Friday, May 29, 2009

A Sheaf of Psalms

...and Hymns and Spiritual Songs.

Off-and-on over the course of about 6 or 7 years, I have quietly worked on a hymn book. I have mentioned this before to some, but most are not aware of it. I have been compiling hymns for a new words-only hymn book, and setting it up in hymn book format. It seems that I am possibly near being able to go through with printing it. These types of hymn books are not used so much today, but that would not matter if it were something churches might be interested in and could get a blessing from.

On the basis of the apostle Paul’s writing in Ephesians and Colossians, the book would be divided under three heads: I. Psalms; II. Hymns; and III. Spiritual Songs. Under the first head would be poems/hymns based on the 150 Psalms of the Old Testament, varying from metrical rearrangements of the words to paraphrases of a Psalm into New Testament language. Hopefully this might encourage a renewed commitment to singing of the Psalms. I don't hold the position of "exclusive psalmody" -- that all singing must be from the Psalms. But the arrangement will perhaps impress upon our minds that we are singing the Psalms. Other hymn books do indeed contain hymns based on the Psalms, but we are often not made aware that we are singing such. Under the second head would be hymns based on great themes of scripture (atonement, church, faith, grace, judgment, predestination, prayer, repentance, etc.), or upon particular texts of scripture. The third head would be comprised of hymns more of an experiential nature. These are intended to be in accordance with God’s word, but in them the authors relate some experience or experiences through which they have been led by God’s grace and providence. Under these three heads there are a great variety and consistency of poems touching the revelation of God, both Old and New Testament, as well as themes describing how God has continued to work among His people through this age in accord with the divine revelation.

The idea is to fill the book with hymns that are not in Benjamin Lloyd's Primitive Hymns, thereby hoping to make it profitable for use as a supplement to those who already use Lloyd's hymn book. It could supplement other hymn books as well, though it may contain some hymns in common with them. If planned correctly, there is no duplication of this new book and Lloyd's book.

Despite its design to supplement Lloyd's and mainly for use with that words-only hymn book, it could also be used as:
A primary hymn book. It certainly will serve for this, though the absence of such traditional hymns as Amazing Grace, Alas and Did My Savior Bleed, How Firm a Foundation would be quite noticeable.
A source for devotional hymn readings. It contains many old and some new hymns, from various sources.
A gift to give friends. Hopefully the type printing will make it functional and have an appealing appearance.

I am looking at printing it in soft-cover plastic-lamination double wire wrap-around, which would be durable, while allowing the pages to lay flat. The wrap-around would allow for spine printing for edge/bookshelf visibility of the title. The book would be 186 pages, 300 hymns, with first line, meter, and subject indexes, 4¼" x 7" on 60# smooth white paper. Based on the quantity I have printed, shipping, etc., it would cost anywhere from $6 to $10.

I would welcome any thoughts that any of you have.

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