Archive for January 2014

Feast of John Newton (July 24)   3 comments

John Newton

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN NEWTON (JULY 24, 1725-DECEMBER 21, 1807)

Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

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JOHN NEWTON, CLERK

ONCE AN INFIDEL AND LIBERTINE

A SERVANT OF SLAVES IN AFRICA WAS

BY THE RICH MERCY OF OUR

LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST

PRESERVED, RESTORED, PARDONED,

AND APPOINTED TO PREACH THE FAITH

HE HAD LONG LABOURED TO DESTROY

–from John Newton’s epitaph, which he wrote

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John Newton (1725-1807), famously the author of “Amazing Grace,” wrote much more than that.  He did write, for example, the splendid hymn, “Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken,” which I prefer to “Amazing Grace.”  (I do tilt toward Anglo-Catholicism.)

Newton’s father was a ship master; his mother was a devout Calvinist who raised him to become a minister.  Yet she died when our saint was just seven years old.  Newton, educated formally only from ages nine to eleven years, went to sea with his father at age eleven.  Six years later our saint joined the Royal Navy, from which he deserted in time.  Then he joined the ranks of slave traders.

Our saint came to realize eventually that grace was free yet not cheap; it did require much of him.  In 1748, at age twenty-three, he converted to Christianity after reading The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.  Yet our saint did not abandon the slave trade immediately.  In 1750 Newton, aged twenty-five years, married Mary Catlett, whom he had known since he had been seventeen years old and she fourteen.  And finally, in 1754, our saint’s conscience forced him into a different line of work.

The reformed man started his new life as a tide surveyor at Liverpool, yet he studied for Anglican Holy Orders.  He, ordained, served as Curate of Olney (1764-1780) then as Rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, London (1780-1807).  Toward the end of our saint’s tenure at Olney he and neighbor William Cowper, also a hymn writer, collaborated on Olney Hymns (1779).

Newton, blind at the end of his life, died in London in 1807, having been born there also.

A partial list of Newton’s published works follows:

  1. Cardiphonia:  or, The Utterances of the Heart;
  2. Letters to a Wife, Volumes I and II,
  3. Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade (1788);
  4. Works, Volume I;
  5. Works, Volume II;
  6. Works, Volume III;
  7. Works, Volume IV;
  8. Works, Volume V; and
  9. Works, Volume VI.

Newton wrote many laudatory and generally excellent hymns, some of which I have added to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  Here is another:

Though troubles assail and dangers affright,

Though friends should all fail and foes all unite,

Yet one thing secures us, whatever betide,

The Scripture assures us, the Lord will prevail.

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The birds without barn or storehouse are fed;

From them let us learn to trust for our bread;

His saints what is fitting shall ne’er be denied,

So long as ’tis written, “The Lord will provide.

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His call we obey, like Abram of old,

Not knowing our way, but faith makes us bold;

For, though we are strangers, we have a good guide,

And trust, in all dangers, the Lord will provide.

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No strength of our own or goodness we claim;

Yet since we have known the Saviour’s great Name,

In this our strong tower for safety we hide,–

The Lord is our power, the Lord will provide.

And here is another:

Now may He who from the dead

Brought the Shepherd of the sheep,

Jesus Christ, our King and Head,

All our souls in safety keep.

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May He teach us to fulfill

What is pleasing in His sight,

Perfect us in all His will,

And preserve us day and night.

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To that Redeemer’s praise,

Who the covenant sealed with blood,

Let our hearts and voices raise

Loud thanksgivings to our God.

Perfection, as in “be perfect as God is perfect” in the Gospels, as I have read in commentaries, indicates being suited to one’s purpose.  John Newton became suited to God’s purpose for him.  May each of us become suited to God’s purpose for each of us also, if we are not that already.  If the latter scenario is our reality, may we remain in it.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 24, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE ORDINATION OF FLORENCE LI-TIM-OI, ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCES DE SALES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GENEVA

THE FEAST OF THURGOOD MARSHALL, ATTORNEY AND JURIST

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM BARCLAY, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

John Newton 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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Feast of Matthew Bridges (July 14)   2 comments

Above:  The Vatican Flag

Image in the Public Domain

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MATTHEW BRIDGES (JULY 14, 1800-OCTOBER 6, 1894)

Hymn Writer

Matthew Bridges (1800-1824), born in Maldon, Essex, England, and raised in The Church of England, changed greatly from his youth to his later years.  He, a student of history, had, at age twenty-eight, published The Roman Empire Under Constantine the Great, a book meant to undermine certain historical claims of the Roman Catholic Church.  Yet, twenty years later, under the influence of the Oxford Movement, Bridges converted to Roman Catholicism.  He spent much of his life in the Canadian province of Quebec yet spent the final chapter of his life in a villa on the grounds of the Convent of the Assumption, Sidmouth, Devon, England.

A partial list of our saint’s published works follows:

  1. The Testimony of Profane Antiquity to the Account Given by Moses of Paradise and the Fall of Man (1825);
  2. The Roman Empire Under Constantine the Great (1828);
  3. Babbicombe, or Visions of Memory, and Other Poems (1842);
  4. Hymns of the Heart (1847 and 1851);
  5. The Passion of Jesus (1852); and
  6. A Popular Modern History (1855).

Bridges wrote a variety of hymns, the most famous of which is probably “Crown Him with Many Crowns.”  His original words, being too Roman Catholic for some tastes, prompted Godfrey Thring‘s rewrite in 1874.  Standard practice in hymnals has been to consolidate verses (Bridges and/or Thring) and to mix Bridges verses with Thring verses, thereby creating a great number of versions of the hymn.  Yet the original words endure, even if they have become obscure in many church circles.

Ironically, the introduction of Matthew Bridges’s hymns to many American churches came via Congregationalist minister Henry Ward Beecher, who edited the Plymouth Collection of Hymns and Tunes for the Use of Christian Congregations (1855).  In the Introduction to that landmark hymnal Beecher noted the inclusion of many hymns of the Roman Catholic Church, which he called

that Church of Error.

–page v, at the top

Bridges, of course, had a different opinion by that time.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 23, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN THE ALMSGIVER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES GORE, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF OXFORD

THE FEAST OF JESSIE BARNETT, SOCIAL ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF PHILLIPS BROOKS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MASSACHUSETTS

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Matthew Bridges 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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Feast of Clifford Bax (July 13)   Leave a comment

Clifford_Bax

Image in the Public Domain

CLIFFORD BAX (JULY 13, 1886-NOVEMBER 18, 1962)

Poet, Playwright, and Hymn Writer

Clifford Bax (1886-1962), brother of composer Sir Arnold Bax (1883-1953), was born in London, England.  Our saint traveled when young, studying art in Germany, Belgium, and Italy, before turning to literature and becoming a skilled poet and playwright.  Some of his published works were:

  1. Twenty Chinese Poems (1910);
  2. Poems Dramatic and Lyrical (1911);
  3. Square Pegs:  A Rhymed Fantasy for Two Girls (1920);
  4. A House of Words (1920);
  5. Antique Pageantry (1921):
  6. The Traveller’s Tale (1921);
  7. Up Stream:  A Drama in Three Acts (1922);
  8. Polite Satires (1922); and
  9. Island Far (1925), a book of recollections.

The text which brought Bax to my attention was a hymn, “Turn Back, O Man, Forswear Thy Foolish Ways” (1916), written during World War I.  That conflict, unfortunately, was not the “war to end all wars.”  No, President Woodrow Wilson’s prophesy from 1919 proved correct; a much worse global war followed it.  And World War I destroyed empires, changed the map of Europe and parts of Asia, claimed the lives of many people, and devastated a generation.  Bax’s hymn is a profound text, one which Godspell (1971) bastardizes and makes frivolous.  I prefer the Gustav Holst music:

Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways.

Old now is earth, and none may count her days,

Yet thou, her child, whose head is crowned with flame,

Still wilt not hear thine inner God proclaim–

“Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways.”

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Earth might be fair and all men glad and wise.

Age after age their tragic empires rise,

Built while they dream, and in that dreaming weep:

Would not but wake from out his haunted sleep,

Earth might be fair and all men glad and wise.

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Earth shall be fair, and all her people are:

Nor till that hour shall God’s whole will be done.

Now, even now, once more from earth to sky,

Peals forth in joy man’s old, undaunted cry–

“Earth shall be fair, and all her fold be one!”

The Handbook to The Hymnal (1935), companion volume to The Hymnal (1933), Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., said:

In spite of the flame of reason which crowns the brow of man, in spite of the lessons of history, he still goes forth in his foolish ways, still fails to hear the gentle voice of God which speaks in his bosom….This call to repentance rises with holy indignation from the soul of the poet, who sees what ruin man’s folly and wrath have wrought, and sees as well what good will and brotherly kindness might do.

–pages 438 and 439

Or maybe we should dress in tacky clothing and sing and dance atop the World Trade Center.  O wait, those towers do not exist anymore.  Agents of hatred destroyed them.  No, sober spirituality, not frivolity, fits that text well.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 22, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT SYNCLETIA OF ALEXANDRIA, DESERT MOTHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADELARD OF CORBIE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT OF SARAGOSSA, DEACON AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI, FOUNDER OF THE PALLOTINES

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Clifford Bax 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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Feast of George Duffield, Jr., and Samuel Duffield (July 6)   1 comment

Samuel Duffield

Above:  Samuel Duffield

Image Source = http://www.hymntime.com/tch/bio/d/u/f/duffield_saw.htm

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GEORGE DUFFIELD, JR. (SEPTEMBER 11, 1818-JULY 6, 1888)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

father of

SAMUEL AUGUSTUS WILLOUGHBY DUFFIELD (SEPTEMBER 24, 1843-MAY 12, 1887)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

Sometimes, as I research a proposed saint whose name I found somewhere, the trail leads me to at least one other remarkable person.  That happened as I read about George Duffield, Jr. (1818-1888); I learned about his son, Samuel, also.

The Duffield family produced a lineage of distinguished Presbyterian clergymen.  One George Duffield (1732-1790) served in the Continental Army as a chaplain during the U.S. War for Independence.  His grandson, George Duffield, Sr. (1796-1868), was the 1862 Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (New School) (1838-1869).  From that stock came George Duffield, Jr.

George Jr., born at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, graduated from Yale University and Union Theological Seminary.  His ministerial career, spent building up small congregations while relying on his wealth to sustain himself financially, was as follows:

  1. Fifth Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, New York (1840-1847);
  2. First Presbyterian Church, Bloomfield, New Jersey (1847-1852);
  3. Central Presbyterian Church of the Northern Liberties, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1852-1861);
  4. Adrian, Michigan (1861-1865);
  5. Second Presbyterian Church, Galesburg, Illinois (1865-1869);
  6. Saginaw, Michigan (1869); and
  7. Ann Arbor and Lansing, Michigan (1869-1884).

George Jr. retired in 1884 and spent his final years with his son, Samuel, whom he survived by slightly less than one year.

Samuel Augustus Willoughby Duffield (1843-1887), born in Brooklyn, New York, graduated from Yale University in 1863.  He, licensed to preach in 1866 and ordained the following year, served in the following places:

  1. Bergers, New Jersey;
  2. Ann Arbor, Michigan;
  3. Altoona, Pennsylvania; and
  4. Westminster Presbyterian Church, Bloomfield, New Jersey (1881-1887).

He, a translator and author of hymns, was also a scholar of hymnody.  His publications included:

  1. A translation of Bernard’s Hora Novissima (1867);
  2. Warp and Woof:  A Book of Verse (1868);
  3. The Burial of the Dead (1882);
  4. English Hymns:  Their Authors and History (1886); and
  5. Latin Hymn Writers and Their Hymns (1889).

I excavated one of Samuel’s hymns, “Oh, Land Relieved from Sorrow,” from the Southern Presbyterian Hymns of the Ages (1891):

Oh, land relieved from sorrow!

Oh, land secure from tears!

Oh, respite on the morrow

From all the toil of years!

To thee we hasten ever,

To thee our steps ascend,

Where darkness cometh never,

And joy shall never end.

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Oh, happy, holy, portal

For God’s own blest elect:

Oh, region, pure, immortal,

With better spring bedecked:

Thy pearly doors for ever

Their welcome shall extend,

Where darkness cometh never,

And joy shall never end.

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Oh, home where God the Father

Takes all His children in:

Where Christ the Son shall gather

The sinners saved from sin:

No might nor fear shall sever

A friend from any friend,

For darkness cometh never,

And joy shall never end.

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Rise, then, O brightest morning!

Come, then, triumphant day!

When into new adorning

We change and pass away:

For so with firm endeavor

Our spirits gladly tend

Where darkness cometh never,

And joy shall never end.

Samuel took after his father, George Jr., who also wrote hymn texts.  One of these was “Blessed Saviour, Thee I Love.”  Another was “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus,” with an interesting origin story and two more stanzas than most hymnals publish these days.  George Jr. was active in the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) at Philadelphia.  One of his dearest friends there was Dudley A. Tyng, an Episcopal priest also active in the YMCA.  One day in 1858 Tyng suffered a sudden and fatal accident.  He did have enough time to send a message to his fellow clergymen.

Tell them to stand up for Jesus,

he said.  George Jr., moved by the loss of his friend, wrote the famous hymns.  “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus,” customarily four stanzas long in hymnals, was originally six stanzas long:

Stand up, stand up for Jesus,

Ye soldiers of the cross;

Lift high His royal banner,

It must not suffer loss:

From victory to victory

His army shall He lead,

Till every foe is vanquished,

And Christ is Lord indeed.

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Stand up, stand up for Jesus!

The solemn watchword hear,

If while ye sleep He suffers,

Away with shame and fear;

Wherein ye meet with evil,

Within you or without,

Charge for the God of Battles,

And put the foe to rout!

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Stand up, stand up for Jesus!

The trumpet call obey;

Forth to the mighty conflict,

In this His glorious day:

Ye that are men now serve Him

Against unnumbered foes;

Let courage rise with danger,

And strength to strength oppose.

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Stand up, stand up for Jesus!

Stand in His strength alone;

The arm of flesh will fail you,

Ye dare not trust your own:

Put on the gospel armor,

Each piece put on with prayer;

Where duty calls, or danger,

Be never wanting there.

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Stand up, stand up for Jesus!

Each soldier to his post;

Close up the broken column,

And shout through all the host!

Make good the loss so heavy,

In those that still remain,

And prove to all around you

That death itself is gain!

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Stand up, stand up for Jesus!

The strife will not be long;

This day the noise of battle,

The next the victor’s song:

To Him that overcometh

A crown of life shall be;

He with the King of Glory

Shall reign eternally.

This hymn debuted in print in Lyra Sacra Americana (1868), on pages 99 and 100.

Families ought to propagate healthy faith.  The Duffields nurtured faith across generational lines and did much to feed it in many others down the corridors of time.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 21, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MIROCLES OF MILAN AND EPIPHANIUS OF PAVIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF SAINT AGNES, MARTYR AT ROME

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ALBAN ROE AND THOMAS REYNOLDS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT GASPAR DEL BUFALO, FOUNDER OF THE MISSIONARIES OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

George Duffield, Jr.; Samuel Duffield; 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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Feast of Charles Albert Dickinson (July 3)   6 comments

Portland Head Light

Above:  Portland Head Light, Portland, Maine, Circa 1917

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-101998

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CHARLES ALBERT DICKINSON (JULY 4, 1849-JANUARY 9, 1906)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer

Charles Albert Dickinson, born at Westminster, Vermont, in 1849, did much to help vulnerable young people.  His legacy remains intact via institutions in 2014, fortunately.

Dickinson, an 1876 graduate of Harvard University and an 1879 graduate of Andover Theological Seminary, entered the ranks of Congregational Church clergymen.  His first pastorate was at Portland, Maine.  From 1882 to 1888 he ministered at Lowell, Massachusetts.  His final pastorate was Berkeley Street Church, Boston, Massachusetts, from which he retired due to ill health.  In 1899 our saint moved to Ceres, California.

Dickinson, interested in ministry to the young, became involved in the Christian Endeavor movement, which pioneered that work in many churches.  That project led to the writing of a hymn, “Blessed Master, I Have Promised” (1900), for the Endeavor Hymnal (1901).

Our saint’s interest in ministry to the young also led him to engage in humanitarian efforts, which continue to serve people in 2014.  In 1894 Dickinson helped to found the Boston Floating Hospital, for the fresh air, people said, would be good for the ailing young people.  That year he also founded the Kurn Hattin Homes in rural Westminster, Vermont, for he thought that underprivileged children would fare better in the countryside than on city streets.

Our saint died at Corona, California, in 1906.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 20, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SARAH, BIBLICAL MATRIARCH

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DEICOLA AND GALL, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS; AND SAINT OTHMAR, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AT GALLEN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS EUTHYMIUS THE GREAT AND THEOCRISTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF SAINT FABIAN, BISHOP OF ROME

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom

the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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A Related Story:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/lisa-bianconi-life-changer-music-teacher-grammy-nominee/

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Feast of Henry Montagu Butler (July 2)   1 comment

Trinity College, Cambridge

Above:  Trinity College, Cambridge, Between 1890 and 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08091

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HENRY MONTAGU BUTLER (JULY 2, 1833-JANUARY 14, 1918)

Educator, Scholar, Hymn Writer, and Anglican Priest

Today I add Henry Montagu Butler (credited sometimes as Henry Montague Butler), a classicist and hymn writer, to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days as I commence another found of saints for July.

I recall an incident from not less than thirteen years ago.  I accompanied my father, then pastor of the Warwick United Methodist Church, Warwick, Georgia, to lunch at the home of a couple of his parishioners.  (I was a member of Christ Episcopal Church, Cordele, Georgia, at the time.)  The husband half of the host couple made a disturbing comment.  He disparaged intellectuals as having faith inferior to that of people not as well educated.  Both my father and I were tactful.  I recall my response was silence; that was an inappropriate time to spark a confrontation.  That man was, however, not only guilty of anti-intellectualism but of objective error in his comment.

One of the reasons I converted to The Episcopal Church and have remained in it is the denominational culture’s embrace of the human intellect.  We do not check our brains at the church door, we say, and I certainly do not check mine at any door.  Other denominations and congregations there also accept the union of faith, reason, intellect, and science, of course, and I applaud them for that.  May such a healthy view of faith and modernist knowledge only spread.

Henry Mongagu Butler (1833-1918) personified the best of scholarship and the Christian faith.  He, a classicist, was a skilled writer of Latin and Greek verse.  He was also an educator and an Anglican priest.  Our saint’s father was Dr. George Butler, Headmaster of the Harrow School.  Henry, educated at the Harrow School and at Trinity College, Cambridge, became a Fellow at the latter.  Our saint took Holy Orders in The Church of England in 1859, the year he became Headmaster of the Harrow School.  He left that post in 1885 to become Dean of Gloucester.  The following year our saint became the Master of his other alma mater, Trinity College, Cambridge, a post he held for the rest of his life.  And, in 1889-1890, he served as Vice Chancellor at Cambridge.

Our saint’s published works included the following:

  1. Remember Your Leaders (1892), a sermon;
  2. An Inaugural Lecture Delivered for the Session, 1898-9, at the University College of Wales, Aberustwyth, October 16th, 1898;
  3. University and Other Sermons (1899);
  4. Ten Great and Good Men (1910);
  5. Lord Chatham as an Orator (1912); and
  6. Some Leisure Hours of  Long Life (1914).

Butler, also for a time the Curate of Great St. Mary’s, Cambridge, wrote at least one great hymn, “‘Lift Up Your Hearts!’ We Lift Them, Lord, to Thee” (1881) for that year’s Harrow School Hymn Book.

May we honor this saintly scholar and poet.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 19, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SARGENT SHRIVER, U.S. STATESMAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT CAESARIUS OF ARLES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; AND SAINT CAESARIA OF ARLES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT HENRY OF UPPSALA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT WULFSTAN OF WORCESTER, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Henry Montagu Butler and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Johann Olaf Wallin (June 30)   1 comment

johan_olof_wallin_femtio_portrc3a4tt_af_ryktbara_svenskar

Above:  Archbishop Wallin

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHANN OLAF WALLIN (OCTOBER 15, 1779-JUNE 30, 1839)

Archbishop of Uppsala and Hymn Writer

Johann Olaf Wallin, or as I have also seen his name spelled, Johan Olof Wallin, is to Swedish Lutheran hymnody what people such as Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts, and Philip Doddridge are to traditional English hymnody.

Wallin, born at Stora Tuna, Delarna province, Sweden, was the son of a sergeant major in the Army.  Our saint became a scholar, earning his doctoral degree from the University of Uppsala at age twenty-four.  Wallin, ordained in 1806, became the theological assistant at Karlberg War College the following year.  In 1808 he became lecturer at the college and pastor at Solna.  Four years later our saint became pastor of the Adolf Frederik Church, Stockholm.  In 1818 he became Dean of Vasteras.  Three years later Wallin became pastor at Storkyrkan.  In 1824 he became a bishop (of which diocese I cannot determine).  After thirteen years our saint rose to Archbishop of Uppsala, the Primate of the Church of Sweden, having become chief royal preacher in 1830.  He died in 1839.

Wallin’s main contribution was literary, especially in the realm of hymnody.  He served on the committee which produced a proposed successor to the 1695 Psalmboken, or hymnal, in 1811.  That revision, criticized roundly, never became official.  Yet Wallin did forge the 1819 Psalm-Boken, which the Church of Sweden amended in 1920 and replaced in 1937.  The 1819 volume

represented both the high point in classic Swedish literary style and the blending of the new idealist romanticism with the older strict Lutheran theology.  In time it came to win such a secure place in the hearts of the Swedish people that no other book could completely replace it.

–Joel W. Lundeen in Marilyn Kay Stulken, Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship (Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1981), pages 45-46

Yet the 1819 Psalm-Boken had its critics from the left and the right.  Pietists tended to find it too rigidly orthodox, so they prepared their own unofficial books.  And strict orthodox factions, objecting to the romanticism of the 1819 volume, prepared their unofficial hymnals.  One of these (from 1849) became the official (Swedish-language) hymnal of the old Augustana Synod in North America in 1892.

Wallin’s work dominated the 1819 Psalm-Boken, which contained 500 hymns.  He wrote 128 of them, translated twenty-three, and revised 178.  That influence remained strong in the book’s 1937 successor, with about one-third of whose content bore Wallin’s stamp.

I have added some of our saint’s hymns to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  Wallin’s output being so numerous, I have chosen to include just two hymn texts in this post.  The first is his great Christmas hymn, translated by Ernst William Olson in The Hymnal and Order of Service (1925), Augustana Synod:

All hail to thee, O blessed morn!

To tidings long by prophets borne

Hast thou fulfillment given.

O sacred and immortal day,

When unto death, in glorious ray,

Descends the grace of heaven!

Singing,

Ringing,

Sounds are blending,

Praises sending

Unto heaven

For the Saviour to us given.

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‘Tis God’s own Image and, withal

The Son of Man, that mortals all

May find in Him a brother.

He comes, with peace and love to bide

On earth, the erring race to guide

And help as could no other;

Rather

Gather

Closer, fonder,

Sheep that wander,

Feed and fold them,

Then let evil powers hold them.

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He tears, like other men, will shed,

Our sorrows share, and be our aid,

Through His eternal power;

The Lord’s good will unto us show,

And mingle in our cup of woe

The drops of mercy’s shower;

Dying,

Buying

Through His passion

Our salvation,

And to mortals

Opening the heavenly portals.

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He comes, for our redemption sent,

And by His glory heaven is rent

To close upon us never;

Our blessed Shepherd He would be,

Whom we may follow faithfully

And be with Him forever;

Higher,

Nigher,

Glory wringing,

Praises singing

To the Father

And His Son, our Lord and Brother.

And, to complete the process which the Incarnation began, there was Easter.  Thus I share the following text, translated by Brent Emil Bengston, and also from the 1925 Hymnal:

He lives! O fainting heart, anew

With joy thy Lord and Saviour view!

He from the silent chamber woke,

And speaks again as e’er He spoke.

A quickening hand He has to give:

He lives, and thou shalt also live.

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O hear His voice and take His hand,

Thou traveler to a better land;

While passing through thy crucial test,

Lift up thy head,–a peaceful rest;

Thy trials over, He shall give:

He lies, and thou shalt also live.

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Ye dead in sin, awake, arise!

The Lord is calling from the skies.

Repentant come, in faith remain,

And live in Him; from sin and pain

And death shall He salvation give:]

He lives, and thou shalt also live.

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With Him thy guide lies smooth and bright

The pathway to the realms of light;

Abiding faith, undying love,

And hope lead to the home above.

Thy life into His keeping give:

He lives, and thou shalt also live.

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Of glory shall His raiment be;

O’er time and o’er eternity

The Sun of righteousness shall shine;

In heaven’s throne He sits divine;

A footstool earth to Him shall give:

He lives, and thou shalt also live.

Thanks be to God for the life and work of Archbishop Wallin!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 18, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER, APOSTLE

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Johann Olaf Wallin 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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