Gorton. A Collection of Spiritual Hymns, suitable to be sung by the True Followers of Christ in all the World
Gorton. A Collection of Spiritual Hymns, suitable to be sung by the True Followers of Christ in all the World
Gorton. A Collection of Spiritual Hymns, suitable to be sung by the True Followers of Christ in all the World

Gorton. A Collection of Spiritual Hymns, suitable to be sung by the True Followers of Christ in all the World

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Gorton, B. A Collection of Spiritual Hymns, suitable to be sung by the True Followers of Christ in all the World: being corrected and revised, with additions. Troy, [NY]: Printed by Oliver Lyon, for the Compiler, 1807. Corrected and Revised. [9800]

Full leather binding, blind rules to spine with no title, 10 x 6.3 cm (4 x 2 1/2 inches), binding with corner and end wear, tight. (i) - (vi.), (7) - 207, (1) pages; one leaf with vertical tear, text is dark but in good condition. Good. Full leather.

The Preface is an apology for the hymnal; the final leaf has instructions for family singing, and reasons given for including children even if they have not yet professed faith. The compiler says that he did not include the names of the authors of the hymns because "all good is from God." He states that these hymns are for living Christians and not for dead professors. There is an advert for his A Scriptural Account of the Millennium on the final leaf.

We have identified hymns by John Wesley, Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts, William Hammond, Anne Steele, John Fawcett, Benjamin Beddome, John Needham, Philip Doddridge, William Cowper, John Newton, Joseph Hart, John Dowling, and John Leland. This is not a comprehensive list, but are the authors of some of the hymns that we checked against the database at hymnary dot org.

Some of the hymns that reveal the peculiar beliefs of Gorton are Babylon and its downfall described (204), and Millennial Hymn (205), both of which have scripture references for the stanzas, and we think written by Gorton. Some others that we have not found elsewhere begin, "Father, from whom all blessings flow | Great builder of your church below" (27); "Let sects and names no more | With Christians e'er be heard; | Sure all the true born sons of peace | Are one in Christ their head." (35)

Benjamin Gorton (c.1757-1836), a Connecticut native who served in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, a member of Baldwin's Regiment of Artificers, a Connecticut unit that accompanied regular line and artillery companies, as needed. In 1779 Gorton is listed in records as "Conductor of Military Stores, Field Commissary's department", stationed at Fishkill, NY.

A religious eccentric, he moved to Troy, NY, in 1791. "Having a speculative mind...[he], previous to 1800, had at various times expressed himself a believer in the sudden destruction of the earth, and in support of this opinion, he wrote a number of books, in which he set forth certain biblical prophecies and chronologies as proofs of his individual predictions. He also relied on the visions of certain contemporary persons, and various celestial phenomena occurring at this time, to substantiate and corroborate the Scriptural figures of Daniel and the other prophets. According to his belief the world was to come to an end on the 8th of June, 1816. Many of the inhabitants of Troy were among his converts, and no little preparation was made by the them preparatory to this day of destruction of all mundane matter." - Weise, History of the City of Troy...&c. (1876), p. 112.

In 1802 Gorton wrote to President Thomas Jefferson and sent him his book, A Scriptural Account of the Millennium or Christs Reign on Earth for a Thousand Years, asking him to assist "in doing what Christ Said Should be done before the end come...God has done great things for you in a temporal Sence [sic] - and from whom Much has been Given Much will be required..."

Gorton became a trustee (1791) at the formation of the First Presbyterian Church of Troy, NY, and later served as their treasurer. He was also a charter member of the Apollo Lodge in Troy. It is remembered that Gorton was a very showy dresser, and in the early days of Troy, "the greatest beau in the village." - ibid, p. 59. He was also a trustee of the village (1798-1799), village clerk (1798-1800), and served one term (1799-1800) as village president.

With a signed provenance card from the music collection of A. Merril Smoak, Jr., DWS.