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Horatius Bonar

1808-1889

Biographical Sketch

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Born: De­cem­ber 19, 1808, Old Brough­ton, Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land

Died: July 31, 1889, Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land

Buried: Can­on­gate church­yard

Bonar has been called “the prince of Scot­tish hymn write­rs.” After grad­u­at­ing from the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Ed­in­burgh, he was or­dained in 1838, and be­came pas­tor of the North Par­ish, Kelso. He joined the Free Church of Scot­land af­ter the “Dis­rupt­ion” of 1843, and for a while edit­ed the church’s The Border Watch. Bonar re­mained in Kel­so for 28 years, af­ter which he moved to the Chal­mers Me­mor­i­al church in Edin­burgh, where he served the rest of his life. Bonar wrote more than 600 hymns. At a me­mor­i­al service fol­low­ing his death, his friend, Rev. E. H. Lundie, said:

His hymns were writ­ten in very var­ied cir­cum­stances, some­times timed by the tink­ling brook that bab­bled near him; some­times at­tuned to the or­dered tramp of the ocean, whose crest­ed waves broke on the beach by which he wan­dered; some­times set to the rude mu­sic of the rail­way train that hur­ried him to the scene of du­ty; some­times mea­sured by the si­lent rhy­thm of the mid­night stars that shone above him.