Feast of Thomas Binney (February 28)   2 comments

Union Jack

Above:  The Union Jack

Image in the Public Domain

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THOMAS BINNEY (APRIL 30, 1798-FEBRUARY 24, 1874)

English Congregationalist Minister, Liturgist, and “Archbishop of Nonconformity”

Thomas Binney, raised in a Presbyterian family, educated himself while apprenticing under a bookseller.  The saint became a Congregationalist (notnfar from the tree; still Reformed), studied at the theological seminary at Coward College, Wymondley, Herts, and became an ordained minister.  He served congregations at Bedford, then the Isle of Wight before becoming senior pastor of Weigh House Chapel (founded in 1695), London, where he had a reputation as one of the greatest preachers in England.

Binney was a man of strong opinions.  He opposed slavery actively.   He also argued against The Church of England vigorously while being on friendly terms with some C of E bishops and participating in at least one interdenominational service with one in Australia.  Binney might have thought that The Church of England had damned more souls than it had saved, but he did not find everyone in it objectionable.  (Aside:  I, as an Episcopalian, have a different opinion of The Church of England.)  Binney also pioneered a relatively high order of worship, introducing chants and anthems into the services at Weigh House Chapel.  That was radical by the standards of the day, given the historic Calvinist principle of Jure Divino and how many adherents had interpreted it for so long.  He also published Historical Sketches on the Liturgical Forms of the Reformed Churches, by Charles W. Baird, of New York, New York.    The saint wrote the introduction and an appendix, asking,

Are Dissenters to have a Liturgy?

Binney also wrote many devotional poems–

cart loads,

he said.  Among them was “Eternal Light, which he composed at Newport, Isle of Wight, in 1826.

Eternal Light! Eternal Light!

How pure that soul must be,

When, placed within thy searching sight,

It shrinks not, but with calm delight

Can live, and look on thee.

O how shall I, whose native sphere

Is dark, whose mid is dim,

Before the Ineffable appear,

And on my naked spirit bear

The uncreated beam?

There is no way for man to rise

To that sublime abode;

An offering and a sacrifice,

A Holy Spirit’s energies,

An Advocate with God:

These, these prepare us for the sight

Of holiness above:

The sons of ignorance and night

May dwell in the eternal Light,

Through the eternal Love!

Binney also headed the Congregational Union of England and Wales, which, along with the former Presbyterian Church of England, has become part of The United Reformed Church.

The congregation of Weigh House Chapel disbanded in 1966.  Their former building has become home of the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in Exile.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 17, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARIA STEWART, EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF EGLANTYNE JEBB, FOUNDER OF SAVE THE CHILDREN

THE FEAST OF FRANK MASON NORTH, U.S. METHODIST MINISTER

THE FEAST OF SAINT OLYMPIAS, ORTHODOX DEACONESS

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Thomas Binney)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Revised on December 9, 2016

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2 responses to “Feast of Thomas Binney (February 28)

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  1. Pingback: Feast of Thomas Toke Lynch (May 9) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

  2. Pingback: Feast of Edwin Paxton Hood (June 12) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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