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Joseph Medlicott Scriven

Joseph Medlicott Scriven
Short Name: Joseph Medlicott Scriven
Full Name: Scriven, Joseph Medlicott, 1819-1886
Birth Year: 1819
Death Year: 1886

Joseph M. Scriven (b. Seapatrick, County Down, Ireland, 1819; d. Bewdley, Rice Lake, ON, Canada, 1886), an Irish immigrant to Canada, wrote this text near Port Hope, Ontario, in 1855. Because his life was filled with grief and trials, Scriven often needed the solace of the Lord as described in his famous hymn.

Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, he enrolled in a military college to prepare for an army career. However, poor health forced him to give up that ambition. Soon after came a second blow—his fiancée died in a drowning accident on the eve of their wedding in 1844. Later that year he moved to Ontario, where he taught school in Woodstock and Brantford. His plans for marriage were dashed again when his new bride-to-be died after a short illness in 1855. Following this calamity Scriven seldom had a regular income, and he was forced to live in the homes of others. He also experienced mistrust from neighbors who did not appreciate his eccentricities or his work with the underprivileged. A member of the Plymouth Brethren, he tried to live according to the Sermon on the Mount as literally as possible, giving and sharing all he had and often doing menial tasks for the poor and physically disabled. Because Scriven suffered from depression, no one knew if his death by drowning in Rice Lake was suicide or an accident.

Bert Polman
Scriven, Joseph. Mr. Sankey, in his My Life and Sacred Songs, 1906, p. 279, says that Scriven was b. in Dublin in 1820, was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and went to Canada when he was 25, and died there at Port Hope, on Lake Ontario, in 1886. His hymn:—
What a Friend we have in Jesus. [Jesus our Friend] was, according to Mr. Sankey, discovered to be his in the following manner: "A neighbour, sitting up with him in his illness, happened upon a manuscript of 'What a Friend we have in Jesus.' Reading it with great delight, and questioning Mr. Scriven about it, he said he had composed it for his mother, to comfort her in a time of special sorrow, not intending any one else should see it." We find the hymn in H. 1... Hastings's Social Hymns, Original and Selected, 1865, No. 242; and his Song of Pilgrimage, 1886, No. 1291, where it is attributed to "Joseph Scriven, cir. 1855." It is found in many modern collections.

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

Wikipedia Biography

Joseph Medlicott Scriven, (10 September 1819 – 10 August 1886) was an Irish poet, best known as the writer of the poem which became the hymn "What a Friend We Have in Jesus".

Texts by Joseph Medlicott Scriven (22)sort descendingAsAuthority LanguagesInstances
何等恩友, 慈仁救主, 負我罪孽擔我憂 (Héděng ēn yǒu, cí rén jiù zhǔ, fù wǒ zuìniè dān wǒ yōu)Joseph M. Scriven (Author)Chinese3
يا ترى أي صديقJoseph Scriven (Author)Arabic1
All absorbing theme of wonderJoseph Scriven (Author)English3
Blizi sa Pßn, Halleluja, Radostne Mu spievajmeJoseph Scriven (Author)2
Em Jesus amigo temosJoseph Scriven (Author)Portuguese2
何等朋友,我主耶穌 (Héděng péngyǒu, wǒ zhǔ yēsū)Joseph Medlicott Scriven (Author)Chinese2
Ho Jesu', amiko miaJoseph M. Scriven (Author)Esperanto2
Hvilken ven vi har i JesusJoseph Scriven (Author)Norwegian2
Hvilken vän vi ha i JesusJoseph Scriven (Author)Swedish7
Isut' Gayyemtay ni JesusJohn Scriven (Author)Tagalog2
Kei ka Hoa, o Iesu la, Nana i ka'i i 'na lu'ulu'uJoseph Scriven (Author)Hawaiian3
Little children, love to utter Little words in parents' earsJoseph Scriven (Author)English3
O, ein treuer Freund ist JesusJoseph Scriven (Author)German1
¡Oh, qué amigo nos es Cristo!Joseph Scriven (Author)Spanish20
Quel ami fidèle et tendreJoseph M. Scriven (Author)French2
See Israel's gentle Shepherd standJoseph Scriven (Author)English1
Tell these wondrous things abroadJoseph Scriven (Author)English3
Welch ein Freund ist unser JesusJoseph Scriven (Author)German11
Welch ein treuer Freund ist JesusJoseph Scriven (Author)German12
Welch ein'n Freund wir hab'n in JesusJoseph Scriven (Author)1
What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bearJoseph Scriven (Author)English1235
What a privilege to carryJoseph M. Scriven (Author)2

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