A day by day anthology of Hymn writers and their work.
Paperback, 221 pages. Published by Scripture Teaching Library, Northern Ireland.
Available from Ards Bookshop, Newtownards, Northern Ireland. ISBN: 978-1-909789-55-5.
The book is the first of four volumes arranged to take the reader through the year in a daily reading format.
This book covers the period January to March and each date marks the birth or death of a well-known, or in some cases, not so well- known, hymnwriter. The amount of research required to compile such a record, together with a brief biography of each subject, represents many hours of work, and that from one who is heavily committed to preparing and taking meetings on a very regular basis.
I suppose the evidence of a well written book is the extent to which it captures the attention of the reader and compels them to continue reading. Although this book is designed to be read over a period of three months, I read it in three days! Having been brought up from childhood on many of the hymns referred to, I found it fascinating and quite moving at times to discover the background and circumstances which inspired the writers.
A very comprehensive introduction to hymnology is given under the headings:
Definition; Diversity; and Development. Under this third heading, those with a taste for history will appreciate the chronological lists of hymnwriters going back to Reformation times and beyond. These, together with those from the North American continent, 1794-1948, who made significant contributions, ensure that a broad spectrum of godly men and women are acknowledged for the spiritual legacy they have left.
Most of the biographies are accompanied by a photograph or print of the subject, which would have taken some time to obtain. I will read this first instalment again and look forward to the subsequent productions.