Hark! The gospel news is sounding

The Primitive Methodist Grand March

Hark! The gospel news is sounding | Primitive Methodist Hymnal with supplement 1889
Hark! The gospel news is sounding
Primitive Methodist Hymnal with supplement 1889
Grace; alternative tune for Hark! The gospel news is sounding | Primitive Methodist Hymnal with supplement 1889
Grace; alternative tune for Hark! The gospel news is sounding
Primitive Methodist Hymnal with supplement 1889

Many early Primitive Methodist hymns were written jointly by William Sanders and Hugh Bourne and Hark! The gospel news is sounding was one of the most notable.  It first appeared in The Collection of Hymns for Camp Meetings, &c, in 1821. It was included in the 1932 Methodist Hymn Book but not later ones.

In the 1889 Primitive Methodist Hymnal with Supplement it is set to the tune Rousseau (also known as Greenville).  Rousseau comes from the 1752 opera Le Devin du Village (The Village Soothsayer), by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.  

I remember it being sung when I was a child with enthusiasm at camp meetings and other services.  This was to the tune Grace, which is in the supplement of the 1889 book and in the Additional Tunes of the 1932 Methodist Hymn Book

William Sanders was born in 1799 and by 1838 was in Pottsville, U.S.A.. His date of death is not certain; he was alive in 1881.

Kendall, in his History of the Primitive Methodist Church (p 10), accepts that Primitive Methodism had not produced hymns that lasted a long time, but Hark! The gospel news is sounding is an exception:

“But there are two hymns both said to be the joint production of Hugh Bourne and W. Sanders we would speak up for, or rather, let them speak for themselves ” My soul is now united,” which first appeared in the 1821 Collection, and especially, ” Hark ! the gospel news is sounding,” in the Large Hymn Book. These have worn well, and are not worn out yet. For open-air purposes there is no better, more stirring hymn than this latter; it has well been called, ?The Primitive Methodist Grand March’”

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