James Montgomery (b. Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1771; d. Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, 1854), the son of Moravian parents who died on a West Indies mission field while he was in boarding school, Montgomery inherited a strong religious bent, a passion for missions, and an independent mind. He was editor of the Sheffield Iris (1796-1827), a newspaper that sometimes espoused radical causes. Montgomery was imprisoned briefly when he printed a song that celebrated the fall of the Bastille and again when he described a riot in Sheffield that reflected unfavorably on a military commander. He also protested against slavery, the lot of boy chimney sweeps, and lotteries. Associated with Christians of various persuasions, Montgomery supported missio… Go to person page >
I left the God of truth and light. J. Montgomery. [Repentance.] In 1795, Montgomery commenced in his paper, the Sheffield Iris, a series of essays under the title of “The Whisperer, or Hints and Speculations, by Gabriel Silvertongue Gent." These essays, which were afterwards republished in a volume, abounded in the irreverent use of Holy Scripture The state of mind which prompted him thus to write continued, he says, " for the space of ten years." (Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 116.) On seeing clearly the wrong which he had done, he destroyed all the copies of the work which he could find, and penned this hymn, in 1807, in token of his true repentance. (Memoirs, vol. v. p. 364.) It was first published in the Evangelical Magazine, subsequently in Cotterill's Selection, 8th ed., 1819, No. 295; and then by Mont¬gomery as the first of his hymns in his Christian Psalmist, 1825. It is also in his Original Hymns, 1853, No. 17 lines. In the Christian Psalmist, stanza ii., lines 3, reads: “Through all His bonds of love I broke." In all his other works we find "bands" for "bonds." In his marked copy of the Christian Psalmist, he has changed "bonds" to "bands" in the margin. This is the authorized reading. In the Hymns & Songs of Praise, N. Y., 1874, No. 479, "Heartbroken, friendless, poor, cast down," is composed of stanzas vii., viii. of this hymn.
Display Title: I Left The God Of Truth And LightFirst Line: I left the God of truth and lightTune Title: KIAWAHAuthor: James MontgomerySource: The Christian Psalmist (Glasgow, Scotland: Chalmers & Collins, 1825)