Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

—Paul, to those at Colosse, dead with Christ and risen with Christ

The Army of Fragrant Saints

“Hymnody,” writes A.W. Tozer, “is sweet with the longing after God, the God whom, while the singer seeks, he knows he has already found.” Tozer continues,

How tragic that we in this dark day have had our seeking done for us by our teachers. Everything is made to center on the initial act of ‘accepting’ Christ (a term, incidentally, which is not found in the Bible) and we are not expected thereafter to crave any further revelation of God to our souls. We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him we need no more seek Him. This is set before us as the last word in orthodoxy, and it is taken for granted that no Bible-taught Christian ever believed otherwise. Thus the whole testimony of the worshiping, seeking, singing Church on that subject is crisply set aside. The experiential theology of a grand army of fragrant saints is rejected in favor of a smug interpretation of Scripture.

—A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

English-speaking Christians have unparalled access to the testimony of the worshiping, seeking, singing Church: No language has a richer hymnody than English. Leading the “grand army of fragrant saints” are Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley. And the army follows them–we have the hymns of Philip Doddridge, John Keble, Henry F. Lyte, Frederick Faber, John Ellerton, and many others. And it is not as though the centuries-old singing Church sang in English alone. We have access to the German-language hymns of Paul Gerhardt and Gerhard Tersteegen through the translations of John Wesley, Catherine Winkworth, and Frances Bevan. We are blessed to truly sing the Psalms, in versifications by Tate and Brady, by Watts, by Lyte, and by others.

With these resources at hand, we need never complain of a lack of meaningful lyrics, of good things to sing. The worshiping, seeking, singing Church of today may find herself richly fed by the songs God has called forth from his children through the centuries.

Songs Before Unknown

Isaac Watts’ first hymn contains a call for more:

Behold the glories of the Lamb
Amidst his Father’s throne;
Prepare new honors for His name
And songs before unknown.

—Isaac Watts, 1707

This site is not an answer to that call. It is merely a catalogue of others’ answers to that call. This site brings no “songs before unknown,” that is, it introduces no new lyrics. But it does bring songs lesser known from the plentiful store of English-language hymns, hymn translations, and psalters. Some of these songs are paired with old tunes and some with new.

Copyright

Unless otherwise noted, the lyrics used on this site are in the public domain. To check the copyright status of the music, refer to the bottom right of the last page in the score. For music copyrighted by G.C.F, you may reproduce the scores for personal use or congregational worship. For other uses, please email me a brief description of the intended use (see contact info below) and I’ll get back to you.

Contact

To inquire about using copyrighted music, or for other questions or comments, write me: songslesserknown@outlook.com