Above: Brixham, England, Between 1890 and 1900
Published by Detroit Publishing Company, 1905
Image Source = Library of Congress
Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08056
HENRY FRANCIS LYTE (JUNE 1, 1763-NOVEMBER 20, 1847)
Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
Henry Francis Lyte, born at Ednam, Scotland, attended Trinity College, Dublin, where he won a poetry prize three times. He had planned originally to become a doctor yet chose instead to take Anglican Holy Orders. He served various congregations from 1815 to 1823. In 1818, at Marazion, Cornwall, our saint had an epiphany whereby what he already knew intellectually became real to him. Lyte sat by the death-bed of a fellow clergyman. Our saint wrote:
…He died, I rejoice to say, happy under the belief that though he had deeply erred, there was One whose death and sufferings would atone for his delinquencies, and be accepted for all that he had incurred. I was deeply affected for the whole matter, and brought to look at life and its issues with a different eye than before; and I began to study my Bible and preach in another manner than I had previously done.
–Quoted in Robert Guy McCutchan, Our Hymnody: A Manual of The Methodist Hymnal, 2d. Ed. (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1937, page 109)
From 1823 Lyte served as the Curate of Lower Brixham, Devon, a fishing village. This was a bad assignment for a man with a fragile constitution and a sensitive spirit, yet he worked there for a quarter of a century in the vineyard of the Lord. In 1847 our saint died at Nice, France, where he sought restoration and renewal. His last words were
as he pointed upward.
Lyte wrote the following:
- Tales on the Lord’s Prayer in Verse (1826);
- Poems, Chiefly Religious (1833); and
- The Spirit of the Psalms (1834).
I have provided the texts of some of Lyte’s hymns at my GATHERED PRAYERS blog: http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/henry-francis-lyte/.
When our end comes, O reader, may we, like Henry Francis Lyte, have a well-founded sense of peace and joy in God.
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
Dear God of beauty,
you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to
Henry Francis Lyte 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
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