Hymn #533: Children of God

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) wrote these stanzas in 1848 as part of his longer poem “Worship” to articulate his Quaker views on that subject.  The poem included a biblical reference to James 1:27 when it was published in Whittier’s Labor and Other Poems (1850).

John Greenleaf Whittier was born near Haverhill, Massachusetts, on December 17, 1807.  He began writing poetry as a teenager and became friends with William Lloyd Garrison, whose abolitionist views he shared.  Whittier was not a hymnwriter, but at least seventy-five cantos from his poems have been used in various hymnals.

Alfred Scott-Gatty (1847-1918) named this tune WELWYN after a model suburb being built near London, England.  He composed the tune in 1902, and it was published that year in Arundel Hymns.  It found wider acceptance, however, after appearing in The Church Hymnary (1927).

Alfred Scott-Gatty had two passions in life: writing children’s songs and heraldry.  He wrote hundreds of songs, many of which were published by his mother in Aunt Judy’s Magazine.  Scott-Gatty founded the Magpie Madrigal Society in 1886 and published an operetta, Tattercoats, in 1900.