Sunday, November 1, 2009

John Brown's Favorite Hymn

     John Brown was a man of action. Whether drilling his raiders, fighting for equality, or leading the family in daily religious services, John Brown both expected and demanded participation of those around him. However, there was also a softer side to John Brown.

     Brown was a loving, compassionate father of twenty, who enjoyed singing hymns to his children. Eight of his children outlived him, and in their letters and written remembrances, we find many references to their father singing them to sleep, and nursing them through sickness.

     Brown's favorite hymn was "Blow Ye the Trumpet Blow," by Charles Wesley (1707 – 1787). Wesley, who also wrote "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," was a founding father of the Methodist movement in England. On the Methodist calendar, May 24 is recognized as "Wesley Day," commemorating the date of his spiritual awakening.

     Brown's great love of the hymn "Blow Ye the Trumpet Blow" was well known by his acquaintances. Lyman Epps, a North Elba neighbor, sang the hymn during Brown's funeral in 1859. On December 8, 2009, this hymn will once again be heard at John Brown's gravesite, during the John Brown Coming Home events. Join me in North Elba as we raise our voices in unison....
The year of jubilee is come!
The year of jubilee is come!
Return, ye ransomed sinners, home.

     Take a moment to read the words of this simple, yet powerful hymn. The melody can be heard by clicking here

Blow ye the Trumpet, Blow!

Blow ye the trumpet, blow!
The gladly solemn sound
Let all the nations know,
To earth’s remotest bound:

The year of jubilee is come!
The year of jubilee is come!
Return, ye ransomed sinners, home.

Jesus, our great high priest,
Hath full atonement made,
Ye weary spirits, rest;
Ye mournful souls, be glad:


Extol the Lamb of God,
The sin atoning Lamb;
Redemption by His blood
Throughout the lands proclaim:


Ye slaves of sin and hell,
Your liberty receive,
And safe in Jesus dwell,
And blest in Jesus live:


Ye who have sold for naught
Your heritage above
Shall have it back unbought,
The gift of Jesus’ love:


The Gospel trumpet hear,
The news of heavenly grace;
And saved from earth, appear
Before your Savior’s face:



Anonymous said...

Blow Ye, the Trumpet, Blow
Published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Inc.
Jo-Michael Scheibe Choral Series
Catalog # SBMP 812

SATB a cappella
Traditional sacred text in English
Difficulty rating (1-5): 3

This was abolitionist John Brown’s favorite hymn, a fact I learned in 2003 while visiting the Brown family farm in Lake Placid, NY after attending Gregg Smith’s Summer Music Festival in nearby Saranac Lake. John Brown’s ghost must be guiding me lately, I happened to be able to visit Harper’s Ferry, VA both of the previous summers! I must say that the meeting of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers at Harper’s Ferry is breathtakingly beautiful. The arrangement is dedicated to John Brown. I hope he likes it.

Complete perusal score available upon request.

Alice Keesey Mecoy said...

I would love to have the complete score for my archives.
Thank you for visiting my blog

Dorene from Ohio said...

Very interesting post!

My Great Great Grandfather, Charles F. Steen, was a pallbearer at the funeral of John Brown, Jr.,
at South Bass Island!

Alice Keesey Mecoy said...

Dorene, thank you for visiting my blog. How exciting to have such a great tie to history.

Thank you for sharing with me. I would love to hear any stories that have been passed down in your family.

Jasia said...

The human voice is probably the most wonderful of all musical instruments. And hymns are some of the most precious songs the human voice has ever sung. What a warm and wonderful way to remember John Brown, with his favorite hymn. Thank you for sharing your story with the Carnival of Genealogy.