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Horatius Bonar

Horatius Bonar (December 19, 1808 – May 31, 1889) was a Scottish churchman and poet.



The son of James Bonar, Solicitor of Exise for Scotland, he was born and educated in Edinburgh. He comes from a long line of ministers who have served a total of 364 years in the Church of Scotland. One of eleven children, his brothers John James and Andrew Alexander were also ministers of the Free Church of Scotland. He had married Jane Catherine Lundie in 1843 and five of their young children died in succession. Towards the end of their lives, one of their surviving daughters was left a widow with five small children and she returned to live with her parents. Bonar's wife, Jane, died in 1884. He is buried in the Canongate Kirkyard.

In 1853 Bonar earned the Doctor of Divinity degree at the University of Aberdeen.


He entered the Ministry of the Church of Scotland. At first he was put in charge of mission work at St. John's parish in Leith and settled at Kelso. He joined the Free Church at the time of the Disruption of 1843, and in 1867 was moved to Edinburgh to take over the Chalmers Memorial Church (named after his teacher at college, Dr. Thomas Chalmers). In 1883, he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.


He was a voluminous and highly popular author. He also served as the editor for "The Quarterly journal of Prophecy" from 1848 to 1873 and for the "Christian Treasury" from 1859 to 1879. In addition to many books and tracts wrote a number of hymns, many of which, e.g., "I heard the voice of Jesus say" and "Blessing and Honor and Glory and Power," became known all over the English-speaking world. A selection of these was published as Hymns of Faith and Hope (3 series). His last volume of poetry was My Old Letters. Bonar was also author of several biographies of ministers he had known, including "The Life of the Rev. John Milne of Perth" in 1869, - and in 1884 "The Life and Works of the Rev. G. T. Dodds", who had been married to Bonar's daughter and who had died in 1882 while serving as a missionary in France.

His hymns include:

  • Fill thou my life, O Lord, my God
  • I heard the Voice of Jesus say
  • Thy way, not mine, O Lord
  • Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face
  • A few more years shall roll
  • Come Lord and tarry not

Some of his books include:

  • The Everlasting Righteousness. Banner of Truth. 1996. ISBN 978-0851516554. 
  • God's Way of Holiness. Christian Focus Publications. 1999. ISBN 978-1857925036. 
  • How Shall I Go to God. Baker Book House. 1977. ISBN 978-0801007132. 
  • Night of Weeping. Christian Focus Publications. 1999. ISBN 978-1857924411. 
  • God's Way of Peace ISBN 1459096304
  • Follow the Lamb ISBN 0906731631
  • Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes on The Acts & Larger Epistles - commentary on Acts, Romans, and 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians ASIN B002ZJRS9K
  • Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes on Revelation] - commentary on the Book of Revelation ASIN B002ZRQ55U

See also

  • "So Soon in the Morning", a song by Joan Baez and Bill Wood (1959) containing two lines from Bonar's "I heard the voice of Jesus say"


  • Julian, John (June, 1907). A Dictionary of Hymnology. London: John Murray. pp. 161–162. 
  • Bailey, Albert Edward (1950). The Gospel in Hymns. New York: Charles Scribner's sons. pp. 451–455. 

External links

This article incorporates public domain text from : Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London, J. M. Dent & Sons; New York, E. P. Dutton.



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Horatius Bonar (December 19, 1808May 31, 1889) was a Scottish churchman and poet.


  • Thou must be true thyself,
    If thou the truth wouldst teach;
    Thy soul must overflow, if thou
    Another's soul would'st reach!
    It needs the overflow of heart
    To give the lips full speech.

    Think truly, and thy thoughts
    Shall the world's famine feed;
    Speak truly, and each word of thine
    Shall be a fruitful seed;
    Live truly, and thy life shall be
    A great and noble creed.

    • "Be True," from Hymns of Faith and Hope (1867)

External links

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HORATIUS BONAR (1808-1889), Scottish Presbyterian divine, was born in Edinburgh on the 19th of December 1808, and educated at the high school and university of his native city. After a term of mission work at Leith, he was appointed parish minister of Kelso in 1837, and at the Disruption of 1843 became minister of the newly formed Free Church, where he remained till 1866, when he went to the Chalmers memorial church, Edinburgh. He had in 1853 received the D.D. degree from Aberdeen University, and in 1883 he was moderator of the general assembly of his church. He died on the 31st of July 1889. Bonar was a prolific writer of religious literature, and edited several journals, including the Christian Treasury, the Presbyterian Review and the Quarterly Journal of Prophecy; but his best work was done in hymnology, and he published three series of Hymns of Faith and Hope between 1857 and 1866 (new ed., 1886). Nearly every modern hymnal contains perhaps a score of his hymns, including "Go, labour on," "I heard the voice of Jesus say," "Here, 0 my Lord, I see Thee face to face," "When the weary, seeking rest." See Horatius Bonar, D.D., a Memorial (1889).

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