Universalism in shape notes

I discovered a “lost” Universalist hymn of lament by J. S. Warren (1829-1905) — in shape notes, no less — in the odd 7.7.7.8. meter. It comes from Warren’s Minstrel (Columbus, Ohio: 1857). In the 1984 reprint edition, John Lawrence Brasher notes (p. xix) that

For a full appreciation of Warren’s Minstrel, one must have an understanding of Universalist doctrine and the activities of the Universalist Church in early Ohio. . . . In the will of James Warren, Jr., the opening phrase “In the name of the Benevolent Father of all,” reflects his adoption of these tenets.

The tune “Mary and Joseph Seeking the Savior (Luke ii, 45)” is the title of the tune and evidently the theme, but we at BITB World Headquarters find the tune a bit daunting. (And my scanner isn’t working or I’d include it.)

Might make a good early Lent anthem, if it found the right musical partner.

Cease a while ye winds to blow,
Cease a while ye streams to flow,
Hush’d be ev’ry ruder noise;
Methinks I hear my Saviour’s voice.

Loud I’ll call, I’ll make him hear;
‘Tis I that calls, Savior dear —
‘Tis not He; why this delay?
Why let thy wand’rer lose his way?

There’s the vale, the hill, the tree’
Hark! a voice, methinks ’tis He’
‘Tis not He, and night comes on —
Oh, where’s my lovely Savior gone!

Author: Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *