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John Bowring wrote the words of this hymn. Bowring was a brilliant man who had a special gift for languages. He is reputed to have learned a hundred different languages during his lifetime, and translated poetry into English from a number of languages. Because he was brilliant and good with languages, the British government appointed him to a number of jobs that required him to travel throughout Europe as well as to Syria and even Siam—modern Thailand.

He learned Chinese and served as the British governor of Hong Kong in the mids.


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The darkness of night presents many dangers, so a watchman would need to be especially alert during the hours of darkness. The dark of night is also when gremlins and goblins run through our consciousness and disturb our sleep. Darkness inspires both fear and depression. In this hymn, each verse is composed of two short speeches by a traveler each speech is two lines. Trav'ler, will its beams alone gild the spot tha gave them birth? Trav'ler, ages are its own, see it bursts o'er all the earth.

Watchman, tell us of the night, for the morning seems to dawn. Trav'ler darkness takes its flight, doubt and terror are withdrawn. Watchman, let thy wand'rings cease; hie thee to thy quiet home. Trav'ler, lo, the Prince of Peace, lo, the Son of God is come! They encouraged congregational singing and provided their followers with songs that gave vent to the deepest emotions of participants in the 18th-century evangelical awakening. The vast majority of the Wesleys hymns came from the pen of Charles. The brothers were reared in an Anglican manse and deeply influenced by their capable mother, Susannah, and their rector father, Samuel.

Educated at Oxford, they took Anglican orders and sailed to the American colonies to undertake a mission in Georgia.

Watchman, Tell Us of the Night

In Savannah, they compiled their first hymnal but met with no marked religious success. They returned to England, deeming their missionary efforts a failure. In the third week of May, , both brothers experienced dramatic awakenings to faith-in John Wesley's famous description, their hearts were "strangely warmed. Charles Wesley immediately turned to poetry to express his religious emotions and urge others on to deeper commitment.

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He wrote his first hymn a day or two after his conversion and dictated his last on his deathbed. It is based on a text in the Apocrypha, Wisdom Its point is simple: Jesus is the soul's only satisfaction: Charles Wesley wrote five stanzas for this hymn. The third is now generally omitted: Wilt Thou not regard my call?


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Wilt Thou not accept my prayer? Lo, I sink, I faint, I fall!

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Lo, on Thee I cast my care; Reach me out Thy gracious hand! John Wesley disliked the intimate language of his brother's poem, once declaring his effort "in all the hymns which are addressed to our blessed Lord, to avoid every fondling expression, and to speak as to the most-high God. His objections failed to diminish its appeal.

Just ten years later , American Methodists included it in their hymnal.

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In , it appeared in an American hymnal published by Roman Catholics; in , the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opted to put it in their hymnal. This hymn has been set to various tunes. A native of Wales, Parry was an ironmaster who spent some time in the United States.