Charles Buck Theological Dictionary
A song or ode in honour of the Divine Being. St. Hilary, bishop of Poictiers, is said to have been the first who composed hymns to be sung in churches, and was followed by St. Ambrose. Most of those in the Roman breviary were composed by Prudentius. The hymns or odes of the ancients generally consisted of three sorts of stanzas, one of which was sung by the band as they walked from east to west; another was performed as they returned from west to east; the third part was sung before the altar. The Jewish hymns were accompanied with trumpets, drums, and cymbals, to assist the voices of the Levites and the people. We have had a considerable number of hymns composed in our own country. The most esteemed are those of Watts, Doddridge, Newton, and Hart. As to selections, few are superior to Dr. Rippon's and Dr. William's.
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Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Hymn'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/cbd/h/hymn.html. 1802.