Josiah Conder was born in London, in 1789. He became a publisher, and in 1814 became proprietor of "The Eclectic Review." Subsequently to 1824, he composed a series of descriptive works, called the "Modern Traveller," which appeared in thirty volumes. He also published several volumes of poems and hymns. He was the author of the first "Congregational Hymn Book" (1836). He died in 1855.
--Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A. 1872.
Conder, Josiah, fourth son of Thomas Conder, engraver and bookseller, and grandson of the Rev. John Conder, D.D., first Theological Tutor of Homerton College, was born in Falcon Street (City); London, Sept. 17, 1789, and died Dec. 27, 1855. As author, editor and publisher he was widely known. For some years he was the proprietor and editor of the Eclectic Review, and also editor of the Patriot newspaper. His prose works were numerous, and include:—
The Modern Traveller, 1830; Italy, 1831; Dictionary of Ancient and Modern Geography, 1834; Life of Bunyan, 1835; Protestant Nonconformity, 1818-19; The Law of the Sabbath, 1830; Epistle to the Hebrews (a translation), 1834; Literary History of the New Testament, 1845, Harmony of History with Prophecy, 1849, and others.
His poetical works are:—
(1) The Withered Oak,1805; this appeared in the Athenceum. (2) The Reverie, 1811. (3) Star in the East, 1824. (4) Sacred Poems, Domestic Poems, and Miscellaneous Poems, 1824. (5) The Choir and the Oratory; or, Praise and Prayer, 1837. Preface dated Nov. 8, 1836. (6) Hymns of Praise, Prayer, and Devout Meditation, 1856. This last work was in the press at the time of his death, and was revised and published by his son, the Rev. E. R. Conder, M.A. He also contributed many pieces to the magazines and to the Associated Minstrels, 1810, under the signature of " C." In 1838, selections from The Choir and Oratory were published with music by Edgar Sanderson, as Harmonia Sacra. A second volume was added in 1839. To Dr. Collyer’s (q.v.) Hymns, &c, he contributed 3 pieces signed "C"; and to Dr. Leifchild's Original Hymns, 1843, 8 hymns.
As a hymn-book editor he was also well known. In 1836 he edited The Congregational Hymn Book: a Supplement to Dr. Watts’s Psalms and Hymns (2nd ed. 1844). To this collection he contributed fifty-six of his own hymns, some of which had previously appeared in The Star in the East, &c. He also published in 1851 a revised edition of Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns, and in the game year a special paper on Dr. Watte as The Poet of the Sanctuary, which was read before the Congregational Union at Southampton. The value of his work as Editor of the Congregational Hymn Book is seen in the fact that eight out of every ten of the hymns in that collection are still in use either in Great Britain or America.
As a hymn writer Conder ranks with some of the best of the first half of the present century. His finest hymns are marked by much elevation of thought expressed in language combining both force and beauty. They generally excel in unity, and in some the gradual unfolding of the leading idea is masterly. The outcome of a deeply spiritual mind, they deal chiefly with the enduring elements of religion. Their variety in metre, in style, and in treatment saves them from the monotonous mannerism which mars the work of many hymn writers. Their theology, though decidedly Evangelical, is yet of a broad and liberal kind. Doubtless Conder's intercourse with many phases of theological thought as Editor of the Eclectic Review did much to produce this catholicity, which was strikingly shewn by his embodying many of the collects of the Book of Common Prayer, rendered into verse, in his Choir and Oratory. Of his versions of the Psalms the most popular are "How honoured, how dear" (84th), and "O be joyful in the Lord" (100th). His hymns in most extensive use are," Bread of heaven, on Thee I feed; " “Beyond, beyond that boundless sea;" "The Lord is King, lift up thy voice" (this last is one of his best); "Day by day the manna fell;" "How shall I follow him I serve;" "Heavenly Father, to whose eye" (all good specimens of his subdued and pathetic style); and "O shew me not my Saviour dying." This last is full of lyric feeling, and expresses the too often forgotten fact that the Church has a living though once crucified Lord. The popularity of Conder's hymns may be gathered from the fact that at the present time more of them are in common use in Great Britain and America than those of any other writer of the Congregational body, Watts and Doddridge alone excepted. [Rev. W. Garrett Horder]
In addition to the hymns named above and others which are annotated under their respective first lines, the following, including two already named (4,16), are also in common use:—
i. From Dr. Collyer's Hymns, &c, 1812.
1. When in the hours of lonely woe. Lent.
ii. From The Star in the East, &c, 1824.
2. Be merciful, O God of grace. Ps. lxvii.
3. For ever will I bless the Lord. Ps. xxxiv.
4. How honoured, how dear. Ps. lxxxiv.
5. Now with angels round the throne. Doxology.
6. O Thou God, Who hearest prayer. Lent. Dated Sept. 1820. Usually abbreviated.
iii. From The Congregational Hymn Book, 1836.
7. Blessed be God, He is not strict. Longsuffering of God.
8. Followers of Christ of every name. Communion of Saints.
9. Grant me, heavenly Lord, to feel. Zeal in Missions desired.
10. Grant, 0 Saviour, to our prayers. Collect 5th S. after Trinity.
11. Head of the Church, our risen Lord. Church Meetings.
12. Holy, holy, holy Lord, in the highest heaven, &c. Praise to the Father.
13. Jehovah's praise sublime. Praise.
14. Leave us not comfortless. Holy Communion.
15. Lord, for Thv Name's sake! such the plea. In National Danger.
16. O be joyful in the Lord. Ps. c.
17. 0 breathe upon this languid frame. Baptism of Holy Spirit desired.
18. 0 give thanks to Him Who made. Thanksgiving for Daily Mercies.
19. 0 God, Protector of the lowly. New Year.
20. 0 God, to whom the happy dead. Burial.
21. 0 God, Who didst an equal mate. Holy Matrimony.
22. 0 God, Who didst Thy will unfold. Holy Scriptures.
23. 0 God, Who dost Thy sovereign might. Prayer Meetings.
24. 0 how shall feeble flesh and blood. Salvation through Christ.
25. 0 how should those be clean who bear. Purity desired for God's Ministers.
26. 0 say not, think not in thy heart. Pressing Onward.
27. 0 Thou divine High Priest. Holy Communion.
28. 0 Thou Who givest all their food. Harvest.
29. 0 Thou Whose covenant is sure. Holy Baptism.
30. Praise on Thee, in Zion-gates. Sunday.
31. Praise the God of all creation. Doxology
32. See the ransomed millions stand. Praise to Christ.
33. The heavens declare His glory. Ps. xix.
34. Thou art the Everlasting Word. Praise to Christ.
35. Thy hands have made and fashioned me. Thanks for Daily Mercies.
36. To all Thy faithful people, Lord. For Pardon.
37. To His own world He came. Ascension.
38. To our God loud praises give. Ps. cxxxvi.
39. Upon a world of guilt and night. Purification of B.V.M.
40. Welcome, welcome, sinner, hear. Invitation to Christ.
41. Wheresoever two or three. Continued Presence of Christ desired.
iv. From The Choir and the Oratory, 1837.
42. Baptised into our Saviour's death. Holy Baptism.
43. In the day of my [thy] distress. Ps. xx.
44. 0 comfort to the dreary. Christ the Comforter.
v. From Leifchild's Original Hymns, 1843.
45. I am Thy workmanship, 0 Lord. God the Maker and Guardian.
46. 0 Lord, hadst Thou been here! But when. The Resurrection of Lazarus.
47. 'Tis not that I did choose Thee. Chosen of God. This is altered in the Church Praise Book, N. Y., 1882, to “Lord, 'tis not that I did choose Thee," thereby changing the metre from 7.6 to 8.5.
vi. From Hymns of Praise, Prayer, &c, 1856.
48. Comrades of the heavenly calling. The Christian race.
When to these 48 hymns those annotated under their respective first lines are added, Conder’s hymns in common use number about 60 in all.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Conder, Josiah, p. 256, i. Other hymns are:—
1. O love beyond the reach of thought. The love of God.
2. O Thou, our Head, enthroned on high. Missions.
3. Son of David, throned in light. Divine Enlightenment desired.
4. Thou Lamb of God for sinners slain. Christ the Head of the Church. From "Substantial Truth, 0 Christ, Thou art."
These hymns are all from his Hymns of Praise, &c, 1856.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)