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Old Baptist Hymn on Baptism

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by rlvaughn, Feb 3, 2018.

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  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    A hymn on baptism by a Baptist hymnwriter, written before or by 1791. It appears in several publications, and what I post below is somewhat of a composite. The meter is 11s pretty much throughout, and could be sung to a tune like Bellevue/How Firm a Foundation. It's only 16 stanzas! Take a look.

    Hymn XCVII (p. 74-75) in Divine Hymns: Or Spiritual Songs; for the Use of Religious Assemblies and Private Christians, by Joshua Smith and Samuel Sleeper, Portland: Printed for Thomas Clark, 1803; "A Hymn on Baptism, by Anna Beaman of Warren in Connecticut, composed about the time she was baptised." (According to David Music in I Will Sing the Wondrous Story (p. 138), it appeared in Smith's first Divine Hymns in 1791.)

    1. What think you, my friends, of the preaching of John?
    Say, was it from heaven or was it of men?
    We hear him declaring glad tidings of peace,
    Proclaiming a jubilee year of release.
    2. The Law and the Prophets continued till John,
    Our Saviour hath told us when gospel began;
    And since that God's kingdom is preached faith the word
    And all men press in who have faith in the Lord.
    3. The first of the gospel, the dawn of the day,
    The voice of one crying prepare ye the way;
    Bring forth your repentance, ye viperous breed,
    And think not to say ye are Abraham's seed.
    4. A new dispensation to them he declares,
    And preaches repentance to Abraham's heirs;
    The children of Abraham's natural seed,
    Found they had no right his baptism to plead.
    5. But when he perceived that repentance was theirs,
    Then he gave baptism to Abraham's heirs;
    For those who had been sealed to covenant things,
    We find him baptising, confessing their sins.
    6. He tells them their Saviour is already here,
    And while he's baptising our Lord doth appear
    For to be baptised; and John shrinks at the thing,
    And owns he has need to receive it from him.
    7. But when he informed him it was his request,
    He freely baptised him as he did the rest;
    And this institution was owned from above:
    The Spirit of God was sent down as a dove.
    8. And his sweet example is left on record,
    Whoever steps in, they will find a reward;
    They'll find peace of conscience and joy of the same,
    When they are baptis-ed in Jesus' own name.
    9. The Eunuch we find was in haste to receive,
    His water baptism, when he did believe;
    He went on his way full rejoicing in God,
    While those that rebel must be tasting his rod.
    10. The friends of Cornelius who heard Peter's word,
    Believed and received soon the seal of the Lord;
    The Holy Ghost fell, then their joys did arise,
    And Peter commands that they should be baptised.
    11. Saint Paul's great conversion he found in the way,
    The light which shone round him exceeded the day;
    Then he was three days, neither drank nor did eat,
    Yet he was baptised e'en before he took meat.
    12. We read where three thousand believed in a day,
    And that they were baptised without a delay.
    The house of the jailer believed in the night,
    And they were baptis-ed before it was light.
    13. Forbear then to censure by being in haste,
    Or show me an instance where it was the case,
    That primitive Christians deferred the thing--
    I answer my conscience to Jesus my King.
    14. I'll tell you how gospel appears unto me,
    And pray to kind heaven that you all may see;
    The wise and the prudent, 'tis hid from their eyes,
    While the babes of the kingdom rejoice in the prize.
    15. Some call it baptism and think it will stand,
    A few drops of water dropt from a man's hand,
    In the face of the infant under the curse--
    But we find no scripture which proves such to us.
    16. There's no being "buried with Christ" in this case,
    For Jordan or Enon was John's chosen place;
    Our Lord in a fountain, John did him baptise,
    And Christ's sweet example we honour and prize.
     
  2. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    Yeah I tried it out Brother Robert and it fits How Firm A Foundation perfectly but my Old School Hymnal has seven stanzas and this one has sixteen:eek:... I don't know if the PB Baptist Church I grew up in would want to wade through sixteen stanzas... Would the Sacred Harp brethren do it?... Brother Glen:)
     
  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Don't even that to think about. No, not in Sacred Harp. There were a few songs in the original book that had a substantial number of stanzas such as this baptism hymn does. For example, ALABAMA was once on two pages and had 9 stanzas. Now it is reduced to one page with one stanza -- and it is a quite popular song.
    Shaping the Values of Youth: Sunday School Books in 19th Century America

    THE DYING CALIFORNIAN had 15 stanzas. It was taking him so long to die that they reduced it to three!
    Shaping the Values of Youth: Sunday School Books in 19th Century America

    Since The Sacred Harp is mostly used in the context of singing conventions and one goal is to allow as many leaders as possible, singing too many stanzas is often looked on askance. In church context I like to sing all the stanzas of a good hymn, but not everyone agrees with me on that.
     
  4. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    The Dying Californian?... Never heard of that one but I want to shake hands with the brother that hurried along his demise... Brother Glen:Roflmao
     
  5. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    It's a nice tune with a good message, but in the original he has to send dying words to just about everyone, mother, father, children, sisters, etc.

    The Dying Californian, on YouTube, sung by us in Austin, Texas, Fall, 2012
     
  6. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    Brother Robert... Reminds me of Poor Wayfaring Stranger and some in the church were questioning if it should be sung during worship service... I guess its more a traditional song and not as doctrinal... There were a few in the hymnal, I recall... Precious Memories was one... Brother Glen:)
     
  7. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Yes, there will always be discussion of whether these types of songs should be used in worship service. I certainly wouldn't get bent out of shape if this one were, but it is best reserved for singings, funerals and other special services, in my opinion. Here are the words (one of our books has the first 3 stanzas, and the other adds the 4th).

    1. Lay up nearer, brother, nearer,
    For my limbs are growing cold,
    And thy presence seemeth nearer
    When thine arms around me fold.
    2. I am dying, brother, dying,
    Soon you’ll miss me in your berth,
    For my form will soon be lying
    ‘Neath the ocean’s briny surf.
    3. I am going, surely going,
    But my hope in God is strong;
    I am willing, brother, knowing
    That He doeth nothing wrong.
    4. Hark! I hear the Savior speaking,
    ’Tis, I know, His voice so well;
    When I’m gone, Oh don’t be weeping,
    Brother, hear my last farewell.
     
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