Hymn anniversaries in 2019

15 January 2019

We take a look back at some of the hymns published 100, 200, 300 and 400 years ago:


Published 100 years ago:

Away with gloom, away with doubt     Edward Shillito  (1872-1948)

From Shillito's collection of poems, Jesus of the Scars, and Other Poems (1919). The hymn combines the Easter message with the welcome for spring in an attractive way, and deserves to be better known...


Published 200 years ago:

Lord God the Holy Ghost    James Montgomery (1771-1854)

First printed in the suppressed 8th Edition of Thomas Cotterill’s Selection of Psalms and Hymns for Public and Private Use (1819) in three 8-line verses. It was entitled ‘Whit Sunday’, and in its short compass it mentions many of the attributes of the Holy Spirit: power, grace, the rushing wind, the tongues of fire, light, truth, and the spirit of adoption...


Ich weiß, woran ich glaube     Ernst Moritz Arndt (1769-1860)

It is a strong statement of trust in God who stands fast, who is the light of the world (verse 4); in its vision of heaven and of the ideal it is characteristic of Arndt’s reaction against the rationalism of the 18th century...


Published 300 years ago:

Jesus shall reign where'er the sun   Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

This paraphrase of the second part of Psalm 72 (verses 8-19) appeared in The Psalms of David (1719), with the title ‘Christ’s Kingdom among the Gentiles’...


Published 400 years ago:

Come, O come in pious lays    George Wither (1588-1667)

In the full poem, Wither opens by listing the musical instruments that are to accompany the chorus. Verses 2-4 are a series of crescendos as different participants are invoked, from lowly worms to sun, moon and stars, from men to angels and from the depths of the earth to the celestial spheres...