Archive for the ‘November 4’ Category

Feast of Theodore Weld, Angelina Grimke Weld, Sarah Grimke, Francis J. Grimke, and Charlotte Grimke (November 4)   4 comments

Above:  A Partial Grimké-Weld Family Tree

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor



U.S. Congregationalist then Quaker Abolitionist and Educator

husband of


U.S. Presbyterian then Quaker Abolitionist and Feminist

sister of


U.S. Episcopalian then Quaker Abolitionist and Feminist

aunt of


African-American Presbyterian Minister and Civil Rights Activist

husband of


African-American Abolitionist and Educator


Lawless ruffians may keep the Negro away from the polls by shotguns; and by unrighteous laws and intimidation may shut him out of first-class cars, but there is no power by which all the combined forces of evil in the South can keep him from approaching the throne of grace.  Here is one thing, thank God, that this Negro-hating spirit cannot do,–it cannot prevent him from praying.

–Francis James Grimké, quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (New York:  Church Publishing, 2006), 349


The Weld-Grimkés, a remarkable family, did much for the cause of social justice.


Theodore Dwight Weld, born in Hampton, Connecticut, on November 23, 1803, was an abolitionist and an educator.  He, raised a Congregationalist, studied at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, from 1820 to 1822.  He had to leave the school because of bad eyesight, however.  Our saint, a son of Elizabeth Clark (Weld) and the Reverend Ludovicus Weld, came from a socially conscious family.  Brother Ezra Greenleaf Weld (1801-1874), a daguerreotype photographer by profession, was also an abolitionist.  Young Theodore traveled in the United States for several years after leaving Phillips Academy; he witnessed slavery in the South.  In 1825 he moved with his family to Pompey, in upstate New York.

Weld became an abolitionist.  This transformation occurred during his time as a student at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York.  Influential figures in our saint’s life included William Wilberforce (a British politician largely responsible for the abolition of slavery in that empire) and Charles Finney (1792-1875), a prominent American evangelist and abolitionist, who, unfortunately, considered the bulk of the classics of English literature, from William Shakespeare to Sir Walter Scott, blasphemous.  After Hamilton College young Theodore left for Oneida, New York, and for the Oneida Manual Labor Institute, specifically.  In 1831 brothers Arthur Tappan (1786-1865) and Lewis Tappan (1788-1873), businessmen, abolitionists, and socially conscious philanthropists, hired our saint as an agent for the Society for Promoting Manual Labor in Literary Institutions.  In that capacity he traveled widely and spoke regarding manual labor and moral reform.

Later, as a student at Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio, Weld continued his abolitionist activism.  He led the “Lane Rebels,” a group of pupils who openly discussed the abolition of slavery and helped to liberate 1,500 slaves in that city.  In 1834, when the trustees of the seminary imposed a gag rule regarding slavery, Weld and the bulk of the student body transferred to the Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio.  Our saint left Oberlin College later that year, however, and became an agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, founded the previous year.  People he converted to the cause included Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) and Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887).  Weld lectured until 1836.  That year he shifted his focus to writing.  Weld edited The Emancipator until 1840.  In 1836 he also met Angelina Emily Grimké, whom he married two years later.


Sarah Moore Grimké and Angelina Emily Grimké were two of the most remarkable women of the nineteenth century.  They, born in Charleston, South Carolina, came from a large, prominent, and wealthy family.  The Grimkés, of Huguenot ancestry, belonged to the planter class; they owned slaves.  The father, John Grimké (1752-1819), held various statewide political offices.  The mother, Mary Smith (Grimké), guided the daughters’ educations according to gender norms, meaning a narrower curriculum for young women.  Sarah, born in 1792, manifested her revolutionary tendencies starting in childhood; she, in violation of state law, taught slaves to read.  Angelina, also rebellious, refused confirmation in The Episcopal Church when, at the age of 13 years, she refused to recite the creed.  She became a Presbyterian eight years later.

Sarah left The Episcopal Church and converted to Quakerism.  In 1819 she accompanied her dying father to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to consult Dr. Philip Syng Physick (1768-1837), “the Father of American Surgery.”  She remained in the City of Brotherly Love for several months after the father died.  During that sojourn Sarah became a Quaker.  She returned to Charleston briefly before going back to Philadelphia.

Angelina was a devout Presbyterian for a few years.  She taught Sunday School at her church and offered worship services for the family’s slaves.  Our saint also opposed the Peculiar Institution of the South.  Chattel slavery was, she insisted, contrary to Biblical ethics and human rights.  Angelina’s open abolitionism led to her expulsion from her congregation in 1829.  She, already under the influence to join Sarah in Philadelphia and become a Quaker, did so.

The Grimké sisters were radical, even relative to the standards of other radicals of their time.  The sisters, suffragettes who sought gender equality in the Religious Society of Friends, where they should have found it, given the doctrine of the Inner Light, were too revolutionary for the leaders of the Orthodox Quakers in Philadelphia.  When the sisters addressed audiences of men and women, Angelina and Sarah violated deeply held social mores and gender norms.  When the sisters criticized Northern allies of Southern slaveholders and of slavery in general, Angelina and Sarah offended many.  When the sisters addressed the Massachusetts State Legislature in 1838, they linked the rights to women to the rights of African Americans.  In so doing, the sisters contributed to a controversy that divided the abolitionist movement.

Angelina and Sarah wrote against slavery, too.  Angelina wrote for The Liberator, founded and edited by fellow abolitionist and feminist William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879).  One of her major works was “An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South” (1836.  Another important work was Letters to Catharine Beecher (1838).  Catharine Esther Beecher (1800-1878), sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe (1812-1896), was an educator who pioneered kindergarten in the United States.  Catharine Beecher. despite her progressiveness vis-à-vis early childhood education, was conservative in other ways.  She, for example, opposed the participation of women in the abolitionist movement, for she accepted female subordination to males.  Angelina disagreed strongly.  Sarah’s works included the Epistle to the Clergy of the Southern States (1836) and Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women (1838).


The Grimké sisters met Theodore Weld in 1836.  Sarah and Angelina were in New York City for a training conference for antislavery agents.  Weld married Angelina and converted to Quakerism in 1838.  The couple and Sarah moved to a farm in Bellville, New Jersey, and became a team.  All three published American Slavery As It Is:  Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses (1839), a work that influenced Harriet Beecher Stowe to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852).

Angelina and Theodore had three children:  Charles Stuart Weld, Theodore Grimké Weld, and Sarah Grimké Weld.

Theodore continued his abolitionist activities until about 1844.  He helped to found the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in 1840, became active with the Liberty Party, and advised the antislavery wing of the Whig Party.  He also helped Representative (and former President of the United States) John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) resist the antislavery gag rule (1836-1844) in effect in Congress.

Theodore, Angelina, and Sarah devoted much of their lives to education.  Theodore and Angelina opened to schools–one in Eagleswood, Perth Amboy, New York (1854), and the other in their new home, Hyde Park, Boston, Massachusetts (1864).  These schools were open to students regardless of race or gender.

When ill health forced Angelina into domestic life, Sarah served as her primary caregiver.


Henry Grimké (1801-1852), a brother of Angelina and Sarah, had two families.  After his wife, Selina Simmons (Grimké) died in 1843, Henry started a second family with slave Nancy Weston (1810-1895), who was, in all ways except the legal one, his second wife.  They had three children:  Archibald Henry Grimké (1849-1930), John Grimké (1852-1918), and Francis James Grimké (1852-1937).  Henry’s dying instruction to his son and heir, E. Montague Grimké (1832-1896), was to treat Nancy, Archibald, John, and Francis like family.  Montague did the opposite.  In 1860 he claimed them as slaves–his property.  He never provided sufficient financial support for them, but he did sell Francis.  Archibald had to hide from his half-brother during the Civil War.  After the war, the three brothers studied in schools the Freedmen’s Bureau operated.

Theodore, Angelina, and Sarah learned of the existence of the African-American cousins in the late 1860s.  The Weld-Grimkés recognized their newly found relatives and offered education to the three sons, their nephews.  Archibald and Francis accepted; they graduated from Lincoln University in 1870 then continued their educations.  John, however, remained in Charleston with his mother.

Archibald eventually became an attorney, diplomat, journalist, and intellectual.  In 1909 he and brother Francis helped to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.).  Archibald’s daughter, Angelina Weld Grimké (1880-1958), became an educator, a playwright, a journalist, and a figure of the Harlem Renaissance.


Sarah died on December 23, 1873.  She was 81 years old.

Angelina died on October 26, 1879.  She was 74 years old.

Theodore died on February 3, 1895.  He was 91 years old.


Francis James Grimké graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1878 and became a Presbyterian minister.  That year he also married Charlotte Louise Bridges Forten.

Charlotte Forten was one of the great women of history.  She, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 17, 1837, came from a prominent African-American family involved in the abolitionist movement.  Her parents were Robert Forten and Virginia Wood (Forten).  Our saint, educated in Salem, Massachusetts, joined the female Anti-Slavery Society there.  She spoke in public and met famous abolitionists, such as William Lloyd Garrison.  Charlotte made history in 1856; she became the first African-American hired to teach white pupils in Salem’s public schools.  She returned to Philadelphia two years later.  While there, Garrison published some of her poetry in The Liberator.  Charlotte taught freedmen on St. Helena’s Island, South Carolina, as part of the Port Royal Experiment, during the Civil War.  After the war she worked for the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C.  After 1873, she was a clerk, until she married Francis.  Their only child, Theodora Cornelia Grimké, lived for about five months in 1880.

Francis was the pastor of two congregations.  He spent 1886-1889 at Laura Street Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, Florida, a tenure preceded and succeeded at Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.  He, minister there for more than half a century, retired in 1928.  Charlotte worked in her husband’s churches.

Francis was also active beyond the parish level.  He worked with Alexander Crummell (1819-1898), with whom he helped to found the American Negro Academy in 1897.  Francis also opposed Booker T. Washington‘s gradualist approach to ending segregation, sought to end lynching, advocated for African Americans’ full suffrage, and worked for educational equality of access for African Americans.

Charlotte died on July 23, 1914.  She was 78 years old.

Francis brought his widowed brother, Archibald, and his niece, Angelina, into his household.  Angelina and her uncle were caregivers to Archibald, who died in 1930.

Francis died in Washington, D.C., on October 11, 1937.  He was 85 years old.








Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servants

Theodore Dwight Weld,

Angelina Grimké Weld,

Sarah Moore Grimké,

Francis James Grimké, and

Charlotte Louise Bridges Forten Grimké,

to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name,

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

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60


Feast of Leon Bloy, Jacques Maritain, and Raissa Maritain (November 4)   4 comments

Above:  The Flag of the French Republic

Image in the Public Domain


LÉON BLOY (JULY 11, 1846-NOVEMBER 3, 1917)

French Roman Catholic Novelist and Social Critic

godfather of


French Roman Catholic Philosopher

husband of


Russian-French Roman Catholic Contemplative


The worst evil is not to commit crimes, but to have failed to do the good one might have done.

–Léon Bloy, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), 477


If Christians were to renounce…the desire for sanctity, this would be an ultimate betrayal against God and against the world.

–Jacques Maritain, quoted in Ellsberg, All Saints (1997), 503


It is an error to isolate oneself from men….If God does not call one to solitude, one must live with God in the multitude, must make him known there and make him loved.

–Raïssa Maritain, quoted in Ellsberg, All Saints (1997), 480


Alors il leva les yeux sur ses disciples et dit:

Heureux vous les pauvres, car le royaume de Dieu à vous!…

Mais malheur à vous, les riches, car vous avez votre consolation.

Luc 6: 20 et 24, La Sainte Bible, Nouvelle Version Segond Révisée (1976)


As Léon Bloy understood, Jesus said,

Blessed are the poor


Woe to you who are rich.

The novelist, who internalized that value system, railed against the dominant social value that says

Woe to you who are poor


Blessed are the rich.

Bloy, born in Notre-Dame-de-Sanihac, France, on July 11, 1846, grew up an agnostic hostile to Roman Catholicism.  His father was Jean-Baptiste Bloy; our saint’s mother was Anne-Marie Carreau.  In 1869 Bloy converted to Roman Catholicism, however.  He was a frequently controversial figure with a temper, which he brought to bear on social ills, including greed, injustice, materialism, and anti-Semitism.  Our saint also led a difficult, impoverished life.  His writings did not sell well, and poverty contributed to the deaths of two of his children.  The self-critical novelist died at the age of 71 years on November 3, 1917, in Bourg-la-Reine, France.

Bloy did, despite his self-recriminations for having done too little for God, help to bring the Maritains to faith.

Jacques Maritan, born in Paris, France, on November 11, 1882, became a prominent philosopher.  He, raised in a Protestant family, had lost his faith by the time he matriculated at the Sorbonne in 1899.  Yet the search for the truth still mattered to Maritain.  At the Sorbonne he met and fell in love with another troubled seeker, Raïssa Oumansov.

The Oumansov family, formerly of Rostov and Mariupol, the Russian Empire, was Jewish.  The family, with daughters Raïssa and Vera, had moved to Paris in 1893, to escape official anti-Semitism and to provide better educational opportunities for the daughters.  Raïssa, as an adolescent, lost her faith.  She sought the truth in vain at the Sorbonne (1900f).  She did, however, meet Jacques Maritain when he asked her to sign a petition protesting the Czarist government’s treatment of socialist students.

The Maritains, married in 1904, eventually became despondent over having not found the truth that they made a suicide pact.  They agreed that they would take their lives if, within a year, they did discover the meaning of life.  Bloy befriended them, though, and led them, as well as Vera Oumansov, into the Roman Catholic Church.  He stood as their godfather in 1906.  Jacques, Raïssa, and Vera eventually chose to become Oblates of St. Benedict, and to make vows of perpetual chastity.

Jacques immersed himself in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas and spent much of his life applying Thomism to the modern world.  He, a professor at the Institut Catholique, Paris, from 1914 to 1939, offended many conservative Roman Catholics by favoring constitutional government and opposing the Spanish fascist leader Francisco Franco.  Jacques, with Raïssa acquainted with Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, also favored what he called “Integral Humanism,” or the infusion of Christian values into the world via what he called “Lay Spirituality.”  Jacques, an opponent of the Vichy government, taught in the United States and Canada from 1940 to 1945.  After World War II he served as the French Ambassador to the Vatican.  During that period (1945-1948), he befriended Angelo Roncalli, the Nuncio to France.  Roncalli went on to become St. John XXIII, Bishop of Rome, in 1958.  Jacques taught at Princeton University from 1948 to 1960.

Raïssa became a poet and a contemplative.  She understood that God was calling her to share in divine suffering, and kept a spiritual journal.  She died on November 4, 1960.  Jacques had her spiritual journal published posthumously.

Jacques, as a widower, joined the Little Brothers of Jesus, the order Blessed Charles de Foucauld founded in the Algerian desert in 1933.  Jacques became a notice at Toulousse in 1961; he made his vows nine years later.  Pope St. Paul VI recognized our saint in person at the Vatican in 1965.  The Supreme Pontiff presented our saint with a copy of the Vatican II document on the Church and the Modern World.  Jacques, aged 90 years, died in Toulousse on April 28, 1973.

Part of the meaning of life is to help each other live faithfully, to glorify God, to enjoy God, and to show the light of Christ in our lives.








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), 60


Feast of Ludolph Ernst Schlicht; John Gambold, Sr.; and John Gambold, Jr. (November 4)   3 comments

November 4 Saints

Above:  New Saints for November 4

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor



Moravian Minister, Musician, and Hymn Writer



British Moravian Bishop, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns

Father of

JOHN GAMBOLD, JR. (NOVEMBER 15, 1760-JUNE 21, 1795)

Moravian Composer


The previous post in the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days series started with research into one person and led to the addition of six others as well.  This post began with research into one person (Schlicht) and led to two others–a father and a son.  I also found areas of overlap with the previous post in this series.

Ludolph Ernst Schlicht (1714-1769), who attended the seminary at the University of Jena, arrived at Herrnhut, on the estate of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) near Berthelsdorf, Saxony.  There Schlicht spent most of his time sharing his musical talents with young people.  He joined the Unitas Fratrum in 1739, became an ordained minister three years later, and served congregations in Ireland and England.  Schlicht began to serve the congregation at Bedford, England, in 1753.

Music has long been important in the Moravian Church, so one ought not to find accounts of Moravian clergymen who were also musicians surprising.  Schlicht, a skilled musician, used that skill for the glory of God by playing in worship services.  He also composed hymn texts, anthems, and cantatas.  Among the hymns were “Immanuel, We Sing Thy Praise,” “Lord, Grant Us, Though Deeply Abased,” and, with Bishop John Gambold, Sr. (1711-1771), “Ye Who Called to Christ’s Service Are.”  Schlicht collaborated with Bishop Gambold on the first official British Moravian hymnal, A Collection of Hymns for the Children of God in All Ages, From the Beginning Till Now, Designed Chiefly for the Use of Congregations in Union with the Brethren’s Church (1754).  This hymnal contained 1,055 hymn texts reaching all the way back to the Early Church and as late as the 1700s, including texts by great English hymn writers such as Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley.  Only fifty-one of these hymns came from the Moravian Church prior to its 1727 Renewal.  And, some of my sources indicate, Schlicht probably edited a British hymnal in 1746.  The only book which, according to my research, fit that description was James Hutton‘s private collection, The Tunes for the Hymns in the Collection with Several Translations from the Moravian Hymnbook (1742), with its 1746 supplement.

John Gambold, Sr. (1711-1771), son of the Anglican Vicar of Puncheston, Pembrokeshire, Wales, attended Christ Church, Oxford (B.A, 1730; M.A., 1734), took Holy Orders and served as the Vicar of Stanton Harcourt (1733-1742).  Gambold, who met John Wesley at Oxford, became part of the core group of earliest Methodism.  By 1741, however, he and Wesley had ceased to speak to each other.  (More than one person fell out with Wesley, probably due to the combination of personality clashes and theological disagreements.)  Gambold and Wesley, both whom had Moravian influences, moved in different directions after 1738.  Gambold, who met Count Zinzendorf in 1739, preferred the mysticism of the Greek Church Fathers to Wesley’s style of religion.  Thus it came to pass that Gambold entered the Unitas Fratrum in 1742.

Gambold, from the first British Moravian bishop (as of 1752), left a fine legacy in the realm of hymnody.  He, of course, edited the landmark hymnal of 1754.  Less famous was the 1769 hymnal he edited.  The Bishop also translated twenty-six hymns and wrote eighteen.  A hymn from 1741, as the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923) contains it, follows:

They who know our Lord indeed,

Find in Him a Friend indeed,

And behold in Jesus’ face

Naught but mercy, truth, and grace.


They can cast by faith their care

On that Lord who heareth prayer;

And when they to Him draw nigh,

He doth all their wants supply.


They who Him their Saviour know,

Lowly at His footstool bow;

They to whom His Name is dear,

To offend Him greatly fear.


O how wondrous is His love,

To all who His goodness prove;

Lord, accept our thanks and praise

For Thy goodness, truth, and grace.

Other hymns included “O Grant Thy Servants,” “They Who Jesus’ Followers Are,” and “What Praise to Thee, My Saviour.”

Bishop Gambold left an impressive literary legacy, which included the following:

  1. The Maryrdom of Saint Ignatius (1740; published posthumously in 1773, with Bishop Benjamin Henry LaTrobe, Sr., as Editor);
  2. Maxims and Theological Ideas (1751);
  3. Sermons; and
  4. The History of Greenland, Volumes I and II, by David Crantz (1767, with Gambold as the Editor and one of the translators).

There were also posthumous collections:

  1. The Works of the Late Rev. John Gambold, A.M. (1789); and
  2. The Poetical Works of the Late Rev. John Gambold, A.M. (1816).

Also, The Oxford Methodists (1873) contains an account of his life on pages 155-200.

Bishop Gambold died at Haverford West, Wales, on September 13, 1771, when his son, John Gambold, Jr. (1760-1795), was two months short of being eleven years old.  John, Jr., went to study in Germany (at the time a geographical, not a political, designation) in 1774, at age fourteen.  There he remained for the rest of his brief life.  He studied at Niesky and Barby.  John, Jr., aspired to become a scholar yet the Church appointed him to teach young people instead.  On the side he composed six keyboard sonatas (published at Leipzig in 1788) and twenty-six vocal pieces.  John, Jr., whose health had always been fragile, died at Barby, Saxony, at age thirty-four.

The process of preparing these posts about saints is a rewarding one.  Along the way I learn of connections between and among people, of some of the circumstances of their lives, of what they did with their lives and strove to do with them, and of their legacies.  In this case the process had led me to some conclusions about these three men.  They were flawed people, of course, but perfection was not an option.  (Who among us is not flawed?)  They agreed and disagreed with others, engaged in interpersonal conflicts, sometimes had irreconcilable differences, had positive relationships also, and tried to walk as closely with God as possible.  To the extent that they succeeded grace made the difference between that and failure.  They also applied their talents to the glory of God.  And more of us ought to know their names and some of their accomplishments.








Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Ludolph Ernst Schlicht; John Gambold, Sr.; John Gambold, Jr.;

and all those who with music or words have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from the Proper for Artists and Writers, Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728


Feast of Augustus Montague Toplady (November 4)   Leave a comment

Union Jack

Above:  The Union Jack



Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

Augustus Montague Toplady lost his father, a Major in the Royal Army, in 1741.  Thus our saint grew up without his pious mother.  He attended Westminster School then Trinity College, Dublin.  At age sixteen, when Toplady was in Dublin, he had a conversion experience under the influence of a Wesleyan lay preacher.   Toplady, back in England, became an Anglican priest in 1764.  He served various congregations before becoming the Vicar of Broadhembury four years later.  The Calvinistic Toplady wrote vigorous criticisms of Arminianism and carried on a controversy with John Wesley.  Poor health forced Toplady to leave Broadhembury in 1775.  He spent the last three years of his life preaching at a Huguenot chapel in London.  The popular and powerful preacher died of tuberculosis when aged thirty-eight years.

Toplady wrote hymns, including the frequently sung “Rock of Ages” (1776).  He composed the following text five years prior:

A debtor to mercy alone,

Of covenant mercy I sing;

Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on,

My person and offering bring.

The terrors of low and of God

With me can have nothing to do;

My Saviour’s obedience and blood

Hide all my transgressions from view.


The work which His goodness began,

The arm of His strength will complete;

His promise is Yea and Amen,

And never was forfeited yet.

Things future, nor things that are now,

Nor all things below or above,

Can make Him His purpose forgo,

Or sever my soul from His love.


My name from the palms of His hands

Eternity will not erase;

Impressed on His heart it remains,

In marks or noble grace.

Yes, I to the end shall endure,

As sure as the earnest is given;

More happy, but not more secure,

The glorified spirits in heaven.

Some sources I consulted tried to explain the zest with which Toplady traded argument points with John Wesley.  Toplady, one source said, was probably not at his best due to poor health.  This might be true, but I do not care.  Maybe our saint just thought that Wesley was wrong.








Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Augustus Montague Toplady,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock.

We pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ,

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

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

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

Proper 26, Year B   Leave a comment

Above:  Elisabeth Louise Vigee-Lebrun and Her Daughter (1789), by Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun


The Sunday Closest to November 2

Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost

NOVEMBER 4, 2018



Ruth 1:1-22 (TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures):

In the days when the chieftains ruled, there was a famine in the land; and a man of Bethlehem in Judah, with his wife and two sons, went to reside in the country of Moab.  The man’s name was Elimelech, his wife’s name was Naomi, and his two sons were named Mahlon and Chilion–Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah.  They came to the country of Moab and remained there.

Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left with her two sons.  They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth, and they lived there about ten years.  Then those two–Mahlon and Chilion–also died; so the woman was left without her two sons and without her husband.

She started out with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab; for in the country of Moab she had heard that the LORD had taken note of His people and given them food.  Accompanied by her two daughters-in-law, she left the place where she had been living; and they set out on the road back to the land of Judah.

But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law,

Turn back, each of you to her mother’s house.  May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me!  May the LORD grant that each of you find security in the house of a husband!

And she kissed them farewell.  They broke into weeping, and said to her,

No, we will return with you to your people.

But Naomi replied,

Turn back, my daughters!  Why should you go with me?  Have I any more sons in my body who might be husbands for you?  Turn back, my daughters, for I am too old to be married.  Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I were married tonight, and I also bore sons, should you wait for them to grow up?  Should you on their account debar yourselves from marriage?  Oh no, my daughters!  My lot is far more bitter than yours, for the hand of the LORD has struck out against me.

They broke into weeping again, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law farewell.  But Ruth clung to her.  So she said,

See, your sister-in-law has returned to her people and her gods.  Go follow your sister-in-law.

But Ruth replied,

Do not urge me to leave you, to turn back and not follow you.  For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.  Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.  Thus and more may the LORD do to me if anything but death parts me from you.

When [Naomi] saw how determined she was to go with her, she ceased to argue with her; and the two went on until they reached Bethlehem.

When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole city buzzed with excitement over them.  The women said,

Can this be Naomi?

She replied,

Do not call me Naomi.  Call me Mara, for Shaddai has made my lot very bitter.  I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty.  How can you call me Naomi, when the LORD has brought me back empty.  How can you call me Naomi, when the LORD has dealt harshly with me, when Shaddai has brought misfortune upon me!

Thus Naomi returned from the country of Moab; she returned with her daughter-in-law Ruth the Moabite.  They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Psalm 146 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):


Praise the LORD, O my soul!

I will praise the LORD as long as I live;

I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

2 Put not your trust in rulers, nor in any child of earth,

for there is not help in them.

When they breathe their last, they return to earth,

and in that day their thoughts perish.

Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help!

whose hope is in the LORD their God;

Who made heaven and earth, the seas, and all that is in them;

who keeps his promise for ever.

Who gives justice to those who are oppressed,

and food to those who hunger.

The LORD sets the prisoner free;

the LORD opens the eyes of the blind;

the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down.

8 The LORD loves the righteous;

the LORD cares for the stranger;

he sustains the orphan and the widow,

but frustrates the way of the wicked!

The LORD shall reign for ever,

your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.



Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (Richard Elliott Friedman, 2001):

And this is the commandment, the laws, and the judgments that YHWH, your God, commanded to teach you to do in the land to which you’re crossing to take possession of it, so that you’ll fear YHWH, your God, to observe all His laws and His commandments that I’m commanding you:  you and your child and your child’s child, all the days of your life, and so that your days will be extended.  And you will shall listen, Israel, and and be watchful to it, that it will be good for you and that you’ll multiply very much, as YHWH, your fathers’ God, spoke to you:  a land flowing with milk and honey.

Listen, Israel:  YHWH is our God.  YHWH is one.  And you shall love YHWH, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  And you shall impart them to your children, and you shall speak about them when you sit in your house and when you go in the road and when you lie down and when you get up.  And you shall bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall become bands between your eyes.  And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and in your gates.

Psalm 119:1-8 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Happy are they whose way is blameless,

who walk in the law of the LORD!

Happy are they who observe his decrees

and seek him with all their hearts!

3 Who never do any wrong,

but always walk in his ways.

4 You laid down your commandments,

that we should fully keep them.

Oh, that my ways were made so direct

that I might keep your statutes!

Then I should not be put to shame,

when I regard all your commandments.

I will thank you with an unfeigned heart,

when I have learned your righteous judgments.

I will keep your statutes;

do not utterly forsake me.


Hebrews 9:11-14 (Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition):

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once and for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but not his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.  For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.


Mark 12:28-34 (Revised English Bible):

Then one of the scribes, who had been listening to these discussions and had observed how well Jesus answered, came forward and asked him,

Which is the first of all the commandments?

He answered,

The first is, “Hear, O Israel:  the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”  The second is this:  ”You must love your neighbour as yourself.”  No other commandment is greater than these.

The scribe said to him,

Well said, Teacher.  You are right in saying that God is one and beside him there is no other.  And to love him with all your heart, all your understanding, and all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself–that means far more than any whole-offerings and sacrifices.

When Jesus saw how thoughtfully he answered, he said to him,

You are not far from the kingdom of God.

After that nobody dared put any more questions to him.

The Collect:

Almighty and merciful God, it is only by your gift that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service: Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Some Related Posts:

Proper 26, Year A:

Proper 26, Year B:

Ruth 1:

Deuteronomy 6:

Hebrews 9:

Mark 12:

Matthew 22 (Parallel to Mark 12):

Luke 10 (Parallel to Mark 12):

A Prayer for Compassion:

Prayers for Those Who Suffer:


The context for this Sunday’s reading from Mark is Holy Week; Jesus will die soon.  This places the statement about the greatest commandments in a certain light and helps explain the lectionary committee’s decision to pair Hebrews 9:11-14 with Mark 12:28-34.  And Jesus pulled the two greatest commandments from the Law of Moses–Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18, to be precise.  Our Lord also agreed with his elder (and deceased) contemporary, Rabbi Hillel, on the question of the summary of the Law of Moses.

There are types of love in the Bible, and we see some of the best representatives of love in this Sunday’s readings.  A daughter-in-law remains loyal to her mother-in-law.  We read of the commandments to love God fully and our neighbors as ourselves, and of the depth of God’s love for us.  I must add something else here to augment that thought.  I write devotions in sequence, according to lectionaries (more or less).  Very recently I wrote a devotion on Ephesians 5, which, while discussing marriage, commands the husband to love his wife.  The text speaks of the two as one flesh:

He who loves his wife loves himself.–Ephesians 5:28b, New Revised Standard Version

We will love ourselves most or all of the time, unless we loathe ourselves, as some do.  I suspect, though, that egotism is more rampant than self-loathing.  So the main spiritual task for most of us is to place ourselves in proper context–not superior to others in the eyes of God–and to act compassionately toward others, as if toward ourselves.  We are not isolated from others; what one does affects others.  Yes, we are separate and unique in body and personality, but no, we are not isolated from others even in these matters.  We have the power to build people up or to tear them down; may we, for the common good and the love of God, do the former, not the latter.



Saints’ Days and Holy Days for November   1 comment


Image Source = Didier Descouens



3 (Richard Hooker, Anglican Priest and Theologian)

  • Daniel Payne, African Methodist Episcopal Bishop
  • John Worthington, British Moravian Minister and Composer; John Antes, U.S. Moravian Instrument Maker, Composer, and Missionary; Benjamin Henry LaTrobe, Sr., British Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer; Christian Ignatius LaTrobe, British Moravian Composer; Peter LaTrobe, British Moravian Bishop and Composer; Johann Christopher Pyrlaeus, Moravian Missionary and Musician; and Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg, Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer
  • Pierre-François Néron, French Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr in Vietnam, 1860

4 (Ludolph Ernst Schlicht, Moravian Minister, Musician, and Hymn Writer; John Gambold, Sr., British Moravian Bishop, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns; and John Gambold, Jr., Moravian Composer)

  • Augustus Montague Toplady, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Léon Bloy, French Roman Catholic Novelist and Social Critic; godfather of Jacques Maritain, French Roman Catholic Philosopher; husband of Raïssa Maritain, French Roman Catholic Contemplative
  • Theodore Weld, U.S. Congregationalist then Quaker Abolitionist and Educator; husband of Angelina Grimké, U.S. Presbyterian then Quaker Abolitionist, Educator, and Feminist; her sister, Sarah Grimké, U.S. Episcopalian then Quaker Abolitionist and Feminist; her nephew, Francis Grimké, African-American Presbyterian Minister and Civil Rights Activist; and his wife, Charlotte Grimké, African-American Abolitionist and Educator

5 (Arthur and Lewis Tappan, U.S. Congregationalist Businessmen and Abolitionists; colleagues and financial backers of Samuel Eli Cornish and Theodore S. Wright, African-American Ministers and Abolitionists)

  • Bernard Lichtenberg, German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1943
  • Hryhorii Lakota, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1950
  • Johann Daniel Grimm, German Moravian Musician

6 (Christian Gregor, Father of Moravian Church Music)

  • Giovanni Gabrieli and Hans Leo Hassler, Composers and Organists; and Claudio Monteverdi and Heinrich Schutz, Composers and Musicians
  • Halford E. Luccock, U.S. Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Magdeleine of Jesus, Foundress of the Little Sisters of Jesus

7 (Willibrord, Apostle to the Frisians; and Boniface of Mainz, Apostle to the Germans)

  • Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, and Civil Rights Activist
  • John Cawood, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • John Christian Frederick Heyer, Lutheran Missionary in the United States and India; Bartholomeaus Ziegenbalg, Jr., Lutheran Minister to the Tamils; and Ludwig Nommensen, Lutheran Missionary to Sumatra and Apostle to the Batak

8 (John Duns Scotus, Scottish Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian)

  • Johann von Staupitz, Martin Luther’s Spiritual Mentor
  • John Caspar Mattes, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Liturgist
  • Pambo of Nitria, Ammonius of Skete, Palladius of Galatia, Macarius of Egypt, Macarius of Alexandria, and Pishoy, Desert Fathers; Evagrius of Pontus, Monk and Scholar; Melania the Elder, Desert Mother; Rufinus of Aquileia, Monk and Theologian; Didymus the Blind, Biblical Scholar; John II, Bishop of Jerusalem; Melania the Younger, Desert Mother; and her husband, Pinian, Monk

9 (Martin Chemnitz, German Lutheran Theologian, and the “Second Martin”)

  • Johann(es) Matthaus Meyfart, German Lutheran Educator and Devotional Writer
  • Margery Kempe, English Roman Catholic Mystic and Pilgrim
  • William Croswell, Episcopal Priest and Hymn Writer

10 (Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome)

  • Elijah P. Lovejoy, U.S. Journalist, Abolitionist, Presbyterian Minister, and Martyr, 1837; his brother, Owen Lovejoy, U.S. Abolitionist, Lawmaker, and Congregationalist Minister; and William Wells Brown, African-American Abolitionist, Novelist, Historian, and Physician
  • Lott Cary, African-American Baptist Minister and Missionary to Liberia; and Melville B. Cox, U.S. Methodist Minister and Missionary to Liberia
  • Odette Prévost, French Roman Catholic Nun, and Martyr in Algeria, 1995

11 (Anne Steele, First Important English Female Hymn Writer)

  • Edwin Hatch, Anglican Priest, Scholar, and Hymn Writer
  • Martha Coffin Pelham Wright; her sister, Lucretia Coffin Mott; her husband, James Mott; his sister, Abigail Lydia Mott Moore; and her husband, Lindley Murray Moore; U.S. Quaker Abolitionists and Feminists
  • Peter Taylor Forsyth, Scottish Congregationalist Minister and Theologian

12 (Josaphat Kuntsevych, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Polotsk, and Martyr, 1623)

  • John Tavener, English Presbyterian then Orthodox Composer
  • Ray Palmer, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • William Arthur Dunkerley, British Novelist, Poet, and Hymn Writer

13 (Henry Martyn Dexter, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Historian)

  • Abbo of Fleury, Roman  Catholic Abbot
  • Brice of Tours, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Frances Xavier Cabrini, Foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart

14 (Samuel Seabury, Episcopal Bishop of Connecticut and Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church)

  • Nicholas Tavelic and His Companions, Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1391
  • Peter Wolle, U.S. Moravian Bishop, Organist, and Composer; Theodore Francis Wolle, U.S. Moravian Organist and Composer; and John Frederick “J. Fred” Wolle, U.S. Moravian Organist, Composer, and Choir Director
  • William Romanis, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

15 (John Amos Comenius, Father of Modern Education)

  • Gustaf Aulén and his protégé and colleague, Anders Nygren, Swedish Lutheran Bishops and Theologians
  • Johann Gottlob Klemm, Instrument Maker; David Tannenberg, Sr., German-American Moravian Organ Builder; Johann Philip Bachmann, German-American Moravian Instrument Maker; Joseph Ferdinand Bulitschek, Bohemian-American Organ Builder; and Tobias Friedrich, German Moravian Composer and Musician
  • Joseph Pignatelli, Restorer of the Jesuits

16 (Margaret of Scotland, Queen, Humanitarian, and Ecclesiastical Reformer)

  • Giuseppe Moscati, Italian Roman Catholic Physician
  • Ignacio Ellacuria and His Companions, Martyrs in El Salvador, November 15, 1989
  • Johannes Kepler, German Lutheran Astronomer and Mathematician

17 (Hugh of Lincoln, Roman Catholic Bishop and Abbot)

  • Henriette DeLille, Foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Family
  • Isabel Alice Hartley Crawford, Baptist Missionary to the Kiowa Nation

18 (Hilda of Whitby, Roman Catholic Abbess)

  • Alice Nevin, U.S. German Reformed Liturgist and Composer of Hymn Texts
  • Arthur Tozer Russell, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Jane Eliza(beth) Leeson, English Hymn Writer

19 (Elizabeth of Hungary, Princess of Hungary and Humanitarian)

  • Johann Christian Till, U.S. Moravian Organist, Composer, and Piano Builder; and his son, Jacob Christian Till, U.S. Moravian Piano Builder)
  • Johann Hermann Schein, German Lutheran Composer
  • Samuel John Stone, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

20 (F. Bland Tucker, Episcopal Priest and Hymnodist; “The Dean of American Hymn Writers”)

  • Henry Francis Lyte, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Priscilla Lydia Sellon, a Restorer of Religious Life in The Church of England
  • Richard Watson Gilder, U.S. Poet, Journalist, and Social Reformer

21 (Thomas Tallis and his student and colleague, William Byrd, English Composers and Organists; and John Merbecke, English Composer, Organist, and Theologian)

  • Henry Purcell and his brother, Daniel Purcell, English Composers
  • Theodore Claudius Pease, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer

22 (Robert Seagrave, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer)

  • Ditlef Georgson Ristad, Norwegian-American Lutheran Minister, Hymn Translator, Liturgist, and Educator

23 (John Kenneth Pfohl, Sr., U.S. Moravian Bishop; his wife, Harriet Elizabeth “Bessie” Whittington Pfohl, U.S. Moravian Musician; and their son, James Christian Pfohl, Sr., U.S. Moravian Musician)

  • Caspar Friedrich Nachtenhofer, German Lutheran Minister, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer
  • Clement I, Bishop of Rome
  • Columban, Roman Catholic Monk, Abbot, and Missionary

24 (John LaFarge, Jr., U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Renewer of Society)

  • Andrew Dung-Lac and Peter Thi, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs in Vietnam, 1839
  • Theophane Venard, Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, and Martyr in Vietnam, 1861
  • Vincent Liem, Roman Catholic Martyr, 1773

25 (William Hiley Bathurst, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer)

  • Isaac Watts, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • James Otis Sargent Huntington, Founder of the Order of the Holy Cross
  • Petrus Nigidius, German Lutheran Educator and Composer; and Georg Nigidius, German Lutheran Composer and Hymn Writer

26 (Sojourner Truth, U.S. Abolitionist, Mystic, and Feminist)

  • H. Baxter Liebler, Episcopal Priest and Missionary to the Navajo Nation
  • John Berchmans, Roman Catholic Seminarian
  • Theodore P. Ferris, Episcopal Priest and Author

27 (James Intercisus, Roman Catholic Martyr)

  • James Mills Thoburn, Isabella Thoburn, and Clara Swain, U.S. Methodist Missionaries to India
  • William Cooke and Benjamin Webb, Anglican Priests and Translators of Hymns

28 (Stephen the Younger, Defender of Icons)

  • Albert George Butzer, Sr., U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Educator
  • Kamehameha IV and Emma Rooke, King and Queen of Hawai’i
  • Joseph and Michael Hofer, U.S. Hutterite Conscientious Objectors and Martyrs, 1918

29 (Frederick Cook Atkinson, Anglican Church Organist and Composer)

  • Jennette Threlfall, English Hymn Writer



  • Thanksgiving Day


Lowercase boldface on a date with two or more commemorations indicates a primary feast.