James White (1821-1881) was a leader in the early Advent movement, and later a pioneer in establishing the Seventh-day Adventist church.

James WhiteOne of those who responded to the preaching of William Miller was a 21-year old schoolteacher from Palmyra, Maine, James White, member of a musical family, his father having been at one time a voice teacher.

In the autumn of 1843 James White, his father, and two of his sisters attended the Maine Eastern Christian Conference, to be held in the town of Knox. A storm caused them to spend the night in a wayside tavern. That evening the landlord and his guests were entertained by the White Second Advent Quartet singing songs of the coming of Jesus. In the morning the proprietor cancelled their bill and invited them to make his place their home whenever they passed that way. Sabbath School Program Planner, Book 4, Dorothy Eaton Watts

1849 – Hymns for God’s Peculiar People

The first songbook he compiled was titled Hymns for Gods Peculiar People, that Keep the Commandments of God, and the Faith of Jesus. It was published in 1849, and consisted of 53 hymns, words only.

1852 – Hymns for Second Advent Believers

A second compilation was published a few years later in 1852, substantially larger at 139 hymns, plus a 38 hymn supplement. It was titled, Hymns for Second Advent Believers. It also consisted of words only.

In the Early Advent texts section of our church songbook, Songs of Hope and Trust, we have composed music for many of the texts from “Hymns for Second Advent Believers.” I’ve listed them below, in the order in which they appeared in the original:


6. The Restitution
10. The Little Flock
15. Farewell (So Brethren All Farewell)
17. New Jerusalem (Glorious Sight)
18. The Better Land (We Have Heard)
19. Close of Time (Time Now is Closing)
20. The Three Messages
24. Be Patient
29. The Pure Testimony
30. Fall of Babylon (Babylon is Fallen)
32. I Cannot Go Back
34. The Coming of the Lord
39. The Coming Glory
41. Watchman, tell us of the Night
45. Christ’s Triumph (Hark, Ten Thousand Harps and Voices)
46. The Ark
55. Weary Pilgrim
58. The Jewels of the Lord
62. What Sound is This
67. I Long to See That Day (We’re Going Home!)
80. Harvest Home
84. Jubilee (Will You Go Along With Me?)
85. Come Home
90. The Last Call (The Last Call of Mercy)
92. Holiness (By Words and Actions)
93. Star of Our Hope
94. Will You Go?
96. God’s Word
97. Hail to the Brightness
98. Encouragement
104. Lord’s Prayer (Come, My Saviour)
107. Why Sleep Ye! (Why Sleep You!)

Sabbath Hymns

Hymn 114 (The God That Made the Earth)
Hymn 117 (Another Six Days’ Work is Done)
Hymn 123 (Welcome, the Sabbath Hour)

Lord’s Supper

Hymn 138: The Sanctuary (There is a House in Heaven)
Hymn 139: Humility (Washing Feet)


Hymn 10 (We’ll March Around Jerusalem)
Hymn 17 (The Happy Man)
Hymn 30 (I Love This Pure Religion)

1876 – Hymns and Tunes

This may be of further interest for some. The website Archive.org has an 1876 version of Hymns and Tunes for those who keep the Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus which you can view or download on their site, or use this iframe view:

This must have been a reprint of the original 1869 printing of this official Seventh-day Adventist church hymnal, as it contains the same number of pages (424). It is uncertain if James White had any involvement in compiling the “Hymns and Tunes” book.

2 Comments on 1849/1852: James White

  1. DENNIS ERBES says:


  2. pp2300 says:

    I’ve never heard of such a song. It doesn’t sound like any of the songs I’ve seen in the early hymn books by James White.

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