Mason, John. The known facts of his life are scanty. He was the son of a Dissenting Minister, and the grandfather of John Mason, the author of A Treatise on Self-Knowledge. He was educated at Strixton School, Northants, and Clare Hall, Cambridge. After taking his M.A., he became Curate of Isham; and in 1668, Vicar of Stantonbury, Bucks. A little more than five years afterwards he was appointed Rector of Water-Stratford. Here he composed the volume containing The Songs of Praise, his paraphrase of The Song of Solomon, and the Poem on Dives and Lazarus, with which Shepherd's Penitential Cries was afterwards bound up. This volume passed through twenty editions. Besides the Songs of Praise, it contains six Penitential Cries by Mason, and it i… Go to person page >
Now, from the altar of our hearts. J. Mason. [Evening.] Appeared in his Spiritual Songs, or Songs of Praise, 1683, pp. 25-6, in 3 stanzas of 8 lines, and a half stanza of 4 lines, and entitled "A Song of Praise for the Evening." (Original text, Lyra Briananica, p. 396.) The third stanza, which is usually omitted in the hymnals, and reads:—
"Man's life's a book of history;
The leaves thereof are days;
The letters, mercies closely join'd;
The title is Thy praise,"
is usually thought to have suggested Dr. Franklin's well-known epitaph upon himself, wherein he compares his body to "the cover of an old book, the contents torn out, and stripped of its lettering and gilding." The whole hymn is sometimes quoted, and not without reason, as Mason's finest production.
Composed by John B. Dykes (PHH 147), BEATITUDO was published in the revised edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern (1875), where it was set to Isaac Watts' "How Bright Those Glorious Spirits Shine." Originally a word coined by Cicero, BEATITUDO means "the condition of blessedness."
Like many of Dykes's…
Display Title: Now from the Altar of My HeartFirst Line: Now from the altar of my heartTune Title: UNIVERSITYAuthor: John Mason (1645?-1694)Meter: CMScripture: Psalm 20; Psalm 141; Hebrews 13:1-16Date: 1998Subject: Evening |