Music

Welcome to a new section about music and how it relates to Christianity.  Click on the names of famous hymns below to find out more about how they came to be written.

 

O happy day, that fixed my choice

Eighteen of Monica Doddridge’s nineteen children died in infancy. When number 20 arrived on June 26th 1702, he too appeared stillborn...

Praise God, from whom all blessing flow

Before Charles Wesley or Isaac Watts, there was Thomas Ken who has been called “England’s first hymnist”....

Little Is Much When God Is In It

One snow-blanketed night, Canadian Fred Suffield awoke to an urgent pounding on his door. A half-frozen man reported that a train had stalled in the blizzard, and the passengers were in danger of freezing to death...

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Helen Howarth Lemmel was born in England in 1863, into the home of a Wesleyan minister who immigrated to America when Helen was a child. She loved music, and her parents provided the best vocal teachers they could find...

It is no secret

Though the 1949 Los Angeles Crusade was to launch Billy Graham to worldwide fame, the meetings appeared to get off to a slow start...

He Lives!

Alfred Henry Ackley was born in Pennsylvania in 1887. He showed great promise as a child, and his musician father personally tutored him before sending him to New York City to study music...

O For a Faith That Will Not Shrink

his hymn strikes a chord in most Christians, for we often find ourselves worrying when we should be worshipping and waiting....

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Anyone can work with adults, but it takes a special person to communicate with children. Among the early hymnists, none connected with youngsters better than Horatius Bonar, "the prince of Scottish hymnists."

Come, thou fount of every blessing

It was a prayer that the Holy Spirit flood into our hearts with his streams of mercy, enabling us to sing God’s praises and remain faithful to Him...

All hail the power of Jesus' name

When he reached the words, ”Let every kindred, every tribe,” he opened his eyes. There stood the warriors, some in tears, every spear lowered. Scott spent the next two years evangelising the tribe...

Nearer, my God, to Thee

Just before midnight on 14th April, 1912, the mighty ocean liner Titanic, on her maiden voyage to America from Southampton, struck an iceberg in the freezing North Atlantic, bringing certain doom to the ship they had labelled “unsinkable”...

Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

According to a poll carried out by a national newspaper, the Number One in the “Top Ten” of hymns is “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”. The words were written by an American, John Greenleaf Whittier, whose ancestors arrived from England with the Pilgrim Fathers and settled in Massachusetts in 1638...

Rock of Ages

Lightning briefly illuminated the primitive, rock-hewn landscape of Burrington Combe in Somerset. It was followed by a deep growl of thunder, and the rain lashed mercilessly down, pouring bubbling streamlets down the craggy sides of primeval cliffs which rise up some 250ft. to the Mendip Heights on one side, and into Cheddar Gorge on the other...

Amazing Grace

John Newton was born on 24th July, 1725. At one time in his career as a seaman he suddenly found himself a member of a slave trader’s crew. Within a short time, due to his past harsh experiences and present life of callous inhumanity and debauchery, Newton became a militant atheist, or a “free-thinker” as the times euphemistically declared...

Isaac Watts, "Father of the English hymn"

For almost 200 years after the Reformation, Protestant England sang only the Psalms and to her excerpts from the Scriptures at their services, to a mere three or four different chanted tunes. The joy and fervor of “born again” spirit quality which had swept the country following the Reformation was slowly slipping away...

Abide with Me

Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847) wrote the words to the hymn “Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven”. Lyte also wrote the words to the famous hymn “Abide with Me”, which was sung at the FA Cup Final in Wembley in 1927 in honour of King George V who attended the match and was known to love this hymn...

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross

When, some 250 years after a writer's death the world is still singing his hymns, which include such gems as "O God Our Help In Ages Past", then there is no doubt that the creator of these verses is one of the most acclaimed of hymn-writers...

Let All the World

George Herbert - a Christian poet and hymn-writer of rare purity and perfection. He lived in the days of King James I, and for a number of years in his younger adulthood he seems to have hovered around the King's courts...

Jerusalem

An engraver and printer as well as an artist and writer, William Blake thought he had a mission, which was to help build in England a new order of society based on love. This he called “Jerusalem”...

It Is Well With my Soul

Horatio G. Spafford was known as a sincere, devout Christian. He was the father of four daughters, an active member of the Presbyterian Church and a loyal friend and supporter of D. L. Moody and other evangelical leaders of his day...

The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended

On 20th June, 1897, congregations in churches all over Great Britain and her Empire were singing the hymn named above. Queen Victoria had specially chosen this hymn of praise with its theme of worldwide Christian fellowship for her Diamond Jubilee celebrations...

Angels from the Realms of Glory

James Montgomery hailed from a Scottish family who were members of the small body of evangelical Christians known as Moravian. His parents went as missionaries to the West Indies where they both died, while he was still a child. He was left in a Moravian school near Leeds, England in the hope that he would one day be a minister. In this regard, he was a failure. He only found his niche years later when...

Take my Life

Occasionally, you have the privilege to meet someone who is really too “good” for this tarnished world – someone who is kind, caring and for whom transitory pleasures and the pusuit of material gain mean nothing. Instead, their whole being is suffused by a love of God which illuminates their personality. Frances Ridley Havergal was such a person...

Onward, Christian Soldiers

Sabine Baring-Gould was a complex character who crowded a dozen callings and as many talents into his 90 adventurous years...

Morning Has Broken

Eleanor Farjeon (1881 – 1965), or “Nellie” as she was known in her family, was the only daughter in an extremely talented and artistic family...

The Music of Johann Sebastian Bach

Today, Bach is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time. His music points many a hardened atheist to the Bible and to Jesus Christ. What can we learn about (and from) this man?

Knowles Shaw

I waited to hear no more, but ran down to the wreck, looked in, and saw a man's hand pointing upward out of the water. It was Brother Shaw's. I called for help ...

Samuel S. Wesley and Ray Overholt

I was playing in a nightclub in Battle Creek, Michigan, when the Lord impressed me to write the song. I wrote the first verse and put it in my guitar case. I then told the club that I was quitting ....

John Greenleaf Whittier

A devout Quaker, John was also a fervent fighter against slavery and injustice of all kinds, becoming the Secretary of The American Anti- Slavery Society in 1836. He wrote many fine hymns in his long life.

Augustus Montague Toplady

Lightning briefly illuminated the primitive, rock-hewn landscape of Burrington Combe in Somerset. It was followed by a deep growl of thunder, and the rain lashed mercilessly down, pouring bubbling streamlets down the craggy sides of primeval cliffs. Cliffs which rise up some 250ft ...

Isaac Watts

Perhaps the first attempt at a hymn book in the English language was one produced by the Rev. William Barton, a dissenting minister of Leicester. Watts considered it so poorly written that he made complaint of it to his pastor and was challenged to do something better himself. So he wrote his first hymn in 1694 ...

“Lead, Kindly Light…”

Perhaps the first attempt at a hymn book in the English language was one produced by the Rev. William Barton, a dissenting minister of Leicester. Watts considered it so poorly written that he made complaint of it to his pastor and was challenged to do something better himself. So he wrote his first hymn in 1694 ...