Posted by: rcottrill | May 16, 2010

Today in 1850 – Arthur Mann Born

Arthur Henry Mann was a graduate of Oxford University. He became a chorister and assistant organist in several churches. In addition to composing a number of hymn tunes, he was the music editor for The Church of England Hymnal of 1894. Arthur Mann wrote the tune Angel’s Story that is commonly used for the hymn O Jesus, I Have Promised. (For more about this hymn, see the second item under Today in 1685.)

O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my Guide.

O Jesus, Thou hast promised to all who follow Thee
That where Thou art in glory there shall Thy servant be.
And Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow, my Master and my Friend.

(2) Today in 1851 – John Warner Born
John Allan Warner was an English clergyman who served as pastor of St. Paul’s, Southampton, and other congregations. He wrote the hymn Brothers, Joining Hand to Hand.

Brothers, joining hand to hand,
In one bond united,
Pressing onward to that land
Where all wrongs are righted:
Let your words and actions be
Worthy your vocation;
Chosen of the Lord, and free,
Heirs of Christ’s salvation.

Christ, the Way, the Truth, the Life,
Who hath gone before you
Through the turmoil and the strife,
Holds His banner o’er you;
All who see the sacred sign
Press towards heav’ns portal,
Fired by hope that is divine,
Love that is immortal.

 (3) George Atkins (Data Discovered)
George Atkins was a Methodist pastor who served in Ohio and Tennessee. He died in 1827. Other than that, little is known of him. (Data recently found indicates Atkins was born in England, Apr. 16, 1793. He died in America, Aug. 29, 1827.) He has given us one hymn, Brethren We Have Met to Worship, which is still in use. The tune, Holy Manna, was composed by William Moore, a contemporary of Atkins.

The allusion in the final stanza of the hymn actually relates to a parable Jesus told. It seems to refer to the coming Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9), when the church in glory will worship and celebrate with Christ. But the imagery in the parable suggests a circumstance that is stunning–the glorified Christ, taking upon Himself once again the role of a servant. Clearly, the passage (Lk. 12:35-40) has to do with Christ’s return, and the pertinent verse reads:

Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them (vs. 37).

Brethren, we have met to worship and adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power, while we try to preach the Word?
All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.

Brethren, see poor sinners round you slumbering on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving, can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers, and our children sinking down;
Brethren, pray and holy manna will be showered all around.

Sisters, will you join and help us? Moses’ sister aided him;
Will you help the trembling mourners who are struggling hard with sin?
Tell them all about the Savior, tell them that He will be found;
Sisters, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.

Let us love our God supremely, let us love each other, too;
Let us love and pray for sinners, till our God makes all things new.
Then He’ll call us home to heaven, at His table we’ll sit down;
Christ will gird Himself and serve us with sweet manna all around.


  1. We sang “O Jesus, I Have Promised” a few years back but the congregation was not familiar with the tune provided.

    I read through the text and said, “We are doing it to ‘O Sacred Head.'”

    As we have discussed, switching hymn tunes is a dangerous proposition sometimes, but in this case it really did work. It reminds me of the disciples promise to stick with Jesus through thick and thin. Jesus said they didn’t know what they were saying. In the end they really didn’t! Still, this song references our commitment to follow Jesus.

    As an aside, for churches that practice confirmation, this hymn is excellent for that day.

  2. Hi! My direct descendant [ancestor?] is Rev. George Atkin. I have a little information that you may be seeking. George was born 16 Apr 1793, Martin, Lindsay, Lincoln, England. He was christened 13 May 1793, Martin, Lindsay, Lincoln, England. He died 29 Aug 1827, Abingdon, Washington, Virginia, United States.

    In the IX. THE ROLL OF THE DEAD Members in Full Connection 1790- June 2001 it states; Atkin, George 1793 1817 Ohio OME e 1827 OME Abingdon, VA (In 1895 the remains of George Atkin, A.L. Goodyknoontz, Thomas Wilkerson were removed to Sulphur Springs Cemetery, Bristol TN). OME= The Methodist Episcopal Church before 1844, e= Effective (not retired) at the time of death.

    I am in the process of aquiring a picture of George. I will gladly share it when it becomes available.

    Best Regards,
    Rae Nilson

    • Thanks for the information, Rae. I’m assuming you mean either that you are a direct descendant of Mr. Atkin, or that he is your ancestor. 🙂 And I’m a little confused by the multiple place names (“Martin, Lindsay, Lincoln, England,” and “Abingdon, Washington, Virginia”)–or maybe I’m misunderstanding. Anyway, thanks again. And I’d love to see a picture. You could be a big help to the Cyber Hymnal by sharing it there too. (You’ll notice George’s name is spelled Atkins there. Sounds like that’s an error.) God bless.


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