821, a committee appointed to develop a new hymnbook for the Methodist Episcopal Church issued the work with a prefatory letter explaining the principles that motivated them and the difficulties that faced them in producing such a work. Here are a few excerpts from that letter.


“Dear Brethren:—Your Committee, whose task it has been, by your request, to compile a book of tunes for the use of the Methodist Episcopal Church, report: That they have been fully aware of the extreme difficulty of making such a collection of tunes as should in all respects be accommodated either to the fancy or taste of every section of our widely extended connection. . . .

“It may be proper to suggest that the primary object of your committee has been, not to prepare a collection of tunes for social circles or singing associations, (though they hope the work will not be unacceptable even in this light,) but, according to your own directions, for the use of worshipping congregations. . . .

“Finally, praying that the blessing of Heaven may accompany their efforts, they would subjoin the language of our bishops as a just expression of their own sentiments: ‘We exhort all to sing with the Spirit and with the understanding also; and thus may the high praises of God be set up from east to west, from north to south; and we shall be happily instrumental in leading the devotion of thousands, and shall rejoice to join them in time and eternity.’” 


Bangs, Nathan. History of the Methodist Episcopal Church, vol. 3.

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