Thursday, 26 March 2015

"Nearer, my God, to Thee" Author: Sarah Flower Adams, 1805-1848

Benjamin Flower in 1798 published an article in the Cambridge Intelligencer, attacking the attitude of Bishop Watson toward the French Revolution, and so offended the reverend gentleman that Flower was cast into prison. Among those who visited him in prison to sympathize with him was Miss Eliza Gould, who met him there for the first time. After his release they were married. Their youngest child, Sarah, became Mrs. Sarah Flower Adams; and by that name she is known as the author of "Nearer, my God, to Thee." 

In 1841, deeply impressed by the story in Genesis of Jacob's vision at Bethel of the ladder to heaven with angels ascending and descending thereon, she wrote her hymn that has since become so universally popular and helpful. 

The Rev. Dr. Millard F. Troxell tells of the experience of a group of tourists, cloud-bound on the summit of Pike's Peak, huddled about the fireplace in the block-house : "It was suggested that we sing some popular melody. A voice began one of the many sentimental songs of the day, but few knew enough of it to join in, so the singer was left to finish it alone. Then some one began to sing softly, "Nearer, my God, to Thee" and before the second line was ended it seemed as if all who had been strangers now felt at home ; and, for the time-being, the place seemed like a very Bethel." Before long the mists rolled away and "before us stretched the most wonderful of views." 

This hymn is remembered as the dying prayer of our martyred President McKinley. 

Source: A YEAR OF HYMN STORIES :A PRIMER OF HYMNOLOGY

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