1837 JAMES MONTGOMERY. Unpublished Manuscript Variant of His Hymn, "Closet Prayer."

1837 JAMES MONTGOMERY. Unpublished Manuscript Variant of His Hymn, "Closet Prayer."

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A wonderful original manuscript hymn entirely in the hand of, and signed by, important early 19th century hymnist and abolitionist, James Montgomery.

James Montgomery [1771 – 1854] was the son of Moravian missionaries to the West Indies. He inherited an early desire for Christ, a passion for missions, and a vivid, independent mind. This occasionally caused trouble, as in his brief imprisonment for describing in an article a riot in Sheffield that reflected unfavorably on a military commander. More importantly, he was active anti-slavery author and campaigner and, with William Wilberforce, Hannah More, and others advocated also for child labor laws, for the proper care of child chimney sweeps, etc. His chief contributions, however were his published eleven volumes of poetry and at least four hundred hymns. He is often mentioned I the same sentence as iconic hymnists such as Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley.

Hymns such as Angels from the Realms of Glory, According to Thy Gracious Word, Go to Dark Gethsemane, and others are still in popular use.

The present hymn, Closet Prayer, is not only a beautiful two stanza hymn on private devotion, but the present example represents an iteration of the hymn with several differences from the published version. These are bracketed in the manuscript below.

“Closet Prayer

O what a privilege to kneel,
Fall down and worship at thy feet,
My God! My Saviour [variant; published as Father]! And to feel
With Thee communion high and sweet.

To pour my spirit out in prayer,
Or on the breath [variant; published as wings] of praise ascend,
Like Moses to the Mount, and there
Converse with God [variant; published as Commune with Thee], a friend with friend.

J. Montgomery.

The Mount.
Sep. 7. 1837”

Very good, neatly mounted to a period album sheet. Would be lovely framed with a little lithograph portrait of Montgomery.