Posted by: rcottrill | March 11, 2010

Today in 1837 – Oscar Clute Born

Oscar Clute graduated from the Michigan Agricultural College, then taught mathematics there for awhile, later studying at Meadeville Theological Seminary.  He held pastorates in New Jersey, Iowa and California and, during his busy life, also served as president of the Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State College), and Florida Agricultural College. He has given us a single hymn, O Love of God Most Full, published in 1904.

O love of God most full,
O love of God most free,
Come, warm my heart, come fill my soul,
Come, lead me unto Thee!

Warm as the glowing sun,
So shines Thy love on me;
It wraps me ’round with kindly care,
It draws me unto Thee!

(2) Today in 1923 – Mary Thomson Died
One day in 1868, Mary Ann Faulker Thomson faced a family crisis. Her child was critically ill with typhoid fever. As she sat up with him one lonely night, it is said she made a covenant with God–that if He would spare her son she would dedicate him to the Lord’s service. It was also during those dark hours that Mary Ann Thomson began to write a fine missionary hymn called O Zion, Haste (often amended today to O Christian, Haste).

In the stanzas she has given us the author shows herself to be knowledgeable of the Scriptures. For instance, the first verse says:

O Christian, haste, thy mission high fulfilling,
To tell to all the world that God is Light;
That He who made all nations is not willing
One soul should perish, lost in shades of night.

That beautifully reflects the truth of II Pet. 3:9, “The Lord is…not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (though unfortunately I’ve seen a version of the song that changes the last line of the above to “One soul should fail to know His love and might”). True as this may be, it emasculates the message! Outside of Christ, soul’s are “perishing” (i.e. heading for eternal ruin; cf. Jn. 3:16). This same editor also conveniently dropped the second stanza which describes the bondage of sin:

Behold how many thousands still are lying
Bound in the darksome prison house of sin,
With none to tell them of the Saviour’s dying,
Or of the life He died for them to win.

We are called to bear witnes to the truth (Rom. 10:14). And in a stanza not usually used today, Mary Thomson is even more pointed about our responsibility to share the gospel, saying:

‘Tis thine to save from peril of perdition
The souls for whom the Lord His life laid down.

The unsaved are in fearful peril. The Bible says they are “condemned already,” and “the wrath of God abides on [them]” (Jn. 3:18, 36). They need to hear the gospel of grace and put their faith in Christ, apart from which they are headed for a lost eternity. The bad news is needed, in order to underscore the vital importance of the good news–that there is life eternal through faith in God’s provision (Jn. 5:24; 14:6; Acts 4:12; Rom. 3:23; 6:23).  

Then consider the positive aspects of the message presented in another stanza:

Proclaim to every people, tongue and nation
That God in whom they live and move is love:
Tell how He stooped to save His lost creation,
And died on earth that man might live above.

Finally, another stanza may hint at that personal dedication of Mrs. Thomson’s own son to the Lord’s work.

Give of thy sons to bear the message glorious;
Give of thy wealth to speed them on their way;
Pour out thy soul for them in prayer victorious;
And all thou spendest Jesus will repay.


Responses

  1. Wow! With this post on “O, Zion Haste” you bring back fond memories, Robert, for this hymn was the processional hymn sung at my high school graduation, Robert — and we used the original words, too, not the “emasculated” ones (as you put it so well). During that high school graduation ceremony, God used these excellent words to remind me of a commitment I made to him several years earlier regarding some kind of missionary service overseas, and thus set in motion an amazing chain of events, eventually propelling me overseas! I cannot sing this hymn without tears in my eyes!

    Do you know? Did Mary Ann Thomson write other hymn texts, I wonder?

    • Thanks, as always, for your kind words in both notes. As to Mary Ann Thomson, John Julian (the most noted authority on hymn history) says she wrote “several hymns,” and it sounds like the total is about three dozen. But few of these are available any more. Julian names five, including “O Zion, Haste.” There is: “Now the Blessed Dayspring;” “O King of Saints We Give Thee Praise;” “Saviour, for the Little One” (upon the death of a child); and a Christmas carol, “Lo! Amid the Shades of Night.” But I notice the Cyber Hymnal only has “O Zion, Haste.”

  2. […] Mr. Cobb wrote a tune (called Cobb) for the hymn Zion to Thy Saviour Singing. This is a translation of Lauda Sion Salvatorem, written by Thomas Aquinas around 1260. It is one of relatively few English hymns whose titles begin with the letter “Z.” However, it would be more accurate biblically to change the word “Zion” to “Christian,” as many have done with the hymn O Zion Haste. […]

  3. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]


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