Am I a Soldier of the Cross? Biographies

This week’s new hymn
I posted the words to this hymn last week, on January 27. I inadvertantly gave the name of the most common tune used with these words as MARLOW, which was incorrect. The name of the tune most commonly associated with this hymn is called ARLINGTON. That tune is available to listen to for the next few days in the margin to the right.

Isaac Watts, 1724
Tune: ARLINGTON, C. M., by Thomas A. Arne, 1762
Arranged by: Ralph Harrison, 1784

Isaac Watts was born on July 17, 1647, in Southampton, England. He was the eldest of nine children. His father was a learned deacon in a dissenting Congregational church, and at the time of his son’s birth he was in prison for his nonconformist beliefs. As a boy young Isaac displayed literary genius, writing verses at a very early age. It is said that he had an annoying habit of rhyming even everyday conversation, and that one day when he was scolded by his irritated father for this practice, he cried out, “Oh, Father, do some pity take, and I will no more verses make.”

Am I a Soldier of the Cross was written in conjunction with a sermon that Isaac Watts preached on 1 Corinthians 16:13: Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Isaac Watts died on November 25, 1748, in Stoke Newington, England. He never married, and was in poor health the last three decades of his life. In spite of Watts’ limitations, he was a prolific hymn writer, as well as the author of numerous theological works.

Thomas A. Arne was born and died in London England. He lived from 1710 to 1778, and was a fairly well-known composer in his own day.

Ralph Harrison was born on September 10, 1748, in Chinley, Derbyshire, England. He was a Presbyterian minister, but later became professor at a Manchester Academy about 1780. It was about this time that he put together a collection of hymn tunes to be sung in the Manchester district, of which the tune ARLINGTON was one. Harrison died on November 4, 1810, in Manchesterr, Lancashire, England.

101 Hymn Stories, by Kenneth W. Osbeck, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 49501.
The Cyber Hymnal

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