10/04/2013

My song is love unknown.


I discovered this old hymn last month in church, made a note of its title on my phone and then forgot about it. Tonight to my surprise, I started to hum it and I had to google it to find the lyrics! It was written by Samuel Crossman  in 1664. Usually I prefer modern songs, still I will make an exception for this one.. not just because the music is beautiful but also the lyrics are incomparable, more powerful than poetry, starting with the title, love unknown that almost summarises the verse John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

  • My song is love unknown,
      My Savior’s love to me;
    Love to the loveless shown,
      That they might lovely be.
        O who am I,
        That for my sake
        My Lord should take
        Frail flesh, and die?
  • He came from His blest throne
      Salvation to bestow;
    But men made strange, and none
      The longed-for Christ would know:
        But oh, my Friend,
        My Friend indeed,
        Who at my need
        His life did spend.
  • Sometimes they strew His way,
      And His sweet praises sing;
    Resounding all the day
      Hosannas to their King:
        Then “Crucify!“
        Is all their breath,
        And for His death
        They thirst and cry.
  • They rise and needs will have
      My dear Lord made away;
    A murderer they save,
      The Prince of life they slay.
        Yet cheerful He
        To suffering goes,
        That He His foes
        From thence might free.
  • In life, no house, no home
      My Lord on earth might have;
    In death, no friendly tomb,
      But what a stranger gave.
        What may I say?
        Heav’n was His home;
        But mine the tomb
        Wherein He lay.
  • Here might I stay and sing,
      No story so divine;
    Never was love, dear King,
      Never was grief like Thine.
        This is my Friend,
        In whose sweet praise
        I all my days
        Could gladly spend.

  • So who was Samuel Crossman (1623 – 4 February 1683)?  He was a minister of the Church of England and a hymnwriter. Born at Bradfield Monachorum in Suffolk, he earned a Bachelor of Divinity at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, and was Prebendary of Bristol. After graduation, he ministered to both an Anglican congregation at All Saints, Sudbury, and to a Puritan congregation.. Crossman sympathized with the Puritan cause, and attended the 1661 Savoy Conference, which attempted to update the Book of Common Prayer so that both Puritans and Anglicans could use it. 
    The conference failed, and the 1662 Act of Uniformity expelled Crossman along with some 2,000 other Puritan-leaning ministers from the Church of England. He renounced his Puritan affiliations shortly afterward, and was ordained in 1665, becoming a royal chaplain. He received a post at Bristol in 1667, and became Dean of Bristol Cathedral in 1683. He died on 4 February 1683, at Bristol, and lies buried in the south aisle of the cathedral at Bristol. Several of Crossman's hymns are preserved in the Sacred Harp. 
    Blessings. N.

    0 comments: