~* FROM GREENLAND'S ICY MOUNTAINS *~
Reginald Heber, 1783-1826
Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Matthew 9:37 & 38
We hear many missionary sermons in our churches, but not often do we sing such a beautifully worded and challenging missionary hymn as this one, which was
quickly and spontaneously written by Reginal Heber. These well-chosen words and ideas inspire us to spread the blessing of salvation to all people and nations
until our Lord "in bliss returns to reign".
Heber was a minister in the Anglican church in England. With his keen interest in world missions, he did much through his writings and influence to promote the
missionary activity that greatly increased during his lifetime.
In the summer of 1819, Heber was asked by his father-in-law if he knew a worthy hymn that could be used at a missionary service the next Sunday. Reginald went
at once to his study for a few minutes of quiet meditation and soon returned with the first three stanzas of this text. His family was very pleased with it. Heber, however,
feeling the hymn was still incomplete, returned to his study and completed the final verse.
Five years later the tune was composed specifically for Heber's text by the noted American educator and church musician, Lowell Mason. It is said that Mason
composed this tune with a great sense of inspiration.
Today, Reginald Heber is ranked as one of the foremost 19th Century English hymnists, having written 57 well-known hymns, including
The Son of God Goes Forth to War" and the well known and loved "Holy, Holy, Holy".
As a result of his zeal for missions, he followed the LORD's leading to Calcutta, India, but died there at the age of 43. Notice how large is the Lord's harvest field....
From Greenland’s icy mountains, from India’s coral strand;
Where Afric’s sunny fountains roll down their golden sand:
From many an ancient river, from many a palmy plain,
They call us to deliver their land from error’s chain.
What though the spicy breezes blow soft o’er Ceylon’s isle;
Though every prospect pleases, and only man is vile?
In vain with lavish kindness the gifts of God are strown;
The heathen in his blindness bows down to wood and stone.
Shall we, whose souls are lighted with wisdom from on high,
Shall we to those benighted the lamp of life deny?
Salvation! O salvation! The joyful sound proclaim,
Till earth’s remotest nation has learned Messiah’s Name.
Waft, waft, ye winds, His story, and you, ye waters, roll
Till, like a sea of glory, it spreads from pole to pole:
Till o’er our ransomed nature the Lamb for sinners slain,
Redeemer, King, Creator, in bliss returns to reign.
*For Today*: Matthew 28:19 & 20, Mark 16:15; John 4:35; Acts 1:8
Pray especially for some foreign missionary in your church, that the truth of this musical message might become a greater reality in today's world.
Music url: The Cyber Hymnal
Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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