The Golden Age of Hymns

1702 Isaac Watts, “the liberator of the English hymn,” becomes Minister of Mark Lane Church in London

1703 John Wesley, Methodist leader and hymn translator/compiler, is born

1704 Johann A. Freylinghausen (son-in-law of August Francke) publishes hymnal for pietists

1705 Horae Lyricae, first published collection of Watts’s verse

1707 Isaac Watts’s landmark Hymns and Spiritual Songs; Charles Wesley, writer of thousands of hymns, born; as is Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, who founds a branch of Calvinistic Methodists and publishes more than 10 hymn collections

1709 Thomas Ken’s “Doxology” takes current form

c. 1710 New “piano e forte” instrument gains interest

1712 Cotton Mather publishes hymns by Watts in the colonies; Freylinghausen’s second hymnal

1715 Watts’s children’s hymnal, Divine Songs for Children

1717 William Williams, the “Isaac Watts of Wales,” is born; he writes more than 800 Welsh and 100 English hymns, among them “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah”

1719 Isaac Watts’s The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament

1721 First tunebooks for American singing schools

1722 Conflicts over “Regular ” singing (not lined-out) in some colonial churches; Count Zinzendorf founds refuge for the Moravians; his nearly 2,000 hymns and piety stir John Wesley, who translates one hymn as “Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness”

1729 Charles Wesley founds Holy Club at Oxford that gives rise to Methodism; Benjamin Franklin reprints Watts’s Psalms of David; Philip Doddridge, author of 400-plus hymns such as “Hark, the Glad Sound!” opens seminary

1734 John Cennick converted; an assistant to George Whitefield, he writes “Children of the Heavenly King”

1735 ...

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