“Hail the blest morn!”: Merry Christmas from Alexander Campbell

Selina Huntington Campbell remembered in 1882 that

Dear Mr. Campbell was a lover of good music; he had when young received lessons in the art, but, as he said, “was born tuneless;” he understood time and loved to make a “joyful noise.” He could almost sing  “Hail the blest morn! When the great Mediator ” etc., and when riding together, through the vales and over the hills of Bethany, he was sure to commence with ecstacy : “’Tis not the law of ten commands,” but  always turned to the last verse :

“Israel, rejoice, now Joshua (Jesus) leads,

He’ll bring your tribes to rest;

So far the Saviour’s name exceeds,

The ruler and the priest.”

Ahh, the wonders of the internet, where an easy search of YouTube brings us here:

Authored by Reginald Heber (perhaps best known for Holy, Holy, Holy), the tune you hear in the clip is ‘Star in the East.’  I added the chorus as sung in the clip to the verses below (which are from Hymnary.org):

Hail the blest morn, see the great Mediator,
Down from the regions of glory descend!
Shepherds, go worship the babe in the manger,
Lo, for his guard the bright angels attend.

Chorus:

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning
Dawn on our darkness and lend us Thine aid
Star in the east the horizon adorning
Guide where our infant Redeemer was laid!

Cold on his cradle the dewdrops are shining;
Low lies his bed with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore him, in slumbers reclining,
Wise men and shepherds before him do fall.

Say, shall we yield him, in costly devotion,
Odors of Eden and offerings divine?
Gems from the mountain, and pearls from the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest, and gold from the mine?

Vainly we offer each ample oblation;
Vainly with gold we his favor secure;
Richer by far is the heart’s adoration;
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

Low at his feet we in humble prostration,
Lose all our sorrow and trouble and strife;
There we receive his divine consolation,
Flowing afresh from the fountain of life.

He is our friend in the midst of temptation,
Faithful supporter, whose love cannot fail;
Rock of our refuge, and hope of salvation,
Light to direct us through death’s gloomy vale.

Star of the morning, thy brightness, declining,
Shortly must fade when the sun doth arise:
Beaming refulgent, his glory eternal
Shines on the children of love in the skies.

The Southern Harmony, 1835

So, here is one of Alexander Campbell’s favorite songs, one he sang up and down and over and around the verdant Virginia hills.  What the Bishop of Bethany lacked in musical skill he compensated with enthusiasm.  You can hear him singing before you see his horse make the turn around the bend in the road ahead.  A smile on his face, he holds forth in song about God’s work in Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas!

 

Nashville Churches of Christ History Facebook group

Nashville Churches of Christ History group is open to anyone interested in the history of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. When I began the group about three years ago I said this:

I envision this community as a place to share common interest in the rich story of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Nashville. I am conducting research for a book which will highlight each congregation of Churches of Christ and Christian Churches from the 1810’s to the present…basically the entire movement from its beginning in our city until now. I envision this group as a place to share memories, photos, news and generate discussion and interest. Please join and contribute. Please feel free to contact me directly at icekm (at) aol (dot) com.

Since readership for this blog is significantly higher now than it was in 2010, let me offer another invitation.  The group is open to all. Help spread the word and generate interest. (astogetherwestandandsing…)

Hermitage Presbyterian Church, Nashville, TN

Read about this church on the Hermitage website and on the congregation’s website here.  Pictured on this postcard is the 1820’s brick building in which Alexander Campbell held forth early in 1827.  The links above detail the modifications, reconstructions and restorative measures undertaken since the 1830’s.  This card probably dates to the 1930’s when the building was 100 years old.

Hermitage Presbyterian Church

Name Authority for Nashville, Tennessee Stone-Campbell Congregations

Name Authority for Nashville Tennessee Stone-Campbell Congregations, September 2012

Click above to download a document listing 319 variants of time-, place- and character-names for the 227 known congregations of the Stone-Campbell movement in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee from 1812 to September 2012.

To my knowledge my work in this area is the only such compilation, and therefore, the most complete.  The initial publication of the list to this blog was in May 2010 as a first step in my research toward a book on the Restoration Movement in Nashville.  I blogged then:

With over 200 congregations in this county, the congregational research alone will take years, perhaps the remainder of my life.  If I live to be 100 I may not finish even a rudimentary survey.  It may be too much:  too many congregations, too many preachers, too much ‘story’ to tell.

But this is where I am at the present.  I publish the list here to generate interest, additions, subtractions, corrections and clarifications.  Look it over and if I need to make changes, please let me know.

While congregational history is only one aspect of this project, this is where it all played out…on the ground in the congregations on a weekly basis.  Few congregations have attempted more than a list of preachers or a narrative of the expansion of the church building.  What I propose, as I wrote above, may be too much…too far to the other extreme.  But that fact changes not one whit the necessity of it being done.

The story of these churches in Nashville needs to be told.  I ask for your help in telling it.  look over my list; I solicit your critique. Contact me at icekm [at] aol [dot] com.

(The first version of the name authority, from May 2010, can be found here.)

Pioneers in the Great Religious Reformation of the Nineteenth Century, an engraving from about 1907

I can’t decipher the first two-thirds of this wording at the bottom, but I can make out what appears to be ‘CHRISTIAN-EVANGELIST JANUARY 17, 1907.’  Great-grandad saved several of the full-color covers from Christian Standard (which paper occasionally had special covers for special numbers…I’ll try to photograph them and post here sometime) so it seems only natural he clipped and framed a cover for Christian-Evangelist from 1907, or 1897.  I no longer have access to bound volumes or loose issues of C-E, so cannot verify this.  In any case, here it is, copy, save and print it out.  Frame it, put it in your study.  Enjoy!

Brush Run Church

This is from Christian Standard very likely ca. 1928.  The emergence of the congregation at Brush Run, Pennsylvania in 1811 marked a formative milestone in the nascent Restoration Movement.  Two hundred years later what happened here and why it matters are still topics of research and discussion.

Suggested online reading:

–Richardson’s Memoirs of Alexander Campbell

–Calvin Warpula’s article in Christian Standard

–Hal Doster’s website explores the significance of Brush Run.  (Perhaps I should mention I assisted Hal with some research on Brush Run in about 2008, and I assisted Peter Morgan with research in 2010…  Full disclosure and all).

–You can even like Brush Run on Facebook!

Though Brush Run meetinghouse was constructed of some of the material you see in this photo,  technically it is not a photo of the Brush Run church.  This is a reconstruction of it as it stood on the grounds of the Campbell Mansion at Bethany, WV in the early 20th century.  Hal’s PowerPoint presentation discusses this in detail…I wish there was an audio file to accompany his presentation.  You really need to hear Hal talk about it.

Shortly, I’ll blog about the stash of paper that yielded this clipping.  More to come!

Books for Sale At This Office

I find the comments about Campbell’s book on baptism enlightening: “The best work of A. Campbell and the most thorough investigation of the subject extant.” This is a significant evaluation.  I can only surmise that it represents Lipscomb and Sewell’s estimation of Campbell’s work.

I would love to find bound volumes of the 1866 Advocate for $3.00 apiece.

The Whartons in 1873 are members at Church Street Christian Church in Nashville, as is Mr. Dortch of Second National Bank.

Gospel Advocate, March 20, 1873, back cover.