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scenes of ancient Jewish and Christian life and event in the Holy Land, and being a religious man, followed the Saviour's earthly footsteps with a reverent zeal that left its inspiration with him while he lived. He died in the year 1888, but his Christian ballad secured him a lasting place in every devout memory.
The author wrote out his hymn in 1874 and sent it to his friend, the musician, Mr. Horatio R. Palmer,* and the latter learned it by heart, and carried it with him in his musings “till it floated out in the melody you know,” (to use his own words.) *See page 311.
OLD REVIVAL HYMNS.
The sober churches of the “Old Thirteen * states and of their successors far into the nineteenth century, sustained evening prayer-meetings more or less commonly, but necessity made them in most cases “cottage meetings," appointed on Sunday and here and there in the scattered homes of country parishes. Their intent was the same as that of “revival meetings,” since so called, though the method—and the music—were diferent. The results in winning sinners, so far as they owed anything to the hymns and hymntunes, were apt to be a new generation of Christian recruits as sombre as the singing. “Lebanon" set forth the appalling shortness of human life; “Windham” gave its depressing story of the great majority of mankind on the "broad road," and other minor tunes proclaimed God's sovereignty and eternal decrees; or if a psalm had His love in it, it was likely to be sung in a similar melancholy key. Even in his gladness the good minister, Thomas Baldwin, of the Second Baptist Church,
at Boston, North End, returning from Newport, N. H., where he had happily harmonized a discordant church, could not escape the strait-lace of a C minor for his thankful hymn
From whence doth this union arise,
“The Puritans took their pleasures seriously," and this did not cease to be true till at least two hundred years after the Pilgrims landed or Boston was founded.
Time, that covered the ghastly faces on the old grave-stones with moss, gradually stole away the unction of minor-tune singing.
The songs of the great revival of 1740 swept the country with positive rather than negative music. Even Jonathan Edwards admitted the need of better psalm-books and better psalmody.
Edwards, during his life, spent some time among the Indians as a missionary teacher; but probably neither he nor David Brainerd ever saw a Christian hymn composed by an Indian. The following, from the early years of the last century, is apparently the first, certainly the only surviving, effort of a converted but half-educated red man to utter his thoughts in pious metre. Whoever trimmed the original words and measure into printable shape evidently took care to preserve the broken English of the simple convert. It is an interesting relic of the Christian thought and sentiment of a pagan just learning to prattle prayer and praise:
In de dark wood, no Indian nigh,
Upon my knees so low.
De priest, he tell me so.
If Indian heart do pray.
Me wid you night and day.
He save my life before.
Me pray Him two times more.
Me wid you till you die.
All happy 'like on high.
Den take me up on high.
And neber, neber cry. The above hymn, which may be found in different forms in old New England tracts and hymnbooks, and which used to be sung in Methodist conference and prayer-meetings in the same way that old slave-hymns and the "Jubilee Singers” refrains are sometimes sung now, was composed by William Apes, a converted Indian, who was born in Massachusetts, in 1798. His father was a white man, but married an Indian descended from the family of King Philip, the Indian warrior, and the last of the Indian chiefs. His grandmother was the king's granddaughter, as he claimed, and was famous for her personal beauty. He caused his autobiography and religious experience to be published.
The original hymn is quite long, and contains some singular and characteristic expressions.
The authorship of the tune to which the words were sung has been claimed for Samuel Cowdell, a schoolmaster of Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, 1820, but the date of the lost tune was probably much earlier
In the early days of New England, before the Indian missions had been brought to an end by the sweeping away of the tribes, several fine hymns were composed by educated Indians, and were used in the churches. The best known is that beginning
When shall we all meet again ? It was composed by three Indians at the planting of a memorial pine on leaving Dartmouth College, where they had been studying. The lines indicate an expectation of missionary life and work.
When shall we all meet again?