Hymnwriter and Anglican minister William Hiley Bathurst was born today in 1796. He was actually William Hiley Bragge at birth, but took his uncle's last name in 1820, when he was installed as parish priest in the church at Barwick-in-Elmet, which was on his uncle's West Yorkshire estate. He remained in that post for thirty-two years, but eventually left the church over doctrinal differences.
Bathurst wrote more than three hundred hymns and psalm paraphrases, but only one of them still appears in some hymnals. However, as you know, I never feel constrained by popularity (for better or worse).
Eternal Spirit, by whose pow'r
Are burst the bonds of death,
On earthly hearts your blessings show'r,
And stir them with your breath.
And thus you point the heav'nly way,
Each rising fear control,
And with a warm, enliv'ning ray
to melt the icy soul.
And thus you bring God's mighty word
And write it on our heart;
There its reviving truths record,
And there its peace impart.
Almighty Spirit, visit then
Our hearts, and guide our ways;
Pour down your quick'ning grace on us,
And tune our lips to praise.
William Hiley Bathurst, 1831; alt.
Tune: IRISH (C.M.)
A Collection of Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1749
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