Monday, June 11, 2012

Saint Barnabas

June 11, the feast-day of Saint Barnabas, is probably mostly celebrated these days only by churches that bear his name.  An early convert to Christianity, his story is mostly told in the Acts of the Apostles.

Henry Alford, in the second hymnbook he complied, Psalms and Hymns (1844), appoints the following hymn for this day.  It appears that it was chosen simply because it includes the word consolation, and Barnabas is traditionally called the Son of Consolation.  In his later collection, The Year of Praise (1867), Alford wrote his own hymn for the day (see the second link below) which is, perhaps, somewhat more appropriate.

Author of mercies, in thy Word
What endless glory shines!
Forever be thy name adored
For these celestial lines.

Here the fair tree of knowledge grows
And yields a free repast;
And richer fruits than nature shows
Invite the longing taste.

Here springs of consolation rise
To cheer the weary mind,
And thirsty souls receive supplies,
And sweet refreshment find.

Here the Redeemer’s welcome voice
Spreads heavenly peace around
And life and everlasting joys
Attend the blissful sound.

Oh, may these hallowed pages be
Our joy by day and night,
And still new beauties may we see,
And still increasing light.

Anne Steele, 1760; alt.
Thomas Tallis, c. 1567

This text, by hymnwriter Anne Steele, was almost certainly written with no thought of Saint Barnabas, but you never know what a hymnal editor will do with your work years later. This was actually one of her better-known hymns for many years.

Four Years Ago:  Saint Barnabas

Two Years Ago: Saint Barnabas

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