Hymn writer William Bingham Tappan was trained first as a clockmaker, in his youth. Later, he was licensed to preach by the Congregational denomination. He had a fruitful evangelistic ministry in America. Tappan also took special interest in the work of the Sunday School, and had a lifelong association with the American Sunday School Union. He published ten books of poetry, and a number of his poems were turned into hymns. William Tappen died of cholera in 1849, at the age of 55.
The hymn of his in widest use today is ‘Tis Midnight and on Olives Brow, a stirring picture of Christ in Gethsemane.
’Tis midnight, and on Olive’s brow
The star is dimmed that lately shone;
’Tis midnight, in the garden now
The suffering Saviour prays alone.
’Tis midnight, and from all removed
Emmanuel wrestles lone with fears
E’en the disciple whom He loved
Heeds not his Master’s grief and tears.
CHRISTMAS CAROL BOOK
Do you have some favourite carols or Christmas hymns? If so, I believe you’ll be blessed by this book. In Discovering the Songs of Christmas, I discuss the history and meaning of 63 songs, taking us on a journey that reveals the wonder of God’s love, and the reasons for Christ’s coming. (The book might make a great gift for someone too!) There are many fascinating stories. For instance, you’ll learn about a carol written while the author stood in line at a bus station, and another that became the first music ever played over the radio. Check the top of the sidebar for a link to order the book.
(2) Today in 1932 – Palmer Hartsough Died
Palmer Hartsough’s parents were Wells and Thankful Palmer. The son had a full life of employment and ministry for the Lord. He traveled widely for a time as a singing teacher, in Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Then he opened a music studio in Rock Island, Illinois around 1877, taught vocal and instrumental music, and also directed music at a Baptist church.
In 1893 he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, and was employed by the Fillmore Music Company. He was later ordained as a pastor. After several brief church ministries, he became the pastor of the Baptist church in Ontario, Michigan, at the age of seventy, and had a fruitful ministry for fourteen years, until his retirement. Palmer Harsough wrote more than a thousand gospel song texts, often using the pen name Uncle Frank. Only one or two of his songs are remembered today.
Gospel musician James Fillmore wrote words and music for a song to be used at a Christian Endeavour convention. Afterward, he asked Hartsough, then a writer on the staff of Fillmore’s music company, if he could write words for the tune that would be more widely useful. Hartsough responded with the challenging gospel song I Am Resolved.
I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world’s delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.
I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I am resolved, and who will go with me?
Come, friends, without delay,
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,
We’ll walk the heav’nly way.