Posted by: rcottrill | February 13, 2010

Today in 1881 – Eleanor Farjeon Born

English writer, Eleanor Farjeon was the daughter of novelist Benjamin Farjeon. She wrote poems, novels, plays, and childrens books. In 1959 she received the Regina Medal for her work with children. She also authored the hymn, Morning Has Broken, published in 1931. (For more on the story behind this song, see Today in 1965.)

Morning has broken like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning!
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word!

Here is a multi-track piano and Irish whistle “duet” of the tune (called Bunessan). It’s not a professional performance, but is well done, and I believe it captures the haunting nature of the melody nicely.

(2) Today in 1940 – Rufus McDaniel Died
Rufus Henry McDaniel was an American clergyman with the Christian Church, serving a number of churches in Ohio. He wrote more than a hundred hymns, but, as is sometimes the case, only one remains in common use today, Since Jesus Came Into My Heart. He wrote it during a time of great heartbreak. The McDaniel’s youngest son, Herschel had just died, and he and his wife were grieving over the loss. But Pastor McDaniel felt the best way to honour their son was to write a song expressing the believer’s hope in Christ.

God honoured this declaration of faith in an amazing way. Shortly afterward, Billy Sunday held an evangelistic meeting in the city of Philadelphia. Rufus McDaniel’s hymn, used at that time, was instrumental in bringing a tough-minded police officer named Fowler to faith in Christ. And the “wonderful change” in the life of this man was influential in bringing more than a hundred more policemen to the Saviour.

What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought
Since Jesus came into my heart!
I have light in my soul for which long I had sought,
Since Jesus came into my heart!

Since Jesus came into my heart,
Since Jesus came into my heart,
Floods of joy o’er my soul
Like the sea billows roll,
Since Jesus came into my heart.

I have ceased from my wandering and going astray,
Since Jesus came into my heart!
And my sins, which were many, are all washed away,
Since Jesus came into my heart!

(3) Today in 1952 – William Sparrow-Simpson Died
William John Sparrow-Simpson was an Anglican cleric who supplied the libretto for John Stainer’s oratorio, The Crucifixion. Included in that 1887 work were the words of a congregational hymn called Cross of Jesus–which has since been printed by itself in a number of hymnals. (For more on this hymn, see Item 2 under Today in 1859.)

Cross of Jesus, cross of sorrow,
Where the blood of Christ was shed,
Perfect Man on thee did suffer,
Perfect God on thee has bled!

Here the King of all the ages,
Throned in light ere worlds could be,
Robed in mortal flesh is dying,
Crucified by sin for me.

O mysterious condescending!
O abandonment sublime!
Very God Himself is bearing
All the sufferings of time!


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