Feast of Gerald Thomas Noel, Baptist Wriothesley Noel, and Caroline Maria Noel (December 2)   2 comments

09011v

Above:  Winchester Cathedral, Between 1890 and 1900

Published by Detroit Publishing Company, 1905

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-09011

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GERALD THOMAS NOEL (DECEMBER 2, 1782-FEBRUARY 24, 1851)

Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

brother of

BAPTIST WRIOTHESLEY NOEL (JULY 16, 1798-JANUARY 19, 1873)

Anglican Priest, English Baptist Evangelist, and Hymn Writer

uncle of

CAROLINE MARIA NOEL (JULY 10, 1817-DECEMBER 7, 1877)

Anglican Hymn Writer

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One name–that of Caroline Maria Noel–led me to two more–those of her father and her uncle.  It is good to write about saints in the context of family, for families should foster righteousness.

Charles Noel Noel (1781-1866) was the first Earl of Gainsborough.  The title “Earl of Gainsborough” passed down through his lineage.

This post is about three of his relatives, however.

Gerald Thomas Noel (1782-1851), educated at Edinburgh and Cambridge, took Anglican Holy Orders.  He served as the Curate of Radwell then the Vicar of Rainham and Romsey then Canon of Winchester Cathedral.  He wrote hymns and books.  His books were:

  • A Selection of Psalms from the New Version of the Church of England and Others; Corrected and Revised for Public Worship (1810);
  • Arvendel, or Sketches in Italy and Switzerland (1813);
  • Fifty Sermons for the Use of Families (1830); and
  • Sermons Preached in Romsey (1853).

One of his hymns follows:

If human kindness meets return,

And owns the grateful tie;

If tender thoughts within us burn,

To feel a friend is nigh;–

O shall not warmer accents tell

The gratitude we owe

To Him who died, our fears to quell,

Our more than orphan’s woe!

+++++

While yet his anguished soul surveyed

Those pangs he would not flee,

What love his latest words displayed,–

“Meet and remember me!”

Remember thee!  thy death, thy shame

Our sinful hearts to share!

O memory, leave no other name

But his recorded there!

And here is another:

When musing sorrow weeps the past,

And mourns the present pain,

‘Tis sweet to think of peace at last,

And feel that death is gain.

+++++

‘Tis not that murmuring thoughts arise,

And dread a Father’s will;

‘Tis not that meek submission flies,

And would not suffer still:

+++++

It is that heaven-born faith surveys

The path that leads to light,

And longs her eagle plumes to raise,

And lose herself in sight:

+++++

It is that hope with ardor glows,

To see Him face to face,

Whose dying love no language knows

Sufficient to trace.

+++++

O let me wing my hallowed flight

From earth born woe and care,

And soar above these clouds of night,

My Saviour’s bliss to share!

His grave is at the Abbey Church of Romsey.

Gerald had another brother, Baptist Wriothesley Noel (1798-1873), born at Leighmont, Scotland.  The 1821 Cambridge graduate took Anglican Holy Orders.  In 1827 he began to serve at St. John’s Chapel, Bedford Row, London, where he established a reputation for evangelical preaching.  In 1846, while at St. John’s Chapel, he helped to found the Evangelical Alliance (http://www.eauk.org/).  Two years later he converted to the Baptists, serving as a minister of John Street Chapel, London, from 1849 to 1868 and serving two terms as the leader of the Baptist Union.  Baptist Noel was also an active philanthropist in London and an ardent abolitionist who supported the federal side in the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865).

Baptist Noel’s writings included the following:

  • Essay on the Union of Church and State (1848);
  • Essay on Christian Baptism (1849); and
  • Freedom and Slavery in the United States of America (1863).

One of his hymns follows:

There’s not a bird with lonely nest,

In pathless wood or mountain crest,

Nor meaner thing, which does not share,

O God, in Thy pastoral care.

+++++

Each banner crag, each desert rude,

Holds Thee within its solitude;

And Thou dost bless the wand’rer there,

Who makes his solitary prayer.

+++++

In busy mart and crowded street,

No less than in the still retreat,

Thou, Lord, art near, our souls to bless

With all a parent’s tenderness.

+++++

And we, where’er our lot is cast,

While life, and thought, and feeling last,

Through all the years in every place,

Will bless Thee for Thy boundless grace.

He died at Stanmere, Middlesex, England.

Finally we arrive at the saint of whom I intended to write all along.

Caroline Maria Noel (1817-1877), daughter of Gerald and niece of Baptist and Charles, was born in Kent.  She wrote her first hymn at the tender age of seventeen years.  Between ages of twenty and forty, however, she wrote no hymns.  Caroline resumed writing hymns after that, however.  The last twenty-five years of her life were filled with increasingly severe illnesses.  In this context she wrote primarily to assure others that there was divine comfort for those who suffer.  Her hymns, intended mostly for private meditations, appeared in two volumes:

  • The Name of Jesus, and Other Verses for the Sick and Lonely (1861); and
  • The Name of Jesus, and Other Poems (1878).

Perhaps her most famous hymn is “At the Name of Jesus,” a processional hymn for the Feast of the Ascension from 1870:

At the name of Jesus,

Ev’ry knee shall bow,

Ev’ry tongue confess him

King of glory now.

‘Tis the Father’s pleasure

We should call him Lord,

Who from the beginning

Was the mighty Word.

+++++

At his voice creation

Sprang at once to sight,

All the angel faces,

All the hosts of light,

Thrones and dominations,

Stars upon their way,

All the heavenly orders

In their vast array.

+++++

Humbled for a season,

To receive a name

From the lips of sinners

Unto whom he came,

Faithfully he bore it,

Spotless to the last,

Brought it back victorious

When from death he passed;

+++++

Bore it up triumphant

With its human light,

Through the ranks of creatures

To the central height,

To the throne of Godhead,

To the Father’s breast,

Filled it with the glory

Of that perfect rest.

+++++

In your hearts enthrone him;

There let him subdue

All that is not holy,

All that is not true:

Crown him as your captain

In temptation’s hour;

Let his will enfold you

In its light and pow’r.

+++++

Christians, this Lord Jesus

Shall return again

In his Father’s glory

With his angel train;

For all wreaths of empire

Meet upon his brow,

And our hearts confess him

King of glory now.

+++++

Glory then to Jesus,

Who, the Prince of light,

To a world in darkness

Brought the gift of sight;

Praise to God the Father;

In the Spirit’s love

Praise we all together

Him who reigns above.

Caroline’s grave is next to that of her father at Romsey.

I invite you, O reader, to join me in honoring the legacies of these saints.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 25, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, 1957

THE FEAST OF JAMES WELDON JOHNSON, POET AND NOVELIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM OF VERCELLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT; AND SAINT JOHN OF MATERA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Gerald Thomas Noel, Baptist Wriothesley Noel, Caroline Maria Noel,

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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2 responses to “Feast of Gerald Thomas Noel, Baptist Wriothesley Noel, and Caroline Maria Noel (December 2)

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  1. Pingback: Devotion for December 31 and January 1, Year A (ELCA Daily Lectionary) | ADVENT, CHRISTMAS, AND EPIPHANY DEVOTIONS

  2. Pingback: Our Lord and Savior’s Holy Name | BLOGA THEOLOGICA

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