Feast of Charlotte Elliott, Julia Anne Elliott, and Emily Elliott (September 23)   3 comments

08044v

Above:  The Pier from the East, Brighton, England, Between 1890 and 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08044

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CHARLOTTE ELLIOTT (MARCH 18, 1789-SEPTEMBER 22, 1871)

Anglican Hymn Writer

sister-in-law of

JULIA ANNE ELLIOTT (1809-1841)

Anglican Hymn Writer

aunt of

EMILY ELIZABETH STEELE ELLIOTT (JULY 22, 1836-AUGUST 3, 1897)

Anglican Hymn Writer

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With this post I add three members of the Elliott family–one famous mostly for just one hymn out of the nearly 150 she wrote–the other saints not as well known.

The Elliotts came from the Evangelical branch of The Church of England.  The Reverend Henry Venn (1725-1797), Curate of Clapham, had been an associate of George Whitefield, John Wesley, and Charles Wesley.  The Reverend John Venn (1759-1813), also Curate of Clapham, had ministered to William Wilberforce and other abolitionists and presided (in 1799) over the founding of the Church Missionary Society.  Charlotte Elliott, daughter of Charles Elliott (a silk merchant) and Elmy Venn, was a granddaughter of Henry Venn and a niece of John Venn.  Two brothers–Henry Venn Elliott and Edward Bishop Elliott–were Anglican priests at Brighton.

Charlotte Elliott, born at Clapham, grew up in a religious household.  Swiss evangelist Cesar Malan (1797-1864) was a familiar presence in her life.  For the first thirty-two years of her life Charlotte lived in the household of her father at Clapham.  She, an invalid for the last fifty years of her life, suffered pain daily.  This pain led to spiritual crisis.  Then, via Malan, a spiritual epiphany inspired “Just as I Am, Without One Plea,” published in the 1841 edition of Charlotte’s The Invalid’s Hymn Book.

Charlotte, who lived at Brighton from 1823 until her death, composed that hymn there.  One day she was home alone.  The rest of the family had gone to a fundraiser for the future St. Mary’s Hall (founded in 1836), the brainchild of her brother, the Reverend Henry Venn Elliott.  St. Mary’s Hall offered subsidized education to the daughters of local Anglican clergymen.

“Just as I Am” is Charlotte’s most famous hymn, but she wrote about 150 others, many of which deserve attention also.  Some of them follow:

Charlotte published various collections of texts:

  • Hours of Sorrow Cheered and Comforted (1836);
  • Morning and Evening Hymns for a Week (1836);
  • The Invalid’s Hymn Book (1834-1841); and
  • Thoughts in Verse on Sacred Subjects (1869).

Some of her texts appeared also in Psalms and Prayers for Public, Private, and Social Worship (1835-1839), edited by her brother, Henry Venn Elliott.

One text from Morning and Evening Hymns for a Week follows:

Christian, seek not yet repose;

Hear thy guardian angel say,

“Thou art in the midst of foes:

Watch and pray.”

+++++

Principalities and powers,

Mustering their unseen array,

Wait for thy unguarded hours:

Watch and pray.

+++++

Gird thy heavenly armor on;

Wear it ever, night and day;

Ambushed lies the evil one:

Watch and pray.

+++++

Hear the victors who o’ercame;

Still they mark each warrior’s way;

All with one sweet voice exclaim,

“Watch and pray.”

+++++

Hear, above all, hear thy Lord,

Him thou lovest to obey;

Hide within thy heart His word,

“Watch and pray.”

+++++

Watch as if on that alone

Hung the issues of the day:

Pray that help may be sent down:

Watch and pray.

Henry Venn Elliott also published at least one text by his wife, Julia Anne Elliott (1809-1841) in the editions of Psalms and Hymns (1835-1839).  Julia Anne Marshall had been a parishioner before becoming Julia Anne Elliott.  Of her the Handbook to The Hymnal (1935), page 331, says:

She had a personality of great charm; she was affectionate, gentle, imaginative, devout.

Julia died after giving birth to her fifth child.

Among her hymns was “Hail, Thou Bright and Sacred Morn” (1833).

Emily Elliott (1836-1897), born at Brighton, was a niece of Charlotte and Julia and a daughter the Reverend Edward Bishop Elliott, priest at St. Mark’s Church.  For six years Emily edited The Church Missionary Society Juvenile Instructor, in which she published many of her hymns.  Among these was “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne and Thy Kingly Crown” (1864), published therein in 1870.  She wrote this hymn for the children and choir of St. Mark’s Church, Brighton, and reprinted it, with some changes, in her Chimes for Daily Services (1880).  Emily also published Hymns of Consecration (1873) and Under the Pillow, a devotional book designed for placing under the pillow of an ill person.

Another one of Emily’s hymns was “There Came a Little Child to Earth” (1856), revised for Chimes for Daily Services (1880):

There came a little Child to earth

Long ago;

And the angels of God proclaimed His birth,

High and low.

Out on the night, so calm and still,

Their song was heard;

For they knew that the Child on Bethlehem’s hill

Was Christ the Lord.

+++++

Far away in a goodly land,

Fair and bright,

Children with crowns of glory stand,

Robed in white,

In white more pure than spotless snow;

And their tongues unite

In the psalms, which the angels sang long ago

On that night.

+++++

They sing how the Lord of that world so fair

A child was born,

And, that they might a crown of glory wear,

Wore a crown of thorn,

And in mortal weakness, in want and pain,

Came forth to die,

That the children of earth might for ever reign

With Him on high.

+++++

He has put on His kingly apparel now,

In that goodly land;

And He leads, to where fountains of water flow,

That chosen band;

And for ever more, in their robes most fair

And undefiled,

Those ransomed children His praise declare

Who was once a child.

These three women have bequeathed to us a laudatory literary and spiritual legacy.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 21, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGIA HARKNESS, UNITED METHODIST THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENNETH OF WALES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Charlotte Elliott, Julia Anne Elliott, Emily Elizabeth Steele Elliott,

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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Revised on December 24, 2016

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3 responses to “Feast of Charlotte Elliott, Julia Anne Elliott, and Emily Elliott (September 23)

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  1. Pingback: Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne and Thy Kingly Crown | GATHERED PRAYERS

  2. Pingback: Hail, Thou Bright and Sacred Morn | GATHERED PRAYERS

  3. Pingback: Charlotte Elliott | GATHERED PRAYERS

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