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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Popular Hymnal

The Popular Hymnal is another of my hymnals from the publisher, Robert H. Coleman.

For some reason this name strikes me as being a little odd in this day and age. In some way, it's similar to mentioning The Modern Hymnal from 1926 in the year 2021.

However, reading the Foreword, one finds validity in this title:

It is our belief that in "The Popular Hymnal" will be found a satisfying variety of meet the demands of any congregation.

Especially have many of the older and statelier hymns been added to the newer and more popular songs.

I was interested to see that this Foreword was written and attested by no less than Dr. J.B. Gambrell and Dr. George W. Truett. It caused me to go into a brief study of the history of these two illustrious figures within the Southern Baptist Convention.

At the time of this hymnal's publication, Dr. Gambrell was serving as the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, a position that he held for four consecutive terms. I was very interested to see that he was born in Anderson County, South Carolina which lies just across Lake Hartwell and the Georgia state line from where I am writing this article. It was also noteworthy that he served 3 years as the president of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.

During part of his career, Dr. Gambrell, a distinguished writer, served as the editor of The Baptist Standard, a Texas Baptist newspaper. It's interesting to note that at this time, the owners of this paper hired Robert H. Coleman as their business manager.

Dr. Truett also had his Georgia roots. As a young man from North Carolina just above the Georgia state line, he taught in Townes County and became the founder and principal of Hiawassee Academy. He was looking at going to Mercer and becoming a lawyer, but when his parents moved to Texas, he followed them. There he became one of the great preachers of his day when after graduation from Baylor he was called as the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas where he served for 47 years until his death. During his pastorate, he grew the church membership from 715 to 7,804.

It's also notable that he was among the owners of The Baptist Standard when they called on Dr. Gambrell and Robert Coleman. For our purposes, he was serving as pastor of the First Baptist Church, Dallas when he co-wrote the Foreword for The Popular Hymnal.

Unlike the other hymnals in our series, The Modern Hymnal, The American Hymnal, Reapers, and Coleman's Songs for Men, this hymnal was not edited by B.B. McKinney. Published in 1918, it is the earliest of our series and was printed before McKinney was hired by Robert H. Coleman. However, it appears from my copy that it was among those books that was reprinted by the Baptist Sunday School Board after they purchased the publisher, Robert H. Coleman. I am including links to other articles in this series below.

Among the many hymns, recognizable or not, I was interested to see "O Columbia! the gem of the ocean," titled here "The Red, White and Blue," among the other patriotic selections.

As to readings, The Popular Hymnal includes both Selected Psalms and Responsive Readings. Unlike any hymnal I've seen so far, there are two musical selections that are included between the Responsive Readings and the Index. And for Indices we are given the Index, an alphabetical listing of the hymns, an index of the Selected Psalms and Responsive Readings, a Metrical Index, and a Topical Index.

I am grateful to have this hymnal in my collection thanks once again to the generosity of Bill Coen.

If you have seen or used this hymnal, I would appreciate your sharing your experience with it below in the comments.


Here are additional posts in the Robert H. Coleman Series:
Robert H. Coleman, Publisher of Hymnals
The Modern Hymnal
The American Hymnal
Coleman's Songs for Men


If you have not done so, subscribe to my email newsletter to receive information on additional posts designed to encourage and inspire you. Just click this link to go to the subscription page: Subscribe to Richard's Newsletter Now!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Can We Be Honest?

To be honest with you, I have to say that I...

Have you ever noticed how brutally honest scripture is?

Currently I'm using Psalms and Lessons for the Christian Year from The Book of Common Prayer of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA as my daily Bible reading plan.

Today's reading from Psalms was chapter 40. In verse 1, David writes, "I waited patiently for the LORD." Why that's a good start! He continues by speaking of all the good things that God has done. It's interesting to me that The Book of Common Prayer reading stops with verse 16. It's very encouraging that God has been good to David. Then there's verse 17. David gets a bit more gut-wrenchingly honest: "But I am afflicted and needy."

Next is Exodus, chapter 16 to be exact. Let's review: (1) God brought the people out of Egypt after sending a lot of plagues on the Egyptians, (2) God lead them through the divided waters of the Red Sea on dry land and then drowned the Egyptian army, (3) God miraculously turned bitter water sweet so they could have a drink, and now, the people are saying they wished they had died in Egypt where there was plenty of food to eat. Complain, complain, complain. So, God provides quail and manna (but it doesn't stop the disobedience and grumbling).

In fact, its consistency in showing the dark side of its heroes and the people of God is one of the arguments for the truthfulness of scripture. Let's see, Abraham whose faith proclaimed him righteous didn't trust that God would provide a son through Sarah, so he had a child with her maid. Then Judah, the ancestor of Jesus, led in selling his younger brother into slavery. And David, a man after God's own heart, committed adultery and had a man murdered.

Finally, we move into the book of Hebrews, chapter 4, where the author writes about the unfaithfulness of the people of Israel during the days of the exodus.

I wonder how honest we really like to be. Did Honest Abe have shortcomings and failures that he didn't want to share with anyone else? You and I are in that same boat. We don't want to be completely honest with everyone (possibly anyone) around us. We like to hide parts of our lives from others. It's just natural. But, we can have a problem when we fail to be honest with ourselves.

Of course, an even bigger issue is when we try to be dishonest with God. That one doesn't work. Ever!

Hebrews 4:13 says, "And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him to whom we must answer." Ouch!

So, to be honest with you, I have to say that I... oh my, that list has gotten longer since I started this article. Let's just say that I am a sinner and that God knows all the details. He sees my failure. He sees my sin.

I do like the last verses of this chapter, because they give us hope.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let's approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need. (Hebrews 4:15-16 NASB)

So, can we be honest? It may still be hard to do. However, we should at least be honest with ourselves and recognize that we have to be honest with God.

1 I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how he could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.

2 For me it was in the garden
He prayed, "Not my will, but thine;"
He had no tears for his own griefs,
But sweat drops of blood for mine.

3 He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them his very own;
He bore the burden to Calv'ry,
And suffered and died alone.

4 When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
'Twill be my joy through the ages
To sing of his love for me.

How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be;
How marvelous! How wonderful!
Is my Savior's love for me!

("I Stand Amazed in the Presence" Words and Music by Charles H. Gabriel, 1856-1932)


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Coleman's Songs for Men

This hymn book or song book, Coleman's Songs for Men, is not like the hymnals that Robert H. Coleman published, nor is it like the paperback songbook, Reapers. It is, however, a specialty songbook as it is designed for men.

B.B. McKinney was working as musical editor for Robert Coleman when this little book was published in 1932 as we can see from the title page and the Foreword page. However, this was one of those publications that was reissued by Broadman Press after the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention purchased the publisher, Robert H. Coleman.

In fact, I gather from the quality of the two copies that I have that this edition was available until fairly recently. This seems to be born out in the 1981 dissertation of Dr. Terry C. Terry, B.B. McKinney: A Shaping Force in Southern Protestant Music, as he indicates that this volume was available from the Sunday School Board at the time he wrote the paper.

Coleman's Songs for Men contains 196 selections. And, the short index at the back shows that many of them were intended to be used as "Solos, Duets, and Specials." As a songbook for men, I also note that not all of the songs are hymns or songs for worship. Among the selections are "Old Folks at Home," "My Old Kentucky Home," and "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny."

With this little volume being available so long, it's possible that some of my readers have used this songbook. If you have experience with Coleman's Songs for Men, please share in the Comments below.


Here are additional posts in the Robert H. Coleman Series:
Robert H. Coleman, Publisher of Hymnals
The Modern Hymnal
The American Hymnal
The Popular Hymnal


If you have not done so, subscribe to my email newsletter to receive information on additional posts designed to encourage and inspire you. Just click this link to go to the subscription page: Subscribe to Richard's Newsletter Now!

Friday, April 9, 2021

Go to the End

What do you do if you learn something that nobody else knows? Are you bursting to tell somebody else? Or, do you prefer to hold it close with a sense of having a secret?

Daniel was a person who was made privy to a lot of information. The parts he wrote down appear to be in a code that preachers have been trying to figure out ever sense. Other parts, he was told to keep secret and "seal up the book."

So many sermons, closer to almost all that I've heard, on Daniel seem to be attempts to understand the future, or in our evangelical parlance, the "end times." It's all so interesting to learn secrets. So much so that I call some folk "prophecy chasers." These folk will go to every prophecy conference they hear about, but fail to darken the doors of their local church each Sunday. They seem to be so interested in what's going to happen in the future that they fail to live like Christ followers in the present.

The last chapter of Daniel is one that is ripe for looking to the future. It tells of future distress, of rising to everlasting life or everlasting contempt. Then there is the crptic "time, times, and half a time."

I was reading this chapter just the other day and I saw something else. Hopefully something to encourage us today. And tomorrow.

Daniel has been given all of this information, much of which he's been told to seal away. Then, least he spend too much time worrying about it, God speaks these wonderfully encouraging and enlightening words:

"But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will rest and rise for your allotted portion at the end of the age." (Daniel 12:13 NASB)

I'm reminded of Jesus last words with Peter in the book of John. Jesus has just told him three times to feed His sheep. Then Peter looks over at "the disciple whom Jesus loved" and asks, "What about Him?" Jesus replied, "You follow me."

So, are we chasing the future with little thought for today? Perhaps it's with worry or dread. Sometimes just the sense of the great unknown. For some, it's with hope for future prospects - jobs, marriage, children, grandchildren, promotions, even retirement. It seems we all tend to have our eyes on the future in some form or fashion.

However, our task is to simply follow the Lord. We are to "go our way" in the path that He has laid out for us. When we place today, as well as tomorrow, in His hands then we will come to our rest and our resurrection.

So, let's go to our end following in His footsteps.

1 Trials dark on ev'ry hand, and we cannot understand
All the ways that God would lead us to that blessed Promised Land;
But He'll guide us with His eye, and we'll follow till we die;
We will understand it better by and by.

By and by, when the morning comes,
When the saints of God are gathered home,
We will tell the story how we've overcome;
We will understand it better by and by.

2 Oft our cherished plans have failed, disappointments have prevailed,
And we've wandered in the darkness, heavyhearted and alone;
But we're trusting in the Lord, and according to His Word,
We will understand it better by and by. [Chorus]

3 Temptations, hidden snares often take us unawares,
And our hearts are made to bleed for some thoughtless word or deed,
And we wonder why the test when we try to do our best,
But we'll understand it better by and by. [Chorus]

"When the Morning Come" Author: Charles Albert Tindley (1905); Alterer: B. B. McKinney (1937)


Tuesday, April 6, 2021


Reapers, like The Modern Hymnal and The American Hymnal, is from publisher Robert H. Coleman. Links are included to each of these at the end of this article.

As you can see this is a paperback hymnal, or songbook, unlike the other two which are hardbound.

And, as a paperback, they were able to print on the back as well as the front of the book.

From the title page, we can see that this hymnbook was copyrighted in 1932, just a year before The American Hymnal, and several years after The Modern Hymnal. According to the website, it appears that there may have been an earlier edition also called Reapers in 1929.

Unlike the other two hymnals, I am not aware that this book was reprinted by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention after they purchased Coleman. But, it was during the time that B.B. McKinney worked as an editor form Robert H. Coleman.

In fact, there are several of the hymns in this collection that are written by, or arranged by, McKinney.

As more of a songbook instead of a hymnal, this little volume has only the basic Index which is printed on the inside back cover of the edition.

If you are familiar with this songbook or have more information about it, I would love to hear from you. Please comment below and let me know about your experiences with the songbook Reapers.

Additional posts in the Robert H. Coleman hymnal series:
Robert H. Coleman, Publisher of Hymnals
The Modern Hymnal
The American Hymnal
Coleman's Songs for Men
The Popular Hymnal


If you have not done so, please subscribe to my email newsletter so that you can receive information on additional posts that are designed to encourage and inpsire you. Just click this link to go to the subscription page: Subscribe To Richard's Newsletter Now!


Saturday, April 3, 2021

Pity Party Interrupted

We've all been there. Life is not going as we planned or wished or hoped, and we start our own personal pity party. Of course, someone comes along and tries to cheer us up, but we don't want any part of it. We find consolation or relief, maybe satisfaction, in feeling ourselves the victim of some clear quirk of fate.

There was once a man who was hated by almost everyone around, even the king of the country. It seems he never had anything good to say. It was mostly doom and gloom. They tried to kill him, even dropped him down in a pit for a while. He's often called the "weeping prophet" and if anyone deserved to be in a pity party it had to be Jeremiah.

One day, not so long ago, I was reading in the Bible book of Jeremiah, of course it's named after this prophet, and I ran across one of his "parties."

"Lord, you talked me into it and I let you get me into this mess."

"Everybody's laughing at me."

"Whenever I speak, it's all violence and destruction, and all I get is taunting and derision."

"Even if I try to forget about You and the message, it starts burning in my bones so that I can't keep it in."

"I hear the whispers denouncing me. Even my trusted friends watch for me to fall so they can get the best of me."

"I curse the man who told my dad that he had a son because he didn't kill me instead.

"I wish I had been born dead."

"Why, oh why, did I enter this world because my whole life has been spent in shame?"

(If you don't believe me, you can read it in Jeremiah 20:7-18. I did paraphrase, but you definitely get the message.)


I'll say that again. But, surprisingly this pity party had an interruption. A very surprising interruption. I was reading and all of a sudden the text says,

"Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD!
For He has saved the soul of the needy one
From the hand of evildoers." (Jeremiah 20:13 NASB)

Wow! That is a huge interruption to Jeremiah's pity party. It didn't stop him from continuing, but in the midst of all of his bellyaching, he was surprised by God.

Reminds me a little bit of another incident where some guys were hidden away in a room. Their leader had just died a horrible death. What were they to do? Doom and gloom was settling in and taking over.

And BOOM!!

There was Jesus. In the room with them. Surprise, surprise, God showed up again. He was alive!

"Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD!"

So, life doesn't take us the direction we had wanted and we're ready to cave in, settle back and start our party. Guess what? We really were in despair. Our life of sin was taking us down a road of destruction, when BOOM! God showed up. He died that we might have life and rose to give us hope.

Yes, we'll still have our pity parties. We'll still bemoan the things that are happening to us. But, in the middle of it:

"Sing to the LORD,
praise the LORD!
For He has saved the soul of the needy one
From the hand of evildoers."

Amen! Amen! Hallelujah!



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The Popular Hymnal

The Popular Hymnal is another of my hymnals from the publisher, Robert H. Coleman. For some reason this name strikes me as being a...