Ellerton, John, M.A., son of George Ellerton, was born in London, Dec. 16, 1826, and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A. 1849; M.A. 1854). Taking Holy Orders he was successively Curate of Easebourne, Sussex, 1850; Brighton, and Lecturer of St. Peter's, Brighton, 1852; Vicar of Crewe Green, and Chaplain to Lord Crewe, 1860; Rector of Hinstock, 1872; of Barnes, 1876; and of White Roding, 1886. Mr. Ellerton's prose writings include The Holiest Manhood, 1882; Our Infirmities, 1883, &c. It is, however, as a hymnologist, editor, hymnwriter, and translator, that he is most widely known. As editor he published: Hymns for Schools and Bible Classes, Brighton, 1859. He was also co-editor with Bishop How and others of the Society for Promoting… Go to person page >
Now the labourer's task is o'er. J. Ellerton. [Burial.] Written for and first published in the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Church Hymns, 1871, in 6 stanzas of 6 lines. Mr. Ellerton says:—
”The whole hymn, especially the third, fifth, and sixth verses, owes many thoughts, and some expressions, to a beautiful poem of the Rev. Gerard Moultrie's, beginning, ‘Brother, now thy toils are o'er,' which will be found in the People's Hymnal, 380" (Notes on Church Hymns, p. liii.)
From Church Hymns this hymn has passed into Hymns Ancient & Modern, Hymnal Companion, Thring's Collection, and many other collections, and sometimes, as in the last named, with the omission of stanza iii. In R. Brown-Borthwick's Select Hymns for Church and Home, 2nd edition, 1885, the original text as it appeared in the first edition of that work in 1871 is given as No. 72; and the revised and authorized text as in Church Hymns, as No. 185. The latter is also in Mr. Ellerton's Hymns, &c, 1888, and may be at once known by the refrain:—
"Father, in Thy gracious keeping
Leave we now Thy servant sleeping."