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Stories of the Hymns - 6/18/2017

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Stories of the Hymns
Sunday June 18, 2017
Page numbers reference the blue Presbyterian Hymnal

The God of Abraham Praise #488
Thomas Olivers (1725-1799), Wesleyan preacher and hymn-writer was orphaned as a young child. Even though other relatives left him a considerable fortune, he spent his time in roving from place to place as a shoemaker. In the course of his wanderings he happened to hear the great Anglican cleric George Whitefield, probably the best-known preacher of the 18th Century, who helped spread the Great Awakening in Britain and in the American colonies. This encounter at once ‘changed the current of his life’. Olivers eventually became an itinerant evangelist, travelling for more than 22 years, serving under John Wesley.  Once while visiting a Jewish synagogue in London, he heard Cantor Meyer Lyon sing a lovely song based on the thirteen articles of Jewish faith attributed to Rabbi Daniel ben Judah, 1404.  He was so impressed that he went home and wrote our hymn, "The God of Abraham Praise". In tribute to Cantor Lyon, Olivers named his hymn tune LEONI.

Standing on the Promises of Christ My King
Text and music is by Russell Kelso Carter (1849-1928) born in Baltimore, Maryland. He was brought up in a strong Christian environment and at the age of 15 committed his life to God and the Presbyterian Church. “Captain” Carter was a professor of chemistry and natural sciences. While teaching in 1872 he began to have heart trouble. He had heard of the ministry of Charles Cullis in Boston and decided to try healing by faith. He prayed that God would heal him, and then took a trip to see Cullis. He was healed and when he returned three days later he went back to work at the military academy and became a professor of civil engineering and advanced mathematics. Carter was looking for more of the presence of God. He started to attend Methodist meetings. He struggled with their emphasis on the sanctification experience but prayed about it and asked God to ‘give him everything from the Bible.’ He had an experience, which filled him with the Spirit in a new way. He allied himself with the Methodists. In 1880 he wrote "Miracles of Healing". In 1884 he wrote a book called "The Atonement for Sin and Sickness". His premise was that healing was in the atonement and that Jesus took not only our sins but our sicknesses on the cross. He had a strong musical ability and wrote hymns, the most well known being "Standing on the Promises", which is also inscribed on his grave marker. After several failed experiments with fraudulent medical devices, he eventually became a doctor and changed his theology to "healing by faith in this age is a matter of special favor from God, and is always peculiarly under the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit." Carter declared that God worked through medicine just as surely as through prayer. He said that both were critical and necessary. ~Richard Neill

Lord, You Give the Great Commission #429
Author is Jeffery W. Rowthorn b. 1934 in Wales, The hymn is published in 26 hymnals.  Rowthorn wrote the text in 1978 while he was Chapel Minister at Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT. He now lives in Paris where he is Bishop in charge of the American Churches of Europe. ~ The tune is ABBOT’S LEIGH (1941) by Cyril Taylor (1907-1991) ordained in the Church of England. In World War II, he was BBC’s producer of Religious Broadcasting and, while stationed in Abbot’s Leigh, he composed his tune. It is generally regarded as the “Rule Britannia” of hymn tunes.

Partial Bibliography for these Hymn Stories: primarily from,