Posted by: rcottrill | June 30, 2010

Today in 1818 – Edward Hopkins Born

Hopkins was an English church organist (for 55 years in one church alone!). He was given an honorary doctorate by the Archbishop of Canterbury. A recognized authority in his field, Edward John Hopkins wrote a book called The Organ: Its History and Construction. Hopkins wrote a variety of church music and was respected as an editor of hymnals. He produced many hymn tunes, but only one remains in common use in America–his tune Ellers, for the hymn Saviour Again, to Thy Dear Name We Raise.

The text for this lovely closing hymn was written by John Ellerton in 1866. The last line of the third stanza quoted below is taken from Psalm 139:12, “The darkness and the light are both alike to You.” Or, as the New American Standard Bible has it, “Even the darkness is not dark to You.” None of the circumstances we face, day by day, is hidden from God. He sees and knows all about what may seem obscure and threatening to us.

Two of our biggest problems with the darkness are: we’re not sure where we are going, or which way to go; and we’re not sure what’s “out there,” causing us to be anxious about unknown dangers. But our assurance is that the darkness is no different than the light to the Lord. He will continue to lead His children, holding us in the hollow of His hand, whether the way be dark or light.

Saviour, again to Thy dear name we raise
With one accord our parting hymn of praise;
We stand to bless Thee ere our worship cease;
Then, lowly kneeling, wait Thy word of peace.

Grant us Thy peace upon our homeward way;
With Thee began, with Thee shall end the day.
Guard thou the lips from sin, the hearts from shame,
That in this house have called upon Thy name.

Grant us Thy peace, Lord, through the coming night;
Turn Thou for us its darkness into light;
From harm and danger keep Thy children free,
For dark and light are both alike to Thee.

Edward Hopkins also wrote the tune for the children’s hymn The Wise May Bring Their Learning. (The hymn tune is called Christmas Morn.) There are some good things in the text, and it would be well for it to be given a wider use than it has at present.

The wise may bring their learning, the rich may bring their wealth,
And some may bring their greatness, and some bring strength and health;
We, too, would bring our treasures to offer to the King;
We have no wealth or learning; what shall we children bring?

We’ll bring Him hearts that love Him; we’ll bring Him thankful praise,
And young souls meekly striving to walk in holy ways;
And these shall be the treasures we offer to the King,
And these are gifts that even the poorest child may bring.

We’ll bring the little duties we have to do each day;
We’ll try our best to please Him, at home, at school, at play;
And better are these treasures to offer to our King;
Than richest gifts without them—yet these a child may bring.

In spite of the recent turn to overhead projectors and video projectors, I believe there is still a place for hymnals in the pews. If you are contemplating the purchase, check out Choosing a Hymn Book for Your Church.


  1. […] (2) The Wise May Bring Their Learning (Data Missing) This fine children’s hymn appeared in 1881, but we know nothing of the authorship. It expresses clearly many of the ways a child can honour and serve the Lord. The tune was written by Edward Hopkins. […]

  2. […] Wordwise Hymns (Edward Hopkins) The Cyber […]


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