Posts for the ‘Original Authors’ Category
(From Joseph Belcher's Historical Sketches of Hymns, Their Writers, and Their Influence)
Samuel Medley (1738-99)
Rev. Samuel Medley was pastor of the First Baptist Church at Liverpool, England, for twenty-seven years, during which time he also regularly preached at Whitefield's Tabernacle and Tottenham Court Road Chapel, in London. In early life Mr. Medley was very gay and profane. He was engaged in the British navy, where he was severely wounded in one of the several actions in which he fought. Returning to his pious grandfather's house for the sake of surgical attendance, he was brought under the preaching of the excellent Whitefield and Dr. Giiford, and was soon led to the Saviour whose name he had so often blasphemed. He died, after a very successful ministry, in 1799, aged sixty-one years. In the year following his death, a volume of original hymns from his pen was issued, very few of which are now valued. He also published two or three sermons, and several humorous papers. He was eccentric in his manners, but had a pious soul and a noble heart.
(From "Library of Christian Hymns" by Dahle)
John Fawcett, Baptist preacher of England, was born January 6, 1739 (or 1740), in Lidget Green, near Bradford, Yorkshire. At the age of 16 he came under the influence of Whitefield and joined the Methodists, but three years later he became a member of the Baptist church of Bradford. In 1765 he was ordained to the ministry and was installed in the Baptist congregation of Wainsgate, Yorkshire. Seven years later, in 1772, he was called to London to succeed the famous Dr. J. Gills of Carter’s Lane. He accepted the call. After delivering his farewell sermon to the congregation at Wainsgate, six loads of household goods were brought up near the church preparatory to his leaving for London. But the congregation was not ready to bid him farewell. Men, women, and children thronged about their pastor and his family and wept. Fawcett and his wife also were moved to tears at the sight. Finally his wife said, “O John, I cannot endure this; I do not understand how we can leave this place.” “No, you are right,” he replied, “neither shall we leave.” Then all their belongings were unpacked and put in...
(From the "Little Flock Hymn Book: Its History and Hymn Writers" by Adrian Roach)
Josiah Condor, the fourth son of Thomas Condor, was born in Falcon Street, Aldesgate, London, on Sept. 17th. 1789. His grandfather, Dr. John Condor, was a noted Dissenter clergyman. His father, Thomas, was also a strong Nonconformist and so Josiah grew up in this environment. At five years of age, smallpox blinded him in his right eye. Fearing the possible loss of his other eye, he was sent to Hackney for electrical treatment. His physician became his teacher, and carried him through the fundamentals of French, Latin and other studies. At fifteen he entered into his father's bookstore as an assistant. In 1810 we find him in co-operation with Ann and Jane Taylor and Eliza Thomas (who later became his wife) and some others in publishing a book called "The Associate Minstrels". It secured a second edition in 1812. He also edited a newspaper called the "Patriot" but was never out of financial problems, yet he went on encouraged by his Lord. He once had a fall from his horse, which laid him aside in much pain and suffering,...
(From "Hymn Writers of the Church" by Charles Nutter)
Hart, Joseph, a Congregational minister of England, was born in 1712 of pious parents. He was well educated, and was for many years a teacher of the classics. In early life he was pious, but relapsed into sin and exerted a most pernicious influence upon all with whom he associated. While in this backslidden state he wrote a pamphlet titled The Unreasonableness of Religion, Being Remarks and Animadversions on the Rev. John Wesley's Sermon on Romans viii. 32. But he was deeply convicted in his fortieth year, and betook himself to daily prayer and to reading the Scriptures. It was not, however, until he attended a service at the Moravian church in Fetter Lane, London, on Whitsunday, 1757, that he obtained peace. He now became an earnest and consecrated Christian, and many of his best hymns were written within the next two years following his conversion. His Hymns Composed on Various Subjects, with the Author's Experience were published in several editions during his lifetime (first edition, 1759) and subsequent to his death. This volume led to his being importuned to become a preacher, which he did, although in his forty-eighth year, becoming...
(From "Memoirs of Hymn-Writers and Compilers" by John Gadsby)
John Newton was born in London, July24th, 1725. He was an only son. His mother, to whom he was particularly attached, herself taught him English, and that in such a way that, added to his own natural talents, by the time he was four years old, he could read any common book with propriety. She died before he was seven years of age, and he was then left to ruin wild, as is the case with too many children. His father married again the following year, and Newton was afterwards sent to a boarding-school in Essex. His father was then at sea, a commander in the Mediterranean trade. When 11 years old, his father took him with him to sea. In 1742 he was placed, with very advantageous prospects, at Alicant, in Spain, but his unsettled behavior and impatience of restraint rendered that design abortive. He had very little concern about religion, but was often disturbed with convictions. “I was,” he says, “fond of reading from a child; among other books, . Bennet’s ‘Christian Oratory’ often came in my way; and though I understood...
(From A Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892)
Charles Wesley ... was the great hymn-writer of the Wesley family, -- perhaps, taking quantity and quality into consideration, the great hymn writer of all ages. Charles Wesley was the youngest son and 18th child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley, and was born at Epworth Rectory, [England] December 18, 1707.
In 1716 he went to Westminster School, being provided with a home and board by his elder brother Samuel, then usher at the school, until 1721, when he was elected King's Scholar, and as such received his board and education free. While he was at Westminster, his father received a letter from a wealthy Irish man, asking him if he had a son named Charles, and if so offering to adopt him and make him his heir. The acceptance of the offer was left to Charles himself, who declined it.
In 1726 Charles Wesley was elected to a Westminster studentship at Christ Church, Oxford, where he took his degree in 1729, and became a college tutor. In the early part of the same year his religious impressions were much deepened, and he became one of the first band of "Oxford Methodists."
In 1735 he...
(From the Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1899)
Isaac Watts (1674-1748), hymnwriter, was born at Southampton [England] on 17 July 1674. His grandfather, Thomas Watts, a commander of a man-of-war under Blake in 1656, died in the prime of life through an explosion on board his ship. His father, Isaac, occupied a lower position, being described as 'a clothier' of 21 French Street, Southampton (1719). As deacon of the independent meeting, he was imprisoned for his religious opinions in the gaol of Southampton at the time of the birth of his son Isaac and in the following year (1675). In 1685 also he was for the same cause obliged to hide in London for two years. In later years he kept a flourishing boarding-school at Southampton. He had a liking for the composition of sacred verses. One or two of his pieces appear in the posthumous works of his son (1779), and several others in that volume are credited to him by Gibbons in his biography. He died in February 1736?, aged 85. His wife was daughter of an Alderman Taunton at Southampton, and had Huguenot blood in her veins.
Isaac Watts was the eldest of...