Montgomery, James, son of John Montgomery, a Moravian minister, was born at Irvine, Ayrshire, Nov. 4, 1771. In 1776 he removed with his parents to the Moravian Settlement at Gracehill, near Ballymena, county of Antrim. Two years after he was sent to the Fulneck Seminary, Yorkshire. He left Fulneck in 1787, and entered a retail shop at Mirfield, near Wakefield. Soon tiring of that he entered upon a similar situation at Wath, near Rotherham, only to find it quite as unsuitable to his taste as the former. A journey to London, with the hope of finding a publisher for his youthful poems ended in failure; and in 1792 he was glad to leave Wath for Shefield to join Mr. Gales, an auctioneer, bookseller, and printer of the Sheffield Register newspap… 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.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)