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Then Sings My Soul: 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories

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Overview

Rob Morgan's inimitable style will help people reacquaint themselves with the hymns of the faithful. His goal is to keep these traditional hymns vital and meaningful to all generations.

Don't look for a dry recounting of boring stories. These devotional-style stories show the emotion and drama behind the hymns of faith that have changed many lives throughout history -- the people whose faith led them to write these wonderful hymns and the people whose faith was affected by ...

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Then Sings My Soul: 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories

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Overview

Rob Morgan's inimitable style will help people reacquaint themselves with the hymns of the faithful. His goal is to keep these traditional hymns vital and meaningful to all generations.

Don't look for a dry recounting of boring stories. These devotional-style stories show the emotion and drama behind the hymns of faith that have changed many lives throughout history -- the people whose faith led them to write these wonderful hymns and the people whose faith was affected by reading, hearing, and singing the songs. Designed to be personally reflective, these stories speak to your soul and add depth and meaning as you worship God through song.

FEATURES:

  • Includes words and music to each hymn
  • Special softcover, french flap cover design
  • Ivory paper with brown ink
  • Jagged-edge paper, giving it a classic feel
  • Complete with hymn index
  • Use for devotionals, teaching illustrations, introductory remarks for song leaders and music ministers
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780785249399
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/5/2003
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 218,337
  • Product dimensions: 8.82 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Rob Morgan is the pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has served for more than thirty years. He is a bestselling and Gold-Medallion winning writer of more than twenty books with more than two million in print circulation. Rob has written articles for numerous publications and has appeared on national television and radio shows. He and his wife, Katrina, have three daughters and twelve grandchildren.
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Read an Excerpt

THEN SINGS MY SOUL

150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories
By Robert J. Morgan

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2003 Robert J. Morgan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7852-4939-9


Chapter One

The Lord Bless You and Keep You

FOURTEENTH CENTURY B.C.

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

The Dead Sea Scrolls were, until recently, our oldest copies of biblical text. But in 1979, Villanova professor, Judith Hadley, was assisting archaeologist, Gabriel Barkay, in excavating a site in Jerusalem's Hinnom Valley. In a burial cave, she saw something resembling the metal cap of a pencil. It was a sensational find, a tiny silver scroll of great antiquity. Another was found nearby. These tiny amulets, dating to the Hebrew monarchy seven centuries before Christ, were so small and fragile they took several years to painstakingly clean and open.

When scientists finally unrolled them, they found the world's oldest extant copy of a biblical text, the words of Numbers 6:24-26: The Lord bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

While the amulets date from the seventh century B.C., the original words are far older, coming 1,400 years before Christ. As theIsraelites wandered in the wilderness, the Lord commanded the priests to bless the people with this three-fold blessing.

These ancient lyrics have been set to music many times, but never more beautifully than by Peter Christian Lutkin in his classic tune BENEDICTION. During the Fanny Crosby/Ira Sankey era of gospel music, when so much was written for easy congregational singing, Lutkin wrote more elaborate melodies with a classical flare.

Lutkin was born in Wisconsin in 1888, and devoted his life to church music, studying the masters in Europe, excelling on the organ, and founding the School of Music at Northwestern Illinois. He helped start the American Guild of Organists. He died in 1931 and was buried in Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.

In his Notes from My Bible, D. L. Moody said about the priestly blessing of Numbers 6: "Here is a benediction that can give all the time without being impoverished. Every heart may utter it, every letter may conclude with it, every day may begin with it, every night may be sanctified by it. Here is blessing-keeping-shining-the uplifting upon our poor life of all heaven's glad morning. It is the Lord Himself who (gives us) this bar of music from heaven's infinite anthem."

The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Be Thou My Vision EIGHTH CENTURY

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19

Only one missionary is honored with a global holiday, and only one is known by his own distinct color of green-St. Patrick, of course, missionary to Ireland.

Patrick was born in A.D. 373, along the banks of the River Clyde in what is now called Scotland. His father was a deacon, and his grandfather a priest. When Patrick was about 16, raiders descended on his little town and torched his home. When one of the pirates spotted him in the bushes, he was seized, hauled aboard ship, and taken to Ireland as a slave. There he gave his life to the Lord Jesus.

"The Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief," he later wrote, "in order that I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God."

Patrick eventually escaped and returned home. His overjoyed family begged him to never leave again. But one night, in a dream reminiscent of Paul's vision of the Macedonian Man in Acts 16, Patrick saw an Irishman pleading with him to come evangelize Ireland.

It wasn't an easy decision, but Patrick, about 30, returned to his former captors with only one book, the Latin Bible, in his hand. As he evangelized the countryside, multitudes came to listen. The superstitious Druids opposed him and sought his death. But his preaching was powerful, and Patrick became one of the most fruitful evangelists of all time, planting about 200 churches and baptizing 100,000 converts.

His work endured, and several centuries later, the Irish church was still producing hymns, prayers, sermons, and songs of worship. In the eighth century, an unknown poet wrote a prayer asking God to be his Vision, his Wisdom, and his Best Thought by day or night.

In 1905, Mary Elizabeth Byrne, a scholar in Dublin, Ireland, translated this ancient Irish poem into English. Another scholar, Eleanor Hull of Manchester, England, took Byrne's translation and crafted it into verses with rhyme and meter. Shortly thereafter it was set to a traditional Irish folk song, "Slane," named for an area in Ireland where Patrick reportedly challenged local Druids with the gospel.

It is one of our oldest and most moving hymns:

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart, Naught be all else to me save that Thou art. Thou my best thought by day or by night, Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

All Glory, Laud, and Honor

A.D. 820

Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9

The mighty Charlemagne (742-814), King of the Franks, united most of western Europe under his crown. He was a visionary who advanced education and reformed the laws, economy, and culture of Europe.

When Charlemagne died, his son, Louis I, assumed the throne. At first, all went well. But in 817, he began dividing the empire among his nephew and his four sons, causing no end of problems. Twice he was deposed by his sons, and, though he regained his throne both times, he was never again able to rest securely.

Caught in the middle of this epic family conflict was Theodulph, Bishop of Orleans, a city south of Paris. Theodulph, born in Spain about 750, had gone to France as a church leader at Charlemagne's request. He was a brilliant man who worked hard to reform the clergy. He established schools and advanced education. He advocated high morals, built churches, and composed hymns of praise to God.

But during the political intrigues of Louis' reign, Theodulph was accused (falsely, it seems) of conspiring with King Bernard of Italy; and on Easter Sunday, 818, he was imprisoned in the monastery of Angers, a city southwest of Paris.

There, as he meditated on our Lord's triumphal entry into Jerusalem prior to His Crucifixion and Resurrection, Theodulph wrote the great Palm Sunday hymn, "All Glory, Laud, and Honor."

According to a tradition that can be neither confirmed nor denied, when King Louis later visited Angers, he momentarily halted by the monastery where Theodulph was held, and the bishop appeared at the window, singing "All Glory, Laud and Honor." The king was reportedly so moved that he ordered the bishop's release.

For whatever reason, we know Theodulph was released in 821, but he died on his way back to Orleans, or shortly after his return there.

Originally there were 78 verses (39 couplets) to this hymn! Theodulph had lots of time in his prison-monastery. The first several are the ones we commonly sing today. One stanza that has fallen by the wayside is this quaint verse:

Be Thou, O Lord, the Rider, And we the little ass, That to God's holy city Together we may pass.

Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee

TWELFTH CENTURY

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33

When Bernard (c. 1090-1153), a sickly youth in Dijon, France, was unable to fulfill military service, he became a monk. So successful was he that he eventually founded the famous monastery in nearby Clairvaux; in time almost 170 other monasteries sprang from Bernard's leadership. He became the most powerful preacher of his era, and is remembered as a pious man, a deeply contemplative mystic, the "honey-tongued doctor." Martin Luther called Bernard "the best monk that ever lived, whom I admire beyond all the rest put together."

He wasn't a perfect man, as seen in his support for the Second Crusade to liberate the Holy Land from Muslim control. But for 800 years, his words have been read and sung, and his good work has continued.

If you've never read Bernard, here are some excerpts from his writings and sermons:

* How do we know that Christ has really overcome death? Precisely in that he, who did not deserve it, underwent it .... But what kind of justice is this, you may say, that the innocent should die for the guilty? It is not justice, but mercy. * I was made a sinner by deriving my being from Adam; I am made righteous be being washed in the blood of Christ. * You will never have real mercy for the failings of another until you know and realize that you have the same failings in your soul. * Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your kindness in uniting us to the church you so dearly love, not merely that we may be endowed with the gift of faith, but that, like brides, we may be one with you ..., beholding with unveiled faces that glory which is yours in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen. * You wish me to tell you why and how God should be loved. My answer is that God Himself is the reason He is to be loved.

Several well-known hymns are attributed to St. Bernard: "Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee," "O Sacred Head Now Wounded," and a lesser-known hymn entitled "Open Wide are Thine Hands," the second verse of which says:

Lord, I am sad and poor, but boundless is Thy grace; Give me the soul transforming joy for which I seek Thy face.

All Creatures of Our God and King

1225

I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out. Luke 19:40

So many stories have arisen around St. Francis of Assisi that it's difficult to separate truth from fiction. We know he was born in 1182 in central Italy, son of a rich merchant. After a scanty education, Francis joined the army and was captured in war. He came to Christ shortly after his release, renounced his wealth, and began traveling about the countryside, preaching the gospel, living simply, seeking to make Christ real to everyone he met.

Francis loved nature, and many stories spotlight his interaction with animals. Once as he hiked through Italy's Spoleto Valley, he came upon a flock of birds. When they didn't fly away, he decided to preach them a little sermon: "My brother and sister birds," he reportedly said, "you should praise your Creator and always love Him. He gave you feathers for clothes, wings to fly, and all other things you need. It is God who made your home in thin, pure air. Without sowing or reaping, you receive God's guidance and protection."

The flock, it is said, then flew off rejoicing.

That perspective is reflected in a hymn Francis composed just before his death in 1225, called, "Cantico di fratre sole"-"Song of Brother Sun." It exhorts all creation to worship God. The sun and moon. All the birds. All the clouds. Wind and fire. All men of tender heart. All creatures of our God and King.

Though written in 1225, an English version didn't appear until 1919, when Rev. William H. Draper decided to use it for a children's worship festival in Leeds, England.

But is it sound theology to exhort birds and billowing clouds to lift their voices in praise? Yes! "All Creatures of our God and King" simply restates an older hymn-Psalm 148-which says:

Praise Him, sun and moon; / Praise Him, all you stars of light .... / You great sea creatures and all the depths; / Fire and hail, snow and clouds; / Stormy wind, fulfilling His word; / Mountains and all hills; / Fruitful trees and all cedars; / Beasts and all cattle; / Creeping things and flying fowl ... / Let them praise the name of the Lord, / For His name alone is exalted ... / Praise the Lord!

The God of Abraham Praise

1404/1770

I am the God of your father-the God of Abraham ... Exodus 3:6

The God of Abraham Praise" is perhaps the most Jewish of all Christian hymns, and its writing covers many centuries. Its roots go back to the medieval Jewish scholar Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), who wrote a confession of faith containing thirteen creeds.

Centuries later, in 1404, another Jewish scholar, Daniel ben Judah, a judge and liturgical poet in Rome, deeply impressed with Maimonides' creed, composed the Yigdal, a doxology of thirteen stanzas widely sung in Jewish synagogues to this day.

Centuries later, in 1770, an opera vocalist named Meyer Lyon sang the Yigdal in London's Great Synagogue, Duke's Place. In the audience that night was Thomas Olivers.

Thomas (1725-1799) had been born in Tregynon, Wales, and orphaned about age four. He studied the craft of shoemaking, but he learned the art of sinning better, "the worst boy known in Tregynon for thirty years."

When he was eighteen, Thomas was thrown out of town, and he wandered down to Bristol, England, where evangelist George Whitefield happened to be preaching from Zechariah 3:2: "Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?"

"When that sermon began," Thomas recalled, "I was one of the most abandoned and profligate young men living; before it ended I was a new creature. The world had changed for Tom Olivers." He became a traveling evangelist and passionate Christian worker.

On that Sabbath evening in 1770, when Thomas heard Meyer Lyon sing the Yigdal, he was so moved that he later approached Lyon, acquired the music, and adapted the Jewish Doxology into a Christian hymn of thirteen stanzas, beginning, "The God of Abraham Praise."

"Look at this," he told a friend, "I have rendered it from the Hebrew, giving it, as far as I could, a Christian character." Thomas annotated his hymn with footnotes, citing Scripture references for almost every line, the first being Exodus 3:6: "I am the God of thy Father, the God of Abraham." It appeared in 1785 in John Wesley's Pocket Hymnbook.

Modern congregations don't have the patience to sing all thirteen stanzas, so here is one of the lesser-known verses for you to ponder:

The God Who reigns on high the great archangels sing, And "Holy, holy, holy!" cry, "Almighty King!" Who was, and is, the same, and evermore shall be: Jehovah, Lord, the great I AM, we worship Thee!

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

1529

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

We think of Martin Luther as a great reformer, Bible translator, political leader, fiery preacher, and theologian. But he was also a musician, having been born in an area of Germany known for its music. There in his little Thuringian village, young Martin grew up listening to his mother sing. He joined a boys' choir that sang at weddings and funerals. He became proficient with the flute (recorder), and his volcanic emotions often erupted in song.

When the Protestant Reformation began, Luther determined to restore worship to the German Church. He worked with skilled musicians to create new music for Christians, to be sung in the vernacular. He helped revive congregational singing and wrote a number of hymns.

Often he "borrowed" popular secular melodies for his hymns, though occasionally a tune brought criticism and he was "compelled to let the devil have it back again" because it was too closely associated with bars and taverns.

In the forward of a book, Luther once wrote: "Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits .... A person who ... does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God ... does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs."

Luther's most famous hymn is "Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott,"-"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." Based on Psalm 46, it reflects Luther's awareness of our intense struggle with Satan. In difficulty and danger, Luther would often resort to this song, saying to his associate, "Come, Philipp, let us sing the 46th Psalm."

This is a difficult hymn to translate because the original German is so vivid. At least 80 English versions are available. The most popular in America was done by Frederic Henry Hodge. But an older version appeared in the Pennsylvania Lutheran Church Book of 1868:

A mighty fortress is our God, / A trusty Shield and Weapon; / He helps us free from every need, / That hath us now o'ertaken.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from THEN SINGS MY SOUL by Robert J. Morgan Copyright © 2003 by Robert J. Morgan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

The Cure for Shot Nerves....................x
The Lord Bless You and Keep You....................2
Be Thou My Vision....................4
All Glory, Laud, and Honor....................6
Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee....................8
All Creatures of Our God and King....................10
The God of Abraham Praise....................12
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God....................14
Now Thank We All Our God....................16
The Lord's My Shepherd....................18
Doxology....................20
Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow....................20
Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above....................22
Fairest Lord Jesus....................24
Praise Ye the Lord, the Almighty....................26
Behold the Savior of Mankind....................28
Behold the Glories of the Lamb....................30
Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed....................32
I Sing the Mighty Power of God....................34
Jesus Shall Reign....................36
O God, Our Help in Ages Past....................38
God Is the Refuge of His Saints....................40
Am I a Soldier of the Cross?....................42
And Can It Be That I Should Gain?....................44
O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing....................46
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing....................48
Christ the Lord Is Risen Today....................50
Jesus, Lover of My Soul....................52
Hallelujah Chorus (from The Messiah)....................54
Messiah (Handel)....................54
O Come, All Ye Faithful....................56
When Morning Gilds the Skies....................58
Guide Me, OThou Great Jehovah....................60
O Happy Day, That Fixed My Choice....................62
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing....................64
Father, Whate'er of Earthly Bliss....................66
There Is a Fountain....................68
O for a Closer Walk with God....................70
God Moves in a Mysterious Way....................72
Rock of Ages....................74
All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name....................76
Amazing Grace....................78
Though Troubles Assail Us....................80
How Firm a Foundation....................82
There Is a Balm in Gilead....................84
Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him!....................86
The Star-Spangled Banner....................88
Angels from the Realms of Glory....................90
Silent Night....................92
Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken....................94
In the Cross of Christ I Glory....................96
Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty....................98
My Faith Looks Up to Thee....................100
O For a Faith that Will Not Shrink....................102
My Country, 'Tis of Thee....................104
Lead, Kindly Light....................106
O Worship the King....................108
The Solid Rock....................110
Just As I Am....................112
Nearer, My God, to Thee....................114
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say....................116
Abide with Me....................118
It Came upon the Midnight Clear....................120
In Heavenly Love Abiding....................122
Crown Him with Many Crowns....................124
Good King Wenceslas....................126
Still, Still with Thee....................128
What a Friend We Have in Jesus....................130
More Love to Thee, O Christ....................132
Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus....................134
Eternal Father, Strong to Save....................136
Jesus Loves Me....................138
I Gave My Life for Thee....................140
Battle Hymn of the Republic....................142
He Leadeth Me....................144
Revive Us Again....................146
For the Beauty of the Earth....................148
My Jesus, I Love Thee....................150
Shall We Gather at the River?....................152
Day by Day....................154
Jesus Paid It All....................156
Now the Day Is Over....................158
Onward Christian Soldiers....................160
Rejoice Ye Pure in Heart....................162
Safe in the Arms of Jesus....................164
O Little Town of Bethlehem....................166
The King of Love My Shepherd Is....................168
The Ninety and Nine....................170
Sweet By and By....................172
Rescue the Perishing....................174
Jesus Loves Even Me....................176
I Need Thee Every Hour....................178
Lord, Speak to Me....................180
Blessed Assurance....................182
It Is Well with My Soul....................184
Another Year Is Dawning....................186
Bringing in the Sheaves....................188
Take My Life and Let It Be....................190
I Will Sing of My Redeemer....................192
All the Way My Savior Leads Me....................194
O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus....................196
Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting....................198
Like a River Glorious....................200
O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee....................202
God Be with You....................204
O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go....................206
Take Time to Be Holy....................208
'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus....................210
How Great Thou Art....................212
Standing on the Promises....................214
When They Ring the Golden Bells....................216
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms....................218
Trust and Obey....................220
Sunshine in My Soul....................222
Yesterday, Today, Forever....................224
My Faith Has Found a Resting Place....................226
America the Beautiful....................228
When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder....................230
I Must Tell Jesus....................232
At Calvary....................234
Jesus Loves the Little Children....................236
I Surrender All....................238
Under His Wings....................240
Count Your Blessings....................242
Face to Face....................244
When We All Get to Heaven....................246
There Is Power in the Blood....................248
O That Will Be Glory....................250
Does Jesus Care?....................252
This Is My Father's World....................254
Near to the Heart of God....................256
God Will Take Care of You....................258
His Eye Is on the Sparrow....................260
Have Thine Own Way, Lord....................262
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee....................264
He Keeps Me Singing....................266
Our Great Savior....................268
In the Garden....................270
Brighten the Corner Where You Are....................272
The Old Rugged Cross....................274
The Love of God....................276
Wonderful Grace of Jesus....................278
I'd Rather Have Jesus....................280
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus....................282
Great Is Thy Faithfulness....................284
Little Is Much When God Is in It....................286
Precious Lord, Take My Hand....................288
He Lives....................290
Beyond the Sunset....................292
Search Me, O God....................294
It Is No Secret....................296
His Name Is Wonderful....................298
The All Sufficient King....................300
Alphabetical by Title....................303
Author/Songwriter....................305
First Line of Hymn....................307
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 11, 2011

    Inspirational!

    Then Sings My Soul, Special Edition, by Robert J. Morgan is a book containing 150 Christian hymns and the stories behind the hymns. It is set up in sections including, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Patriotic, and Other Favorites. Each hymn is printed with words and music on the left-hand pages, and the corresponding stories and histories on the facing right-hand pages. The book has three indexes, one with the hymns listed by title; one listed by author; and one listed by the first line of the hymn, all making it easy to find a certain song or story.

    The physical structure of the book is quite unique. It is a "paper-back," but has the feel of a nice classic. It has flaps in the front and back of the book, and the page edges have been rough-cut, giving an antique feel to the book. Overall, it is a very beautiful book, and would make a nice gift.

    This book is great for short reads and references. This is the one you would take to the doctor's office or any place you have a wait time. It is easy to pick up, read a few pages, and put down again until next time. It would make a very nice gift for a church song leader or anyone who likes hymns and history.

    It was interesting to learn the different stories of faith and hardships that inspired many of the hymns. I learned that Silent Night was hurriedly written one Christmas Eve because a church organ was broken. The song was written to be sung without an organ, thus saving the 1818 Christmas Eve service at the Church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf.

    The Little Brown Church in the Vale was written not about an existing church, but about a grove of trees along sloping hills flowing down to a river in the valley. This is the scene William Pitts saw in 1857 when his stage coach made a stop in Bradford, Iowa. He couldn't forget the peaceful picture, so he wrote a song about a little brown Church in the vale. He then filed it away with his papers. Later, he returned to Bradford and found that the Christians in the area had built a little brown church in the exact spot he had envisioned it in his song. Since the War Between the States was raging, and supplies were hard to come by, the members had painted the little church the cheapest color they could find, which happened to be brown. The church was dedicated in 1864, and Pitts sang his song in "the church in the valley by the wildwood."

    I enjoyed reading this book, and I will return to it for information and inspiration again and again. I received this book free from BookSneeze and agreed to write a review. I was not required to write a positive review. This review is my own personal opinion. I have written short reviews on my blog of several of the hymns found in this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Disappointed

    Am really disappointed that the hymns are not in big enough print to read. Increasing the font size doesn't help. Thought this would be a great book to have to meditate on and sing the songs without having a hymnal. How do you get into the theology of the words ( as the author says) if the music is too small to read. BN needs to make a correction update. That would make it five star! Otherwise the history of the hymns is great reading.

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  • Posted January 16, 2012

    Well worth while

    An excellent book that adds meaning to great and familiar hymns by telling the stories behind their composition.

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  • Posted January 8, 2012

    Excellent book

    If you want to know the words to the hymns you grew up hearing, this is the book for you. I had bought a copy for my mother several years ago & she thoroughly enjoyed it. The book gives the background about either the hymn's author and/or the circumstances that caused the hymn to be written. My ministers have used these background stories during hymn sing services. It is an enjoyable book for those who love the old hymns.

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    An Edifying Addition to Any Christian's Library

    Then Sings My Soul (Special Edition) by Robert J. Morgan is a collection of "150 Christmas, Easter, and All-time Favorite Hymn Stories" that also includes the music and lyrics of the hymns so that the reader can immediately see the correlation between the stories and the songs themselves. The book is divided into holiday sections, including Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Patriotic songs, and also has several indices in the back for easy reference--"Alphabetical by Title," "Alphabetical by Author/Songwriter," and "First Line of Hymn." The strongest selling point of this collection is that it serves to make each hymn even more edifying by relating the stories of grace which lie behind each of them. Once the reader has heard the stories connected with a hymn, it gives that hymn greater depth of meaning, and each time he sings that song again he cannot help but recall that added meaning. This effect is further heightened for one's favorite hymns. Because of the format of the book, it is hard to read large portions in a single sitting; however, this means it works better as a devotional read. Then Sings My Soul is the kind of book that would fit in any Christian reader's library and would make a great gift. *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze® dot com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."*

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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    Informative book about hymns

    Due to some changes in my life, I had been putting off to review this book for a few months already. This is a compilation of 150 Christmas, Easter and all-time favorite hymns, recounting on how the author was led to write these wonderful seasonal hymns. I have a mixed feeling reading through this book. I think I am expecting the book contains amusing and touching anecdotes about the creation of those hymns. However, what I found is the contains are too factual for my liking. It has the feeling of reading a history book. Although, it is good that the book provide great source of facts regarding the hymns, I would only treat it as a reference book. It would be hard for me to write through it again the second time.

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  • Posted February 7, 2011

    One of my favorite books. Must read!

    Then Sings My Soul Special Edition will be on the list of my favorite books for a long time to come. The author explored the stories behind some of the best loved hymns including that of Easter and Christmas. Reading through, it is amazing how regular people became composers and musicians through Divine Intervention.Some stories deeply moved me like the tragic yet inspiring story behind the song What A Fried We Have in Jesus.

    The book includes 150 hymns. After each, the story for the inspiration appears on the opposite page. Though there are plenty of songs that I am not familiar about, I had a lovely time learning about Good King Wenceslas and reading through There Shall Be Shower Of Blessings. The stories are short enough to hold your attention. Soon, you'll find humming the songs to yourself. And singing Go Tell It On The Mountain will reduce you to tears. I mean, you will all be singing these hymns in a different manner knowing the sad, glorious, triumphant, ironic stories behind them.

    Then Sings My Soul is a book that you would want to share with anybody, anytime of the year. It is on paperback with deckle edges which makes it more appealing as collectible. I am planning to buy for family and relatives as Easter gifts. I know that like me, they will treasure owning such a wonderful book that you can read again and again.

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  • Posted February 6, 2011

    BEAUTIFUL BOOK and an AWESOME READ!!!

    This book is a beautiful collectible for anyone. From it's gorgeous cover to the jagged edges of the paper inside. The antique appearance and beatifully scripted pages make it a keepsake for all.

    Each page presents a seperate hymn, followed by a brief one-page history and explanation for each. The thoughtful stories, describe everything from the happiness, the triump, to the pain of creating such lovely hymns. The words of the songs will not be the only thing that grabs hold of the heart The strong, inspiring stories give strength to the words of each one.

    The list of hymns is amazing in itself. All of the old favorites from the Old Rugged Cross to Silent Night are included in this gorgeous book. Several Sweet Southern Hymns are also included - being a Southern girl, I truly appreciate this aspect of the book. Every story will touch the heart in some way, leaving you wanting to learn more about the words of the hymns and the authors themselves.

    This book is highly recommend for every music lover, choir member and simply every Christian there is. Add Then Sings My Soul to your collection today!

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  • Posted January 29, 2011

    Recommended for Music Lovers

    A noteworthy book for music lovers and those who love odd pieces of information (especially those who do sharings). The book contain hymns and the story about how each hymn was created. For instance, do you know Silent Night was created by Father Joseph Mohr- he got the inspiration one night when the church organ was spoilt. Another example will be the hymn It Came Upon the Midnight Clear. Do you know the song has a twin titled "Calm on the Listening Ear"? This book is not for light reading, but is a good source of reference and is something that u can keep by your bedside and read bit by bit.

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  • Posted January 22, 2011

    A definite must read!

    For those who enjoy traditional hymns, this is the book for you. inside are 320 pages containing the stories of the people who wrote these hymns. They recount how their own faith inspired them to write these seasonal hymns that are sung year after year in churches throughout the country. The book also relates stories of people, everyday people whose faith was subsequently affected by the reading, singing and/or hearing of these timeless spiritual hymns. The history behind 150 hymns from Christmas to Easter to seasonal are vividly retold and the stories are as inspiring as the hymns themselves. Each hymn gets two pages--one for the sheet music and the other for the hymn's background. Knowing the history and thought and faith behind the creation of each of the hymns resonates with the reader and enriches one's faith as well as provides ideas for personal reflection. A lot of little known facts emerge within the pages as well - did you know that - Handel wrote the Messiah in twenty-three days or that "Jesus Loves the Little Children" was written as a Civil War battle song? t is not a hymnal but a devotional reader in my opinion. Leaves you with a warm feeling inside and deeper spiritual connection. Highly recommended for individual readers, church groups or book clubs - would even go so far as to suggest that it could be used as a springboard for a church sermon - something different yet relevant to congregation members. A book I will return to time and time again.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

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  • Posted January 17, 2011

    A hymn book with history

    I really enjoyed this book. From the color, the look and feel of the pages to the information that was given on the songs. I also liked how the book was broken into different catergories - making it easy to peruse for the songs that I know and love.
    This book is like a hymn book with the history on the song, which is great because I always wondered growing up where the songs came from.
    I would recommend this book to anyone who would love to know where the songs orginated from.
    I received this book from Thomas Nelson in return for an honest review.

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  • Posted January 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This Will Change The Way You Sing Your Favorite Hymns

    Then Sings My Soul special edition
    By Robert J Morgan
    Because of my love for music I have often wondered about my favorite songs and what may have inspired the writing of them. I eagerly awaited the arrival of this book and I was not disappointed.
    In this book Robert J Morgan lists 150 all time favorite hymns including the lyrics, the score and most interestingly the story behind the song.
    Reading this book will change the way you sing your favorite hymns, and how you worship with them. Knowing the sometimes tragic circumstances will move you even closer to the one you are worshipping with the singing of them.
    One of my favorite old hymns is Beulah Land. Mr. Morgan tells of the writer, Edgar Stites being born in Cape May, New Jersey and he was a descendent of John Howland who came over on the Mayflower. He served in the Union forces and later became a Methodist Preacher. The song was written in 1876 and the writer spoke of how he could only get through a couple of verses at a time before being overcome with emotion and falling on his face.
    I am rating this book, 5 stars of 5. A lot of research has gone into compiling this book. Many of the songs included are very old and records long ago are not easy to find. The stories are interesting and moving. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves the great old classic hymns.
    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted January 9, 2011

    Reading This Book Will Change The Way You Sing Your Favorite Hymn

    Then Sings My Soul special edition
    By Robert J Morgan

    Because of my love for music I have often wondered about my favorite songs and what may have inspired the writing of them. I eagerly awaited the arrival of this book and I was not disappointed.
    In this book Robert J Morgan lists 150 all time favorite hymns including the lyrics, the score and most interestingly the story behind the song.
    Reading this book will change the way you sing your favorite hymns, and how you worship with them. Knowing the sometimes tragic circumstances will move you even closer to the one you are worshipping with the singing of them.
    One of my favorite old hymns is Beulah Land. Mr. Morgan tells of the writer, Edgar Stites being born in Cape May, New Jersey and he was a descendent of John Howland who came over on the Mayflower. He served in the Union forces and later became a Methodist Preacher. The song was written in 1876 and the writer spoke of how he could only get through a couple of verses at a time before being overcome with emotion and falling on his face.
    I am rating this book, 5 stars of 5. A lot of research has gone into compiling this book. Many of the songs included are very old and records long ago are not easy to find. The stories are interesting and moving. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves the great old classic hymns.
    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted January 6, 2011

    A Treasure

    I grew up attending a small church in the country. On the back of each pew you found two different hymnals, one newer than the other but with time each just as worn with use, both holding the words we'd lift up to our Creator each Sunday morning. I sang those words over and over and some songs grew more precious in my heart as they were the words springing from my very soul but I never knew the stories behind the songs...until now. Enter Robert J. Morgan's book "Then Sings My Soul", a collection of stories and history behind 150 of the most beloved Christmas, Easter and all-time favorite hymns.

    This book is more than just a dry recounting of historical fact. The stories behind each hymn bring to life the people who wrote them and give insight into their lives and how their faith led them to write the song. The stories are reflective and add depth to the worship experience held when singing these songs.

    The design of the book itself with it's ivory paper and jagged edges give it a vintage, hymnal feel. The layout of each story is quite appealing with the hymn including words and music on the left with the corresponding story on the right. You can't help but pause and sing at least part of the hymn before reading each story.

    While reading this book, I learned how "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day" was written against the back drop of the Civil War and deep personal pain in the life of it's author, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I discovered that "Silent Night" was written hastily on Christmas Eve when Father Joseph Mohr was facing a midnight service with a broken organ and ruined musical plans. The song was first sung with a guitar accompaniment on Christmas Eve 1818. I learned that there is a rich heritage of faith behind the hymns that have stood the test of time.

    This book is a treasure I will return to over and over. If you grew up singing these classic hymns, I know you will love this book too. It would make a wonderful gift to your church library, song director or pastor as well.

    Disclosure: This book was provided to me by Thomas Nelson Publishing through BookSneeze. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    Good stories, not a thrilling read

    While many people are familiar with the lyrics and melodies of great hymns, few know the stories of the songwriters and their music. This book seeks to reveal the stories and the wonder of some of these hymns, specifically those associated with Christmas and Easter. As you thumb through this book, you'll find the words and music on the left hand side of the page spread and a story associated with the hymn or the songwriter on the right hand side.

    I enjoyed reading the stories associated with the hymns in this book, but it's not a book I could sit and read for long periods of time. Each story is, at most, a page long and sometimes contains lyrics from the song that can be found on the opposite page as well. At time it felt as though these lyrics were repeated simply to fill up space. This book would be a great addition to a sheet music collection because it includes the written music for each hymn. In fact, I will probably display this book atop my piano. I probably wouldn't buy another book like this, but it is nice to read the stories of some of the world's greatest hymns.

    Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of this book was provided for my review by Thomas Nelson Publishers. The views expressed are my own.

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  • Posted December 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommended for anyone who loves worship!

    Then Sings My Soul: Special Edition
    Robert J. Morgan
    Thomas Nelson Publishing

    Is there a festive season of the year that is complete without one of your favorite hymns? Not only do hymns connect you to great memories, but they also reveal the faith of those who lived throughout history. As Robert Morgan explored the stories behind some of the best loved hymns, he found fascinating accounts of tribulations, triumphs struggles, and hope - ordinary people who connected with God in amazing ways, sharing their experiences through song. Discover the inspiration behind your favorite hymns. Find new favorites as you relate to the people whose walk of faith led them to write these classic songs of praise. Share these stories with your family, friends, and church, and find more depth and meaning as you worship God through song.

    I am the worship leader in my church and I really found this book to be incredible. The messages are short, sweet, and to the point, which makes it easier to fit them in between songs in a worship service -- and the stories themselves are a tremendous example of God's strength, provision, and providence. Some of the stories are more in-depth than others, but even the shorter ones are a spring-board for deeper, thought provoking questions.

    The songs are broken up into categories: Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Patriotic, and Other Favorites, so it is easy to find a song that fits the message being preached or the holiday that is approaching. They are also indexed by Title, Author/Songwriter, and by the first line of the hymn, so you can find just what you want even if you can't remember the title.

    This book is an incredible collection of titles and stories. It is the perfect addition to any singer, songwriter, or worship leader's library, and I highly recommend it.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted December 21, 2010

    Wonderful book!

    One word sums up this series of books: Incredible. I cannot describe these books in any other way. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. We have the first two books from the series, and I am very interested in every one. Growing up in the church, we sang many of these. To read the stories behind them makes these hymns and songs come alive. It breathes new life into them. I find the songs much more meaningful knowing the history behind the song or the writer(s). This edition was especially timely, as the first hymns are devoted to Christmas songs. I found it very enjoyable to read these songs during the lead up to Christmas. I would highly recommend all of the Then Sings My Soul books as devotionals. This edition would be a wonderful edition to Christmas and Easter celebrations. I will be re-reading this at a slower pace, most likely during the Lent season. Get this book today, especially if you grew up with these hymns, like I did, without knowing the history behind the song or writers. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted December 22, 2010

    Great Book

    It is amazing to me that you sing these songs every Sunday in church, you sing some of them at funerals, and you sing them at holiday such as Christmas and Easter. You can help but love the hymns we sing each time we go to church. But I never really stop to thing that each song has a story to tell. In his new book Robert J Morgan's Then Sings My Soul tell you that story of the beloved hymns we sing at church.
    I really enjoyed this book; I love history and love to sing the hymns (I not much of a singer but it makes you feel good when you sing). After reading this book you will stop and think about the person who wrote this and know that God had His hand in help them write there song. You can feel that as you read it. I recommend this book to all and I know that you will enjoy it as much as I have.

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  • Posted December 19, 2010

    My Soul is Singing

    I was excited to receive Then Sings My Soul: Special Edition by Robert Morgan from BookSneeze on behalf of Thomas Nelson Publishing. Morgan brings to life 150 Christian hymns as he recounts the history behind each song. Each hymn is printed with lyrics and music on one page and the accompanying story is told on the adjoining page.
    First off I must mention the presentation of the book. As an avid reader I am a fan of hardcovers as they can withstand more handling. However, Then Sings My Soul is a softcover and beautiful. The cover is nicely done and the pages are made to look worn and antiquated.
    On to the meat. Morgan does an excellent job of summarizing the biographies of the authors and composers of the hymns. He also explains details that I would have otherwise overlooked. Some of my favorite Christmas songs and Christian hymns now hold deeper meaning. To read about the hardships that were endured and subsequently were precursors to the words, brought tears to my eyes a few times. Then again reading about a teacher who supposedly taught his classes with a pet bat on his shoulder made me chuckle, yet who could bring his emotions to light in a song is inspiring.
    I was moved by the hymns as I read each word carefully. Some hymns I was familiar with and others I had never heard. I am not a music critic. I am a Christian mother who enjoys her music greatly. I made a wise decision picking up this book. Then Sings My Soul is a wonderful read for any Christian, particularly those who want a greater appreciation of what Christ has done for them. The only thing that could enhance the experience of Morgan's book is an accompanying CD. May your soul sing.

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  • Posted December 18, 2010

    A beautiful book.

    Then Sings My Soul <Special Edition>
    150 Devotional style stories about hymns for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and many more all-time favorites
    By: Robert J. Morgan

    From the back cover, "Discover the inspiration behind your favorite hymns. Find new favorites as you relate to the people whose walk of faith led them to write these classic songs of praise. Share these stories with your family, friends, and church, and find more depth and meaning as you worship God through song."

    I would give this book a 3 star rating. The cover design is beautiful, however it is paperback and I feel that it could show wear quickly. The pages are uniquely ridged, but when reading it I found that the ridges made page turning a bit difficult at times. In appearance it is a lovely book, in hands on use not quite as nice.

    As a book to sit down and read, I found that some of the stories were a bit repetitious. However, if using this as a devotional or reference book it would be a very nice addition to one's library. There were many unusual stories about the hymnologists and musicians who worked together or separately to create beautiful hymns through the ages. It was interesting reading about how different circumstances set the stage for a song. To see how God's hand directed the paths to bring forth beautiful, worshipful music.

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