Smith, Joshua.  Divine Hymns, or Spiritual Songs (1797) Baptist Hymnal
Smith, Joshua.  Divine Hymns, or Spiritual Songs (1797) Baptist Hymnal

Smith, Joshua. Divine Hymns, or Spiritual Songs (1797) Baptist Hymnal

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Smith, Joshua; Northrup, William. Divine Hymns, or Spiritual Songs; for the use of Religious Assemblies and Private Christians: Being formerly a collection by Joshua Smith - and Others; Eighth Edition. With large additions and alterations, by William Northrup, V. D. M. Norwich: Printed and Sold by John Sterry & Co, 1797. Eighth Edition. [8530]

Full worn leather, chipped head of spine, corners worn through, joints still good, 4 x 6 1/2 inches, lacks all blanks, end papers & title page with scribbles. 216 pp: pp. 95-95 torn at bottom affecting two words; lacks pp. 127-128, 207-214; some edge tatters, particularly the first three and last several leaves. Fair. Hardcover.

ESTC W30899; Evans 32850.

William Northrup (1760-1812), was a Baptist minister in Rhode Island.

It is a remarkable early American example of a Baptist compilation of hymns.  Smith's Divine Hymns is the first hymnal to feature "Christ the Appletree," long thought to be of American composition (present in this edition as Hymn 2).  It has been discovered that it was first published in the London Spiritual Magazine of August, 1761, and of British origin.  "The hymn is singular for its picturesque metaphor of Jesus as an apple tree that is 'laden with fruit, and always green.'...Divine Hymns must certainly be considered one of the most influential hymn collections of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in the United States.  I was undoubtedly the most widely-used Baptist collection compiled in New England at the time." - David W. Music, American Baptist Historical Society magazine.

"The progenitor of Divine Hymns, Joshua Smith (1760-1795), was a lay preacher affiliated with Baptist congregations in Caanan and Brentwood, New Hampshire. This book went through at least two dozen editions from 1791 to 1816. The titles of the editions varied, as did the collaborators and the publishers." - Music & Richardson, "I Will Sing the Wondrous Story", p. 138.

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