Posted by: rcottrill | March 16, 2010

Today in 1621 – Georg Neumark Born

Georg Newmark was a German poet who, through many hardships, attained an education and in 1652 was appointed court poet, librarian and registrar to the Duke of Weimar. He produced 34 hymns, many written during times of great suffering. That gives a special poignancy and spiritual meaning to his hymn, If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee.

If thou but suffer God to guide thee
And hope in Him through all thy ways,
He’ll give thee strength, whate’er betide thee,
And bear thee through the evil days.
Who trust in God’s unchanging love
Builds on the rock that naught can move.

Nor think amid the fiery trial
That God hath cast thee off unheard,
That he whose hopes meet no denial
Must surely be of God preferred.
Time passes and much change doth bring
And set a bound to everything.

Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving,
Perform thy duties faithfully,
And trust His Word: though undeserving,
Thou yet shalt find it true for thee.
God never yet forsook in need
The soul that trusted Him indeed. 

(2) Today in 1820 Mary Kidder Born
We must be certain that, when we are called to stand before the Lord, our names will be found in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 20:15; 21:27). That issue concerned Mary Kidder years ago. Born Mary Ann Pepper, it is said she was blinded in her teens, but slowly recovered her sight. And she lived most of her life in New York City. We know little more about her, except that she had a gift for writing poetry. Mrs. Kidder penned  about a thousand hymns, but only one or two remain in common use. In a song published in 1878, she asks, Is My Name Written There? meaning in the Book of Life. Good question!

Lord, I care not for riches, neither silver nor gold;
I would make sure of heaven, I would enter the fold.
In the book of Thy kingdom, with its pages so fair,
Tell me, Jesus, my Saviour, is my name written there?

Is my name written there,
On the page white and fair?
In the book of Thy kingdom,
Is my name written there?

Lord, my sins they are many, like the sands of the sea,
But Thy blood, O my Saviour, is sufficient for me;
For Thy promise is written, in bright letters that glow,
“Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them like snow.”

Another of Mrs. Kidder’s songs has the title Did You Think to Pray? Another good question! Perceptive and convicting, it says:

Ere you left your room this morning,
Did you think to pray?
In the name of Christ our Saviour,
Did you sue for loving favor,
As a shield today?

O how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day;
So when life seems dark and dreary,
Don’t forget to pray.

Here is a quartet practice by four young men (it being a rehearsal accounts for a bit of kibitzing). Work on the song is still in process, but overall I think they’re doing well with a nice arrangement of Don’t Forget to Pray.

(3) Today in 1867 – Benjamin Hanby Died
Benjamin Russell Hanby was the son of a United Brethren clergyman. And though he only lived for 34 years, his was a full life. He served as the principal of an academy, and as a pastor, and worked with a music publisher writing both Sunday School songs and some popular secular music too. One of the latter, My Darling Nellie Gray (for which Hanby’s sister wrote the tune), tells the sad story of a black man’s sweetheart being carted off in chains to be a slave.

Benjamin Hanby’s hymn, Who Is He in Yonder Stall? was published in 1866. Though the opening stanza refers to the Christmas story and the song is sometimes sung as a carol, it is one whose subject extends through the all the earthly life of Christ and on into eternity.

Who is He in yonder stall
At Whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is He in deep distress,
Fasting in the wilderness?

’Tis the Lord! O wondrous story!
’Tis the Lord! the King of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall,
Crown Him! crown Him, Lord of all!

Lo! at midnight, who is He
Prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is He on yonder tree
Dies in grief and agony?

Who is He that from the grave
Comes to heal and help and save?
Who is He that from His throne
Rules through all the world alone?


  1. […] (2) Today in 1831 – William Perkins Born William Oscar Perkins was the brother of Henry Perkins (who gave us the tune for the gospel song Blessed Be the Fountain of Blood). William studied music in Boston, and in several European cities. Settling in Boston he founded a music academy and published a number of hymnals and many gospel song books. He composed the tune for the gospel song Did You Think to Pray? (For something about the author of the words, and a quartet version of this hymn, see the second item under Today in 1621.) […]

  2. […] Today in 1827 – Catherine Winkworth Born Catherine Winkworth spent most of her life in Manchester, England, where my own father was born some 24 years after her death. Though not writing hymns herself, she is renowned in hymn history as the translator of dozens of the hymns of others. Two of these are: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, and If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee. […]

  3. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]

  4. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]

  5. […] Wordwise Hymns (Mary Ann Kidder, and William Perkins) The Cyber […]


%d bloggers like this: