Hugh Latimer was an English Reformer who lived from 1485 to 1555. Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis in 1517 and John Calvin wrote his Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1555.
Latimer was originally a Roman Catholic priest who was educated at Cambridge. Being a staunch Papist, Latimer initially debated the “new” doctrines of Justification by Faith (in particular the teachings of Philipp Melanchthon) until he was confronted by Thomas Bilney, a new convert who sought him out and shared his testimony with the priest. Latimer accepted the Reformed Doctrines that day and never looked back.
Latimer later joined a group of reformers including Bilney and Robert Barnes who met regularly at the White Horse Tavern. Latimer became a faithful expositor of the Holy Scriptures. With evangelistic fervor he taught:
“Catch thou hold of our Saviour, believe in Him, be assured in thy heart that He with His suffering took away thy sins.”
Mary Tutor was on the throne of England from 1553-1558. She was the eldest daughter of Henry VIII and only surviving child of Catherine of Aragon. As the fourth crowned monarch of the Tudor dynasty, she returned England to Roman Catholicism after succeeding her short-lived Protestant half brother, Edward VI. “Bloody Mary” (as she became known), was bringing a reign of terror on all in England who accepted the Protestant faith. In all she had nearly she had almost 300 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the Marian Persecutions.
Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were burned at the stake at Oxford in 1555, with Thomas Cranmer watching. He too would give his life the following year. As Latimer was dying, he encouraged his friend by yelling from the flames:
“Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England as I trust shall never be put out!”
England was never again under the Pope. Now known as the Oxford Martyrs — these men are commemorated in Oxford by the Victorian Martyrs’ Memorial which is located near the actual execution site which is marked by a cross in Broad Street, (then the ditch outside the city’s North Gate). The Latimer room in Clare College, Cambridge is named after him.
Hugh Latimer, a late-comer to the truth, was faithful until death. My questions to you is, “Are you willing to play the man and offer your candle as a light for others?”
Sung by Prince William, Catherine (Kate) Middleton, the Royal Family, and all of the wedding guests (okay, most of them just kind of moved their lips) you might like to know the history and legacy of this once popular hymn:
Encouraged by the Welsh Methodists to update their hymnal, William Williams Pantycelyn (1719-1791, an aspiring hymn writer penned his most famous song “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer” which first appeared in 1745 in a Welsh hymnal, published by Wiliiams in Bristol, England, named “Hallelujah. Williams, the “Sweet Singer of Wales,” produced about 800 hymns. S.W. Duffield claimed that Williams, an avid revivalist Methodist preacher, did for Wales what Wesley and Watts did for England.
“Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” or “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer” originally consisted of five six-line stanzas and was entitled in Welsh “Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch” (in English, Lord, Lead Me Through the Wilderness).
The hymn is usually sung to John Hughes‘ Cwm Rhondda. This song, known as the Welsh rugby hymn, has been translated into seventy-five languages. It is so loved in Wales that it is considered an unofficial national anthem.
In 1771, Peter Williams (no relation to William Williams) translated stanzas 1, 3 and 5 into English and published them in his Hymns on Various Subjects, 1771. A year later, William Williams, or possibly his son, John Williams, translated another English version, using Peter Williams’ first stanza, then translating stanzas 3 and 4, and adding a new stanza as verse 4. He published it a pamphlet with these words: “A favorite hymn sung by Lady Huntingdon’s Young Collegians. Printed by the desire of many Christian friends. Lord, give it Thy blessing!” Most hymnals only use the first three stanzas of this translation.
The hymn can be heard sung in Welsh in John Ford’s Academy-Award-winning film of 1941, How Green Was My Valley and was sung at Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997.
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
[or Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer…]
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.
Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.
Lord, I trust Thy mighty power,
Wondrous are Thy works of old;
Thou deliver’st Thine from thralldom,
Who for naught themselves had sold:
Thou didst conquer, Thou didst conquer,
Sin, and Satan and the grave,
Sin, and Satan and the grave.
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee.
Musing on my habitation,
Musing on my heav’nly home,
Fills my soul with holy longings:
Come, my Jesus, quickly come;
Vanity is all I see;
Lord, I long to be with Thee!
Lord, I long to be with Thee!
This hymn speaks of our weakness and the power of God. It speaks of God’s ability to supply our need. It also speak of sin, death, hell and eternal life. Would to God that people today would take to heart these timeless truths.