Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Thursday, December 18, 2014

18 December 1808 A.D. Horatius Bonar Born—Presbyterian Founder of Free Church of Scotland

18 December 1808 A.D.  Horatius Bonar Born—Presbyterian Founder of Free Church of Scotland

Horatius Bonar (19 December 1808 – 31 May 1889) was a Scottish churchman and poet.



The son of James Bonar, Solicitor of Excise for Scotland, he was born and educated in Edinburgh. He came from a long line of ministers who have served a total of 364 years in the Church of Scotland. One of eleven children, his brothers John James and Andrew Alexander were also ministers of the Free Church of Scotland. He had married Jane Catherine Lundie in 1843 and five of their young children died in succession. Towards the end of their lives, one of their surviving daughters was left a widow with five small children and she returned to live with her parents. Bonar's wife, Jane, died in 1876. He is buried in the Canongate Kirkyard.

In 1853 Bonar earned the Doctor of Divinity degree at the University of Aberdeen.


He entered the Ministry of the Church of Scotland. At first he was put in charge of mission work at St. John's parish in Leith and settled at Kelso. He joined the Free Church at the time of the Disruption of 1843, and in 1867 was moved to Edinburgh to take over the Chalmers Memorial Church (named after his teacher at college, Dr. Thomas Chalmers). In 1883, he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland.


He was a voluminous and highly popular author. He also served as the editor for "The Quarterly journal of Prophecy" from 1848 to 1873 and for the "Christian Treasury" from 1859 to 1879. In addition to many books and tracts wrote a number of hymns, many of which, e.g., "I heard the voice of Jesus say" and "Blessing and Honour and Glory and Power," became known all over the English-speaking world. A selection of these was published as Hymns of Faith and Hope (3 series). His last volume of poetry was My Old Letters. Bonar was also author of several biographies of ministers he had known, including "The Life of the Rev. John Milne of Perth" in 1869, - and in 1884 "The Life and Works of the Rev. G. T. Dodds", who had been married to Bonar's daughter and who had died in 1882 while serving as a missionary in France.

His hymns include:

Fill thou my life, O Lord, my God

I heard the Voice of Jesus say

I Was a Wandering Sheep

Thy way, not mine, O Lord

Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face

A few more years shall roll

Come Lord and tarry not

Some of his books include:

Words to Winners of Souls. Nabu Press. 2011. ISBN 978-1-24772-723-3. 

The Everlasting Righteousness. Banner of Truth. 1996. ISBN 978-0-85151-655-4. 

God's Way of Holiness. Christian Focus Publications. 1999. ISBN 978-1-85792-503-6. 

How Shall I Go to God. Baker Book House. 1977. ISBN 978-0-8010-0713-2. 

Night of Weeping. Christian Focus Publications. 1999. ISBN 978-1-85792-441-1. 

God's Way of Peace ISBN 1-4590-9630-4

Follow the Lamb ISBN 0-906731-63-1

Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes on The Acts & Larger Epistles - commentary on Acts, Romans, and 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians ASIN B002ZJRS9K

Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes on Revelation] - commentary on the Book of Revelation ASIN B002ZRQ55U

See also

"So Soon in the Morning", a song by Joan Baez and Bill Wood (1329) containing two lines from Bonar's "I heard the voice of Jesus say"


"The Life and Works of Horatius Bonar CD-Rom". This contains virtually all the extant writings of this author, along with much biographical material. LUX Publications. Retrieved 2007-07-23. 

Julian, John (June 1907). A Dictionary of Hymnology. London: John Murray. pp. 161–162. 

Bailey, Albert Edward (1950). The Gospel in Hymns. New York: Charles Scribner's sons. pp. 451–455. 

Heath Christian Book Shop Charitable Trust. "Horatius Bonar 1808-1880". Retrieved 2007-02-17. 

External links
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Horatius Bonar

"I heard the voice of Jesus say" - words and score for Bonar's hymn This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. Wikisource

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