Posted by: rcottrill | January 27, 2010

Today in 1756 – Wolfgang Mozart Born

His full name was Johannes Chrisostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart and, though he died at the relatively young age of 35, he is considered one of the greatest composers who ever lived. Mozart created over 600 musical works. Spiritually, his faith seems to have combined elements of both Catholicism and Protestantism, but comments in his letters suggest his beliefs were both sincere and deeply held. For example, he wrote:

Let us put our trust in God, and console ourselves with the thought that all is well if it is in accordance with the will of the Almighty, as He knows best what is profitable and beneficial to our temporal happiness and our eternal salvation.

Though he is not considered a hymn writer, several of his melodies have been used as hymn tunes. His tune Ariel is commonly used with O Could I Speak the Matchless Worth, and the tune Ellesdie is used in some hymn books with Hark, the Voice of Jesus Calling, and Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken.

For more about the hymn O Could I Speak the Matchless Worth, see Today in 1738. For more on Hark, the Voice of Jesus Calling, see Today in 1868. Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken, published in 1824, was written by Henry Lyte, author also of Abide with Me.

Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition, all I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition! God and heaven are still mine own.

Let the world despise and leave me, they have left my Saviour, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me; Thou art not, like them, untrue.
And while Thou shalt smile upon me, God of wisdom, love and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me, show Thy face and all is bright.

Here is a congregation singing Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken, to the tune Ellesdie.

(2) Today in 1839 – John Julian Born
The man’s name is sometimes written as John D. Julian, though there was no middle name given on his birth certificate. Englishman John Julian was an Anglican clergyman, but he is best known for his massive two volume work on hymn history called Dictionary of Hymnology, and subtitled Origin and History of Christian Hymns and Hymn Writers of All Ages and Nations, Together with Biographical and Critical Notices of Their Authors and Translators.

First published in 1892, this encyclopedic work was revised and updated by the author in 1907. In 1,768 double-columned pages, Julian gives us the history of over 30,000 English, American, German, and Latin hymns, and more. Though further research has shown he was very occasionally incorrect, he has given us an essential resource for the study of our hymnody.

(3) More from Fanny Crosby – Never Give Up
In October of 1941, Winston Churchill went to speak at Harrow School. Britain had just come through the frightful bombing raids of the Blitz, and this was much on the great man’s mind. He said to those assembled:

For everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period–I am addressing myself to the School–surely from this period of ten months, this is the lesson: Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

The same message of courage and steadfastness is fitting for soldiers of Christ.

Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (I Cor. 15:58)

Fanny Crosby published Never Give Up, a song on the theme in 1903, when she was 83 years of age. The tune was written by Ira Allan Sankey, son of the man who worked for many years with evangelist Dwight L. Moody. I. A. Sankey was president of Biglow and Main Music Publishers in New York City, the company that published many of Fanny Crosby’s songs.

Never be sad or desponding,
If thou hast faith to believe.
Grace, for the duties before thee,
Ask of thy God and receive.

Never give up, never give up,
Never give up to thy sorrows,
Jesus will bid them depart.
Trust in the Lord, trust in the Lord,
Sing when your trials are greatest,
Trust in the Lord and take heart.

Never be sad or desponding,
There is a morrow for thee;
Soon thou shalt dwell in its brightness,
There with the Lord thou shalt be.


  1. “Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken” — I’ve checked two hymnals, and the tune ELLESDIE is in them both, but it is not the tune sung by this congregation.

    • Interesting. You don’t mention the tune your congregation uses. Ellesdie is the most common I think, but I notice the Cyber Hymnal uses Hyfrydol, with Ellesdie as a second choice ( ). This is a truly great hymn tune, and it’s tempting to use it with a whole bunch of hymns (My Redeemer, Love Divine, etc.). It can get overused because it works so well with many texts.

      • The ELLESDIE at the link you gave is the tune I’m most familiar with–and the tune printed in the two hymnals I checked. (Although this rendition of it has some slight variations.)

  2. […] Wordwise Hymns (Mozart) The Cyber […]


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