Posted by: rcottrill | February 21, 2010

Today in 1801 – John Newman Born

During a time of illness and great discouragement, John Henry Newman penned the words of the hymn Lead, Kindly Light. (It was written on June 16th, 1833.) The author’s disappointment with the Church of England of his day eventually turned him toward the Church of Rome, where he became Cardinal Newman, later in life.

Hymn historian Robert Guy McCutchan says of Newman’s song, “No more beautiful hymn, nor one more dignified, has been written in English.” That seems a rather overstated position, but it is a lovely hymn and not without merit.

McCutchan classes “with the morn those angel faces smile” as one of the “exquisite phrases” in the poetry. That is ironic, since, when Newman was asked years later what the phrase meant, he responded that he had no idea! This reminds us of the need for our hymns to be true to Scripture, and speak clearly. We can admire well-written poetry–and Newman’s contribution certainly is that–but we need more.

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

(2) Today in 1950 – Charles Naylor Died
Charles Wesley Naylor served as a pastor with the Church of God for 13 years before an serious accident–a large tent pole falling on his back–made him a invalid for the last 40 years of his life. He wrote many hymns and gospel songs, but they are not in common use today. One of his selections is O Praise the Lord! a song based in part on the shortest Psalm in the Bible, Ps. 117, which says:

Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles [the KJV has “nations”]! Laud Him, all you peoples! For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!

As Pastor Naylor’s hymn puts it:

O praise the Lord, all ye nations!
Praise Him, all ye people!
For His merciful kindness is great toward us,
And the truth of the Lord endureth forever:
Praise ye the Lord!

Praise Him, praise Him!
Praise ye the Lord!
Praise Him, praise Him!
Praise ye the Lord!

O praise the Lord, all ye nations!
Praise Him for His goodness!
For He saveth His people from all their sins,
And preserveth the souls of all who will trust Him:
Praise ye the Lord!

(3) Data Missing – When I Walk Up the Streets of Gold
There are a number of songs for which we have little information, and I want to include a few of them from time to time. The author of the lyrics for this gospel song is unknown. We do know that the tune was composed by Homer Morris (1875-1955), which likely gives us a clue as to the time frame when the words were created. Mr. Morris was an American composer and music editor. He also conducted hundreds of singing schools.

When I Walk Up the Streets of Gold is a reminder to us that the things that burden and fret believers here will be left behind when we go to be with the Lord.

The burdens of life may be many,
The frowns of the world may be cold;
To me it will matter but little,
When I walk up the streets of gold.

When I walk up the streets of gold,
When I walk up the streets of gold;
How my heart will rejoice in that morning,
When I walk up the streets of gold.

With joy I shall enter that city,
The face of my Saviour behold;
And I shall be changed and be like Him,
When I walk up the streets of gold.

For ages and ages I’ll praise Him,
And never grow weary or old;
Love-crowned I’ll abide in His presence,
When I walk up the streets of gold.


Responses

  1. that song make happy and feel my heart with joy


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