111 of 113 people found the following review helpful
Charles Wesley wrote over 6000 hymns. One of his most beloved compositions is "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." However, the song would've been different if his friend, evangelist George Whitefield, had not altered the first line from Wesley's original: "Hark! How all the welking rings."
"Rock of Ages" lyricist Augustus Toplady died at the young age of 38, but the song, written in 1776, has survived as a testament to him.
Father Joseph Mohr wrote "Silent Night" due to the fact that the church organ was broken and something was needed for the Christmas Eve presentation in 1818.
Charlotte Elliott wrote "Just as I am" out of despair and hopelessness over her constant ill health. Although she suffered for most of her 87 years, the song served as a beacon to others and probably accounted for her longevity.
"In the Garden" was written as the result of slowly developing film.
These brief snippets are just some of the facts that populate this fascinating book covering the development of 150 hymns.
Each hymn is provided with the background historical information.
The book sports ragged edged paper to give it an air of authenticity to the parchment copies of old.
Author Morgan has a genuine respect for the hymn and has done his research in compiling this notable work.
As a church musician, I am most appreciative.
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2004
I am greatly enjoying this little book. Contains most of the traditional hymns I grew up with in the 1950s and 1960s. The music and lyrics are printed on the left-hand page. The right-hand page contains a short essay giving the Biblical source for the text and some information about the writing of the hymn and its use through the years. I am learning a lot and I find myself singing the hymns out loud morning and evening. A great way to frame the day! Recommended for people who feel the loss of tradition in 21st century worship and for anyone who loves church music.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2005
If you ever wanted to know the background behind the hymns that we sing, this two-volume collection is for you. Robert J. Morgan has collected and compiled stories of hymns from all over the world and from every time period. Each book takes a look at 150 hymns, so the sum total is 300 - certainly, most of the familiar hymns including your favorite hymns are included. And there are other hymns herein, that you would enjoy singing and reading about.
In Book I, for instance, you will find the heart-rending pathos of the genesis of such hymns as "Nearer My God to Thee,", "It is well with my Soul" and "O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go". You will also learn the stories behind the thoughtful and introspective hymns such as "Amazing Grace" and "This Is My Father's World". And the hymns of unparalleled praise: "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee", and "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty."
Did you know....that among the above hymns, two were written by illustrious Presbyterian pastors-both of whom served The Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City? ...that "In the Garden" was written while the author was waiting for some film to develop? Or that "Onward, Christian Soldiers" was written for an English children's parade, by their pastor? Every one of these hymns has a story, some tender, some humorous, all filled with the possibility to inspire.
Both books would be very helpful to pastors planning worship-and indeed could be the springboard for any number of sermons, illustrations or hymn festivals.
For more than twenty years, author Robert J. Morgan has served as the pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, so he brings a pastor's reverence and appreciation of these hymns to his narrative
42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2005
Then Sings My Soul is organized in chronological order from 820 ad to a hymn from the author dated 2002. The book is printed in a forced format with the music on the left and the story on the right. This format has two unfortunate consequences. First the text has to fit only on the facing page. This leads to very short stories that can lack in character development. Also, in at least one case this format artificially truncated the music. The chorus to "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder" is missing since the additional music apparently would have carried over to the next page. Since I was looking to arrange this particular hymn, not having all the music was a disappointing shortcoming.
Overall this is an agreeable book covering many important hymns and with a brief on the music or text. However, in my opinion, the hymn stories series from Kenneth Osbeck is a far better reference in depth and detail.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I started using this with my kids as a nighttime devotional. I had to "translate" the stories into more-kid-friendly language, but they got a kick out of singing the songs after hearing how they came to be. Really, it is more of an adult book and if you grew up in a traditional Protestant church, you will really enjoy learning the background to so many famous hymns. It is very easy to use for a daily devotional since each story is only one page long.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2006
As a southern gospel singer, I am always interested in learning where song writers get their inspiration. I saw this book and just knew I had to have it. It is really interesting to learn about the old hymns that I grew up singing with my grandparents!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2005
This unique book with a soft jacket and jagged edge pages, easily held when reading, is simply a jewel. 150 hymns, thoroughly researched, together with several poems, and a concise description of who wrote each hymn and when, is not only educational, but inspirational for people of all faiths.
So impressed am I by the format, the research, the amazing stories of both the poet and the composer of each hymn, that I purchased several of this book for gift giving.
Author, Robert J. Morgan, included a fine hymn on the last page by composing his own thoughts into a verse form.
You may be familiar with many of these hymns spanning 3 centuries but not with the story of the poets and musicians behind each one. Mr. Morgan has had a lifelong interest in hymnology. He has researched and written about ordinary people who were given a great gift and we are all grateful.
Hymns have an impact on all our lives, so read this wonderful book slowly and thoughtfully and drink in the richness of the words as you apply them to your own life. You'll be singing all day! You'll feel a renewed appreciation for the words to such hymns as A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, The Hallelujah Chorus, When Morning Gilds The Skies, Jesus Loves Me, Near To The Heart Of God, and so many more, as well as for the authors such as Fanny Crosby, Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts, Thomas O. Chisholm, and dozens more.
All I can say is, I greatly enjoyed this well organized book and it deserves a place in everyone's library.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Never again will I sing the hymns of the faith without recalling the painful journey that led their authors to put words to paper. Robert Morgan has given us a wonderful resource to encourage, enlighten, and strengthen our faith.
Morgan's writing is devotional in nature and his book makes you want to continue reading. Even if you weren't raised with hymns--you'll enjoy this book, if only for the incredible stories and powerful messages.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2005
The purpose of "Then Sings My Soul" is vital given today's unfortunate growing movement away from the great hymns of the faith--to keep these traditional hymns from past generations vital to this generation.
The user-friendly format provides the hymn on one side of the page and a one-page historical background summary on the other side. Though some reviewers decry this formatting as not allowing enough room for in-depth background, I find it a helpful way to provide engaging insight while making the book useful also as a hymnal itself.
Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of "Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction", "Soul Physicians," and "Spiritual Friends."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2005
This is a lovely collection of hymns with a small history of the song and songwriter. It also comes with the music notes for playing as well. Great addition to any library!