James Montgomery (1771-1854)

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Moravian
Hymns #131, 161, 323, Appendix #40.
James Montgomery was born November 4, 1771 at Irvine, in Ayrshire, Scotland, a region noted as the native place of Robert Burns. His father was an earnest minister among the Moravians (United Brethren). At the tender age of six he was placed under the guardianship of the Moravians at Fulneck, England, where he received his early schooling. Referring to those days he later said: “Whatever we did was done in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, whom we were taught to regard in the light of a friend.”
At the age of ten he began to write poetry. He had little desire for school studies and at age fourteen began work in a retail shop. Speaking of this period in after years he said: “When I was a boy I wrote a great many hymns; indeed, the first fruits of my mind were all consecrated to Him, who never despises the day of small things, even to the poorest of His creatures.”
His parents went as missionaries to the West Indies in 1783 where they died and were buried, one in Barbadoes and the other in Tobago.
Eventually James Montgomery became editor of the Sheffield Register, a prominent weekly paper of that day. He was not fully assured of his salvation until he was 43 years of age. He then wrote to his brother and said: “Tell all the good brethren and sisters whom I knew at Bristol, this great thing which the Lord hath done unto me.”
His hymns in the Little Flock—number 131 gives a lovely setting forth of the Trinity; 161 carries us on to the blessed end of the journey; 323, a precious resurrection hymn (3rd verse by J.N.D.); and the great millennial song, #40 in the Appendix.
On April 30, 1854 it was for him “forever with the Lord” —the wilderness ceased, all clouds departed, as he passed home in his sleep. He now awaits in that bright sphere the fulfillment of his hymn #323:
“The Lord Himself shall come
And shout a quickening word;
Thousands shall answer from the tomb:
‘Forever with the Lord!’ “