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This report is taken from PN Review 107, Volume 22 Number 3, January - February 1996.

Lost in Wonder Lawrence Sail

A recent poll produced the finding that when it comes to hymns, the current favourite in this country is 'Dear Lord and father of mankind', written in the nineteenth century by the American John Greenleaf Whittier, and included in both the standard Anglican hymnals of this century - Hymns Andent & Modem and The English Hymnal.

These two compilations, together with their various revisions and supplements, have been appearing almost in tandem - the maroon or red covers of Hymns Ancient & Modem, the green of The English Hymnal -ever since the first edition of the latter in 1906, though by then Hymns Andent & Modem had already been in existence for almost half a century. The older book (hereafter HA&M), was an attempt by a body of Church of England clergymen (who later became the Proprietors, five in number, appointed under a Deed of Trust) to consolidate previous hymn books. The Preface of The English Hymnal (a curiously narrow title, and narrowed more hereafter to TEH) offers the book 'as a humble companion to the Book of Common Prayer', and asserts that 'in Christian song Churches have forgotten their quarrels and men have lost their limitations, because they have reached the higher ground where the soul is content to affirm and to adore. The hymns of Christendom show more clearly than anything else that there is even now such a thing as the unity of the Spirit.' 'Thus', the compilers decide confidently, 'we have made complete ...


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