Posted by: rcottrill | December 10, 2010

Today in 1815 – John Zundel Born

John Zundel was born in Germany and died there, though he spent about three decades in America. A gifted musician, he studied the violin, and later became an organist and a bandmaster. He served as the organist of Plymouth Church, in Brooklyn, for a number of years. The pastor there was the famous preacher Henry Ward Beecher. The two men, along with Dr. Beecher’s brother Charles, produced a hymnal called the Plymouth Collection, in 1855. It was the first major hymn book to have the music on the same page as the text of the hymns.

John Zundel wrote other books on music theory and organ playing as well, but he is best known for one hymn tune. In 1870, Zundel wrote a tune which he named Beecher, in honour of his pastor. It is commonly used with Charles Wesley’s hymn, Love Divine.

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heav’n to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling;
All thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation;
Enter every trembling heart.

(2) Today in 1862 – Henry Nichol Born
HGraphic Foreign Missionsenry Ernest Nichol originally planned to be an engineer. But he switched to a study of music, graduating from Oxford University in 1888 with a Bachelor of Music degree. Most of his hymns were written for the Sunday School.

For many of the songs he wrote both words and music. But in a few older hymnals it may not seem like it. Nichol created a pen name by rearranging the letters of his middle and last name. So you may see H. Ernest Nichol as the composer of the tune, and Colin Sterne as the author of the words, but both are the same man. One of Nichol’s contributions is the missionary hymn, We’ve a Story to Tell.

Above is a picture of our lovely granddaughter Hannah. Her parents are missionaries in Mexico, and Hannah herself seems to have a special gift for making friends with the Mexican children. In her way, she is telling the story too.

We’ve a story to tell to the nations,
That shall turn their hearts to the right,
A story of truth and mercy,
A story of peace and light,
A story of peace and light.

For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
And the dawning to noonday bright;
And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
The kingdom of love and light.

We’ve a message to give to the nations,
That the Lord who reigneth above
Has sent us His Son to save us,
And show us that God is love,
And show us that God is love.


  1. Keep Up The Good Work.

    • Thanks! Drop by any time. 🙂

  2. […] Wordwise Hymns (John Zundel) The Cyber […]


%d bloggers like this: