Posted by: rcottrill | October 12, 2010

Today in 1843 – Bourne Draper Died

Bourne Hall Draper’s parents hoped he would enter Christian ministry. However, funds were lacking for his education. He became a printer’s apprentice for a time, but eventually was able to take training and become a pastor in England, in 1804. He also wrote three dozen books, several of which were for children. The one hymn for which he is known today is Ye Christian Heralds, Go Proclaim.

Ye Christian heralds, go proclaim
Salvation through Emmanuel’s Name;
To distant climes the tidings bear,
And plant the Rose of Sharon there.

God shield you with a wall of fire,
With flaming zeal your breasts inspire,
Bid raging winds their fury cease,
And hush the tumult into peace.

(2) Today in 1882 – Jean Pigott Died
Little is known today of Irish poetess and hymn writer Jean Sophia Pigott. We know her brother Thomas was a missionary in China, and that he was killed in the Boxer Rebellion in 1901. Jean Pigott wrote a number of hymns, but only one is still in common use, the beautiful Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting. (For information on the tune, see Today in 1933.)

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belovèd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

(3) Today in 1895 – Cecil Alexander Died
If you came across the name Cecil Alexander in a hymn book, you might conclude the person referred to was a man. However Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander (1818-1895) was born in Ireland, the daughter of Major Humphreys of the Royal Marines.

Perhaps the Major had hoped for a boy that could follow in his footsteps and join the military. But Cecil sought a career in quite another direction. She became a pastor’s wife, and a noted hymn writer–especially of songs for children. Practically all of the 400 poems she wrote were for the young, and were meant to put profound truths in simple terms for them. Among her hymns still in use are: All Things Bright and Beautiful, Jesus Calls Us, Once in Royal David’s City, and There Is a Green Hill Far Away.

Regarding the last of these, whenever she took a carriage into Derry to shop, Mrs. Alexander had to pass a small grassy hill, near to the wall surrounding the old Irish city. It had always reminded her of Calvary. Actually, we do not know for certain that the original Calvary was a hill. It was “outside the gate” of the city of Jerusalem (Heb. 13:12). But the exact location is uncertain, since the city wall has shifted a number of times over the centuries.

Graphic Gordons CalvaryThe place was called “Calvary” in Greek (Lk. 23:33), “Golgotha” in Hebrew (Jn. 19:17), both meaning a skull. But whether this is because it was a place of execution, or because some indentations in the ground gave the area a skull-like appearance, we do not know for sure. Over a century ago, Charles Gordon researched the biblical record and believed he had found the site. The rocky prominence seen here, now known as Gordon’s Calvary, does have indentations that give it something of the appearance of a skull.

There is a green hill far away,
Outside a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.

O dearly, dearly, has He loved,
And we must love Him, too,
And trust in His redeeming blood,
And try His works to do.

Another of Mrs. Alexander’s hymns for children dealt with that part of the Apostles’ Creed that describes God as the “Maker of heaven and earth.” It is a little unusual in that the hymn is to begin with the refrain (“All things bright and beautiful…”), as well as including it after each stanza.

The sixth stanza of the song is usually omitted, so that it will not seem to rule out city children–who may never even have seen a “meadow,” and play their games on asphalt and concrete! It says:

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.

Without these lines, the song provides a fine hymn that reminds children (and all of us) of the beauty of God’s creation.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

The purple headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.


Responses

  1. I love that hymn of Jean Pigott’s! Thanks for reminding me of it, Robert.

    • Thanks for the encouragement. I was struggling this morning with some burdens that I’ve prayed about for a long time. Prayed again, and then opened my copy of Daily Light to this morning’s reading. It starts with Dan. 10:12, “From the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard.” What a reassurance that was! Let’s keep “resting”!

  2. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]

  3. Jesus I am Resting, Resting is among the most precious to me. Thank you so much.

  4. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]

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  7. […] Wordwise Hymns (Cecil Frances Alexander) The Cyber […]


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