William Garrett Horder.

The hymn lover: an account of the rise and growth of English hymnody online

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some of his verses, he does. Some of his noblest
hymns include verses before which the reader stands
amazed. Now here do we see how a Church which
has nourished the saintliest piety, yet throws a shadow
over the mind deep as night. I have not the heart to
quote any of the verses in which Faber sinks below his
true self, lest it should make any of my readers prize
less highly the glorious hymns which have come into
use from his pen. He is truly one of the greatest
hymnists of any age. The thought, the fervour, the
poetic quality, which are all combined in his hymns,
place him in that little circle which includes the chief
singers of the Church — a circle to which nearly every
section has contributed representatives. I question
whether a finer hymn could be named than his *^ My GK)d,
how wonderful Thou art," which impious hands have too
often marred by their senseless alterations or omissions.
It is probably his finest hymn; but falling little bdow
this are " CK)d, Thy power is wonderful " : —

O Ood I Thy power is wonderfU,

Thy glory paniDg bright ;
Thy wudom, with its deep on deep,

A rapture to the sight.

Yet more than all, and ever more,

Should we Thy creatores bless.
Most wonhipM of attribates,

Thine awml holinesB.


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There's not a craving in the mind,

Thon doBt not meet and still ;
There's not a wish the heart can have

Which Thon dost not fulfil.

Tlw jostioe is the gladdest thing

Creation can hehold ;
Thy tend^ness so meek, it wins

The guilty to he hold.

All things that have heen, all that are,

All things that can be dreamed,
AUpossible creations, made,

Kept faithful, or redeemed,^

All these may draw upon Thy power,

Thy mercy may command ;
And still outflows Thy silent sea,

Immutable and grand.

little heart of mine ! shall pain
Or sorrow make thee moan,

When all this God is all for thee,
A Father all thine own ?

*' I worship Thee, sweet will of God " (often marred, and
even [spoilt, notably in the supplement to the **New
Congregational Hymn Book ") : —

1 worshiD Thee, sweet WiU of God I

And all Thy ways adore ;
And every day I live, I long
To love Thee more and more.

I love to trace each print where Thou

Hast set Thine unseen feet ;
1 cannot fear Thee, blessed Will,

Thine empire is so sweet.

I have no careH. O blessM Will I

For all my cares* are Thine ;
1 live in triuoiph, Lord I for Thou

Hast made Thy triumphs mine.

Man's weakness, waiting upon Gkxi,

Its end can never miss,
For men on earth no work can do

More angel-like than this.

Hide on, ride on triumphantly,

Thou glorious Will I ride on;
Faith's pilgrim sons behind Thee take

The TOM that Thou hast gone.


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He always wins who sides with Gk)d,

To him no ohanoe is lost ;
Ood's will is sweetest to him when

It triomphs at his cost.

m, that He Ue«es, is onr good,

And tmhlest good is ill ;
And all is right that seems most wrong.

If it he His sweet Will !

The following is exquisite in its tenderness and simplicity
ol expression: —

Thy home is with the hnmble, Lord,

The simplest are the best ;
Thy lodging is in child-like hearts ;

Thoa makest there Thy rest.

Dear Comforter ! Eternal Love I

If Thou wilt stay with me.
Of lowly thoughts and simple ways,

111 bnild a house for Thee.

Who made this beating heart of mine,

Bot Thon, my heavenly CKiest ?
Let no one have it, then, bat Thee,

And let it be Thy rest.

Thy sweetness hath betrayed Thee, Lord I

Great Spirit I is it Thou ?
Deeper and deeper in my heart,

I feel Thee resting now.

" Souls of men, why will ye scatter," in which occur the
following yerses, so maryellous as coming from the lips of
a man in the exdusiye communion of Eome : —

** There's a wideness in Ood*s mercy,

Lflce the wideness of the sea ;

There's a kindness in His justice

Which is more than liberty.

For the love of God is broader
Than the measures of man's mind,

And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind."

"Sweet Saviour, bless us ere we go," only marred by

the idea of death as a dark night; '*I wish to have no

wishes left." These are his finest hymns. Others are

more popular, such as "0 Paradise, Paradise," and

*'The Pilgrims of the night," but they are not so


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healthily Christian, and, if I mistake not, owe much
of their popularity to the attractive music to whidi
they have heen wedded. His hymn, which in Protestant
collections begins ''Dear Jesus, oyer at my side/' is a
hymn to the Guardian Angel, and begins '' Dear Angel,
ever at my side," and, beautiful as it is, is not properly
applicable, in some of its particulars, when addressed to
Jesus instead of the Quardian Angel. '' come and
mourn with me awhile," is profoundly pathetic, but, as it
stands in the original, is in parts too intent upon the
physical agony of our Lord, notably in the following

** Gome, take thy stand beneath the Croes,
And let the Blood from oat that Side
Fall gently on thee, drop \rj drop ;
Jetos, our Love, is onudfied t '*

Por use beyond his own Church, it has been found neces-
sary, in nearly every case, to omit stanzas from this hymn.
StiU, the points of harmony are more and deeper than
those of discord, and hence Dr. Faber will ever hold a
place of honour in the universal song of the Church. It
should be added that, in 1849, he established the Brother-
hood of 8. Philip Neri at King William Street, Strand,
since removed to the well-known Oratory at Brompton.

John Mason Neale, D.D. (1818-1866), was as near to
Dr. Faber in his theological and ecclesiastical sympathies
as a man could well be who did not actually belong to the
Boman Church. But for one or two points of doctriBe,
he would probably have entered that communion. To
the lay mind, those points are scarcely perceptible.
Their discussion would be out of place here. But be
was, if I may judge from report, as beautiful and
Christ-like in character as Dr. Faber. No Church,


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indeed, has a monopoly of saintliness, or a patent for
it« production. Judged by their doctrines, Neale and
Stanley, though they belonged to the same Church, were
wide as the poles asunder, but judged by their likeness
of spirit to Christ, they were very closely united. Dr.
Neale's services to Christian Hymnody were as great, in
the matter of translations and adaptations of ancient, as
were those of Dr. Faber in the production of original
hymns. For the English-speaking people, indeed, he
unearthed and prepared for use the great stores of
hymnody buried in the office books of the Eastern, and,
in less degree, of the Mediaeval and Latin Churches.
For this task he was richly endowed, both with learning
and poetic taste. Beside this, he wrote many original
hymns, especially for children, which are of no little
merit. Personally, I do not rank them as high as some
hymnologbts, but his eminence in hymnody is chiefly
due to the exquisite way in which he adapted (for his
work was far more than translation), the verses scattered
through the voluminous Office Books of the Ancient
Churches, for use in the English Church. For this he
deserves lasting remembrance and honour, since it was a
work to which he devoted much time, immense pains, and
great talent. As proof of this, it will be sufficient to
name the most popular of his renderings — ** Art thou
weary, art thou languid," from St. Stephen the Sabaite;
" The day is past and over," probably by St. Anatolius ;
" 'Tis the day of resurrection," by St. John Damascene ;
"0 happy band of pilgrims," by St. Joseph of the
Studium ; ** Alleluia ! song of sweetness," from a hymn of
the 14th or 16th century ; "All glory, laud, and honour,"
by Theodulph, of Orleans; **The strain upraise, of joy


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and praise," probably by Godescalcns ; and his well-known
translation of the '^Hora Novissima/' from which the
centos, "Brief life is here our portion," "For thee,
dear, dear country," and " Jerusalem the golden," have
been taken. All these have passed into hymnals used in
every section of the Church, whilst many more have
found their way into churches of the Anglican type, in
the pages of ''Hymns Ancient and Modem," <^The
People's Hymnal," " The Hymnary," &c. Of his
original hymns, in my opinion, the best are — ** Lord of
hosts, whose glory fills," and ** The day, Lord, is
spent." '' The foe behind, the deep before," is more of
a poem than a hymn, and whilst in parts striking, is
rather confused in the way in which it treats and
applies the Exodus of Israel, which is its subject. Dr.
Neale seems to me to have always needed some previous
fire at which to kindle his torch ; when that could be
found his success was indeed great.

Anne Bronte (1820-1849), a member of the talented
family to which we owe such striking works, finds a place
among the hymnists by one hynm taken from her
''Wuthering Heights," which begins ** Oppressed with
sin and woe," touched by the melancholy hue which
pervaded her life, but there is in it that unmistakable
note of reality and conviction which ever- gives power to
a hymn.

Edwyn Paxton Hood (1820-1885), a versatile and
Yoluminous author, an oiiginal preacher and lecturer, a
poet of considerable freshness, wrote not a few hymns,
which only just fall short of great merit. Had he given
more time to their production, they would have taken a
very high place in public esteem, but they suffer, as did


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his books, from tlie haste with which all his work was
done. Still, when this has been said, it most be
acknowledged that his hynms are marked by an
originality and freshness which are so often lacking in
such productions. They were thrown oft when he was
moved by some scene, or event, or expression, which
moved him deeply. In my judgment, the following are
the most noteworthy, and strike a new note in hymnody.
The one I quote was suggested by a scene he witnessed
when the waves were dashing over the breakwater at
Portland, bringing to his mind the words of our Lord
concerning the house on the sand and on the rock.
Unfortunately, its verses are somewhat irregular in metze ;
this, perhaps, l^ids force to them, but renders it more
difficult for them to be wedded to music : —

Savioar and master,
These sayings of Thine,
Help me to make them
Doings of mine;
Woids that like beams
Of humanity shine.
By them let me boild up
The holy, divine.

Not on the sand. Lord!
Oh, not ou the eand ;
On the rock, on the rock,
Let mv heritage stand.
Beyond the floods raging,
Bevond the rude storm,
Where the rain cannot injure,
Nor bghtning deform.

Up on the rock. Lord !

Up high on the rock,

I have reeled, I have trembled

Beneath the rode shock.

To the Book of the ages.

To Thee, Lord, to Thee!

From the storm and the tern pent

I flee, Lord, I flee I


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Not OD the land, Ixnrd 1
Oh, not on the sand:
On the rock, on the rook,
Let my heiitM^ stand.
Saviour and Master,
These sayings of Thine,
Help me to make them
Doings of mine.

His well-known hymn for children, ''God, who hast
made the daisies," is well suited for their use, but might
have been wrought into a closer unity of idea. His
hymn, ** Heart-broken and weary, where'er thou may'st
be," is marked by great depth of feeling, but its form is
not equal to its emotion. It is, however, a great favourite
with many. The same remarks apply to '' Sing a hymn
to Jesus." Had Mr. Hood received the advantages of
academic training in his early days, the loss of which he
so deeply regretted, he would probably have been one of
the most popular hymnists of his time. He possessed
unmistakable genius, but was not sufficiently careful and
critical of his own work.

Sir Henry Williams Baker, Bart. (1821-1877), is
chiefly remarkable as one of the Editors of that
phenomenally successful collection, ''Hymns Ancient and
Modem." In my judgment, he had little original power
as a hymnist, but some of his hymns have become popular
from their inclusion in the collection already named.
His best hymns are—" God of lo^e, King of peace,"
'^How welcome I7as the call," "Lord, Thy word
abideth," " There is a blessed home." But they are the
work of a man familiar with hymns rather than of the
original hymnist. The same remark applies to his trans-
lations — ^they owe much to previous workers.

Thomas Toke Lynch (1818-1871) is as remarkable for
originality as Sir H. W. Baker was for the absence of it.


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Indeed, he is one of the most original and poetic hymnists
that could he named. His little volume, ** The Rivulet,"
which raised such a storm in the theological atmosphere of
the Free Churches, is pure, fresh, sparkling — true to its
name. It conveys truth, as did the Parahles of our Lord,
hy means of the sights and sounds of nature. It is like a
hreath from the hills, rather than, as so many hymns are,
from the study, or the cloister, or the hall of theology. It
is the work of the poet, not of the divine. It was not meant
to exclude other hymns from his congregation, but only
as a supplement to Dr. Watts, and so to add to the some-
what solid provision of that book, some fresher strains.
And the marvel of " The Rivulet " is that so great a
sufPerer as its author was all his days should have been
able to produce such buoyant and inspiring verses. It is
a lark-like song, which cheers the soul even of the sad and
sombre. It was so original, that the folk who can only
recognise truth in the doctrinal dress to which they have
been accustomed, called it heresy, and did their best to
cast smd keep it out of the Synagogue. In relation to
such, Mr. Lynch relieved his mind by the production
of ''Songs Controversial, by Silent Long; fifteen songs,
uttering a new protest." As these are unknown to the
majority of readers in our day, I quote one which he
called ''A Negative Affair; showing that when a man
palms off his negative 'stuff' upon the public as
Christian, there is always somebody acute enough to
detect the imposition " —

When sugar in the lump I see,

1 know that it is there:
Melt it, and then I soon suspect

A negative afiEair;
Where is the sugar, sir? I say,

Let me both tante and see;


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Sweetnem instead of sngar, eir,
You'll not palm off on me.

Don't tell me that the eugar-lampa

When dropt in water clear,
That they may make the water sweet,

lliemselves must disappear;
For common sense, sir, sncli as mine,

The lumps themselves must see;
Swfictness instead of sugar, sir,

You'll not palm off on me.

For instance, sir. in every hymn

Sound doctrine you must state
As clearly as a dead man's name

Is on his co£Bn-plate;
Religion, sir, is only fudge, —

L^'s have theology;
Sweetness instead of sugar, sir,

You'll not palm off on me.

These lines may still be commended to all those who would
insist that hymns should be a vehicle for theological rather
than religious expression. For a time, Mr. Lynches de-
tractors succeeded. But all such successes are short-lived.
Tears after its publication, when Mr. Miller, in 1869,
published his ** Singers and Songs of the Church," he
could only name six hymns by Mr. Lynch as having
passed into Hymnals, but to-day he would have largely
to extend the list. "The Baptist Hymnal" (1879)
contains eleven, " Congregational Hymns " (1884),
fourteeen, and the "Congregational Church Hymnal"
nine of his hymns. Even now, however, they have not
passed, with one exception — " Gracious Spirit, dwell
with me" — into Church of England Hymnals, which, up
to the present, have been rather shy of really poetic
hymns, preferring those of a more markedly doctrinal
type. Its hymns, for the most part, are more akin to
the Creeds than the Parables and the Sermon on the
Mount, with which Mr. Lynch's have so much more


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affinity. But the time will come when Mr. Lynch's
hymns will be sung as freely in stately churches as they
are now in Dissenting Conventicles, and they will do
much to remoTC the charge of Dean Stanley as to the
** uniform pedestrian style which is unfortunately
familiar to English Churchmen in the vast mass of the
hymns contained in * Hymns Ancient and Modem,' " and
will give freshness to the song of the Episcopal Church.
I quote the following, which are little known, as
illustrations of the freshness of his style, and of his
habit of dealing with aspects of truth seldom, if ever,
dealt with in hymns : —

Where ia thy God, my soul?
Is He within Thy heart ;
Or mler of a distant realm
In which thou hast no part?

Where is thy Gtod, my soul?
Only in stars and son;
Or have the holy words of truth
His light in every one?

Where is thy God, my soul?
Confined to Scripture's page;
Or does His Spirit check and guide
The spirit of each age?

O Buler of the sky,
Rule Thou within my heart:
0* great Adomer of the world,
Thy light of life impart.

Giver of holy words,
Bestow Thy holy power.
And aid me, whether work or thought
Engage the varying hour.

In Thee have I my help,
As all mv fathers had;
in trust Thee when I'm sorrowfnl.
And serve Thee when I'm glad.

The following contains a terse exposition of true
Christian Socialism :—


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O Lord, Thou art not fickle;

Oar hope is not io vain;
The harvest for the sickle

WHl ripen yet agidn.

Bat though enough be given

For all the world to eat,
Sin with Thy love has striven

Its boonty to defeat.

Were men to one another

As kind as God to all,
Then no man on his brother

For help would vainly call.

On none for idle wasting

Wonld honest labour frown;
And none, to riches hasting,

Would tread his neighbour down.
No man enough possenes

Until he has to spare ;
Possession no man bleases

While self is all his care.
For blessings on our labour,

O, then, in hope we pray,
When love unto our neighbour

Is ripening every day.

What a delightful introduction to the reading or exposi-
tion of Scripture is found in the following lines :

Christ in His Word draws near ;
Hush, moaning voice of fear,

He bids thee cease;
With sonp sincere and sweet
Let us arise, and meet
Him who comes forth to greet

Our souls with peace.
Rising above thy care,
Meet Him as in the air,

O weary heart :
Put on joy's sacred dress;
Lo, as He comes to Idess,
Quite from Thy weariness

Set free thou art.
For works of love and praise
He brings thee summer days.

Warm days and bright;
Winter is past and gone.
Now He, salvation's Sun,
Shineth on every one

With mercy's light.


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From the bright eky above,
Clad in His robes of love,

"Tis He, our Lord :
Dim earth itself grows dear,
As His light draweth near:
O let us hush and hear

His holy word.

How exquisitely the spirit of the Kingdom of Ood is set
forth, by illustratioiis drawn from the natural world, in
the lyric utterance below : —

Lift up your heads, rejoice.
Redemption draweth nigh;
Now breathes a softer air,
Now shines a milder sky ;
The early trees put forth
Their new and tender leaf;
Hushed is the moaning wind
That told of winter's grief.

Lift up your heads, rejoice,
Redemption draweth nigh;
Now mount the laden clouds,
Now flames the darkening sky.
The early scattered drops
Descend with heavy fall.
And to the waiting earth
The hidden thunders cdl.

Lift up ^our heads, rejoice.
Redemption draweth nigh;
O note the varying signs
Of earth, and air, and sky :
The God of glory oomee
In gentleness and might,
To comfort and alarm.
To succour and to smite.

He cornea, the wide world's King;
He comesy the true heart's Friend;
New gladness to begin.
And ancient wrong to end;
He comes, to fill with light
The weary waiting eye:
Lift up your heads, rejoice.
Redemption draweth nigh.

The most popular of Mr. Lynch's hymns up to the present

time, however, are the following: — "Gracious Spirit,

dwell with me" ** where is He that trod the sea,''


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** Now have we met that we may ask,'* " Dismiss me not
Thy service, Lord," ** The Lord is rich and merciful,"
*' How calmly the evening once more is descending,"
" Love me, Lord, forgivingly," '* Oft when of God we
ask." "The Rivulet" also contains many poems not
suitahle for puhlic worship, hut admirahly adapted to
freshen the religious life. Eor my own part, I should
put that work ahove Mr. Kehle's ** Christian Tear " for
the spontaneity of its poetry.

James Drummond Bums (1823-1864), like Mr. Lynch,
was a sufferer for many years from illness, and, like
him, was richly gifted with poetic power. His hymns
are amongst the most pathetic and tender of recent
production. A man of rare refinement and saintly
character, showing that the Preshyterian Church, usually
supposed to foster only the more vigorous and even hard
type of character, numhers among its memhers men
who deserve to he ranked with those nurtured in more
cloistral ways. I should assign a very high place to
such hymns as " Still with Thee, my Gk)d," " Thou
whose tender feet have trod," and "Thou, Lord, art
Love, and everywhere," which has so often heen mangled
hy editors that I quote it as penned hy the author ; —

Thou, Lord, art Love-^and everywhere

Thy Dame is brightly shown,
Beneath, on earth T^ footstool fair,

Above, in heaven Thy throne.

Thy word is Love— in lines of gold

There mercy prints its trace ;
In Nature we Tny steps behold,

The Gospel shows Thy &oe.

Thy ways are Love— though they transcend

Onr feeble range of sight,
They wind through darlmess to their end,

In everlasting Ugfat.


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Thy thoughts are Love, and JmoM is

The liinmg voice they find;
His love lights up the vast ab3rs8

Of the Eternal Mind.

Thy chastisementfl are Love — ^more deep

They stamp the seal divine ;
And hy a sweet compulsion ke^

Our spirits nearer Thine.

Thy heaven is the abode of Love —

O blessM Lord, that we
May there, when time's dim shades remove

Be gathered home to Thee ;

There with Thy resting saints to fall

Adoring round Thy throne ;
Where all shall love Thee, Lord, and all

Shall in Thy love be one.

whilst almost equal are — "Not, Lord, nnto that mount
of dread," " As helpless as a child who clings," and '* At
Thy feet, our God and Father." His hymn on Samuel,
''Hushed was the evening hymn," is one of the loveliest
for children, in the language, and deserves to rank
with, even if it does not excel, the best of Mrs. C. F.
Alexander's. It may he unknown to some of my readers,
and I therefore quote it:

Hushed was the evening hymn.

The Temple courts were dark ;

The lamp was burning dim

Before the sacred ark ;
When suddenly a voice divine
Rang through the silence of the shrine.

The old man, meek and mild,

The priest of Israel, slept*

His watch the Temple child,

The little Levite kept :
And what from Eli's sense was sealed,
The Lord to Hannah's son revealed.

Oh I give me Samuel's ear,

The open ear^ O Lord,

Alive and qmck to hear

Each whisper of Thy word :
Like him to answer at Thy call,
And to obey Thee first of all.


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Oh ! give me Samuel*! hetrt,

A lowly heart that waitfl,

When in Thy house Thou art,

Or watches at Thy gates.
By day and night, a heart that still
Moves at the ^eathing of Thy will.

Oh ! give me Samuel's mind,

A sweet, unmunnuiing faith,

Ohedient and resigned

To Thee in life and death ;
That I may read with child-like eyes
Truths that are hidden from the wise.

Some of Mr. Boms' translatioiis from the Oerman are of

great merit, as may be seen from the following rendering

of a hymn by Joachim Neander : —

Heaven and earth, and sea and air,
Still their Maker's praise declare ;
Thou, n^ soul, as loudly sing.
To thy God thy praises bring.

See the sun his power awakes.
As through clouds his glory breaks ;
See the moon and stars of light,
Praising God in stillest night.

See how God this rolling globe
Swathes with beauty like a robe;
Forests, fields, and living things,
E^ch its Maker's glory sings.

Through the air Thy praises meet,

Online LibraryWilliam Garrett HorderThe hymn lover: an account of the rise and growth of English hymnody → online text (page 14 of 37)