Posted by: rcottrill | May 15, 2010

Today in 1872 – Thomas Hastings Died

The son of a doctor, American hymn writer Thomas Hastings grew up on a farm and had to walk 6 miles to school. He went on to train choirs, and wrote almost a thousand hymn tunes and 600 hymn texts.

Hastings wrote a number of tunes we use with our hymns: Hastings, used with Jesus, Wondrous Saviour; Toplady, to which Rock of Ages is sung; Retreat, for From Every Stormy Wind; and Ortonville used with Samuel Stennett’s Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned.

He also altered the text of Thomas Moore’s hymn Come, Ye Disconsolate, to give us the version we sing today. And Hastings wrote the words of Hail to the Brightness of Zion’s Glad Morning. Though he may have given it a different theological spin, this hymn perfectly fits the Bible’s description of the coming Millennial Kingdom and Christ’s earthly reign (cf. Isa. 2;1-4; 35:1-10).

Hail to the brightness of Zion’s glad morning!
Joy to the lands that in darkness have lain!
Hushed be the accents of sorrow and mourning;
Zion in triumph begins her mild reign.

Hail to the brightness of Zion’s glad morning!
Long by the prophets of Israel foretold!
Hail to the millions from bondage returning!
Gentiles and Jews the blest vision behold.

Lo, in the desert rich flowers are springing,
Streams ever copious are gliding along;
Loud from the mountain tops echoes are ringing,
Wastes rise in verdure, and mingle in song.

See, from all lands, from the isles of the ocean,
Praise to the Saviour ascending on high;
Fallen the engines of war and commotion;
Shouts of salvation are rending the sky.

(2) Today in 1958 – Robert McCutchan Died
Robert Guy McCutchan was an esteemed hymn historian, author of Our Hymnody–A Manual of the Methodist Hymnal (published in 1937). He also adapted and harmonized the tune Campmeeting, which is sometimes used with James Montgomery’s hymn, Prayer Is the Soul’s Sincere Desire. You can hear the tune on the Cyber Hymnal

For the Lord’s Supper, I encourage you to try the tune with Cowper’s There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood, adding the refrain. (See below.) There’s a bit more about Robert McCutchan in the third item under Today in 1827, and more about William Cowper in the second item under Today in 1792.

There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.

I do believe, I will believe
That Jesus died for me!
That on the cross He shed His blood
From sin to set me free.


  1. […] – Robert McCutchan Born Robert Guy McCutchan wrote a few hymn tunes (see second item under Today in 1872), but that is not his most notable contribution to the field. He taught at Baker University in […]

  2. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]


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