Posted by: rcottrill | May 6, 2010

Today in 1809 – William Walker Born

William Walker was leading congregational singing at his church by the age of 18. In partnership with his brother-in-law, Benjamin Franklin White, he also collected and arranged folk tunes, and songs from southern Appalachia camp meetings. (White published the significant song book The Sacred Harp in 1844, which uses shaped note music notation to aid singers in learning tunes.) William Walker published The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, but for some reason he gave no credit to White for his assistance.

Walker is known in hymnody today for providing the tune used with What Wondrous Love Is This, a song dating from around 1811.

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

(2) Today in 1888 – Herbert Tovey Born
Near the beginning of the twentieth century, a young Bible college student named Herbert George Tovey prayed that the Lord would grant him a high and holy calling about which he could be passionate. He turned his prayer into a hymn, published in 1914, calling it A Passion for Souls. One of Tovey’s music teachers at the college (Moody Bible Institute) provided the tune. And God answered that prayer. Herbert Tovey went on to a long and fruitful ministry for the Lord Jesus,  both as a pastor and a Christian musician. His hymn is a prayer:

Give me a passion for souls, dear Lord,
A passion to save the lost;
O that Thy love were by all adored,
And welcomed at any cost.

Jesus, I long, I long to be winning
Men who are lost, and constantly sinning;
O may this hour be one of beginning
The story of pardon to tell.

Though there are dangers untold and stern
Confronting me in the way,
Willingly still would I go, nor turn,
But trust Thee for grace each day.


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