Posted by: rcottrill | June 5, 2010

Today in 1965 – Eleanor Farjeon Died

A new hymnal was in preparation in 1931. The editors wanted to make use of an old Gaelic melody, but could find no suitable words to fit. They turned to Eleanor Farjeon, asking her to write a poem of thankfulness for the new day. The daughter of an English novelist, Farjeon became a highly acclaimed literary figure herself–a journalist, a playwright, a poet, and a novelist. Her children’s books won many awards, and she even wrote the lyrics for an opera.

The author pondered the words of Genesis 1:5, which describes the first day of creation: “God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.” Did you ever think of how exciting it would have been to be there for that? And, even now, did you ever go outside and relish the shear joy of the dawning of a beautiful new day?  Eleanor Farjeon may have done so, and she put the experience into words.

Both of the stanzas quoted below end with a recognition that the Lord (“the Word,” cf. Jn. 1:1) not only created the morning to begin with, but He sustains the orderly cycles of nature by His almighty power. The Bible says, “He is before all things, and in Him all things consist [they endure, or are held together]” (Col. 1:17). And He is “upholding [supporting, sustaining] all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3). The hymn says in part:

Morning has broken like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning!
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word!

Mine is the sunlight! Mine is the morning,
Born of the one light Eden saw play!
Praise with elation, praise ev’ry morning,
God’s recreation of the new day!

(2) More from Fanny Crosby
Because of the huge output of a few of our hymnists, I wanted to include more of their songs than can be attached to one or two particular dates. Here are a couple more beloved gospel songs by Fanny Crosby.

For Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross, William H. Doane supplied a tune, and Fanny wrote words to fit it–and an excellent fit it is! The song reminds us that all the blessings Christians enjoy are rooted in the cross. With the songwriter we pray, “Keep its scenes before me!”

Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain
Free to all, a healing stream
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day,
With its shadows o’er me.

One day in 1875, Fanny Crosby found herself with a bill to pay, and no funds to pay it. Only $5, but that was a large sum in those days. Fanny took the matter to the Lord in prayer, and shortly after, a knock came to the door. When she answered it, the gentleman before her handed her a piece of paper, which turned out to be $5.

The amazing providence of God got her thinking about how the Lord provided for Israel in the wilderness, and how He still provides for His own. That is what led her to write the song All the Way My Saviour Leads Me. In my view, it is one of her best.

All the way my Saviour leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Saviour leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread;
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

All the way my Saviour leads me
O the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages—
Jesus led me all the way;
This my song through endless ages—
Jesus led me all the way.


Responses

  1. […] Today in 1881 – Eleanor Farjeon Born English writer, Eleanor Farjeon was the daughter of novelist Benjamin Farjeon. She wrote poems, novels, plays, and childrens books. In 1959 she received the Regina Medal for her work with children. She also authored the hymn, Morning Has Broken, published in 1931. (For more on the story behind this song, see Today in 1965.) […]

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog and leading me to your beautiful hymns. I have been looking for what I have now found in your blog. … Some of these beautiful hymns put to music. Got ya saved!

    Toni

    • Well, the Lord did that, many years ago–saved me, I mean. 🙂 But I know what you mean. Glad to have you on board.

  3. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]

  4. A Christian mentor sent me the lyrics of this song, after I had sent her a text I needed to be encouraged. I sought to find out more about the song…the story behind it. Having found out through your blog, it hit the nail on the head. I am laying down all my burdens to the Lord. He Himself will help me through the several challenges I am facing.

    Thank you.

    • Thanks for sharing. Many, many people fine great encouragement in the old hymns. Reminding folks of them (or helping them discover new ones) is one reason for this blog. God bless you.


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