Feast of Jane Laurie Borthwick and Sarah Borthwick Findlater (September 7)   1 comment

Edinburgh

Above:  Princess Street and Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland, Between 1890 and 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-07586

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JANE LAURIE BORTHWICK (APRIL 4, 1813-SEPTEMBER 7, 1897)

Scottish Presbyterian Translator of Hymns

sister of

SARAH BORTHWICK FINDLATER (NOVEMBER 26, 1823-DECEMBER 25, 1907)

Scottish Presbyterian Translator of Hymns

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Jane Laurie Findlater and Sarah Borthwick Findlater were sisters who contributed greatly to English-language hymnody.  They, natives of Edinburgh, Scotland, were members of the Free Church of Scotland, which separated from the Church of Scotland in 1843.  Their father, James Borthwick, manager of the Edinburgh branch of the North British Insurance Office, encouraged their early translation efforts.

Jane, who never married, published her earliest translations under the nom de plume “H.L.L.” in The Family Treasury, a religious periodical.  She preferred to preserve her anonymity, hence the pseudonym.  Jane published Thoughtful Hours (first edition, 1857; enlarged edition, 1867), The Story of Four Centuries:  Sketches of Early Church History for Youthful Readers (1864), Alpine Lyrics (1875), and Lyra Christiana:  A Treasury of Sacred Poetry (1887).  She also collaborated with her younger sister, Sarah, on the four volumes of Hymns from the Land of Luther (1854, 1855, 1858, and 1862).  Of the 122 texts in Hymns from the Land of Luther, Jane translated 69.  Sarah contributed the other 53.

Both women were generous people.  Jane supported a homeless shelter, the Edinburgh House of Refuge.  She also supported foreign missions efforts of the Free Church of Scotland, the Church Missionary Society, and the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum).  Sarah, wife of Free Church of Scotland minister Eric John Findlater, was generous, eccentric, and hospitable.  She gave away much money for, she said, that was the reason to have it.

Even in first half of the twentieth century common practice in hymnals was to alter the sisters’ translations, so the best way to read what they wrote is to consult their books.  Perhaps one hymn which Jane wrote (not translated) summarizes the mission which she and her sister pursued while on this planet:

Come, labour on.

Who dares stand idle on the harvest plain,

While all around him waves the golden grain?

And to each servant does the Master say,

“Go work today.”

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Come, labour on.

Claim the high calling angels cannot share–

To young and old the gospel gladness bear:

Redeem the time; its hours too swiftly fly.

The night draws nigh.

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Come, labour on.

The enemy is watching night and day,

To sow the tares, to snatch the seed away;

While we in sleep our duty have forgot,

He slumbered not.

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Come, labour on.

Away with gloomy doubts and faithless fear!

No arm so weak but may do service here:

By feeblest agents may our God fulfill

His righteous will.

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Come, labour on.

No time for rest, till glows the western sky,

While the long shadows o’er our pathway lie,

And a glad sound comes with the setting sun,

“Servants, well done.”

Jane died at Edinburgh on September 7, 1897.  Sarah followed her sister into the next life on December 25, 1907, at Torquay, England.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 16, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALL CHRISTIAN MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS

THE FEAST OF FRANCIS POTT, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF HUGH LATIMER, NICHOLAS RIDLEY, AND THOMAS CRANMER, ANGLICAN MARTYRS

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Jane Laurie Borthwick, Sarah Borthwick Findlater, 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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One response to “Feast of Jane Laurie Borthwick and Sarah Borthwick Findlater (September 7)

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  1. Pingback: Feast of Carl Bernhard Garve (June 21) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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