A. Merril Smoak, Jr., Methodist Hymnal Collection

The Hymn Book and Tunebook Collection of A. Merril Smoak, Jr., DWS.

Methodist Hymnals Pre-1850

Presented by Haaswurth Books

A Choice Selection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs; designed to aid in the Devotions of Prayer, Conference, and Camp-Meetings. Concord, [NH]: Printed by Isaac Hill, 1828. [8498]

Full worn leather binding, 3 x 5 1/4 inches, front end paper hinge open, 168 pp., lacks leaf pp. 87-88. Old stains, dark towards the end; one rear blank with large hole, some edge-tattering to the pages. Good. Full leather.

WorldCat 1 location, AAS.   Several editions were printed at various places between 1825 and 1830.

One hymn is "In memory of the Rev. E. R. Sabin". We believe this to be Rev. Elijah Robinson Sabin (1776-1818), b. Tolland, Connecticut; d. Augusta, Georgia. Sabin was a Methodist minister who served as the Presiding Elder of the Vermont and Rhode Island Districts, and was previous to those appointments a backwoods preacher in the then wild northern portions of Vermont and New Hampshire. He was also pastor of a church in Boston, and at Penobscot, Maine.

Benson, in his The English Hymn: Its Development and Use in Worship, has the later edition in his chapter The Hymnody of American Methodism. "Also for New England use was A choice Selection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs, designed to aid in the devotions of prayer, conference, and camp meetings (Windsor, Vt,. 1836)."

127 hymns with index, no music. Some of an ecstatic nature.

Burst, ye emerald gates, and bring
To my enraptured vision,
All the extatic [sic] joys that spring
Round the bright elysian:
Lo! we lift our longing eyes,
Break, ye intervening skies;
Sons of righteousness, arise,
Ope the gates of paradise. - Hymn 44.

It also includes a version of the "Indian Hymn," attributed to William Ahes at hymnary.org, and by others to the Pequot author William Apess.  It was actually written by Thomas Daniel Cowdell (1769-1833), a London-born Methodist who emigrated to Halifax in 1789.  It appeared first in the Nova Scotia Minstrel (1811) and became a popular Methodist hymn.1  The text in this hymnal differs from that at hymnary.  The complete text is (p. 154):

In de dark wood, no, Indian nigh,
Den me look Heaven, and send up cry,
Upon my knee so low;
Den God on high in shining place,
See me in night wid teary face,
De priest he tell me so.

He send he angel take me care,
He come heself to hear me prayer,
If Indian heart do pray;
He see me now, he know me here,
He say, poor Indian, neher fear,
Me wid you night and day.

So me lub God wid inside heart,
He fight for me, he take um part,
He save um life before;
God lub poor Indian in de wood,
Den me lub God, and dat be good
Me pray him two times more.

Hymnary online does not have a record of this earlier 1828 edition. They record an 1836 edition (Windsor, VT) with the same title. There are unique hymns found only in this hymnal, according to the Hymnary database. They are homely and primitive, but it is easy to imagine a camp-meeting throng singing them. One such is Hymn 55; the first two stanzas read:


We've found the rock the travellers cried,
O Halle Hallelujah,
The stone that all the prophets tried;
O Halle Hallelujah,
Come children, drink the balmy dew,
O Halle Hallelujah,
'Twas Christ who shed his blood for you,
O Glory Hallelujah.

This costly mixture cures the soul,
Which sin and guilt had made so foul;
O that you would believe in God,
And wash in Christ's most precious blood.


The printer, Isaac Hill (1788-1851), b. West Cambridge, Massachusetts; d. Washington, DC. At Concord, NH, he was the owner and editor of the New Hampshire Patriot (1809-29) and served as clerk of the New Hampshire State Senate (1819 & 1825). He was a Democrat-Republican, later a Jacksonian Democrat, and served several terms as a New Hampshire State Senator. His support for Andrew Jackson in 1828 earned him the post in the United States Treasury office, and he became a friend and confidant of the President, and was considered a member of his "Kitchen Cabinet." He was elected to the United States Senate (1831-1836), and then won two terms as governor of New Hampshire (1836-1839).

1. https://www.carpelibrumbooks.com/not-william-apess-hymn-the-indians-prayer-ca-1835

© Haaswurth Books