March 31 2018

About two hundred years ago a brilliant student of mathematics, Kirke White, was sitting his examination paper at Cambridge University. When he had finished all the problems set he had time to spare and had to remain in the examination hall until the full period of time had expired.

To pass the time he started to compose the first ten lines of a hymn that has become known as " Oft in danger, oft in woe, Onward Christian soldiers go...". At the end of the examination the paper with the words on it were handed in.
Sixteen years later the mathematics paper, with White's words on it, was obtained by Mrs. Fuller-Maitland who was compiling a hymn book.
As the hymn was not finished she showed it to her fourteen year old daughter, Frances, who within a short time added fourteen new lines to complete the hymn.
It is interesting to note that White originally wrote the first verse as;
"Much in sorrow, oft in woe, Onward, Christians, onward go,
Fight the fight, and worn with strife,
Steep with tears the bread of life."
You might think these suitable words for one who has just sat an examination! However it was the young girl who wrote the words;
"Let your drooping hearts be glad;
March in heavenly armour clad;
Fight, nor think the battle long,
Victory soon shall tune your heart."
To be a Christian soldier you do not need to sit an examination or take an entry test but just live to the standard that Christ set us.
To all who are taking examinations this Summer we wish you well and hope that your hearts will not droop too much.
Information gleaned from "Great hymns and their stories" by W.J Limmer Sheppard