John Mason

John Mason
Short Name: John Mason
Full Name: Mason, John, 1646?-1694
Birth Year: 1645
Death Year: 1694

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 is this portion of his work which harmonizes with the compositions of Shepherd. Probably his hymns were used in public worship, and if so, they are among the earliest hymns so used in the Church of England. Some of his hymns are often found in the early Hymn Collections of the 18th century. The most notable work besides this volume is Select Remains of the Rev, John Mason, a collection of sententious and practical sayings and Christian letters, published by his grandson, and much eulogized by Dr. Watts. His friend, Shepherd, who was at Water-Stratford at the remarkable period to which reference is made below, published two of Mason's Sermons, with a preface of his own. Mason was a man of true piety and humility; known for eminent prayerfulness; faithful, experimental, effectual preaching; "a light in the pulpit, and a pattern out of it." His friendship with Baxter, and Shepherd, the Nonconformist Minister of Braintree, probably indicates his sympathies and theological position. Baxter calls him "the glory of the Church of England," and says :—

"The frame of his spirit was so heavenly, his deportment so humble and obliging, his discourse of spiritual things so weighty, with such apt words and delightful air, that it charmed all that had any spiritual relish.”

The close of his life was sensational enough. One night, about a month before his death, he had a vision of the Lord Jesus, wearing on His head a glorious crown, and with a look of unutterable majesty in His face. Of this vision he spoke; and preached a Sermon called The Midnight Cry, in which he proclaimed the near approach of Christ's Second Advent. A report spread that this Advent would take place at Water-Stratford itself, and crowds gathered there from the surrounding villages. Furniture and provisions were brought in, and every corner of the house and village occupied. Most extraordinary scenes occurred, singing and leaping and dancing. The excitement had scarcely died out when the old man passed away (1694), still testifying that he had seen the Lord, and that it was time for the nation to tremble, and for Christians to trim their lamps. His last words were, “I am full of the loving kindness of the Lord."
[Rev. H. Leigh Bennett, M.A.]
The full titles of his Songs of Praise, and the additions thereto, are:—

(1) Spiritual Songs; or, Songs of Praise to Almighty God upon several occasions, 1683. (2) The Song of Songs which is Solomon's first Turned, then Paraphrased in English Verse. Published with the former. (3) Dives and Lazarus, incorporated with the former 1685. (4) Penitential Cries, Begun by the Author of the Songs of Praise, And carried on by another Hand. Licensed and Entered, Sept. 13, 1693. This forms the concluding part of all editions of the Songs of Praise after 1693. The complete work was reprinted by D. Sedgwick in 1859. This reprint was accompanied by a short Memoir. In this reprint Mason's Penitential Cries and Ps. 86 are given under Songs of Praise, pp. 49-61, those under Penitential Cries being all by Shepherd (q.v.). Mason's Life, by John Dunton, was published in 1694, and included some miscellaneous poems; and another, by Henry Maurice, in 1695, in which are two hymns not found elsewhere. We may add that Mason published a Catechism, with some Verses for Children. Of this, however, no copy is known to exist.

Mason's Songs are commonly presented in modern hymnbooks in the form of centos, which are sometimes compiled from a single Song, and in other instances from several Songs. Many of these are annotated under their respective first lines. The rest include:—
1. Blest be my God that I was born. Praise for the Gospel.
2. Lord, for the mercies of the night. Morning.
3. Lord of my life, Length of my days. Praise for Deliverance from Immediate danger of Death.
4. My God, a God of pardon is. Praise for Pardon of Sin.
5. My God, my only Help and Hope. Praise for Providence.
6. My God, my reconciled God. Praise for Peace of Conscience.
7. My God was with me all this night. Morning.
8. Thou wast, 0 God; and Thou wast blest. Praise for Creation.
9. Thousands of thousands stand around. Praise. A cento from Songs i. and ii.
In Griffith, Farran & Co.'s Ancient and Modern Library, No. 12, Giles Fletcher's Christ's Victory and Triumph, &c, 1888, p. 208 (edited by W. T. Brooke), a short hymn by Mason is given from Multum in Parvo: or the Jubilee of Jubilees, 1732, beginning "High praises meet and dwell within." It is an indifferent example of Mason's powers as a writer of sacred verse.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


Mason, J., p. 716, ii. Mason's Midnight Cry, stated on p. 717, i. as having been preached in 1694, was delivered in 1691. The 1st ed. of this sermon is:—
“The Midnight Cry. A Sermon Preached On the Parable of the Ten Virgins . . . . By J. M., M.A., Rector of W. in the County of B., London: Nathanael Ranew . . 1691.
This edition has no hymns. To the 4th ed. in 1692, published by the same Nathanael Ranew, there was added:—
The Fourth Edition, with the Addition of two Hymns for the Coming of Christ. By the same Author.
The first of these hymns begins:—
"The evening of the Day
Portends a dismal night,"
and is in 12 stanzas of 8 lines. The second hymn is:—
"Come, come, my dearest, dearest Lord,
Make haste and come away."
This is in 14 stanzas of 4 lines. Of the first and fifth eds. there are copies in the Brit. Museum, and of the first in the Julian Collection of the Church House, London.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)

Wikipedia Biography

John Mason (1646?–1694) was a Calvinistic Anglican priest, poet and hymn-writer.

Texts by John Mason (78)sort descendingAsAuthority LanguagesInstances
A living stream as crystal clearJohn Mason (Author)2
Again the day returns of holy restJohn Mason (Author)English2
Ah Lord! ah Lord! what have I doneJohn Mason (Author)English9
Alas! for I have seen the LordJohn Mason (Author)English4
Almighty God, how hast thou bornJohn Mason (Author)2
And dost thou come, O blessed LordJohn Mason (Author)2
Are thy toils and woes increasingJohn Mason (Author)English3
As now the sun's declining raysRev. J. Mason (Author)English1
As the bright sun's meridian blazeMason (Author)4
Awake, my soul, and with the sunJohn Mason (Author)English1
Away dark thoughts, awake, my joyJohn Mason (Author)English4
Blessed are the feet which bring the newsJohn Mason (Author)2
Blest are the feet which bring the newsJohn Mason (Author)2
Blest are the pure in heart, For they shall see our GodMason (Author)English1
Blest be my God that I was bornJohn Mason (Author)English16
Blest day of God! most calm, most brightJohn Mason (Author)English90
Christ is my Prophet, Priest and KingJ. Mason (Author)English1
Come, come, my dearest LordJohn Mason (Author)2
Come, dearest Lord, and feed Thy sheepJohn Mason (Author)English33
Come, let us praise our Master's handJohn Mason (Author)2
Come then my dearest, dearest, LordJohn Mason (Author)2
Fair are the feet that bring the newsJohn Mason (Author)English6
Forty days of EastertideJohn Mason (Author)English1
Glory to God the Father be, Glory to God the Son (Mason)John Mason (Author)English8
God's furnace doth in Zion standJohn Mason (Author)2
Great God, who dost the world commandJohn Mason (Author)2
Health is a jewel dropt from heavenJohn Mason (Author)1
How beautiful the feet that bringJohn Mason (Author)English2
How beautiful the morning When summer days are longJohn Mason (Author)8
How great a being, Lord, is thineJohn Mason (Author)English1
How shall I sing that majestyJohn Mason, c.1645-94 (Author)English34
How sweetly rest thy saints aboveJohn Mason (Author)2
I read that sins are cloudsJohn Mason (Author)2
I sojourn in a vale of tearsJohn Mason (Author)English17
I that am drawn out of the depthJohn Mason (Author)English2
In thee I live, and move, and amJohn Mason (Author)2
Is not the hand of God in thisJohn Mason (Author)2
I've found the pearl of greatest price! My heart doth sing for joyMason (Author)English123
I've found the precious Christ of GodJohn Mason (Author)1
Lord, for the mercies of the nightRev. John Mason (Author)English23
Lord, I have cast up the accountJohn Mason (Author)2
Lord, in the day Thou art aboutJohn Mason (Author)English3
Lord of my life, length of my daysJohn Mason (Author)1
Lord, thou hast overcomeJohn Mason (Author)2
Lord, what is man, that child of prideJohn Mason (Author)English1
Lord, what is man that lump of sinJohn Mason (Author)2
لؤلؤة نفيسة ليس لها مثيـلJohn Mason (Author)Arabic1
My God a God of pardon isJohn Mason (Author)2
My God, my only help and hopeJohn Mason (Author)English8
My God, my reconciled GodRev. John Mason, -1694 (Author)English4
My God was with me all the night, And gave me sweet reposeJohn Mason (Author)English8
My Jesus is gone up to heavenJohn Mason (Author)2
My Lord, my Love, was crucifiedJohn Mason (Author)English31
My Savior is gone up to heavenJohn Mason (Author)1
My soul doth magnify the Lord, My spirit doth rejoice (Mason)John Mason (Author)English43
Now from the altar of my heartJohn Mason (Author)English165
O God of grace, who hath restoredJohn Mason (Author)2
O hear me, Lord, for I am poorJohn Mason (Author)English2
O praise the Lord, praise him, praise himJohn Mason (Author)English1
O that I had an angel's tongueJ. Mason (Author)English11
O Thou, at whose almighty word, The glorious night from darkness sprungMason (Author)English1
O Thou, whose scales the mountains weighJohn Mason (Author)6
So foolish, so absurd am IJohn Mason (Author)English4
The world can neither give nor takeRev. John Mason, -1694 (Author)English11
There is a stream, there is a stream, there is a stream whose gentle flowJohn Mason (Author)English3
There is a stream, which issues forth from God's eternal ThroneJohn Mason (Author)English5
Thou, Lord, by mortal eyes unseenMason (Author)25
Thou, Lord, who daily feedest thy sheepJohn Mason (Author)2
Thou Lord, who raised'st heaven and earthJohn Mason (Author)2
Thou wast, O God, and Thou wast blestJohn Mason (Author)English10
Thousands of thousands stand aroundJ. Mason (Author)English8
Thy blessing, Lord, doth multiplyJohn Mason (Author)2
What are the heavens, O God of heavenJohn Mason (Author)English4
What have I in this barren landJohn Mason (Author)8
What shall I render to my God For all his gifts to me (Mason)John Mason (Author)English6
Where God doth dwell, sure heaven is thereJohn Mason (Author)2
Who knows but such a one as IJohn Mason (Author)English3
With flowing eyes and bleeding heartsJohn Mason (Author)8

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