Saturday, April 10, 2021

You May Be VERY Surprised By Who Wrote This Book.

Why is it, do you think, that a novel -- an exciting, provocative, and finely-fashioned novel at that -- which was written by one of the 20th Century's most popular and iconic musical talents, has gone so overwhelmingly ignored?

I can think of no other reason than this -- Man in White is a historical novel about the apostle Paul. And not only is it a religious novel, but it presents a clear and persuasive argument for conservative (that is, Bible-based) evangelical theology. Indeed, the book is a profound invitation to follow the example of Paul in receiving the forgiveness of sins achieved by Jesus on Calvary's cross and then following the demands of Christ's discipleship, including the passionate preaching of the gospel.

I just finished a second reading of Man in White, originally published in 1986, and I wanted to pass along a most hearty recommendation of it to all of you. Is there some speculation? Of course; it's a novel. But the speculations he does make show a great deal of study of the early 1st Century sources, including a tremendous respect for the original texts of Scripture that he uses.

Again, I found it an excellent and inspirational read.

And, oh yes, the author of Man in White?

It's the entertainer they called The Man in Black...Johnny Cash!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

A "Rush Revere" Saturday Brunch

Last night I was reading Rush Revere and The Star-Spangled Banner, the humorous, exciting, and yet true-to-life history written for kids by Rush & Kathryn Limbaugh.  It is the 4th book in a series of 5 but Kathryn has recently announced she will begin adding more Rush Revere titles in honor of her late, much-beloved husband.

I’m reading through this series for the first time and I’ve been (for the most part) truly delighted in these insightful, inspiring narratives of early American history. It’s pretty easy to see how kids love these books – when they get the chance to read them. For instance, you’re not going to find them in public libraries or in references lists given by teachers in the government schools. They are way too historically sound, way too respectful of the Founding Fathers and the ideals of freedom, and thus way too threatening to today’s tsars of progressive political-correctness.  

I’m making sure I get through the series in time for the special Rush Revere Brunch we are hosting at our home on Saturday morning, March 27 at 10 o’clock.  We are going to have a great time enjoying a delicious repast and by talking together about 1) Rush Limbaugh and his influence, 2) fighting back against the cancel culture, and 3) ways to pass on to the younger generations the ideals (and true facts) of American history and Western civilization. 

Please let us know if you’re interested.

Some Genuine Gems (The Latest Reading Review)

The first 2 1/2 months of 2021 have gone exceptionally well in the reading department. 24 books spread out (as usual) in a variety of genres: history, novels, entertainment reading, drama, Christian life, even some poetry this time around. But the part of this year's reading that is unusual thus far is that there have only been a few re-reads in that pile whereas around 50% of the books I read are normally "old friends" that I've spent time with before.

So, you're wondering if any of those books made my 4-star list or are otherwise worthy of recommendation? 

Sure. Here they are.

* Christmas Stories by Charles Dickens was a special collection of little-known tales from Dickens' magazine, Household Words. Terrific stuff. 

* The Book of King Arthur by Howard Pyle was a special treat for both Claire and I because we listened to an audio version during a trip to Kansas and back. It is connected to a second volume, The Book of Three Worthies, which we finished listening to at home. We liked the first one quite a bit. However, we wouldn't recommend the second one.

* Salt to the Sea by Ruth Sepetys was the January selection of our book club of longstanding, the Notting Hill Napoleons. The novel is a very good one about an unusual group of war refugees fleeing across Germany in the last months of WWII. It is an extremely interesting, inspiring, page-turner.

* Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore misses being a 4-star classic by just a half star or so because I find the ending a bit disappointing. Still, this was my third time reading this novel and so you can see I do consider it worth reading.

* Through The Magic Door by Arthur Conan Doyle is a small (but delightful) book about books, writers, and reading that I absolutely loved. It's a rare gem that you probably couldn't afford unless, like me, you read it for free on your Kindle.

* Nathaniel Philbrick's history, Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution, was excellent.

* Our Town by Thornton Wilder is a classic that I probably read (and treasure) every other year or so. And my love for the play isn't only because I acted in it way, way back in high school.

* The five Rush Revere books by Rush & Kathryn Limbaugh. These interesting and fun books are for modern kids...and for those adults who are interested in providing effective ways to pass along the true history and ideals of America to the next generation.

* The Singer Trilogy by Calvin Miller. Yes, it's poetry but easily do-able even for those who wouldn't normally bother with verse. I found it very moving and memorable.

* He Came Unto His Own But... by Donald Grey Barnhouse. This is a short Bible commentary that concentrates on 

* Hamlet & Othello by Edward de Vere (aka William Shakespeare). Two of the Bard's best known tragedies. 'Nuff said.

* Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories by C.S. Lewis. Among the treasures in this small volume are his essays "On Stories," "On Three Ways of Writing for Children," and "Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's To Be Said."


* The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters (Karl Rove) probably told me more than I wanted to know, but it was extremely well researched and of significant interest.

Friday, February 26, 2021

What Are the Elderly (Some of Them, Anyhow) Thinking?

As I've been in planning for Vital Signs Ministries' newest outreach -- a weekly Bible study/church service at a senior living facility, a service which will be recorded for use with other senior centers -- I remembered this Book Den post from more than two years ago. Check it out...

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Thinking over the many conversations we have with residents of senior care facilities who attend our “When Swing Was King” shows, I recently recalled a passage from Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons. This penetrating and prescient novel, published in 1918, is both fine literature and history, telling as it does the story of the rise and fall of an aristocratic American family at the turn of the century. However, probably because of our ongoing “When Swing Was King” ministry in senior care facilities (and because the evidence of aging has come close to home with friends, family, and ourselves in recent weeks) my recent thoughts about the novel have centered on one particular passage.

Let me set the stage. The elderly Major Amberson is suffering from grief and loneliness as well as from the inevitable ravages of old age.  He sits for hours staring at the fire -- awake and yet generally disconnected from anything that’s happening around him.  The other family members assume that he is in some kind of mental limbo. If any cognizant thoughts do slip through, the family believes they are the Major's memories of his military service, the building of his business, or perhaps sweet dreams of his wife who died long ago. But Tarkington writes,

They were mistaken.  The Major was engaged in the profoundest thinking of his life.  No business plans which had ever absorbed him could compare in momentousness with the plans that absorbed him now, for he had to plan on how to enter the unknown country where he was not even sure of being recognized as an Amberson...

His absorption produced the outward effect of reverie, but of course it was not.  The Major was occupied with the first really important matter that had taken his attention since he came home invalided after the Gettysburg campaign, and went into business; and he realized that everything which had worried him or delighted him during this lifetime  between then and to-day – all his buying and building and trading and banking – that it all was trifling and waste beside what concerned him now.

A few pages later this scene (and Major Amberson's life) reaches its climax. 

He moved his hand uncertainly as if reaching for something, and George jumped up, “Did you want anything, grandfather?”

“What?”

“Would you like a glass of water?”

“No – no.  No; I don’t want anything.” The reaching hand dropped back upon the arm of the chair, and he relapsed into silence; but a few minutes later he finished the sentence he had begun: 

“I wish – somebody could tell me!”

The next day he had a slight cold, but he seemed annoyed when his son suggested calling the doctor, and Amberson let him have his own way so far, in fact, that after he had got up and dressed, the following morning, he was all alone when he went away to find out what he hadn’t been able to think out – all those things he had wished “somebody” would tell him.

Old Sam, shuffling in with the breakfast tray, found the Major in his accustomed easy-chair by the fireplace – and yet even the old servant could see instantly that the Major was not there.

I think you can see why I find that particular scene of The Magnificent Ambersons so compelling, evoking as it does so many connections to my own loved ones and the many elderly friends we’ve made through “When Swing Was King.”

Of course, the applications of this scene in the novel message are limited. For instance, not every nursing home resident is involved in the same intense search for life’s meaning as was Major Amberson.  And though some of those who are seemingly “locked inside” frail bodies and minds are genuinely out of our reach, not all of them are. That’s extremely important to remember and appreciate.  So too is the fact that we are usually unable to determine exactly what’s going on inside a person's mind.  Mercy therefore directs us to give such souls the benefit of the doubt, moving us to speak, touch, and pray for the person until the very end.

Another important point is that serving as the “somebody” who can explain spiritual questions to seekers like Major Amberson requires sincerity, patience, prayer, and the willingness to win the right to be heard.  This is true of all evangelism and discipleship.  In regards to hospital or nursing home visitation, the ministering Christian must be willing to be a genuine friend, to take the time necessary to shine forth the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and to demonstrate appropriate sensitivity to others involved, including family members and facility staff.

But with these practical issues accepted, the yearning for spiritual truth exhibited by Major Amberson should move all Christians to remember the important mission field that our senior citizens represent.  Neither should we overlook those younger citizens who are forced by disease or accident to also require the ongoing care provided by a nursing home.  These places are all around us and every one of them is filled with people who need our attention, our love in action, and yes, our answers to their questions about “that unknown country” that lies behind death.

Postscript: Vital Signs Ministries would love to help you develop your service to seniors -- both to those who yet live on their own and those whose care now requires assisted living or nursing homes. Whether it involves becoming a part of our delightful “When Swing Was King” program, finding out about other types of visitation or service programs, or perhaps joining in a concerted ministry with others from your church, please contact us sometime soon.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Remembering Expelled

Did you ever see Expelled

If so, have you watched it again lately? You should. For even though the powers that be have staged a full scale assault on the movie, an honest, common-sense appraisal of the film's content yields dramatic new understanding of science, of Darwinian evolution, of the theories of intelligent design, and the ruthless nature of political-correctness. 

 To stimulate your interest (again), here is the opening sequence.

   

Monday, February 08, 2021

Reflections on Jan Karon's Mitford Novels

(This article was originally posted last October 2 over at Vital Signs Blog.)

I’m sitting here in the pre-dawn quiet enjoying a cup of coffee and thinking about the beauty, relevance, and rich significance of what I’ve taken recently to calling “Mitford ministry”; that is,actions of Christian service that emphasize the values (and even the methods) that one sees portrayed so winsomely in the ministries of Fr. Tim Kavanaugh in Jan Karon’s heartwarming series of Mitford novels. 

Yes, I’m aware that some of Karon’s following relish the Mitford books as “escapist fiction,” enjoying them because the small town charms and eccentric characters present a welcome relief from lives that some readers might feel are either too hectic or too humdrum. I understand the sentiments of such readers because I too love the sheer pleasantness of the novels. However, from my first Mitford book (which I must confess was postponed for way too many years after Claire first started encouraging me to read them), I have found a wealth of spiritual conviction and challenge amid all the charm. Karon is a superb writer and storyteller but her talents are used not merely to entertain – as wonderful a purpose as that is – they also guide, equip, and encourage. For in and among her vivid place descriptions, fascinating characters, humor, literary references, and “page-turning readability,” Karon presents life lessons for the Christian that are winsome, memorable, and remarkably persuasive. 

Let me mention another angle I take on the Mitford novels that might surprise those of you who know my longstanding appreciation of G.K. Chesterton. That angle is simply this – I believe Jan Karon’s Mitford novels are among the most Chestertonian literature around, celebrating as they so effectively do such blessings as home, family, friendship, courage, forgiveness, compassion, humility, sacrifice, food, what might be described as “local patriotism,” and an orthodox Christianity that is revealed in both precept and practice. A stretch? Not really. For beyond the abundant novelties and paradoxes which one relishes in Chesterton, the core values he celebrates in Manalive, The Napoleon of Notting Hill, The Flying Inn, and so many of his other novels, essays, and poetry are the very values I’ve mentioned above. 

But it is not only the values of G.K. Chesterton I encounter when I’m in Mitford, it is also those ordinary, day by day acts of Christian love which Frances and Edith Schaeffer underscored were the stuff of “true spirituality.” Indeed, the early years of L’Abri reveal how devotedly the Schaeffer family sought to live out the same Chestertonian (and yes,“Mitfordian”) virtues I listed above. The Schaeffers argued the necessity of a solid intellectual understanding of Christianity while also insisting that the disciple’s lifestyle be marked by personal holiness, humble prayer, an appreciation of God’s handiwork, and an intense desire to serve the Lord through practical love towards others. 

Did Jan Karon find inspiration for her novels from these saints? Maybe a bit. Maybe not at all. But that’s not the important point. Rather it is that Jan Karon, G.K. Chesterton, and the Schaeffers were all moved by the Holy Spirit to use their art (and/or their preaching, journalism, and personal walk of sanctification) to stimulate love and good deeds among their fellow believers…and to present a winsome apologetic for the gospel to unbelievers. But before I conclude “my musings on things Mitford,” let me reiterate the most important life lessons with which Fr. Tim Kavanaugh (and other characters and plot situations in the Jan Karon novels) refresh and challenge me. 

1) The overarching value of personal spirituality. Over and again, Karon illustrates the beauty of the fruits of the Spirit in one’s life. And this means patience and forgiveness in dealing with “very draining persons;” spending time in both personal and corporate prayer; commitment to spiritual disciplines; personal development, including reading the Bible and other quality literature; and seeing divinely-inspired duty in such practical things as washing dishes, walking the dog, and preparing meals. 

2) Devotion to marriage, family, and community. This includes such practical things as writing letters to one’s spouse; care in selecting gifts; hospitality of a variety of forms, including letters, calls, entertaining, and visits; ministry to children, the aged, and the sick; “home loyalties,” including support for one’s church and local businesses; and engaging joyfully in the dominion mandate in projects both big (building a new wing of a hospital or adopting a child) and small (gardening or restoring a nativity set). 

3) Evangelism and discipleship that’s willing to be “in for the long haul.” 

4) The “attitude of gratitude” for God’s creation, His Word, His will, and His plan of salvation through the gracious and substitutionary work of Jesus Christ. I would add that Karon also stresses thankfulness for the simple, beautiful things of life. For instance, Fr. Tim and Cynthia aren’t chasing the latest technologies or methods; they find happiness and contentment in warm blankets, a snuggling pet, a complement, a snowfall, a handwritten letter, a lunch at the diner with friends, an old book, a restored piece of furniture, a poem, a cup of tea, the moonrise, and so much more. They even seek to live with an “attitude of gratitude” when God brings challenges, disappointments, and trials their way. 

Like millions of other readers, I would probably have thoroughly enjoyed Jan Karon’s novels and found a wealth of spiritual stimulation in them even if, for decades earlier, I hadn’t sought to live out the virtues taught me by Chesterton and the Schaeffers. But having done so has made the Mitford novels a very special treasure for me. Thank you, Jan Karon. 

So, for art that doesn’t merely seek to imitate life but rather to enrich and deepen it with examples of lives well-invested for the Lord…lives reflecting personal sanctity, gratitude, joy, endurance, hope, and extremely practical “small dose” ministry which beautifies and blesses, Jan Karon’s Mitford novels receive my highest recommendations.

Friday, January 01, 2021

The Year in Reading

Despite the horrors and pressures of the year 2020, there were plenty of opportunities for intercession, for love and good deeds performed in the Holy Spirit, for fellowship among the “forever family” of God, for study of and conversation about the Bible, and yes, for reading other books as  well.

In this last category, 2020 was an exceptional year for me, just under a hundred books. My reading adventures covered the usual genres: history, novels, mystery and adventure books, Christian themes, even a bit of poetry this year as Claire and I started a project of recording our reading of poems aloud. We did this for the residents of senior living facilities as an extra gift besides the 9-page activity packets we have been providing every week since the quarantines locked us out from presenting our “When Swing Was King” shows. We sent DVD copies of our poetry reading to the activity directors and also uploaded them onto You Tube. (You can, by the way, avail yourself of those activity packets -- all 43 of them so far -- by going to this specific page in the Vital Signs Ministries website. If you are a senior or a boomer or know people who are in those age categories, these can be a great source for entertainment, encouragement, even inspiration.)

But back to the books. Before I get to those that rated 4 Stars, I'll mention some of the authors of adventures and mysteries I've read (or, in many cases, re-read) for simple entertainment that I would recommend: Dorothy Sayers, Ellery Queen, Alistair MacLean, Patricia Wentworth. 

And now the 4 Star reads. I list them by category (though some overlap categories) and you'll note that the titles that are underlined are re-reads. Indeed, some of them are old and very dear friends. After the listing, I add a quick note about the surprises and biggest blessings of the years in books.

Bible study and Christian living:

**** Christmas Sermons (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) 

**** True Spirituality (Francis Schaeffer)

**** Jesus On Trial (David Limbaugh)

**** Pilgrim's Progress (John Bunyan)

**** Everlasting: God's Faithfulness to Israel (Stuart Cunliffe)

**** The Meaning of Persons (Paul Tournier)

**** Worry Less, Live More: God's Prescription for a Better Life (Robert J. Morgan)

History:

**** Grant Moves South (Bruce Catton)

**** To Wake the Giant: A Novel of Pearl Harbor (Jeff Shaara)

**** A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War (Joseph Loconte)

**** The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution (John Oller)

Novels:

**** Pickwick Papers (Charles Dickens)

**** Wake of the Perdido Star (Gene Hackman & Daniel Lenihan)

**** The Hunt for Red October (Tom Clancy)

**** The Hobbit (JRR Tolkien)

**** The Fellowship of the Ring (JRR Tolkien)

**** The Two Towers (JRR Tolkien)

**** The Return of the King (JRR Tolkien)

**** Alice Adams (Booth Tarkington)

**** Home to Holly Springs (Jan Karon)

**** In the Company of Others (Jan Karon)

**** Oliver Twist (by Charles Dickens)

**** Out of the Silent Planet (C.S. Lewis)

**** Perelandra (C.S. Lewis)

**** That Hideous Strength (C. S. Lewis)

**** Dream Days (A.A. Milne)

**** The Never-ending Story (Michael Ende)

**** Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good (Jan Karon) 

**** Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe)

**** The Mysterious Island (Jules Verne)

**** The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame)

**** Barnaby Rudge (Charles Dickens)

**** The Black Tulip (Alexandre Dumas)

**** A Lantern In Her Hand (Bess Streeter Aldrich)

Okay, about the surprises and special blessings. I was profoundly moved by Everlasting: God's Faithfulness to Israel written by a pro-life colleague in Great Britain, Stuart Cunliffe. I was greatly encouraged and helped by Robert J. Morgan's Worry Less, Live More: God's Prescription for a Better Life. That book came as a gift because we support the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and I came very close to putting it aside. But I ended up taking it on our two-week working vacation in the Ozarks and I am so glad I did. 

I liked A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Loconte so much I bought several copies and sent them to friends. It was terrific. 

In the novel category, most of the books are among those old and dear friends I mentioned. But A Lantern In Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich was a new read for me and I really loved it. So did our book club, the Notting Hill Napoleons. However, Jan Karon is becoming an even more important author to me (she has been for Claire for many years) and I find her Fr. Tim Kavanaugh a source of great stimulation and influence. Indeed, I wrote an appreciative essay about the Mitford novels which compared them to G.K.Chesterton and Francis & Edith Schaeffer. You'll find that essay here.

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Napoleons Enjoy the Prairie Creek Inn


The annual weekend getaway for the Notting Hill Napoleons (our book club that is getting ready to start its 30th year!) was a wonderful success. One of the main reasons was the intensely relevant book we discussed, Charles Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge. But another was the Prairie Creek Inn itself, the absolutely delightful and charming bed & breakfast resort where we held this year’s party.

I’ve posted a little collage here illustrating just a few of the scenes presented by the Inn but visitors can also take in the surrounding forest and fields, the cabin, the interior of the beautifully renovated barn, the old depot which is now in its own restoration, and the remarkable rooms of the Inn itself. Gorgeous. Interesting. Historic. Comfortable. And the friendliest welcomes and service provided by owner/innkeepers Bruce and Maureen and their colleague Lisa.

Claire and I had already experienced the sweetest of times at the Inn last December but it was the first time there for John & Barb, Karla, and Quint & Carol. And it was awfully nice to see how quickly and enthusiastically they all fell in love with the place too. In fact, reservations were made that night for next year’s weekend retreat along with others looking to make individual bookings.

Friday night’s highlights were Karla & me helping Maureen feed the horses; deciding the 12 books we will be reading for 2021; and a delicious dinner of chicken soup, beef stew, veggies, crackers, and desserts. Saturday’s schedule included the early morning tradition of Bible reading and prayers I so enjoy with Quint, a spectacular breakfast, a bracing hike in the cool of the morning, watching the Nebraska vs Illinois game on the biggest TV I’ve ever seen, a splendid discussion over the Dickens novel in the afternoon, and dinner at a nice restaurant in west Lincoln. And then, after another wonderful breakfast on Sunday, we were all headed home.

But what a stimulating, refreshing weekend it was. And so, as a group, we pass along our heartiest recommendations for 1) book clubs, 2) Charles Dickens, and 3) Prairie Creek Inn. We believe all three will bless and enrich your life!

Saturday, November 07, 2020

The Latest 3 and 4 Star Reads (A Catch-Up Post)


Reviewing my social media activity in 2020, I note that there was a lot of activity on Vital Signs Blog, the new Vital Signs Ministries website, and Facebook. But the activity on The Book Den decreased substantially. 

Now that wasn't because I haven't been reading. No, 2020 has been an especially good year for that -- 83 books to date and quite a few of those making 3 and 4 star ratings -- it's simply that I've tended to put even my literary arts and literature oriented posts on other platforms. But I've decided to start uploading those types of posts over here where they belong. I can always cross post when appropriate.

Anyhow, I'll let this post be a catch-up one, the first of that type since last April. I won't bother to list everything but merely give you the best of the lot. 

In the area of classic literature:

4 stars --

Oliver Twist (by Charles Dickens)

Out of the Silent Planet (C.S. Lewis)

Perelandra (C.S. Lewis)

That Hideous Strength (C. S. Lewis)

The Never-ending Story (Michael Ende)

Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe)

The Mysterious Island (Jules Verne)

3 stars --

 The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond (G.K. Chesterton)

In the genre of theology and Christian living:

4 stars --

Everlasting: God's Faithfulness to Israel (Stuart Cunliffe)

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good (Jan Karon) 

Worry Less, Live More: God's Prescription for a Better Life (Robert J. Morgan)

3 stars --

The Rapture Question (John Walvoord)

Pilgrim's Progress (John Bunyan)

The Meaning of Persons (Paul Tournier)

In the genre of history & historical novels:

4 stars --

To Wake the Giant: A Novel of Pearl Harbor (Jeff Shaara)

A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War (Joseph Loconte)

3 stars --

The Spy (James Fenimore Cooper)

All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr) 

Dorothy & Jack (Gina Dalfonzo)

Victory at Yorktown (Newt Gingrich, William R. Forstchen)

Three Days in October (Yael Dayan)

My Life for My Sheep: Thomas Becket (Alfred Duggan)

In the genre of pleasure reading (adventure, mystery, etc.):

4 stars --

Dream Days (A.A. Milne)

3 stars --

The Cursing Stones Murder (George Bellairs)

The Golden Rendezvous (Alistair MacLean)

The Watersplash (Patricia Wentworth)

The Case Is Closed (Patricia Wentworth)

Lonesome Road (Patricia Wentworth)

River of Death (Alistair MacLean)

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Last Song from the Titanic?


Many students of the Titanic disaster believe that “Autumn,” an old Anglican hymn, was one of the songs played by the 8 musicians in the ship’s orchestra before the mighty craft broke and sank below the frigid north Atlantic waves. The song was featured in the classic 1957 film about the tragedy, “A Night to Remember,” as well as a 1979 film version. 

It is intriguing to speculate how that well-known song would have affected the hearers, some being rowed away to safety (though they would hardly have known that at the time) and some knowing full well that they had but minutes to live. I print the lyrics below, compelling spiritual lyrics that would have been known and remembered by many of those hearing the heroic members of the orchestra play the song…lyrics which may well have caused the hearers, even at that last opportunity, to trust in the soul-saving truths they presented. 

“Autumn” 
(Lyrics written by Louis von Esch, music by François H. Barthélemon, 
Early 19th Century) 

“God of Mercy and Compassion, look with pity on my pain. Hear a mournful broken spirit, prostrate at thy feet complain. Many are my foes and mighty, strength to conquer I have none; nothing can uphold my goings, but thy blessed self alone. 

Savior, look on thy beloved; triumph over all my foes. Turn to heavenly joy my mourning, turn to gladness all my woes. Live or die or work or suffer, let my weary soul abide, in all changes whatsoever, sure and steadfast by thy side. 

When temptations fierce assault me, when my enemies I find, sin and guilt and death and Satan, all against my soul combined, hold me up in mighty waters, keep my eyes on things above, righteousness, divine atonement, peace and everlasting love.” 

The Titanic band members all went down with the ship. 

The English musicians were Theodore Ronald Brailey (pianist, 24 years old), John Frederick Preston Clarke (bassist, 30), Wallace Hartley (Bandleader and violinist, 33), Percy Cornelius Taylor (cellist, 32), and John Wesley Woodward (cellist, 32). Roger Marie Bricoux (cellist, 20) was French, John Law Hume (violinist, 21) was a Scotsman, and Georges Alexandre Krins (violinist, 23) was Belgian. 

A second class passenger who survived the tragedy gave a fitting epitaph for these men, “Many brave things were done that night, but none were more brave than those done by men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea. The music they played served alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recalled on the scrolls of undying fame.”