Feast of Samuel Preiswerk (January 13)   Leave a comment

Basel, Switzerland

Above:  The Region of Basel, Switzerland

Scanned and cropped from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

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SAMUEL PREISWERK (SEPTEMBER 19, 1799-JANUARY 13, 1871)

Swiss Reformed Minister and Hymn Writer

Samuel Preiswerk followed in his father’s footsteps.  Alexander Preiswerk was a Swiss Reformed minister at Rumlingen, in the Basel canton.  Samuel studied at Basel, Tubingen, and Erlangen before becoming an ordained minister.  He served as the Curate in Charge at Benken, Basel canton, before becoming the preacher at the orphanage at Basel in 1824.  Five years later he began to teach Hebrew at the Basel mission house.  Then, in 1830, Preiswerk became the pastor at Muttenz, near Basel.  Two years later, however, the outbreak of revolution forced him to leave the city.  In 1834 our saint became Professor of Old Testament Exegesis at the seminary at Geneva.  Nine years later he started to serve as the pastor of St. Leonard’s Church, Basel.  His final position was as the highest ranking dignitary at the Cathedral, or Munster, in Basel, starting in 1859.

Preiswerk wrote hymns and helped to edit the Basel Gesangbuch (1854).  Sixteen of his hymns appeared in Evangelischer Lieder Kranz (1844) and nine of them were present in Egangelisher Lieder-Schatz (1850).  Few of his hymns exist in English translation.  Among them is “Hark! the Church Proclaims Her Honor” (1844), thanks to the valiant efforts of Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878).

O hark! the Church proclaims her honor,

And her strength is only this:

God hath laid His choice upon her,

And the work she doth is His.

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He His Church hath firmly founded,

He will guard what He began;

We, by sin and foes surrounded,

Build her bulwarks as we can.

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Frail and fleeting are our powers,

Short our days, our foresight dim,

And we own the choice not ours,

We were chosen first by him.

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Onward, then! For naught despairing,

Calm we follow at His word,

Thus through joy and sorrow bearing

Faithful witness to the Lord.

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Tho’ we here must strive in weakness,

Though in tears we often bend,

What His might began in meekness

Shall achieve glorious end.

The Lutheran Hymnal (1941)

Our saint died at Basel on January 13, 1871.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 17, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTONY OF EGYPT, DESERT FATHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT BERARD AND HIS COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS IN MOROCCO

THE FEAST OF EDMUND HAMILTON SEARS, UNITARIAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Samuel Preiswerk 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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