Posted by: rcottrill | April 28, 2010

Today in 1839 – Vernon Charlesworth Born

Vernon John Charlesworth was born in Barking, Essex, England. He served as a co-pastor of the Surrey Chapel, and as headmaster of Charles Spurgeon’s Stockwell Orphanage for 40 years. He was also a ministering elder at Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle. Mr. Charlesworth wrote quite a number of hymns, but only one remains in common use, A Shelter in the Time of Storm.

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A weary land, a weary land;
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

Here is a toe-tapping rendition of this gospel song by a men’s chorus.

(2) Today in 1872 – Lord, Speak to Me, written
Frances Ridley Havergal wrote a hymn-poem she entitled, A Worker’s Prayer. We know it as a hymn, by the opening words, Lord, Speak to Me. It is the kind of petition that should rise from the heart of each servant of Christ, because we can only speak as we are spoken to! Our authority comes not from ourselves, but from the Word of God. And our lives should support and confirm the message we convey. The song says:

Lord, speak to me that I may speak
In living echoes of Thy tone;
As Thou has sought, so let me seek
Thine erring children lost and lone.

O lead me, Lord, that I may lead
The wandering and the wavering feet;
O feed me, Lord, that I may feed
Thy hungering ones with manna sweet.

O teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things Thou dost impart;
And wing my words, that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.

In 1878, Frances Havergal wrote a wonderful hymn called Truehearted, Wholehearted. Many of its original nine stanzas are suited to general congregational use. But it was written to be the official YWCA Hymn. (This was back in the day when the Young Women’s Christian Association was overtly Christian, as was the YMCA!)

Truehearted, wholehearted, faithful and loyal,
King of our lives, by Thy grace we will be;
Under the standard exalted and royal,
Strong in Thy strength we will battle for Thee.

Peal out the watchword! Silence it never!
Song of our spirits, rejoicing and free;
Peal out the watchword! Loyal forever!
King of our lives, by Thy grace we will be.

Wholehearted! Saviour belovèd and glorious,
Take Thy great power and reign Thou alone,
Over our wills and affections victorious—
Freely surrendered and wholly Thine own.

Truehearted, wholehearted! Fullest allegiance
Yielding henceforth to our glorious King!
Valiant endeavor and loving obedience
Freely and joyously now would we bring.

Half-hearted? Master, shall any who know Thee
Grudge Thee their lives, who has laid down Thine own?
Nay! we would offer the hearts that we owe Thee,
Live for Thy love and Thy glory alone.

The following stanzas show Miss Havergal’s intention for it to be a dedication song especially for women.

Sisters, dear sisters, the call is resounding,
Will ye not echo the silver refrain,
Mighty and sweet, and in gladness abounding?–
“Truehearted, whole-hearted!” ringing again.

Jesus is with us, His rest is before us,
Brightly His standard is waving above!
Sisters, dear sisters, in gathering chorus,
Peal out the watchword of courage and love!

For more about this significant hymn writer, see: Today in 1836;  the second item under Today in 1851; and a list of her hymns at Today in 1873


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