Philipp Melanchthon was a German reformer, a friend and coworker of Martin Luther’s. A brilliant scholar and theologian, he was the author of the Augsburg Confession. However, he lacked administrative skills and the courage to stand firm in times of controversy. When Luther was in hiding, Melanchthon made theological compromises with Catholicism that threatened to take Lutheranism away from its founding principles.
He is not a significant hymn writer, but in 1534 Philipp Melanchthon published a hymn called Lord God, We All to Thee Give Praise, extolling the ministry of the angels of God.
Lord God, we all to Thee give praise,
Thanksgivings meet to Thee we raise,
That angel hosts Thou didst create
Around Thy glorious throne to wait.
They shine with light and heav’nly grace
And constantly behold Thy face;
They heed Thy voice, they know it well,
In godly wisdom they excel.
They never rest nor sleep as we;
Their whole delight is but to be
With Thee, Lord Jesus, and to keep
Thy little flock, Thy lambs and sheep.
(2) Today in 1867 – Now the Day Is Over published
English clergyman Sabine Baring-Gould is best known as the author of the hymn Onward, Christian Soldiers. However, he did write others. Among them is a lovely evening hymn called Now the Day Is Over (see also Today in 1834).
Night time is, for many, a time of increased anxiety and worry that robs us of needed slumber. But when these threaten to overwhelm us we can commit ourselves to the God of whom Scripture says, “Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep” (Ps. 121:4). We can entrust the long night hours to Him, the One “who gives songs in the night” (Job 35:10; cf. Acts 16:24-25).
Now the day is over, night is drawing nigh,
Shadows of the evening steal across the sky.
Jesus, give the weary calm and sweet repose;
With Thy tenderest blessing may mine eyelids close.
(3) Today in 1928 – William Boyd Died
William Boyd studied under Sabine Baring-Gould, and then attended Worcester College, Oxford. He was ordained as an Anglican clergyman in 1877, eventually becoming vicar at All Saints Church, in London. He contributed the hymn tune Pentecost to a 1868 collection of Thirty-two Hymn Tunes Composed by Members of the University of Oxford. (This tune is the only one of the 32 that remains in common use today.)
We use the tune Pentecost for the hymn Fight the Good Fight, by John Monsell. (For more on Mr. Monsell and his hymns, see second item under Today in 1791.) Note the last line of the second stanza printed below. What a statement of the essence of the Christian life: “Christ is the path, and Christ the prize!” Amen!
Fight the good fight with all thy might;
Christ is thy strength, and Christ thy right;
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.
Run the straight race through God’s good grace,
Lift up thine eyes, and seek His face;
Life with its way before us lies,
Christ is the path, and Christ the prize.