Feast of James Allen and Oswald Allen (October 2)   Leave a comment

12298v

Above:  Kirby Londale Market Square, Between 1880 and 1890

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2006683796/)

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-12298

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JAMES ALLEN (JUNE 24, 1734-OCTOBER 31, 1804)

English Inghamite then Glasite/Sandemanian Hymn Writer

great-uncle of

OSWALD ALLEN (1816-OCTOBER 2, 1878)

English Glasite/Sandemanian Hymn Writer

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Before I write about our saints for today I must, for the sake of clarity, explain the terms “Inghamite” and “Glasite/Sandemanian.”

John Glas (1695-1773) was a minister of the Church of Scotland who left that denomination for a variety of reasons.  Among them was his opinion that there was no New Testament basis for having a national church.  The Church of Scotland suspended him in 1728 and defrocked him two years later.  Thus Glas became the leader of the Glasite sect, which practiced, among other things, weekly communion, communal ownership of property, and relative (to its culture) egalitarianism.  His son-in-law, Robert Sandeman (1718-1771), developed doctrines further and led the sect after Glas died.  The sect has become extinct, many of its last members converting to the Congregationalist Church.

Benjamin Ingham (1712-1772), ordained an Anglican priest in 1735, traveled to Georgia with John and Charles Wesley.  Ingham was

full of missionary zeal for the conversion of the Indians.

–Quoted in Henry Thompson Malone, The Episcopal Church in Georgia, 1733-1957 (Atlanta, GA:  The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Atlanta, 1960, page 13)

In 1738 Ingham joined John Wesley, recently escaped from Georgia, on a trip to Germany.  Afterward he broke with Wesley, siding mostly with the Moravians they had gone to visit.  Ingham proceeded to found the Moravian Methodists, for Inghamites, at Yorkshire.  He built up eighty congregations, which he oversaw.  In 1754 Ingham broke with the Moravians; his congregations had become independent.  Six years later he adopted much Glasite/Sandemanian mysticism.  Then the Inghamite movement fell apart.  He became a Glasite/Sandemanian, taking thirteen congregations with him.  Most of the others became Methodists.

James Allen (1734-1804) grew up in The Church of England.  The family’s intention was that he would take Holy Orders, but he abandoned that plan at Cambridge, where he converted to the Inghamites.  Later he followed Ingham into the Glasite/Sandmanian sect.  Allen preached, finally at a chapel he built near his home.  He edited and contributed to the Kendall Hymn Book (1757).  Among his hymns was the following:

Glory to God on high!

Let earth and skies reply;

Praise ye his name:

His love and grace adore,

Who all our sorrows bore;

Sing aloud evermore,

Worthy the Lamb.

—–

Jesus, our Lord and God,

Bore sin’s tremendous load,

‘Praise ye his name:

Tell what his arm hath done,

What spoils from Death he won,

Sing his great name alone;

Worthy the Lamb.

—–

While they around the throne

Cheerfully join in one,

Praising his name:

Those who have felt his blood

Sealing their peace with God,

Sound his dear fame abroad,

Worthy the Lamb.

—–

Join, all ye ransomed race,

Our holy Lord to bless;

Praise ye his name:

In him we will rejoice,

And make a joyful noise,

Shouting with heart and voice,

Worthy the Lamb.

—–

What though we change our place

Yet shall we never cease

Praising his name:

To him, our gracious King,

And without ceasing sing,

Worthy the Lamb.

—–

Then let the hosts above,

In realms of endless love,

Praise his dear name:

To him ascribed be

Honor and majesty,

Through all eternity,

Worthy the Lamb.

James Allen’s great-nephew, Oswald Allen (1816-1878), grew up a Glasite/Sandemanian.  Oswald, like his father, was a banker.  Oswald, educated at home, had a life-long problem, which James Moffatt described as

a diseased spine.

Handbook to The Church Hymnary (London, UK:  Oxford University Press, 1927, page 251)

Oswald left his hometown, Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmorland, for Edinburgh, to work at the stock exchange there, but had to return home in 1848 due to his spine.  So he started a career at the Lancaster Banking Company, rising to Manager.  During the Winter of 1858-1860 Oswald, confined to his home, completed Hymns of the Christian Life, a collection of 148 texts published in 1861.  As James Moffatt wrote,

When the little book was published, the Bank staff, it is said, viewed this proceeding on the part of one of their officials with no little perturbation.

Handbook to The Church Hymnary, page 252

The original text of one of Oswald’s hymns begins

Today Thy mercy calls me….

but hymnal committees have traditionally changed the first-person singular to first-person plural.  The Church Hymnary (1927) omits one stanza yet The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) contains all of them.  So here is the version of that hymn from the latter volume:

Today Thy mercy calls us

To wash away our sin.

However great our trespass,

Whatever we have been,

However long from mercy

Our hearts have turned away,

Thy precious blood can cleanse us

And make us white today.

—–

Today Thy gate is open,

And all who enter in

Shall find a Father’s welcome

And pardon for their sin.

The past shall be forgotten,

A present joy be giv’n,

A future grace be promised,

A glorious crown in heav’n.

—–

Today our Father calls us,

His Holy Spirit waits;

His blessed angels gather

Around the heav’nly gates.

No question will be asked us

How often we have come;

Although we oft have wandered,

It is our Father’s home.

—–

O all-embracing Mercy,

O ever-open Door,

What should we do without Thee

When heart and eye run o’er?

When all things seem against us,

To drive us to despair,

We know one gate is open,

One ear will hear our prayer.

One name–Oswald Allen–launched me on the journey which culminates in this post.  Now I know more about English and Scottish church history and have read some lovely hymns.  I am better for all the above.  And I pray that you, O reader, are edified likewise.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 23, 2013 COMMON ERA

PROPER 7–THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICETAS OF REMESIANA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF WIREMU TAMIHANA, MAORI PROPHET AND KINGMAKER

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

James Allen and Oswald Allen and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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