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Anglican Patrimony Christopher Trundle on the work of Ray Palmer I

t is oſten said that one of the most important elements of Anglican Patrimony is our hymnody. In

contrast to much modern music oſten sung in churches, the content of our various hymnals presents us with means of communal and deeply personal devotional response, which nonetheless avoids any hint of ‘dumbing down’. We are also blessed with many

properly liturgical hymns secially suited for singing at certain points

in secific liturgies. Many of our favourites are sung at communion, a point when the combination of this individual reacion and corporate address to the Blessed Sacrament is particularly powerful. One such favourite of mine is the

hymn ‘Jesus, these eyes have never seen’, writen in the nineteenth century by Ray Palmer, an American Congregationalist. Now you may think it odd to focus

an article on Anglican Patrimony on a hymn writen by such a writer, but the oſt-forgoten truth is that many of our well-loved hymns

are not

strictly ‘Anglican’ in their origins at all. Many come from Scotland; take, for example ‘I heard the voice of Jesus say’ by Horatius Bonar, a minister of the Church of Scotland and later of the Free Church, or ‘Immortal invisible’ by Walter Chalmers Smith. Some are translations of German

Lutheran hymns; ‘O Sacred Head, sore sounded’ by Paulus Gerhardt (tr. Robert Bridges) and ‘Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation’ by Joachim Neander (tr. Catherine Winkworth),

are two

examples. ‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind’ and ‘Immortal love, forever full’ were writen by American Quaker John Greenleaf Whitier. Tis itself says something important

about our Anglican characer: we have a certain freedom and confidence in assimilating elements from outside our tradition and taking them to our hearts. Te words of Palmer’s hymn,

8 ■ newdirections ■ April 2011

particularly when sung in the context of communion, seak of the paradox between the reality of Real Presence of the Lord and the weakness of our senses in perceiving it; here we are charged to look beyond the outward sign and acknowledge the invisible reality. It looks forward also to the time

when “the rending veil shall thee reveal”, the time when we shall experience, we pray, the Beatific vision.

Jesus, these eyes have never seen That radiant form of thine; The veil of sense hangs dark between Thy blessede 1 face and mine.

I see thee not, I hear thee not, Yet thou are oft with me; And earth hath ne’er so dear a spot As where I met with thee.

Like some bright dream that comes unsought, When slumbers o’er me roll, Thine image ever fills my thought, And charms my ravished soul.

Yet though I have not seen, and still Must rest in faith alone, I love thee, dearest Lord, and will, Unseen, but not unknown.

When death these mortal eyes shall seal, And still this trembling heart, The rending veil shall thee reveal All glorious as thou art.

Ray Palmer (1808–87) Palmer wrote many of his hymns

for communion services, and this is reputed to be his favourite. We shall never know if he ever understood it any deeply Eucharistic sense, but there is clearly a yearning aſter the vision of the divine, and to Catholics to think of the Eucharistic host comes naturally. Te vision of God, found in

Scripture, theology and literature, is a common theme. Tis Beatific Vision is different, though, to what can be atained during our earthly lives. Bound by time, we can atain only knowledge of God. Tis, then, serves to put the very

possibility of the vision of the divine in this earthly realm–the sight of God himself here on earth–on an altogether different and more incredible plain.



nce again I’ve confirmed my wife’s view of me as a talented multi-

tasker. If you thought she said ‘bigoted ruddy basket’, shame on you. In the ‘Big Freeze’ I’d gone to check the loft insulation, but despite the cold, was already hot and bothered by the editor’s seemingly impossible request. ‘You’re a real ale fan, Alan; bet you can’t come up with an article linking the 2011 AV celebrations with pubs and beer.’ He’d have won if I hadn’t found in the loft a roll of yellowing notes on ‘The English Reformation’, which had helped me add AKC (Non-theological, of course) to SAC (Retired). Across fifty plus years I heard Gareth Bennett remarking, ‘The English Reformation began in the White Horse.’ Shouts of multi-tasking triumph. ‘Yes dear. Insulation OK.’ Then: ‘I’ve just won a bet.’ From the discussions in Cambridge’s Horse

White Tavern eventually

came a reformed English Catholic Church, an English Prayer Book and an English Bible, the Great Bible of 1539. The Great Bible was revised in 1568, as the Bishops’ Bible, approved by the Anglican establishment as against that favoured by the ultra- Protestants, the Geneva Bible. When King James set up a committee to produce an Authorized Version, he insisted that the Bishops’ Bible be the template. The committee contained many bishops whose fingers turned over various drafts to produce the Authorized Version. Eureka! Shepherd Neame’s Bishop’s Finger (ABV 5.0%). The AV was out of favour during

Cromwell’s Commonwealth when the Geneva Bible came back, but when a greater comeback occurred, the Restoration, the AV was restored, even before the BCP. Maypole dancing (banned by the Puritans) after Matins was also revived, producing a thirst to sink a pint in ‘The Hope and Anchor’ [Hebrews 6.19] named by publicans familiar with the AV. Time for the AV to make another comeback in 2011 – triggered by this NEW DIRECTIONS AV anniversary edition and for me to have a pint of Luke 1.28 (Brandy Cask Brewery’s Ale Mary, 4.8% ABV). Alan Edwards

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