1857 - 1925 Translator of "Forgive me, Lord, my wayward will" in Hymns of the Russian Church Brownlie, John, was born at Glasgow, Aug. 6, 1857, and was educated at Glasgow University, and at the Free Church College in the same city. In 1884 he was licensed by the Presbytery of Glasgow; in 1885 he became Assistant Minister of the Free Church, Portpatrick, and on the death of the Senior Minister in 1890 he entered upon the full charge of the Church there. He has interested himself in educational matters, became a Member of the local School Board in 1888, a governor of Stranraer High School in 1897, and Chairman of the governors in 1901. His hymnological works are:—
1. The Hymns and Hymnwriters of the [Scottish] Church Hymnary, 1899. This is a biographical, historical, and critical companion to that hymnal, and is well done and accurate.
2. Hymns of Our Pilgrimage, 1889; Zionward; Hymns of the Pilgrim Life, 1890; and Pilgrim Songs, 1892. These are original hymns. The Rest of God, 1894, a poem in three parts.
3. Hymns of the Early Church, Being Translations from the Poetry of the Latin Church, arranged in the Order of the Christian Year . . . 1896.
4. Hymns from East and West, Being Translations from the Poetry of the Latin and Greek Churches . . . 1898.
5. Hymns of the Greek Church, Translated with Introduction and Notes, 1900. Second Series: Hymns of the Holy Eastern Church, Translated from the Service Books, with Introductory Chapters on the History, Doctrine and Worship of the Church, 1902. Third Series: Hymns from the Greek Office Books, Together with Centos and Suggestions, 1904. Fourth Series: Hymns from the East, Being Centos and Suggestions from the Office Books of the Holy Eastern Church, 1906.
Of Mr. Brownlie's original hymns the following have come into common use:—
1. Ever onward, ever upward. Aspiration. From Pilgrim Songs, 3rd Series, 1892, p. 11.
2. Girt with heavenly armour. The Armour of God. Pilgrim Songs, 3rd Series, 1892, p. 49.
3. Hark! the voice of angels. Praise. Pilgrim Songs, 3rd Series, 1892, p. 57.
4. O bind me with Thy bonds, my Lord. The Divine Yoke. From Hymns of our Pilgrimage, 1889, p. 27.
5. O God, Thy glory gilds the sun. Adoration. From Zionward, &c, 1890, p. 33.
6. Spake my heart by sorrow smitten. Seeking God. From Pilgrim Songs, 3rd series, 1892, p. 25.
7. The flowers have closed their eyes. Evening Pilgrim Songs, 3rd series, 1892, p. 6tf.
8. There is a song which the angels sing. The Angels' Song. A cento from the poem The Best of God, 1894, p. 36.
9. Thou art my Portion, saith my soul. God, the Portion of His People. From Pilgrim Songs, 1892, p. 45.
10. Close beside the heart that loves me. Resting in God. This is one of the author's "Suggestions " based upon the spirit rather than the words of portions of the Greek Offices. It was given in Hymns of the Holy Eastern Church, 1902, p. 128.
Mr. Brownlie's translations from the Latin have been adopted in the hymnals to a limited extent only, mainly because the ground had been so extensively and successfully covered by former translators. With the translations from the Greek the case was different, as for popular use few translations were available in addition to the well known and widely used renderings by Dr. Neale. Mr. Brownlie's translations have all the beauty, simplicity, earnestness, and elevation of thought and feeling which characterise the originals. Their suitability for general use is evidenced in the fact that the number found in the most recently published hymn-books, including Church Hymns, 1903, The New Office Hymn Book, 1905, and The English Hymnal, 1906, almost equal in number those by Dr. Neale.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)