Joseph Stennett, 1663-1713

Julian's account:

Joseph Stennett, the earliest English Baptist hymn-writer whose hymns are now in common use, was born at Abingdon, Berks. in 1663. He received a superior education at the Grammar School of Wallingford, and at the age of 22 removed to London, where for several years he engaged in tuition. In 1688 he married a daughter of George Guill, a French Protestant refugee, another of whose daughters was the wife of the celebrated Presbyterian minister, Dr. Daniel Williams, who became a generous friend of Stennett. In the following year he was called to preach by the Baptist Sabbatarian congregation then meeting in Devonshire Square, London, afterwards in Pinners Hall; and in 1690 became its pastor, a position he retained until his death, July 4th. 1713. Since the meetings of the congregation for worship were on the seventh day of the week, he was free to preach to other congregations on the Sunday, which he did very frequently, especially to the General Baptist Church in Barbican. Such was Stennett's repute for piety, learning and practical wisdom that his advice was very much sought by his Christian friends, and by the "great Whig Lords" of that day. He was occasionally consulted as to the feeling of the Dissenters concerning natural affairs."

Stennett's hymn in 'Spiritual Songs' is no. 88, "O blessed Saviour is Thy love"

Julian's account of this hymn is as follows:

"My blessed Saviour, is Thy love". J. Stennett (Holy Communion), appeared in his hymns on the Lord's Supper, 1697, No.22, in 10 stanzas of 4 lines, and again in his Works, 1732, vol.4, page 111. It is usually given in 3 stanzas, somewhat altered as in the Leeds Hymnbook 1853 and others. Another arrangement is "O blessed Saviour is Thy love". In some collections this extends to 6 stanzas as in Snepps Songs of G. and G. 1872, but a shorter form is in more frequent use."

"O blessed Saviour is Thy love So great, so full, so free?" This hymn is a great favourite with those who gather simply to the Lord's Name to remember His death. It is included in the editions of the Little Flock Book, 1856, 1881, 1894, 1903, 1928, and 1978.

Hymns by Joseph Stennett