Archive for the ‘The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935)’ Tag

Feast of James Russell Woodford (April 30)   1 comment

Above:  James Russell Woodford

Image in the Public Domain

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JAMES RUSSELL WOODFORD (APRIL 30, 1820-OCTOBER 24, 1885)

Anglican Bishop of Ely, Hymn Translator, and Hymn Writer

The name of James Russell Woodford came to my attention via The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935).

Woodford, born in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England, on April 30, 1820, was a priest and bishop of The Church of England.  After graduating from Pembroke College, Cambridge, he became a priest in 1843.  Our saint served as the Master of at Bishop’s College, Bristol, and as the Curate of St. John the Baptist, Broad Street, Bristol.  Then, in 1845, Woodford transferred to St. Saviour’s, Coalpit Heath, where he remained until 1848.  Next he moved to St. Mark’s, Easton, Bristol.  Seven years later Woodford began to serve as the Vicar of Kempsford, Gloucestershire.  In 1868 our saint transferred to Leeds, where he remained until 1873, when he became the Bishop of Ely.  More than once our saint was the Select Preacher in Cambridge.  Also, he was chaplain to Queen Victoria in 1867.  Woodford, who never married, was an Anglo-Catholic; he founded the Ely Theological College, and Anglo-Catholic institution, in 1876.

Woodford’s legacy was literary and related to hymnody.  He published volumes of sermons, lectures on the Creed and for Holy Week, and two hymnals–Hymns Arranged for the Sundays and Holy Days of the Church of England (1852 and 1855) and The Parish Hymn Book (1863 and 1875).  Our saint showed his Anglo-Catholic colors when he translated Roman Catholic Latin hymns and composed original hymns of Anglo-Catholic character.

Woodford died at Ely on October 24, 1885.  He was 65 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 22, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY MAGDALENE, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

James Russell Woodford and others, who have composed and translated 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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That Old Sweet Song of Angels   Leave a comment

nativity-and-annunciation-to-the-shepherds

Above:  Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds

Image in the Public Domain

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Long ago the angels vanished–

But their song is sounding still!

Millions now with hope are singing,

“Peace on earth, to men good will.”

Sing, my heart!  Tho’ peace may tarry,

Sing good will mid human strife!

Till that old sweet song of angels

Shall attune to heav’n our life.

–William Allen Knight (1863-1957), “Come, My Heart, Canst Thou Not Hear It” (1915), quoted in The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935), Hymn #77

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Part of the mystery of the Incarnation is its counterintuitive nature:  a vulnerable baby was God incarnate.  This truth demonstrates the reality that God operates differently than we frequently define as feasible and effective.  Then again, Jesus was, by dominant human expectations, a failure.  I would never claim that Jesus was a failure, of course.

If your enemies are hungry, give them bread to eat;

and if they are thirsty, give them water to drink;

for you will heap coals of fire on their heads,

and the LORD will reward you.

–Proverbs 25:22, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

Speaking of counterintuitive ways of God, shall we ponder the advice of St. Paul the Apostle in Romans 12:14-21?

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.  If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  No, if your enemies are hungry, feed them, if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

That old sweet song of angels will not attune to heaven our life if we ignore this sage advice–if we fail to overcome evil with good.  How we treat others indicates more about what kind of people we are than about what kind of people they are.  If we react against intolerance with intolerance, we are intolerant.  We also add fuel to the proverbial fire.  Is not a fire extinguisher better?

As the Master said,

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

–Matthew 5:43-48, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

Perfection, in this case, indicates suitability for one’s purpose, which is, in the language of the Westminster Shorter Catechism,

to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

–Quoted in The United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, The Book of Confessions (1967)

As the annual celebration of the birth of Christ approaches again, may we who follow him with our words also follow him with our deeds:  may we strive for shalom on a day-to-day basis.  Only God can save the world, but we can leave it better than we found it.

Merry Christmas!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 21, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE TWENTY-FIFTH DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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Feast of John Henry Hopkins, Jr., and John Henry Hopkins, III (August 14)   3 comments

Hopkinses

Above:  The John Henry Hopkinses

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JOHN HENRY HOPKINS, JR. (OCTOBER 28, 1820-AUGUST 14, 1891)

Episcopal Priest and Hymnodist

uncle of

JOHN HENRY HOPKINS, III (SEPTEMBER 17, 1861-NOVEMBER 1, 1945)

Episcopal Priest and Musician

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DISCLAIMER:

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In this post I use the suffixes “Sr.,” “Jr.,” and “III” for the sake of convenience and clarity.  Although one can find frequent listings of “John Henry Hopkins, Jr.” one can also find him listed in indices as “John Henry Hopkins (Jr.).”  Likewise, one might read simply of “John Henry Hopkins” in various sources.  He might be Sr. (the bishop) or the grandson, depending on the dates of his life.  I strive for clarity.

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BISHOP JOHN HENRY HOPKINS (SR.) (1792-1868)

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The Hopkins family has given much to The Episcopal Church.  These contributions began with one couple, John Henry Hopkins (Sr.) (1792-1868), and Melusina Muller (1795-1884).  Hopkins Sr., a native of Dublin, Ireland, had been an ironworker, a teacher, and an attorney prior to becoming a priest.  He was also a poet, painter, and architect.  Muller was a native of Hamburg, now in the Federal Republic of Germany.  They married in 1816 and had 13 children.  Their home nurtured artistic and literary excellence.  Among their children were John Henry Hopkins (Jr.) (1820-1891) and Theodore Austin Hopkins (1828-1889), father of John Henry Hobart (III) (1861-1945), the second saint in this post.

Hopkins Sr. was a major figure in The Episcopal Church in the 1800s.  He occupied the middle ground between the Low Church faction (Evangelicals) and the Anglo-Catholic wing of the church.  The theological and liturgical argument between them was the great ecclesiastical controversy of the day, with certain Evangelical Episcopalians going so far as to describe supporters of the Oxford Movement as being in league with Satan.  Hopkins Sr., although not an Evangelical Episcopalian, had the support of that party in the episcopal election in the Diocese of Pennsylvania in 1827.  Henry Ustick Onderdonk (1789-1858) won that election.  Hopkins Sr. became the Bishop of Vermont in 1832, serving until 1868.  From 1865 to 1868 he doubled as the Presiding Bishop of the national church.  He also helped The Episcopal Church to reunited rapidly after the end of the Civil War.  Unfortunately, he also defended slavery by quoting the Bible in writing in the 1850s and 1860s.  (Such defenses were, unfortunately, commonplace in the North, South, East, and West during the Antebellum period and the Civil War.)  Hopkins Sr.’s defenses of slavery, which he seemed not to have retracted, constituted the primary reason I decided not to add him to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  I have added some people to the Ecumenical Calendar despite such defenses, but other aspects of their lives outweighed this issue significantly.  I found no sufficient counterweight in the life of Hopkins Sr.

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JOHN HENRY HOPKINS (JR.) (1820-1891)

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John Henry Hopkins (Jr.), born at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 28, 1820, became a great hymnodist.  He graduated from the University of Vermont (A.B., 1839).  Next he worked as a reporter in New York City while studying law.  In 1842-1844 Hopkins Jr. lived in Savannah, Georgia, where he tutored the children of Stephen Elliott (1806-1866), who served as the first Bishop of Georgia from 1841 to 1866 and as the Presiding Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1866.  (Bishops Elliott and Hopkins Sr. were friends.)  Then Hopkins Jr. returned to the University of Vermont, from which he graduated with his M.A. in 1845.  After he graduated from the General Theological Seminary, New York, New York, in 1850, he joined the ranks of the Sacred Order of Deacons.

Hopkins Jr. contributed greatly to The Episcopal Church also.  In 1853 he founded the Church Journal, which he edited for 15 years.  He was also the first instructor of church music at the General Theological Seminary, teaching there from 1855 to 1857.  Hopkins Jr. also designed stained-glass windows, episcopal seals, and other ecclesiastical ornamenta.  He, ordained a priest in 1872, served as the Rector of Trinity Church, Plattsburg, New York, from 1872 to 1876 then of Christ Church, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, from 1876 to 1887.

Hopkins Jr. specialized in hymnody, composing both texts and tunes.  His hymn tunes included THREE KINGS OF ORIENT (for his most famous hymn, “We Three Kings of Orient Are“) and COME, HOLY GHOST.  An especially excellent text from 1863 was the following, for which our saint also composed the accompanying tune:

Alleluia!  Christ is risen today

From the tomb in the garden wherein he lay;

Shining angels raise their shout on high,

And on earth we exultingly make reply:

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Nature too, that, through long dreary gloom,

Lay embalmed in the shroud of her wintry tomb,

Rises now to meet her rising Lord,

And in myriad echo repeats word:

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

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See the streamlet burst its icy chain!

Leaping into sunlight it seeks the plain,

And its joy in liquid tones it tells

To the rocks and the woods and the winding dells:

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Giant pines, whose broad, up reaching arms

Bore the frosts and snows of the northern storms,

To the balmy breezes blowing now

Give a murmuring whisper on ev’ry bough:

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

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Little birds, that flew so far away,

Now return with a sweet, merry roundelay;

Through the shady grove, in soft refrain,

Lo, the voice of the turtle is heard again:

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

In the old church-tower the swallows build,

And their nests with the tenderest young are filled;

And they join the chaunting when they hear

Both the organ and choir swelling loud and clear:

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

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Now the primrose greets the daffodil,

And the daisy is winking on every hill,

And the pansy drinks the light of day,

And the breath of the violet seems to say:

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Now the Rose of Sharon opens wide,

On the sunshiny banks of the mountain side;

And the lily of the valley blooms,

Filling every vale with its rich perfumes:

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

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While the fields are clothed in beauty rare,

Shall the altar of Jesus be cold and bare!

Shall the church no loving token show

That the Risen above is to rise below!

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Round the altar let bright flowers be seen,

With the fresh-budding branches of evergreen;

Let the earth, with us, her incense bring,

And the trees of the forest rejoice and sing:

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Our saint’s work in hymnody extended also to books.  His Carols, Hymns, and Songs went into three editions (1863, 1872, and 1882).  Hopkins Jr. also produced Canticles Noted with Accompanying Harmonies (1866), which also existed in multiple editions.  Various editors of hymnals found hymn texts in Poems by the Wayside (1883).  And in 1887, Hopkins Jr. edited Great Hymns of the Church, compiled by the late Bishop of Florida John Freeman Young (1820-1885).

Hopkins Jr., who never married, died at a friend’s home near Hudson, New York, on August 14, 1891.  A nephew, Charles Filkins Sweet, wrote a biography, A Champion of the Cross, Being the Life of John Henry Hopkins, S.T.D., Including Extracts and Selections from His Writings (1894).

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JOHN HENRY HOPKINS (III) (1861-1945)

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Another nephew was John Henry Hopkins (III), born at Burlington, Vermont, on September 17, 1861.  His father was Theodore Austin Hopkins (1828-1889), a son of Hopkins Sr. and a brother of Hopkins Jr.   Theodore Austin Hopkins, an Episcopal priest, served as the principle of the Vermont Episcopal Institute, which Hopkins Sr. had founded, from 1860 to 1881, and married Alice Leavenworth Doolittle (1832-1904) in 1855.  Hopkins III graduated from the University of Vermont (A.B., 1883; D.D., 1906) and the General Theological Seminary (B.D., 1893).  He, a priest, ministered mostly in the midwestern United States.  The love of Hopkins III’s life was Marie Moulton Graves (1861-1933), whom he married in 1890.  He published her biography, The Life of Marie Moulton Graves, the Beloved Wife of John Henry Hopkins, and the Story of Their Life and Work Together (1934).  In 1906 he received an honorary degree from Western Theological Seminary.  Among his pastorates was the Church of the Redeemer, Chicago, Illinois, where he served from 1910 to 1929, and from which he retired.

Hopkins III was also a musician and a composer of hymn tunes.  From 1878 to 1890 he played the organ for various churches.  In 1888 he became the first organist at the General Theological Seminary.  Among his compositions were the components of the Communion Service in B-flat (1916) and the hymn tunes WESTERLY and GRAND ISLE, the latter of which is the tune for “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God.”  His final effort, which he considered the crowning joy of his long life, was work as a member of the Joint Commission on the Revision of the Hymnal (starting in 1937) and the Committee on Tunes for The Hymnal 1940, published in 1943.

Hopkins III’s other writings included the following:

  1. “Bible Lessons” in St. Andrew’s Cross (1895-1898);
  2. Articles in The Living Church;
  3. Germany’s World Ambitions and the Danger of a Prussianized Peace (1917);
  4. The Great Forty Years in the Diocese of Chicago, A.D. 1893 to A.D. 1934 (1936); and
  5. A Practical Course in Confirmation (1941).

Hopkins III retired to Grand Isle, Vermont, on Lake Champlain.  There he served at “The Lady Chapel” until he died on November 1, 1945.

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IN CONCLUSION

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The process of creating this post started long ago, when I wrote “John Henry Hopkins, Jr.” out of an index in The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935).  That process began in earnest late his morning, when I examined the list of proposed saints with feast days in August and decided to read, take notes, and write about Hopkins Jr.  I consulted hymnals, hymnal companion volumes, and histories of The Episcopal Church before turning to the Internet.  Along the way I considered adding three John Henry Hopkinses to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, but decided upon two instead.

They are fine additions indeed.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 23, 2016 COMMON ERA

GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE

THE FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 1968

THE FEAST OF WALTER RUSSELL BOWIE, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially John Henry Hopkins, Jr., and John Henry Hopkins, III)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of William Bingham Tappan (June 18)   Leave a comment

American Sunday School Union

Above:  An Advertisement from the Pittsburgh Daily Post, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 24, 1848, Page 4

Accessed via newspapers.com

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WILLIAM BINGHAM TAPPAN (OCTOBER 24 OR 29, 1794-JUNE 18, 1849)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Poet, and Hymn Writer

William Bingham Tappan comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935).

Our saint came from a Congregationalist family of New England.  He had a younger brother, Daniel Dana Tappan (1798-1890), who became a prominent Congregationalist minister.  Daniel, like his older brother, wrote poetry, such as “The Prince of Peace” (1889).  The brothers’ parents were Samuel Tappan (a schoolmaster) and Aurelia Bingham Tappan, who married on April 26, 1789, at Beverly, Massachusetts.  Our saint, christened on November 9, 1794, at Beverly, grew up with both parents until April 29, 1806, when his father died.  Our saint was 12 years old and in the sixth grade at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  That event changed Tappan’s life.  Out of necessity he dropped out of school, moved to Boston, Massachusetts, and apprenticed himself to a clock maker.  There he remained for nine years, until 1815.  In Boston Tappan, in the words of The Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal (1942), “fell in with evil companions” (page 587).  Aurelia prayed for him and helped to rescue him from a life defined by bad choices.

Tappan, as an adult on the straight and narrow path, lived in various places.  He worked in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1815 to 1818.  Then he studied in Somerville, New Jersey, for a time.  Next, from 1819 to 1826, he taught in Philadelphia.  On August 31, 1822, our saint married Amelia Colton (1796-1886).  In 1826, at Philadelphia, he became superintendent of the American Sunday School Union, founded two years earlier.  Tappan worked for that organization for the rest of his life, traveling extensively to speak on behalf of the religious education of children and youth.  He relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1829, moved back to Philadelphia in 1834, and settled in Boston in 1838.  Tappan became a Congregationalist minister in 1841.

The Second Great Awakening had stimulated the growth of Sunday schools, some of which overshadowed worship services in certain locations.  There was a need for educational materials suitable for this movement.  Although the American Sunday School Union was an ecumenical organization, its theological orientation was heavily Reformed.  In fact, state branches in New England functioned as branches of the Congregationalist Church.

Tappan wrote poems and published collections of them.  They were:

  1. New England, and Other Poems (1819),
  2. Lyrics (1822),
  3. Poems (1822),
  4. Lyric Poems (1826),
  5. The Poems of William B. Tappan (1834),
  6. The Poems of William B. Tappan, Not Contained in a Former Volume (1836),
  7. The Poet’s Tribute:  Poems of William B. Tappan (1840),
  8. Poems and Lyricks (1842),
  9. The Daughter of the Isles, and Other Poems (1844),
  10. Poetry of the Heart (1845),
  11. The Sunday School, and Other Poems (1848),
  12. Sacred and Early Poems (1848), and
  13. Late and Early Poems (1849).

Later volumes of Tappan’s verse included the following:

  1. Poetry of Life (1850), and
  2. Gems of Sacred Poetry (1860).

Tappan’s work appeared in various collections, including volumes of hymns with temperance and antislavery themes.  Some of his poems also graced Lyra Americana, or, Verses of Praise and Faith from American Poets (1865), selected and edited by the Rev. George T. Rider, M.A.

Most of Tappan’s hymns have fallen into disuse since the 1800s.  This is unfortunate, for the quality of his texts far exceeds that of most contemporary contributions to hymnals.  One text from 1818 follows:

There is an hour of peaceful rest;

To mourning wanderers given;

There is a joy for souls distrest;

A balm for every wounded breast:

‘Tis found above–in heaven.

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There is a soft, a downy bed,

‘Tis fair as breath of even;

A couch for weary mortals spread

Where they may rest the aching head

And find repose–in heaven.

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There is a home for weary souls,

By sin and sorrow driven,–

When tossed on life’s tempestuous shoals,

Where storms arise and ocean rolls,

And all is drear–but heaven.

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There faith lifts up her cheerful eye,

To brighter prospects given;

And views the tempest passing by,

The evening shadows quickly fly,

And all serene–in heaven.

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There fragrant flowers immortal bloom,

And joys supreme are given;

There rays divine disperse the gloom;

Beyond the confines of the tomb

Appears the dawn of heaven.

The following text dates to 1822:

‘Tis midnight; and on Olive’s brow

The star is dimm’d that lately shone:

‘Tis midnight; in the garden now

The suff’ring Saviour prays alone.

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‘Tis midnight; and, from all removed,

Emmanuel wrestles lone with fears:

E’en the disciple that he loved

Heeds not his Master’s grief and tears.

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‘Tis midnight; and, for others’ guilt,

The Man of Sorrows weeps in blood:

Yet he that hath in anguish knelt

Is not forsaken by his God.

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‘Tis midnight; from the heav’nly plains

Is borne the song that angels know:

Unheard by mortals are the strains

That sweetly soothe the Saviour’s woe.

Tappan’s mother, Aurelia, died in 1846, aged 77 years.  He followed her in death on June 18, 1849, at West Needham, Massachusetts.  He was 54 years old, and the cause of death was cholera.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 5, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE SAINT OF SAINT AVITUS OF VIENNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDWARD HAYES PLUMPTRE, ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF JAPAN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PHILEAS AND PHILOROMUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

William Bingham Tappan 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 Stedman Newhall (April 11)   1 comment

Charles Stedman Newhall

Above:  Part of an Advertisement from The New York Times, Saturday, April 13, 1901, Page 29

Accessed via newspapers.com

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CHARLES STEDMAN NEWHALL (OCTOBER 4, 1842-APRIL 11, 1935)

U.S. Naturalist, Hymn Writer, and Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister

The name of Charles Stedman Newhall is not famous in 2016.  That is unfortunate, for he was a holy man, a knowledgeable naturalist, and a skilled writer.

Our saint was a native of Boston, Massachusetts.  He, born on October 4, 1842, was son of Henry A. Stedman and Sarah Luther Stedman.  He studied at Williston Seminary, Easthampton, Massachusetts.  During the Civil War Newhall served in Company K of the 45th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteers, enlisting on September 30, 1862, and mustering out as a Corporal on July 7, 1863.

Newhall studied at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts.  He joined the Psi Upsilon fraternity, won the Athene Prize in 1866 and the Minerology Prize in 1869, served as his class president in 1868 and 1869, and spoke at his commencement (with his A.B. degree) in 1869.

Our saint’s first career was in the ordained ministry.  He studied at Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York, from 1869 to 1872, graduating with his B.D. degree.  Ordination followed at Oriskany Falls, New York, on December 11, 1872.  There he served as pastor of the Congregational Church until 1874.  From 1874 to 1879 Newhall was the pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Oceanic, New Jersey.  Our saint traveled in the Middle East in 1879 and 1880.  Then he returned to the United States and became pastor of the Congregational Church at Postville, Iowa, serving until 1882.  Congregational pastorates at Tipton, Iowa (1882-1884), and Plainfield, New Jersey (1884-1885), followed.  From 1885 to 1898 Newhall was a Presbyterian minister, starting at Keeseville, New York.

[Aside:  I located Newhall’s ministerial record from December 1872 to March 1888 in The Tenth General Catalogue of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity (1888), available via Google Books.  I also found Newhall’s name in records of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. into the early twentieth century.  I have not, however, been able to reconstruct his ministerial record from 1888 to 1898.]

From 1898 to 1905 our saint worked for the United States Forestry Service in California.  This made sense, for he had, during his time as a pastor, established himself as an expert on plant life in the Northeast.  He published works in that area of study were:

  1. The Trees of Northeastern America (1890);
  2. The Leaf Collector’s Handbook and Herbarium:  An Aid in the Preservation and in the Classification of Specimen Leaves of the Trees of Northeastern America (1891);
  3. The Shrubs of Northeastern America (1893); and
  4. The Vines of Northeastern America; Fully Illustrated from Original Sketches (1897).

Newhall retired from the Forestry Service in 1905 and spent his final decades in Berkeley, California, where he died on April 11, 1935, aged 92 years.

Our saint also wrote for young people.  Those volumes were:

  1. Joe and the Howards, Armed with Eyes (1869);
  2. Boy in Palestine (year unknown);
  3. Harry’s Trip to the Orient (1885, American Tract Society); and
  4. Ruthie’s Story (1888, Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.), the story of Jesus told by one child to other children.

Newhall was a family man.  In 1881 he married Catherine A. “Kittie” Harvey, about 20 years his junior, of Oceanic, New Jersey.  They remained married for about 54 years, until he died.  The couple had three children:

  1. Charles A. (born circa 1882),
  2. Luther N. (born in 1884 or 1885), and
  3. Katherine (born in 1886 or 1887).

Newhall came to my attention via a hymn, “O Jesus, Master, When Today,” which he wrote in 1913 and published in the January 3, 1914, issue of The Survey then in Social Hymns of Brotherhood and Aspiration (1914).  I found a three-stanza version in The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935), but located the complete four-stanza version in Christian Worship:  A Hymnal (1941) and Baptist Hymnal (1956).  Collecting old hymnals has proven to be a rewarding hobby.

The text of that hymn, which has, unfortunately fallen out of favor with hymnal committees in recent decades, indicates that Newhall had internalized the Biblical defense of human dependence upon God.  It is an ethos societies need to have in greater quantity.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 12, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BENEDICT BISCOP, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT OF WEARMOUTH

THE FEAST OF SAINT AELRED OF HEXHAM, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT OF RIEVAULX

THE FEAST OF HENRY ALFORD, DEAN OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL PREISWERK, SWISS REFORMED MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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God of grace and glory, you create and sustain the universe in majesty and beauty:

we thank you for Charles Stedman Newhall and all in whom you have planted

the desire to know your creation and to explore your work and wisdom.

Lead us, like them, to understand better the wonder and mystery of creation;

through Jesus your eternal Word, through whom all things were created.

Genesis 2:9-20

Psalm 34:8-14

2 Corinthians 13:1-6

John 20:24-27

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 738

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Feast of Thomas Hornblower Gill (March 4)   1 comment

Union Jack

Above:  The Union Jack

Image in the Public Domain

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THOMAS HORNBLOWER GILL (FEBRUARY 10, 1819-MARCH 4, 1906)

English Unitarian then Anglican Hymn Writer

The historical record provides little information about the life of Thomas Hornblower Gill (1819-1906).  The native of Birmingham, England, born on February 10, 1819, grew up a Unitarian.  His lineage was traditionally Presbyterian, but had turned away from Trinitarian theology.  Gill graduated from the King Edward VI Grammar School in 1838.  His next destination would have been Oxford University, but he could not attend that institution of higher education, where a requirement was to sign off on the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of The Church of England.  Although Gill was still a dissenter in 1838, Unitarianism was already proving unsatisfactory to him.  Our saint, denied admission to Oxford, studied history and theology independently instead.  Spiritually he moved toward Congregationalism then Evangelical, that is, Low Church, Anglicanism.

Gill wrote more than 200 hymns.  In the Preface to The Golden Chain of Praise:  Hymns (1869) he explained his philosophy of hymnody:

Hymns are not meant to be theological statements, expositions of doctrine or enunciations of precepts; they are utterances of the soul in its manifold moods of hope and fear, joy and sorrow, love, wonder and aspiration.  A hymn should not consist of comments on a text or of remarks on an experience; but of a central thought, shaping for itself melodious utterance, and with every detail subordinated to its clear and harmonious presentation.  Herein a true hymn takes rank as a poem; but it is a poem that has to be sung and should exhibit all the qualities and limitations of a good song–liveliness and intensity of feeling, directness, clearness and vividness of utterance, strength, sweetness and simplicity of diction and melody of rhythm:  excessive subtlety and ornament should be alike avoided.  Hymns are meant and made to be sung:  the best and most glorious hymns cannot be more exactly defined then as Divine Love-Songs.

–Pages v-vi

Gill’s hymns reflect the religiosity of his Puritan-Presbyterian lineage and the keen social conscience of Unitarianism.  (Unitarians have long been on the vanguard of progressive social causes.)  I have added a small fraction of his hymns, most of which have fallen out of favor with hymnal committees, to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  The webpage for Gill at hymnary.org helped me locate certain hymns among my collection of old hymnals and brought to my attention other worthy texts I chose not to add to GATHERED PRAYERS or this post.

Among Gill’s hymns was this text from 1868:

Walk with the Lord! along the road

Your strength he will renew;

Wait on the everlasting God,

And he will wait on you.

+++++

Ye shall not faint, ye shall not fail,

Still in the Spirit strong;

Each task divine ye still shall hail,

And blend th’exulting song.

+++++

Aspiring eyes ye still shall raise,

And heights sublime explore;

Like eagles ye shall sunward gaze,

Like eagles heav’nward soar.

+++++

Your wondrous portion shall be this,

Your life below, above,–

Eternal youth, eternal bliss,

And everlasting love.

–Quoted in The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935)

Gill’s published works included the following:

  1. The Fortune of Faith (1841);
  2. Songs of the Revolution (1848);
  3. The Anniversaries (1858);
  4. The Papal Drama:  A Historical Essay (1866);
  5. The Golden Chain of Praise:  Hymns (First Edition, 1869; Second Edition, 1894);
  6. Luther’s Birthday (1883), a volume of hymns; and
  7. The Triumph of Christ (1883).

Gill died in London on March 4, 1906.  Most of his hymns have ceased to feature in hymnals, but his texts remain available for the spiritual edification of those who find them.  The Internet has facilitated the preservation of his legacy, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 11, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF LUKE OF PRAGUE AND JOHN AUGUSTA, MORAVIAN BISHOPS AND HYMN WRITERS

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Thomas Hornblower Gill 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 John Stuart Blackie (March 2)   Leave a comment

by Herbert Rose Barraud, published by Eglington & Co, carbon print, published 1890

by Herbert Rose Barraud, published by Eglington & Co, carbon print, published 1890

Above:  John Stuart Blackie, by Herbert Rose Barraud (1890)

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN STUART BLACKIE (JULY 28, 1809-MARCH 2, 1895)

Scottish Presbyterian Scholar, Linguist, Poet, Theologian, and Hymn Writer

Hymnals (especially old ones) constitute a large proportion of the sources for names for the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  This is a happy fact, one which leads me to read wonderful hymn texts and to learn about lives I would not have encountered otherwise.  By this method the name of John Stuart Blackie has come to my attention.

Out of Blackie’s vast oeuvre his most enduring literary legacy seems to be a hymn, “Angels Holy, High and Lowly” (1840), a paraphrase of the Song of the Three Young Men, from Daniel 3 in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox canons of scripture.

Angels holy,

High and lowly,

Sing the praises of the Lord!

Earth and sky, all living nature,

Man, the stamp of thy Creator,

Praise him, praise him, God the Lord!

+++++

Sun and moon bright,

Night and noon light,

Starry temples azure floor’d,

Cloud and rain, and wild wind’s madness,

Sons of God that shout for gladness,

Praise him, praise him, God the Lord!

+++++

Bond and free man,

Land and sea man,

Earth with peoples widely stored,

Wand’rer, lone o’er prairies ample,

Full voic’d choir in costly temple,

Praise him, praise him, God the Lord!

+++++

Praise him ever,

Bounteous giver,

Praise him, Father, Friend, and Lord!

Each glad soul its free course winging,

Each glad voice its free song singing,

Praise him, praise him, God the Lord!

–Quoted in The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935)

Those are the words of a great scholar and poet.

John Stuart Blackie was a native of Scotland.  He debuted at Glasgow on July 28, 1809.  His parents were Helen Stodart Blackie and Alexander Blackie, a prominent banker.  Our saint studied at the New Academy then at Marischal College, Aberdeen, before commencing courses at Glasgow University (1825-1826).  For three years (1826-1829) Blackie studied theology at Aberdeen.  In 1829 he began to spend a few years in Europe.  At first he studied theology in Gottingen and Berlin.  Then Blackie accompanied German diplomat and scholar Christian Charles Josias von Bunsen (1791-1860) to Rome.  Time abroad changed Blackie’s desire to become a minister.  Instead he acquiesced to his father’s wishes and studied law.

Blackie studied law, but his destiny was to become a great scholar of the classics.  In 1834 he published a translation of Faust and joined the Faculty of Advocates.  In May 1839 Blackie received an appointment as Chair of Humanity (Latin) at Marischal College, Aberdeen.  He was unable to take up his duties until November 1841, however, for his refusal to sign the Westminster Confession of Faith without any mental reservations proved to be a problem for the presbytery for a while.  Blackie was enthusiastic about reviving the study of the classics, something he did well.  From 1852 to 1882 he served as Professor of Greek at Edinburgh University.  Late in life he endowed a scholarship to enable students to learn Greek in Athens.

Blackie, who married Elizabeth Wyld in 1842, was vocal about his opinions.  He was generally conservative in theology and radical in politics.  His Scottish nationalism manifested itself in political and literary interests.  Blackie apparently affirmed the proposition that Africans and members of the African diaspora bore the image of God, an opinion too radical for some, including one M.S., who wrote The Adamic Race:  Reply to “Ariel,” Drs. Young and Blackie, on the Negro (1868), arguing:

He has an immortal soul, but not after the image of God,

and other racist assertions.  Blackie could be quite progressive, insisting on inherent human equality.

Our saint was a prolific writer on a range of issues.  His published works included the following:

  1. Faust:  A Tragedy (1834);
  2. Education in Scotland:  An Appeal to the Scottish People of the Improvement of Their Scholastic and Academical Institutions (1846);
  3. The Water Cure in Scotland:  Five Letters from Dunoon, Originally Published in the “Aberdeen Herald,” Now Reprinted (1849);
  4. The Lyrical Dramas of Aeschylus, from the Greek, Volumes I and II (1850);
  5. The Pronunciation of the Greek; Accent and Quality:  A Philological Inquiry (1852);
  6. Classical Literature in Its Relation to the Nineteenth Century and Scottish University Education; An Inaugural Lecture Delivered in the University of Edinburgh, November 2, 1852 (1852);
  7. On the Living Language of the Greeks (1853);
  8. On Beauty:  Three Discourses Delivered in the University of Edinburgh; with an Exposition of the Doctrine of the Beautiful According to Plato (1858);
  9. Lyrical Poems (1860);
  10. Homer and the Iliad, Volumes I, II, III, and IV (1866);
  11. On Democracy:  A Lecture Delivered to the Working Men’s Institute, Edinburgh, on the 3d January 1867 (1867);
  12. On Forms of Government:  A Historical Review and Estimate of the Growth of the Principal Types of Political Organism in Europe from the Greeks and Romans Down to the Present Time; A Lecture Delivered in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, By Request of the Constitutional Association, on Wednesday, April 24, 1867 (1867);
  13. Musa Burschicosa:  A Book of Songs for Students and University Men (1869);
  14. War Songs of the Germans with Historical Illustrations of the Liberation War and the Rhine Boundary Question (1870);
  15. Four Phases of Morals:  Socrates, Aristotle, Christianity, Utilitarianism (1871);
  16. Greek and English Dialogues, for Use in Schools (1871);
  17. On Self-Culture, Intellectual, Physical, and Moral:  A Vade Mecum for Young Men and Students (1874);
  18. Horae Hellenicae:  Essays and Discussions on Some Important Points of Greek Philology and Antiquity (1874);
  19. Songs of Religion and Life (1876);
  20. The Language and Literature of the Scottish Highlands (1876);
  21. The Wise Men of Greece in a Series of Dramatic Dialogues (1877);
  22. The Natural History of Atheism (1878);
  23. The Nile Litany (1878);
  24. Lays and Legends of Ancient Greece (1880);
  25. Lay Sermons (1881);
  26. The Scottish Highlanders and the Land Laws:  An Historico-Economical Enquiry (1885);
  27. Messis Vitae:  Gleanings from a Happy Life (1886);
  28. What Does History Teach Us?  Two Edinburgh Lectures (1886);
  29. Lays of the Highlands and Islands (1888);
  30. Life of Robert Burns (1888);
  31. Scottish Song:  Its Wealth, Wisdom, and Social Significance (1889);
  32. A Song of Heroes (1890);
  33. Essays on Subjects of Moral and Social Interest (1890);
  34. Greek Primer, Colloquial and Constructive (1891);
  35. Christianity and the Ideal of Humanity in Old Times and New (1893);
  36. The Day-Book of John Stuart Blackie (1902), selected and edited by Archibald Stodart-Walker;
  37. The Letters of John Stuart Blackie to His Wife, with a Few Earlier Ones to His Parents (1909), edited by Archibald Stodart-Walker; and
  38. Notes of a Life (1910), edited by Archibald Stodart-Walker.

Blackie also wrote Introductions for books:

  1. Geographical Etymology:  A Dictionary of Place-Names, Giving Their Derivations (1887), by Christina Blackie; and
  2. Comhraidhean an Gaidhlig ‘s am Beurla:  Conversations in Gaelic and English (1892), by Duncan Macinnes.

Posthumous books about Blackie included the following:

  1. John Stuart Blackie:  A Biography, Volumes I and II (1895), by Anna M. Stodart;
  2. The Life of Professor John Stuart Blackie, the Most Distinguished Scotsman of the Day (1896), edited by John M. Duncan;
  3. Professor Blackie:  His Sayings and Doings (1896), by Howard Angus Kennedy; and
  4. The Selected Poems of John Stuart Blackie (1896), edited by Archibald Stodart-Walker.

Late in life Blackie wrote of himself:

I am rather a young old boy and I am one of the happiest creatures under the sun at this moment and my amusement is to sing songs.

–Quoted in Albert C. Ronander and Ethel K. Porter, Guide to the Pilgrim Hymnal (Boston, MA:  Pilgrim Press, 1966), page 60

Our saint died at Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 2, 1895.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 11, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF LUKE OF PRAGUE AND JOHN AUGUSTA, MORAVIAN BISHOPS AND HYMN WRITERS

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [John Stuart Blackie 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 Greville Phillimore (January 20)   1 comment

Henley-on Thames

Above:  Henley-on-Thames, England, 1890

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08588

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GREVILLE PHILLIMORE (FEBRUARY 5, 1821-JANUARY 20, 1884)

English Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator

The name of Greville Phillimore came to my attention via The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935), one of the better old hymn books.  The process of reading and taking notes about Phillimore led me to wonderful hymns he wrote.  I have added 13 of them to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  I also read other splendid hymn texts he composed, but they did not address God, so I chose not to augment GATHERED PRAYERS with them.

Greville Phillimore entered the world at London, England, the United Kingdom, on February 5, 1821.  He, the fifth son of Joseph Phillimore (1775-1855) and Elizabeth Phillimore (died in 1859), came from a distinguished family.  Joseph was the Regius Professor of Civil Law at Shiplake House, Henley-on-Thames, near London.  One of our saint’s brothers was Sir Robert Joseph Phillimore (1810-1885), the first Baron of Shiplake.  Another brother was Sir Augustus Phillimore (1822-1897), an admiral of the Royal Army.  Young Greville attended the Westminster School, the Charterhouse, and Christ Church, Oxford (B.A., 1842; M.A., 1844).  Then his fruitful career as a priest in The Church of England began.

That career commenced in 1845, when Phillimore took Anglican Holy Orders.  He served as the Curate of Henley-on-Thames (1846-1847), the Curate of Shiplake (1847-1848), the Curate of Wargrave and Fawley (1848-1849), the Curate of Henley-on-Thames again (1850-1851), the Vicar of Down Ampney (1851-1868), the Rector of Henley-on-Thames (1868-1883), and the Rector of Ewelme (1883-1884).  He died at Ewelme on January 20, 1884.  Among his survivors was a daughter, Catherine Mary Phillimore, whose mother Emma Carolina Goddard (Phillimore), who married our saint on April 16, 1857.  Emma Carolina’s father was a Member of Parliament.

Phillimore left a fine legacy in hymnody.  Not only did he write original hymns, he also translated hymns from Latin.  (I have read hymns our saint wrote, but not located any he translated.)  He (with Hyde Wyndham Beadon and James Russell Woodford) edited the Parish Hymn Book (1863), a volume of great importance.  It was among the first hymnals to include hymn translations by John Mason Neale (1818-1866).  An expanded version of the Parish Hymn Book followed in 1875.

Phillimore also published sermons.  Parochial Sermons dated from 1856.  His daughter, Catherine Mary, included hymns and certain sermons by her father in In Memoriam:  A Selection of Sermons by the Rev. Greville Phillimore, M.A….Also, Hymns by the Same Author (1884).  Thus his theological legacy has come down to us in written form, fortunately.

When I started researching Greville Phillimore I read blurbs at hymn websites and a rather scant biography in a hymnal companion volume.  These sources provided helpful hints for further exploration in the historical record, but did not convey the man’s literary ability.  From a variety of sources I compiled the texts of 13 hymns for a sister weblog.  Spending time with Phillimore’s texts has left me impressed with his faith and his literary skill.  The fact that few of those gems remain in hymnals in use in 2015 has confirmed my evaluation of the relatively dismal state of English-language hymnody.

At least Phillimore’s hymns are available for interested parties to use in worship as they deem appropriate.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 8, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SHEPHERD KNAPP, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GOTTFRIED WILHELM SACER, GERMAN LUTHERAN ATTORNEY AND HYMN WRITER; AND FRANCES ELIZABETH COX, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN DUCKETT AND RALPH CORBY, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS IN ENGLAND

THE FEAST OF NIKOLAI GRUNDTVIG, HYMN WRITER

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Greville Phillimore and others, who have composed and translated 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 Daniel March, Sr. (March 2)   Leave a comment

Woburn Public Library

Above:  Public Library, Woburn, Massachusetts, Circa 1880

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-15349

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DANIEL MARCH, SR. (JULY 21, 1816-MARCH 2, 1909)

U.S. Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister, Poet, Hymn Writer, and Liturgist

Daniel March, Sr., was a prolific author and enthusiastic world traveler.  Many people considered him to be very well-informed and worth listening to and reading.  Yet his books have faded into obscurity and one hymn–“Hark! the Voice of Jesus Crying” (1868)–has become the text on which his historical reputation rests.  The hymn if four stanzas includes a frequently omitted stanza–the one which speaks of “heathen lands” and “heathen nearer.”  The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) lacks that stanza because of what follows the “heathen” references–theology with which I agree yet which certain Confessional Lutherans considered troublesome in the late 1930 and 1940s, and which many adherents of that school of Christianity still find objectionable.  That stanza, in fact, is absent from both versions of the hymn in the Lutheran Service Book (2006), a successor of The Lutheran Hymnal.  Our saint, an enthusiastic supporter of missions, wrote:

Hark! the voice of Jesus crying,

“Who will go and work today?

Fields are white and harvests waiting,

Who will bear the sheaves away?”

Loud and long the Master calleth,

Rich reward He offers thee;

Who will answer, gladly saying,

“Here am I, send me, send me”?

+++++

If you cannot cross the ocean,

And the heathen lands explore,

You can find the heathen nearer,

You can help them at your door;

If you cannot give your thousands,

You can give the widow’s mite,

And the least you give for Jesus

Will be precious in His sight.

+++++

If you cannot speak like angels,

If you cannot preach like Paul,

You can tell the love of Jesus,

You can say he died for all.

If you cannot rouse the wicked

With the Judgment’s dread alarms,

You can lead the little children

To the Savior’s waiting arms.

+++++

Let none hear you idly saying,

“There is nothing I can do,”

While the souls of men are dying

And the Master calls for you.

Take the work He gives you gladly,

Let His work your pleasure be;

Answer quickly when he calleth,

“Here I am, send me, send me!”

The treatment of the hymn in other hymn books interests me.  In some hymnals Jesus is crying; in others, however, he is calling.  The committee which prepared The Methodist Hymnal (1935) changed no words yet omitted the third stanza.  The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935) committee, however, altered the text–a practice which dated to March’s time and bothered him.  In the 1931/1935 hymnal the third stanza was absent , “heathen lands” became “mission lands,” the “heathen nearer” became the “needy nearer,” and “Rich reward he offers thee” became “Flings a challenge strong to thee.”  The hymn has fallen out of favor with many hymnal committees since the 1950s, being absent, for example, from successor hymnals of the United Church of Christ, The United Methodist Church, and their predecessor bodies.  I have read altered versions of the text and seldom read all four original stanzas in other hymnals.  For example, The Baptist Hymnal (1991) and the Baptist Hymnal (2008) speaks of “distant lands” and the “lost around you,” but not of the heathen.  The Covenant Hymnal:  A Worshipbook (1996) offers all four stanzas, albeit in altered form; there is “a distant land” instead of “heathen lands,” and the “pagan nearby” instead of the “heathen nearer.” The Trinity Hymnal (1961), the Trinity Hymnal–Revised Edition (1990), and the Trinity Hymnal–Baptist Edition (1995) offer the same four-stanza version–one which replaces March’s third stanza with words he did not write and leaves the rest of the text as he composed it.  (I like having a collection of hymnals!)

The author of that hymn entered the world at Millburg, Massachusetts, on July 21, 1816.  His parents were Samuel March and Zoa Park March, farmers.  Our saint, the third of six children, attended the Millburg Academy before matriculating at Amherst College in 1834.  He left Amherst College after two years without graduating yet graduated from Yale College with his B.A. degree in 1840.  March worked as the Principal of Fairfield Academy, Fairfield, Connecticut, from 1840 to 1843 before completing his theological studies at Yale in 1845.  By then he had earned his M.A. from Yale (1843), had been a licensed preacher for three years, and had been the husband of Jane Parker Gilson March (1818-1857) for four years.

Some of the hymnal companion volumes and hymn websites I consulted informed me erroneously that March’s 1845 ordination was in the Presbyterian Church.  Actually, the ordaining authority was the Fairfield West Association, and his first pastorate was the Congregational Church at Cheshire, Connecticut, from 1845 to 1848.  About six years (1849-1855) at First Congregational Church, Nashua, New Hampshire, followed.  From 1856 to 1862 our saint ministered at First Congregational Church, Woburn, Massachusetts.

Then March’s Presbyterian connections began.  He served as the pastor of Clinton Street Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1862 to 1876.  He also spent part of the 1860s serving on the Presbyterian Publication Committee (headquartered in that city), which published some of his books.  And March was, from the 1860s until his death, a minister of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, even though he returned to the pulpit of the First Congregational Church of Woburn for a second tenure (1877-1895).

March, as a family man, married twice.  He and his first wife, Jane Parker Gilson March (1818-1857), had four children:

  1. Anna Parker March (1842-1863);
  2. Charles A. March, who became an attorney and outlived his father;
  3. Daniel March, Jr. (1884-1897), who became a doctor; and
  4. Frederick William March (1847-1935), who became a Presbyterian minister and a missionary to Syria.

Our saint remarried in 1859.  His second wife was Anna LeConte March, who died in 1879.

Dr. Daniel March, Sr. (Doctor of Divinity, Western University of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, 1864) opposed slavery, supported foreign missions, and was a relatively High Church Calvinist.  His published works included an antislavery speech, devotional and other theological books, and a volume of liturgical forms.  Those works include the following:

  1. Yankee Land and the Yankee (1840);
  2. A Poem Delivered Before the Phi Beta Kappa Society in Yale College, August 19, 1846 (1846);
  3. The Crisis of Freedom:  Remarks on the Duty Which All Christian Men and Good Citizens Owe to Their Country in the Present State of Public Affairs (1854);
  4. Walks and Homes of Jesus (1866);
  5. Night Scenes in the Bible (1868);
  6. Our Father’s House, or the Unwritten Word (1869);
  7. Home Life in the Bible (1873);
  8. The Introduction to Household Worship (1873), by a Layman;
  9. Public Worship, Partly Responsive; Designed for Any Christian Congregation (1873);
  10. An article on “Research and Travel in Bible Lands” in Wood’s Bible Animals (1877), by J. G. Wood;
  11. From Dark to Dawn; Being a Second Series of Night Scenes in the Bible (1878);
  12. The Introduction to The Pictoral Bible and Commentator–New Edition (1878), by Ingram Cobbin;
  13. The First Khedive:  Lessons in the Life of Joseph (1887);
  14. Walks with Jesus; or, Days of the Son of Man (1888); and
  15. Morning Light in Many Lands (1891).

March delivered his last sermon at First Congregational Church, Woburn, Massachusetts, in July 1908.  He died in that town less than a year later–on March 2, 1909.  He was ninety-two years old.  Yet our saint’s hymn lives on in various altered forms.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 22, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT SYNCLETIA OF ALEXANDRIA, DESERT MOTHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABELARD OF CORBIE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHN JULIAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI, FOUNDER OF THE PALLOTINES

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Daniel March, Sr.)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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