Posted by: rcottrill | January 12, 2010

Today in 1730 – Johann Schwedler Died

Johann Christoph Schwedler was educated at the University of Leipzig. He was known as a great man of prayer, and a powerful preacher. It is reported that his church services lasted from six in the morning until two or three in the afternoon, with relays of people coming to hear him! Schwedler is known for one hymn translated into English, Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know. It focuses our attention on the centrality of Christ, “that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). (For a bit more about the hymn, see Item #2 under Today in 1771.)

Ask ye what great thing I know,
That delights and stirs me so?
What the high reward I win?
Whose the name I glory in?
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

What is faith’s foundation strong?
What awakes my heart to song?
He Who bore my sinful load,
Purchased for me peace with God,
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

30 IDEAS FOR PROMOTING HYMN SINGING. Sadly, in some churches the singing of our traditional hymns and gospel songs has been neglected. Here are some ideas for reviving interest in this practice.

WORSHIP IN SONG. Why do we sing in church? No doubt for a variety of reasons–not all of them biblical! But there is a key verse in the Psalms that shows the proper connection between music and worship.

(2) Today in 1912 – James Orr Born
James Edwin Orr was born in Ireland. He was ordained as an American Baptist pastor in 1940, and served as a chaplain in the Pacific, in the Second World War. He wrote a number of books, particularly on the history of revival, as well as authoring six hymns. The only one of these that remains in common use is Search Me O God. The hymn is based on Ps. 139:23-24:

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
Try me, O Saviour, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin and set me free.

Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine;
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine;
Tall all my will, my passion, self and pride;
I now surrender, Lord–in me abide.


  1. Thank you for correcting me on the authorship of the poem – Ask ye what great things I know. On a December 2009 blog posting, I had incorrectly indicated that it was written by Rev. J. S. B. Monsell.

    Since I’m only using hymns from hymnals I have at my own house, should I pull the poem from my blog????? I rechecked two of my hymnals – one published in 1894 and another one published in 1898. Both hymnals indicate Monsell as the author.

    I know you’re the expert in hymns and I trust your knowledge. Now I wonder how many other poems I have on my blogs have misleading authors??????

    • Well! Interesting! I went back a few years further, to The Baptist Hymn and Tune Book of 1873. You’re quite right. The hymn seems to have been credited early on to Monsell. But that’s an error. (And sometimes such mistakes tend to get passed on from one book to another, when editors don’t check these things.) Hymn historian Samuel Duffield (in 1886) credits Dr. Kennedy as translator. So do authorities such as William J. Reynolds, Robert McCutchan, and John Julian.

      No, I wouldn’t advise you to pull the poem from your blog. It should be an easy matter to edit what you have to read something like: Author, Johann Christoph Schwedler; English Translation, Benjamin Hall Kennedy.

      You can easily check the information on the Cyber Hymnal. I know the editor (and have assisted him from time to time). Not to say he is never wrong, but over the last 13 years he has been extremely careful in compiling the data on over 7,800 hymns.

      Hope that’s a help. The authorship caught my eye because I work with hymns every day. Most folks won’t even notice such things. And the great words of the hymn are worth posting. God bless.

  2. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]


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