Archive for the ‘Norman Macleod’ Tag

Feast of Norman Macleod and John Macleod (June 16)   1 comment


Above:  Glasgow University, Glasgow, Scotland, 1890-1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-07596


NORMAN MACLEOD (JUNE 3, 1812-JUNE 16, 1872)

Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

Cousin of

JOHN MACLEOD (JUNE 22, 1840-AUGUST 4, 1898)

Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer


With this post I add two cousins to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  Both Norman Macleod and John Macleod belonged to a dynasty of Scottish Presbyterian clergymen.  Both of them wrote hymns.  And each, in his own way, served God.

Norman Macleod (1812-1872), educated at Glasgow University, entered the ranks of Church of Scotland clergy in 1838.  He remained with that denomination after the great schism of 1843, the one that formed the Free Church of Scotland (1843-1900), which became part of the merged United Free Church of Scotland in 1900 before reuniting with the mother church in 1929.  Norman served at Loudoun Parish, Ayrshire, starting in 1838, moved to Dalkeith in 1843, and transferred to Barony Parish, Glasgow, in 1851.  He had joined the family business, so to speak, for his father and grandfather (both named Norman Macleod also) were Scottish Presbyterian ministers.

Norman had a great interest in the welfare of the people around him and elsewhere.  Thus he founded the first penny savings bank in Glasgow and provided mechanisms by which poor people could purchase good and affordable food and clothing. In 1865 Norman became embroiled in a Sabbath-related controversy.  His relatively liberal position was that, since Sunday was the only day many people had off, nobody should expect them to spend most of that day in church.  And, two years later, as the Convener of the India Mission Committee of the Church of Scotland, traveled to the subcontinent.  The trip broke his health.

Norman engaged in other activities beyond the parish level.  In 1849 he became the Editor of The Edinburgh Christian Instructor.  Two years prior he had cofounded the Evangelical Alliance, an anti-Tractarian ecumenical organization.  And, from 1860 to 1872, he edited and contributed to Good Words magazine.  Finally, in 1869, he served as the Moderator of the Church of Scotland.

Norman also wrote hymns.  One of these was “Courage, Brother!  Do Not Stumble.”

Courage, brother! do not stumble,

Though thy path be dark as night;

There’s a star to guide the humble:

“Trust in God, and do the right.”


Let the road be rough and dreary,

And its end be far out of sight,

Foot it bravely; strong or weary,

Trust in God, and do the right.


Perish policy and cunning,

Perish all that fears the light!

Whether losing, whether winning,

Trust in God, and do the right.


Some will hate thee, some will love thee,

Some will flatter, some will slight;

Cease from man, and look above thee;

Trust in God, and do the right.


Simple rule, and safest guiding,

Inward peace, and inward might,

Star upon our path abiding,–

Trust in God, and do the right.


Courage, brother! do not stumble,

Though thy path be dark as night;

There’s a star to guide the humble:

“Trust in God, and do the right.”

James Moffatt wrote of Norman that

He was one of the greatest of Scottish churchmen, a man of rare breadth and catholicity of spirit, an earnest philanthropist, an eloquent and moving preacher, and a warm-hearted, manly Christian.

Handbook to The Church Hymnary (London:  Oxford University Press, 1927, page 418)

A more immediate tribute came from Queen Victoria, whose chaplain Norman had become in 1857.  She donated two memorial windows at Crathie Church, Deeside.

John Macleod (1840-1898), Norman’s cousin, was the son of another John Macleod, a minister of the Church of Scotland.  The younger John, educated at Glasgow University, entered the ranks of Church of Scotland clergy in 1861.  Fourteen years later he became pastor of the great Govan Parish in Glasgow.  There he led the growing congregation effectively, oversaw the construction of a new building, and founded daughter congregations.

Govan Parish belonged to the High Church wing of the Church of Scotland.  There, at Govan, John pioneered responsive readings, practiced taking Holy Communion as the central act of Christian worship, and favored celebrating the major Christian feasts–radical ideas by the standards of Puritanical Presbyterians.  “Pope John of Govan,” as many people called him, wrote a treatise, The Holy Sacrament of Baptism, and wrote two posthumously published books–Poems and Hymns (1902) and The Gospel in the Institution of the Lord’s Supper (1907).  The Scottish Church Society, which he founded, carried on his liturgical work.

Among the hymns which John wrote was “Blessed Jesus, High in Glory,” which debuted in The Scottish Hymnal (1884).

Blessed Jesus, high in glory,

Seen by saints and angels fair,

Children’s voices now adore Thee;

Listen to Thy children’s prayer.


Gentle Jesus, Thou dost love us,

Thou hast died upon the Tree,

And Thou reignest now above us,

That we too might reign with Thee.


Give us grace to trust Thee wholly,

Give us each a childlike heart,

Make us meek and pure and holy,

Meet to see Thee as Thou art.


Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

Bless us all our life below,

Till we each that heaven inherit,

Which the childlike only know.

May more people honor these holy men.





For Further Reading:


Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servants Norman Macleod and John Macleod,

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

We pray that, following their examples and the teachings of their holy lives,

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