Posted by: rcottrill | December 2, 2010

Today in 1873 – Thou Art Coming written

This gloriously passionate hymn about Christ’s second coming has the further distinction of being the first hymn of many that Frances Ridley Havergal wrote. It expresses her earnest longing to see her Saviour. Truly she can be numbered among those the Apostle Paul describes “who have loved His appearing” (II Tim. 4:8). It is unfortunate that this great hymn is so little known, and so often omitted from our hymnals. All five stanzas of Thou Art Coming are worth reading, and they can be found on the Cyber Hymnal, but here are three.

Thou art coming, O my Saviour,
Thou art coming, O my King,
In Thy beauty all resplendent,
In Thy glory all transcendent;
Well may we rejoice and sing:
Coming! in the opening east
Herald brightness slowly swells;
Coming! O my glorious Priest,
Hear we not Thy golden bells?

Thou art coming, Thou art coming;
We shall meet Thee on Thy way,
We shall see Thee, we shall know Thee,
We shall bless Thee, we shall show Thee
All our hearts could never say:
What an anthem that will be,
Ringing out our love to Thee,
Pouring out our rapture sweet
At Thine own all glorious feet.

O the joy to see Thee reigning,
Thee, my own belovèd Lord!
Every tongue Thy name confessing,
Worship, honour, glory, blessing
Brought to Thee with one accord;
Thee, my Master and my Friend,
Vindicated and enthroned;
Unto earth’s remotest end
Glorified, adored, and owned!

Here is the tune played on an antiquated pipe organ. A little rushed perhaps. And I prefer a slight retard in the last line or two of each stanza (or at least in the final one). Even so, what a blessing the text of this song is! And below is a list of just a few of the many hymns contributed by this skilled and godly author.

Another Year Is Dawning
From Glory to Glory
Golden Harps Are Sounding
I Am Trusting Thee, Lord Jesus
I Could Not Do Without Thee
Jesus, Master, Whose I Am
Lord, Speak to Me
O Saviour, Precious Saviour
Standing at the Portal
Thou Art Coming
Truehearted, Wholehearted
Who Is on the Lord’s Side?

(2) Today in 1929 – William Parker Died
William Henry Parker was born and died in Nottingham, England. Hymn historian Robert Guy McCutchan says he was “apprenticed in the machine construction department of a large lacemaking plant in Nottingham, remaining in the employ of the same company for the greater part of his life.” Other sources say that he was the owner of an insurance company. Perhaps he was somehow involved in each of these occupations.

William Parker was a Baptist layman, who attended the Chelsea Road Baptist Church, and was greatly interested in the work of the Sunday School. His 1885 gospel song Tell Me the Stories of Jesus, was inspired by the often repeated request of the children in his Sunday School class, “Teacher, tell us another story.”

Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear;
Things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here;
Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,
Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.

First let me hear how the children stood round His knee,
And I shall fancy His blessing resting on me;
Words full of kindness, deeds full of grace,
All in the love light of Jesus’ face.

Another of Parker’s songs is a prayer to the Holy Spirit–which is a bit unusual. Since the Holy Spirit is Himself God, the third Person of the Trinity, it does not seem wrong to address Him. However, that is not the pattern the Scriptures give us.

The Spirit of God works as a Facilitator of our prayers (Rom. 8:26-27), but we are to address God the Father, on the authority of the standing we have through faith in Christ (i.e. “in Jesus’ name,” cf. Jn. 14:13). “For through Him [Christ] we both have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:18). “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven…” (Matt. 6:9). Apart from this concern, Parker’s prayer is a worthy and biblical one.

Holy Spirit! hear us; help us while we sing;
Breathe into the music of the praise we bring.
Holy Spirit! prompt us when we kneel to pray;
Nearer come and teach us what we ought to say.

Holy Spirit! shine Thou on the Book we read;
Gild its holy pages with the light we need.
Holy Spirit! give us each a lowly mind;
Make us more like Jesus, gentle, pure and kind.


Responses

  1. […] (For a list of a few of the hymns contributed by this great hymn writer, see the first item under Today in 1929.) […]

  2. […] For more about this significant hymn writer, see: Today in 1836;  the second item under Today in 1851; and a list of her hymns at Today in 1873.  […]


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