Above: Logo of The Church of England
Image in the Public Domain
WILLIAM JONES (JULY 30, 1726-JANUARY 6, 1800)
Anglican Priest and Musician
William Jones, born at Lowick, Northamptonshire, England, attended the Charterhouse, Surrey, and University College, Oxford, graduating from University College in 1749. He led a series of congregations, including the parishes at Bethersdon, Pluckley, Paston, Nayland, and Hollingsbourne, where he died. He wrote at length and in great detail on matters scientific, philosophical, and theological. Jones was a Hutchinsonian, a partisan of John Hutchinson (1647-1737), who argued against Newtonian physics, including gravitational theory. (Aside: I prefer not to hold this against Jones, for nobody can be correct all the time.) Jones, in reaction against the French Revolution founded The British Critic, a conservative church journal, in 1793. That publication, which ceased to exist fifty years later, anticipated the Oxford Movement, for Jones was a High Churchman.
I am adding Jones to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days because of his musical activities. He wrote A Treatise on the Art of Music (1784), Ten Church Pieces for the Organ, With Four Anthems in Score (1789), and at least one hymn tune, “Newington.” Jones understood correctly that music could and should play a crucial part in worship and in faith life. Whatever he did in music, theology, politics, philosophy, or science, whether or not he was correct in objective matters, he did it all for God. I honor that.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
NOVEMBER 26, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN BERCHMANS, ROMAN CATHOLIC SEMINARIAN
THE FEAST OF ISAAC WATTS, HYMN WRITER
Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:
You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servant William Jones.
Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder, that our eyes may behold your glory,
and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of your new creation
in Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21
Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20
–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61
Revised on November 21, 2016