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:

Monday, January 12, 2015

12 Jan 1871 A.D. Mr. (Rev. Dr.) Henry Alford, Dean of Canterbury, Anglican scholar, theologian, exegete, textual critic, hymnodist and poet died

12 Jan 1871 A.D.  Mr. (Rev. Dr.) Henry Alford, Dean of Canterbury, Anglican scholar, theologian, exegete, textual critic, hymnodist and poet died.

Dr. Rusten tells the story.

Rusten, E. Michael and Rusten, Sharon. The One Year Christian History. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003.  Available at:


Mr. Alford was born in 1810.  His father was an Anglican minister. His mother died in childbirth. He was reared amidst scholarliness.  He grew up with artistic, musical, linguistic and scholarly interests.

At age 5, he wrote a 5-page “book” called Travels of St. Paul from His Conversion to His Death.”  By age 10, he was writing Latin odes. By age 10, he wrote Looking Unto Jesus.

He also wrote, at this nubile age, The Believers Support under Trials and Afflictions. The first chapter says, “Looking unto Jesus is not, as some would suppose, looking to him with our bodily eyes [hence, he was not a Lutheran, Tractaholic, or Romanist, bowing and scraping at a table with their magic shows and Christ-baked-wafers], for we cannot see Jesus as the apostles did, and other holy men; but it is here taken in a spiritual sense, and means first, a looking unto him by faith, second, praying to him.”  Cranmer would be pleased, although TFOs must, of necessity, grind their teeth and stop up [again] their ears head fixated on their stiff-necks, but we digress.

We would insert that he was ingesting old Prayer Book Churchmanship (piety and doctrine, quiet and sober), Bible lections, and the old musical tradition (contra: all that is modern in liturgy, CCM-crack-laced music, and all its anti-Bible orientations unfolding before our eyes today).

By age 22, he graduated from Trinity College and was ordained as his father’s assistant. 

By age 24, he was married and a Fellow at Trinity.

At Trinity, he began his work on The Greek New Testament, a multi-volume classic and must-have for the scholarly Minister (generally the Confessional Reformed and Lutheran ministries and an occasional Anglican one).

Alford, Henry. The New Testament for English Readers Containing the Authorized Version, Marginal Corrections of Readings and Renderings, Marginal References and a Critical and Explanatory Commentary.  Chicago: Moody, 1960.

By 1835, he was a vicar of Wymeswold.  He held that for 18 years.

By 1853, he was a Minister at Quebec Chapel, London.

By 1857, he was the Dean of Canterbury where he stay until his death on 12 Jan 1871.

He played and composed hymns and lyrics for the piano and organ.  He composed “Come, Ye Thankful People Come” and “Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand.”

The funeral procession on processed from Canterbury Cathedral to the churchyard of St. Martin’s, a historic Canterbury parish. 

The graveside service ended by singing “Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand.”

We offer two clips with words appended.

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest.

“Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand”

Ten thousand times ten thousand in sparkling raiment bright,
The armies of the ransomed saints throng up the steeps of light;
’Tis finished, all is finished, their fight with death and sin;
Fling open wide the golden gates, and let the victors in.

What rush of alleluias fills all the earth and sky!
What ringing of a thousand harps bespeaks the triumph nigh!
O day, for which creation and all its tribes were made;
O joy, for all its former woes a thousandfold repaid!

O then what raptured greetings on Canaan’s happy shore;
What knitting severed friendships up, where partings are no more!
Then eyes with joy shall sparkle, that brimmed with tears of late;
Orphans no longer fatherless, nor widows desolate.

Bring near Thy great salvation, Thou Lamb for sinners slain;
Fill up the roll of Thine elect, then take Thy power, and reign;
Appear, Desire of nations, Thine exiles long for home;
Show in the heaven Thy promised sign; Thou Prince and Savior, come.”

Shortly after his death, a memorandum from him was found, “When I am gone and a tomb is to be put up, let there be put up, besides any indication of who is lying below, these words and there only, `The Inn of a Traveller on His Way to Jerusalem.’”


Alford, Francis Oka. Journals and Letters of Henry Alford, D.D. London: Rivington, 1874.

Bass, P.H. “Alford, Henry.” NIDCC. 27.

Robinson, Charles Seymour.  Annotations upon Popular Hymns. Cleveland: Barton, 1893. 481-2.

Ryden, E.E. The Story of Christian Hymnody. Rock Island: Augustana, 1959. 383-4.

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