Abner Jones: The original Jehovah's Witness

by Dogpatch 3 Replies latest jw friends

  • Dogpatch

    This is interesting, maybe Russell borrowed a few things from ol' Abner!

    from : http://www.freeminds.org/history/abnerjones.htm

    Abner Jones:
    A REAL Jehovah's Witness


    Here is a most historical find in "PSALMS OF DAVID;" one of the very rarest bible books from the 1800s. This bible book of Psalms is so rare even in its condition it may be worth thousands. However it is really priceless from the standpoint of its contents as you the reader please take care to note everything below, as here is a book of Psalms in songs that glorifies the true God by using his name Jehovah threw out its entirety. This book was over a decade and a half before the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society was formed by Charles Taze Russell. Here is another man whom glorified Jehovah's name in music and everyday life, and preserved divine truth in his doing so, as Jehovah's Witnesses do today. Some 365 times Abner Jones from New York USA used Jehovah threw out his musical songs of the Psalms of David. Not only did he use Jehovah's name, but by your viewing all the photos below in this add, you will come to appreciate that Abner Jones walked in Jehovah's name and had a deep appreciation for it, and how it should correctly be used in so many various ways, as Jehovah himself taught regarding his own name, that it should be used. His own words on page iv starting out paragraph 4 say in true sagacity: "THE DIVISION OF PSALMS INTO SUBJECTS, according to their musical cadences, forms a new and prominent feature of this work, not found in previous versions." and over on page v paragraph 6 it starts out: "It is admitted that almost every verse of this fruitful and highly devotional Psalm, so constructed as to meet us with words of instruction and comfort in all the walks and circumstances of life, as also many of the verses contain in other parts of the book, might readily be made the basis of a sacred song."

    This book, The Psalms of David here advertised, is one of the English bible books of Psalms that has historically kept God's Name Jehovah faithfully in it, in a great deal of the places it was used, as found in original Hebrew text. In fact Abner Jones view of the matter can be seen in his versional rendering of Psalms 148:5,13 on page 221 division 2:"Let them praise Jehovah's name, For by his command they came" and division 4 "Let them praise his name most glorious, Who is excellent alone." So, just exactly what was the Psalms of David by Abner Jones?

    Lets let Abner Jones answer this question. On page iv of the preview by Abner Jones himself as the author he says in the third paragraph to quote: "The object was, to render the whole Book of Psalms into easy and flowing verse of various measures, evenly rhymed, with uniform accent, divided according to their musical condenses, and comprised in their own limits: in which their peculiar structure in responsive lines should be kept unbroken, the devout and exalted sentiments with which they everywhere abound, expressed in their own familiar and appropriate language, and the graphic imagery by which they are rendered vivid, preserved entire."

    And after much more discussion he adds on page v paragraph 6 regarding The Psalms of David from the bible : "...They were specially, though not solely, composed and arranged under the guidance of Holy Spirit for the purpose of sacred song, and were fitted for the use and state of church in all ages, with distinctive marks upon their face regarding their adaptation to music, and translation into the dialects of all nations: otherwise the original language in which they were written and the tunes to which they were sung would have been preserved together. They were perfectly suited in every particular as a means to an end, and were filled with imperishable and inexhaustible subject which will be of increasing interest for ever, the more they are contemplated and understood. Nothing can be added to them for the better, and nothing taken from them without detriment : they are right; and that metrical version of them, that is made with the greatest fidelity to the divine original, will eventually win the general favor." And so here we now have that version in English with music accompanying these Psalms of David.

    AND WHAT IS SO OUTSTANDING ABOUT THIS PSALMS OF DAVID, IS THE FACT THAT Abner Jones dedicated this work of his in music candor and translation to the praise of Jehovah's holy name forever. Below there is provided a photograph of the ending paragraph to the preview from the author Abner Jones were HE SET THIS WORK OUT FOR THE PRAISE OF Jehovah's name. You will find it most enjoyable to read and to gain an understanding of all the pages photographed below, as each uniquely sets its own glory to Jehovah God the true author of the Psalms Of David.

    Also there are several things encouraged for you to notice as you view the photos from this outstanding Psalms of David. Note how Abner Jones believed in his translating that Jehovah has a people for his name. Obviously Abner Jones himself was an earlier one of Jehovah's Witnesses before Charles Taze Russell of 1874. Also note how he translated correctly that Jehovah SHOULD be used in music. Note also Psalms 23 Jehovah my shepherd; Psalms 83:18 Jehovah, art Most High; Psalms 20: 7 line 2 = His holy name they bear; and Psalms 117 All peoples, laud his name. He was one whom accepted the ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus as his wording shows on pages 5 and 6 Psalms chapter 2.

    It can be fairly mentioned that Abner Jones took many former works of other authors whom set out to do the book of Psalms in musical translation. However he stands out above the others in the fact that he was doing his best to preserve the original as he says in the preview that it was compared to many versions but also his Psalms was taken back to, and compared to the original text, Hebrew by an appointed committee to try and preserve all of God's word in this Psalms of David. And it is not totally clear how well he new Hebrew if any at all, and if he was on the committee mentioned in the preview whom examined the original text. But one thing is clear; and that being Jehovah had enlightened him to what is there in his Holy Word, the Book of Psalms, as this work of his proves is so by his accurate renderings of scriptural verse. If you as the reader is the winning bidder, you will have a very rare privilege to examine this work yourself and see how important the name of almighty God truly is.

    To show that Abner Jones did not exploit his knowledge of the sacred scripture to bring glory to himself; in both previews to his work here, he always reefers to himself as the author and did not use his own personal name. Compare John 6:44 with a few of Johns ending words to the book of John, at John 21:24 and Jeremiah 23:28. Abner Jones loyally adhered to God's word in his version.

    In fact this humble man shows in his preview that he allowed others and welcomes all to examine his work of the Psalms of David and they carefully examined it against God's inspired word in Hebrew so all would be satisfied that what they were learning was in full harmony with it. In his preview Jones also realized and acknowledged that his work was unfinished and that this new version was in need as to quote him on page vi paragraph 1 in part were he says: "From that view his conviction became deep and lasting, that a wide a wide field still remained unoccupied for a new and greatly improved metric version of the Psalms for practical purposes." and wanting to have his work accurate he was "not willing to confide solely in his own judgment "he submitted his work "to the careful inspection and criticism of an able linguist and accomplished scholar, Prof. J. Holms Agnew" and Jones admits he received for doing so much benefit.

    This book, "Psalms of David" has an extra book, musical portion in the front and all lyrics to the music in the second portion. So it is like two books in one as also viewable in the pictures below.

    Abner Jones started his biblical musical works way back in the 1830s and revised his own work and placed it here in the Psalms of David and thereby entering this Psalms according to the acts of Congress, in the year this book is dated 1860, and record of this work is filed and kept in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York. He was such a humble servant of Jehovah, that he reefers to himself only as the Author in the third person and his name Abner Jones is only mentioned in the beginning as the author of this Psalms of David.

    more at the source site listed at the top, including pictures and links.



  • gitasatsangha

    Thanks for the interesting article, Randy. Made me come out of my lurking. One wonders if CTR had this book in his library early or if possibly the psalter was used by the early Pennsylvania groups.

    nitpick: might want to edit "threw out" to "throughout"

  • sf


    The restoration of New Testament Christianity goes back through many centuries. There has been in every century God-fearing, Bible-loving men eager to know God's will, to be free of man's opinions, creeds and doctrines and to completely restore the New Testament church of Christ as it existed in the first century.


    Abner Jones (1772-1841), was eight years old when his father, Asa Jones, moved the family from Massachusetts to the "frontier in Central Vermont." Abner's life was nurtured in all the hardships of life on the frontier. He attended school only for a few weeks in his life yet, in time, he gained the reputation of a polished scholar. He mastered Latin, Greek and Hebrew. With his meager public schooling, he yet attained a level of scholarship that few graduates (or even professors) could approach. At the age of twenty-one, with his keen intellect of the Scriptures, he discovered that the Bible did not teach the terrible Calvinist doctrines that he had heard. "I determined to believe and practice what I found required in the Bible, and no more. I will have nothing but what saith the Lord, and thus it is written." Abner Jones spent his days preaching more than once a day. He died in 1841 in Exeter, New Hampshire.

    [[ view enter link for other pioneers listed ]]


  • minimus

    Abner would've made a wonderful Jehovah's Witness.

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