Above: Durham Cathedral
Image Source = Library of Congress
JOHN COSIN (NOVEMBER 30, 1594-JANUARY 15, 1672)
Anglican Bishop of Durham
John Cosin, born at Norwich, England, graduated from Caius College, Cambridge, then joined the ranks of priests of The Church of England. During his career he held a series of posts, including Chaplain to the Bishop of Durham, followed by, among other positions, Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and Dean of Peterborough. In 1627 Cosin published the Collection of Private Devotions, which included his translation of the Veni, Creator Spiritus:
Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
And lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
Who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above
Is comfort, life and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
The dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
With the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home:
Where thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
And thee, of both, to be but one,
That through the ages all along,
This may be our endless song:
Praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Cosin’s book aroused much criticism from Puritan quarters, where anything Roman Catholic was suspect. Indeed, he clashed with Puritans. So, during the English Civil Wars and the Commonwealth, he spent much time in exile in France.
Yet the Restoration of the monarchy occurred in 1660, and Cosin became the Bishop of Durham that year. It was his final church posting. He spent much money on the cathedral, its library, and charitable works. And Cosin helped to prepare the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, which introduced his translation of the Veni, Creator Spiritus into Anglican liturgy.
Bishop John Cosin was one in a series of scholar-priests who, with their talents, have enriched the Christian Church greatly. I give thanks for all them generally. Today I rejoice in the legacy of John Cosin by name.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
NOVEMBER 26, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN BERCHMANS, ROMAN CATHOLIC SEMINARIAN
THE FEAST OF ISAAC WATTS, HYMN WRITER
Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:
We bless your name for inspiring John Cosin and all those who
with words and images have filled us with desire and love for you;
through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Chronicles 29:14b-19
2 Corinthians 3:1-3
John 21:15-17, 24-25
—Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728
Revised on November 21, 2016