Saturday, February 3, 2007

William H. How...

was the author of 60 hymns, 25 of which are still in use today in most Protestant churches.  He was one of the leaders of the "broad, liberal faction of the Anglican Church."  Nonetheless, in the hymn O Word of God Incarnate, that he penned in 1867, he was particularly explicit in calling the Bible the revealed Word of God.

Quoting from 101 Hymn Stories written by Kenneth W. Osbeck, "In verse two, he develops the thought that the Church is the agency by which the Bible has been and still is transmitted to mankind.  In verse three he uses a number of metaphors that describe the Scriptures in their relationship to daily living--banner, lighthouse, chart and compass. Verse four concludes with a prayer that the Church may ever be the faithful custodian and administrator of this treasure in guiding men to their eternal destiny."

Oh, Mr. How, if only that kind of "liberalism" existed still today!

O Word of God Incarnate

O Word of God incarnate, O Wisdom from on high,
O Truth unchanged, unchanging, O Light of our dark sky:
We praise Thee for the radiance That from the hallowed page,
A lantern to our footsteps, Shines on from age to age.

The Church from her dear Master Received the gift divine,
And still that light she lifteth O'er all the earth to shine.
It is the golden casket Where gems of truth are stored;
It is the heav'n-drawn picture Of Christ, the living Word.

It floateth like a banner Before God's host unfurled;
It shineth like a beacon Above the darkling world.
It is the chart and compass That o'er life's surging sea,
'Mid mists and rocks and quicksands, Still guides, O Christ, to Thee.

O make Thy Church, dear Savior, A lamp of purest gold,
To bear before the nations Thy true light, as of old.
O teach Thy wand'ring pilgrims By this their path to trace,
Till, clouds and darkness ended, They see Thee face to face.

(All quotes taken from 101 Hymn Stories by Kenneth W. Osbeck;1982, Kregel Publications)

1 comment:

  1. We moved from the southeast side to the northeast side of the spaghetti junction mecca a year and a half ago. We gave up our glorious built-in bookcases and most of our books ended up boxed in the basement with no place in our new home. We've added three new bookcases since last summer and I keep slowly unearthing books and bringing them out "into the light" again. I just found 101 Hymn Stories. I placed it in a bookcase last night!