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Montgomery, James, the poet, holds an enviable place among English hymnists. He was the son of a Moravian minister; was born at Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, November 4, 1771; was religiously instructed at home, and while attending a Moravian school at Fulneck, England, made a public profession of religion by uniting with the Moravian Church. As he grew up, however, 427 the pleasures of the world led him astray. The influence of early education preserved him from gross sins, but he was not at peace with God. After many years of doubt and dissatisfaction, he was led to look to the Saviour of his youth, and found rest. At his own request he was readmitted into the Moravian congregation at Fulneck when forty-three years of age. He expressed his feelings at the time in the following lines:

People of the living God,

I have sought the world around,

Paths of sin and sorrow trod,

Peace and comfort nowhere found.

Now to you my spirit turns--

Turns a fugitive unblest;

Brethren, where your altar burns,

O receive me into rest.

Montgomery was an editor by profession, and for publishing what were then called libelous articles was twice fined and imprisoned in the Castle of York--once in 1795 for three months, and once in the following year for six months. While imprisoned he wrote his first book of poems, entitled Prison Amusements. In addition to several poetical works, he published three volumes of hymns: Songs of Zion: Being Imitations of Psalms, 1822; The Christian Psalmist, 1825; Original Hymns for Public, Private, and Social Devotion, 1853. From 1833 till his death he received a royal pension of two hundred pounds a year. He died quietly in his sleep on April 30, 1854, at his home, in Sheffield. Nineteen of Montgomery's hymns appear in this book:

According to thy gracious word 234
Angels from the realms of glory 113
Behold the Christian warrior stand 397
Forever with the Lord 625
Friend after friend departs 587
God is my strong salvation 448
God is our refuge and defense 97
Hail to the Lord's anointed 650
Hark the song of jubilee 646
Hosanna be the children's song 679
In the hour of trial 431
O Spirit of the living God 188
O where shall rest be found 250
Prayer is the soul's sincere desire 497
Servant of God, well done 597
Sow in the morn thy seed 389
The Lord is my Shepherd, no want 104
We bid thee welcome in the name 226
What is the thing of greatest price 243
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