chapter  1
24 Pages

Authorised hymnody

Hymnals as expressions of doctrine and theology
ByMartin V. Clarke

This chapter explores the concept of authorised hymnals. Words from the prefaces of two of Methodism's most significant and enduring hymnals, A Collection of Hymns for the use of the People called Methodists and The Methodist Hymn Book have long been used to explain the importance of both the hymnal and hymn singing to Methodists. Although the John Wesley brothers published a range of hymnals during the eighteenth century, the 1780Collection is commonly regarded as Methodism's first authorised hymnal. Additions and alterations to Wesley's ordering of the 1780Collection fall into four categories: liturgical, doctrinal, cultural, and denomination-specific interests. Wesley's aphorism is crucial to understanding the structure he devised for the Collection. Methodism's fragmented existence in the nineteenth century led to the publication of a plethora of hymnals, as each new organisation brought out its own volume for the use of its followers.