The Hymns of Anne Steele in John Rippon's Selection of Hymns: A Theological Analysis in the Context of the English Particular Baptist Revival
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This dissertation examines the hymns of Particular Baptist hymn-writer, Anne Steele, as found in John Rippon's hymnal, A Selection of Hymns, from the Best Authors, including a Great Number of Originals; Intended to be an Appendix to Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns, first published in 1787. Through his Selection of Hymns, John Rippon disseminated the hymns of the golden age of Baptist and evangelical hymnody. By engaging in a theological analysis of the fifty-two hymns and Psalm paraphrases of Anne Steele included in the various editions of Rippon's phenomenally successful hymnal, this dissertation argues that Steele played a significant theological and spiritual role in British Baptist faith and life from the 1780s to the 1830s. Anne Steele's hymnody as mediated through Rippon's Selection of Hymns nurtured through song the revival in the English Particular Baptist community that occurred in the closing decades of the eighteenth century and continued through the first decades of the nineteenth century. Rippon's Selection of Hymns, a central vehicle of sung theology and piety in the Baptist context, especially within the revival and expansion of Particular Baptist faith and piety from the 1780s to the 1830s, met specific theological, pastoral, and devotional needs among the British Baptist community. Steele's inclusion in the Selection of Hymns was a key part of this influence and its impact on the person in the pew. Chapter 1 introduces the English Hymn and considers recent scholarship on Anne Steele and John Rippon's Selection of Hymns. Chapter 2 offers a biographical sketch of Steele. Chapter 3 examines the cultural and religious setting of both Anne Steele's hymns and Rippon's popular and successful hymnal. Chapter 4 considers Anne Steele's approach to her craft as a hymn-writer. Chapter 5 examines the fifty two hymns of Steele found in Rippon's hymnal, especially as they demonstrate the theology of the Second London Confession and illustrate the characteristics of Evangelicalism. Chapter 6 summarizes the picture of Steele that emerges from a consideration of her hymns in Rippon's hymnal and considers her influence on the revival of the Particular Baptist community.