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 >
Thou God art a consuming fire. J. Montgomery. [Prayer.] Written in 1818, and first printed on a broadsheet with Montgomery's "Prayer is the soul's sincere desire," and "What shall we ask of God in prayer?" for use in the Nonconformist Sunday schools in Sheffield. It was included in Cotterill's Selection, 1819, No. 279, in 4 stanzas of 8 lines; in Montgomery's Christian Psalmist, 1825, No. 481, with alterations, and in 8 stanzas of 4 lines; and again in his Original Hymns, 1853, No. 68, without further alteration. This last is the text usually given in the hymnals.