July 4 in Christian History

Jul 04, 2011 06:37 AM EDT

1765 - English poet and hymnwriter William Cowper observed in a letter: 'How naturally does affliction make us Christians!'

1831 - Baptist clergyman Samuel Francis Smith penned the American patriotic hymn,'America' ('My Country, 'tis of Thee'). Smith was unaware that the tune, ironically, was also that of England's national anthem: 'God Save the Queen'!

1840 - Birth of American sacred composer James McGranahan. His most enduring melodies include CHRIST RETURNETH, MY REDEEMER, NEUMEISTER ('Christ Receiveth Sinful Men') and SHOWERS OF BLESSING.

1870 - Birth of James Moffatt, Scottish New Testament scholar. Moffatt translated the New (1913) and Old (1924) Testaments into the colloquial English of his day. They were first published together in 1935.

1970 - American Presbyterian missionary Francis Schaeffer observed in a letter: 'If standards are raised which are not really scriptural,... it can only lead to sorrow. If we try to have a spirituality higher than the Bible sets forth, it will always turn out to belower.'

© 1987-2011, William D. Blake. Used by permission of the author, from

Almanac of the Christian Church