In a beautiful letter that Frances Ridley Havergal wrote to John Curwen, in which she described a work to teach Tonic Sol-fa music to teenaged girls and young women as a means to reach them with the gospel of Christ (found in Letters by the Late Frances Ridley Havergal, London: James Nisbet & Co, 1885, original book pages 68–69, page 165 of Volume IV of the Havergal edition), she ended with these words: “. . . bringing them within hearing of loving and sympathising words, and of the One name which is sweeter than any music.”
In another statement posthumously quoted in the Prefatory Note to Loyal Responses with music (on page 1177 of Volume V of the Havergal edition), Maria V. G. Havergal quotes this statement by Frances concerning “Sacred Song:” “I am delighted to have an opportunity of adding to the very meagre supply of Sacred Songs, and I hope they will be sufficiently tuneful and sufficiently easy for drawing-room singing. Some of those extant are very pathetic and dismal affairs! Why put off joyous singing till we reach the happier shore? Let us sing words which we feel and love, with clearness of enunciation, and looking up to meet His smile all the while we are singing. So shall we loyally sing for our King, yes for Him, Whose voice is our truest music.”
The purpose of the Havergal Trust is to complete, publish, and disseminate very widely – to make available to many – the poetry, prose, and music of Frances Ridley Havergal. She was the youngest of the six children of Rev. William Henry and Jane Head Havergal; born in Astley Rectory, Worcestershire, England, on December 14, 1836, she lived most of her life in Worcestershire, and she died on June 3, 1879. Her works are wonderfully rich and valuable, truly glorifying her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and helping, encouraging, and enriching others.
As a personal note, the Havergal Trust was so named because this was a trust entrusted to me, to gather, prepare for publication, and make available to many F.R.H.’s works, a true and rare privilege for which I was and am so very unworthy. After that first and more important description of this (the now uncommon use of the word “trust” meant here, a thing entrusted to another), a secondary use of the word is also meant here: the more frequent yet not very often use of the word as a formally established Trust, a work not for profit but for the benefit of others (a 501.C.3 charitable trust), in which assets or treasure are entrusted by one to another for the benefit of a third party or group: there has never been any interest in making a penny of profit in this, and any money ever received from sales or gifts should be applied directly to making more books and more widely distributing them (in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, if the Lord wills). The last transaction – if the Lord enables and wills – would be, after all of this has been published and widely disseminated, to declare all of this public domain and to close the Havergal Trust. There is such treasure in these books. Unless a better way of collaboration with another organization is shown (sought in the past but never found), these books will be published by the Havergal Trust, again, if the Lord wills. We need help in this.
A number of others have generously and so very importantly helped in this work, at much cost of time and effort, a labor of love. Their names are given in the section of Grateful Acknowledgements at the end of each of the five large volumes of the Havergal edition. The Lord Himself reward each of them as no man can reward.
The Complete Works Of Frances Ridley Havergal
The edition of The Complete Works of Frances Ridley Havergal has been very nearly finished, virtually ready for printers to make the books. The edition has five parts:
Volume I Behold Your King: The Complete Poetical Works of Frances Ridley Havergal
Volume II Whose I Am and Whom I Serve: Prose Works of Frances Ridley Havergal
Volume III Loving Messages for the Little Ones: Works for Children by Frances Ridley Havergal
Volume IV Love for Love: Frances Ridley Havergal: Memorials, Letters and Biographical Works
Volume V Songs of Truth and Love: Music by Frances Ridley Havergal and William Henry Havergal
These five volumes total 8,014 pages, filled to the brim with true gold. The editor has commented that “it ought to be against the law to make books this big,” yet there is a very important, needful reason why this was done rather than to have more and smaller volumes.
Also 25 small, individual books have been lifted – copied – directly from the five volumes of her Complete Works, most of them being near 100 pages, and these also are virtually ready for printers to make the books.
This is an urtext edition, cleaving very closely to the original sources. Just as an urtext score will give a double-flat instead of a natural sign if that is found in Beethoven’s manuscript, F.R.H.’s words and details (including her spelling, punctuation, etc.) were copied as found. Many valuable, important works have been gutted with a pretence of improving or clarifying the language, when the language of Bonar, Spurgeon, Chambers, and others should be left untouched in its original clarity, beauty, and power. F.R.H.’s sentences—and very words—have a special power, clarity, beauty, sweetness, and precision which cannot be improved nor even matched—only harmed and distorted—by any changes. Similarly, C. H. Spurgeon, J. C. Ryle, John Owen, John Flavel, Thomas Watson, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, and many other similar authors should be left alone in their precise words they originally wrote: any “improvement” of their precise words improves nothing, harms and distorts what they really said, and very often if not always guts what they meant and invites things they never meant. This is far worse than “improving” paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Monet (which would be derided by anyone serious about art), or “improving” scores by Bach, Beethoven, or Rachmaninoff (any true musician cleaves to the original scores with absolute fidelity to the tiniest notated details), and serious people would not accept such against Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Goethe, nor such secular authors. It is a remarkable distortion for an editor to impose “trust me, I know better” rather than the original author.
Examples of F.R.H.’s poetry, prose, and music are given on this website, and a brief biographical sketch of F.R.H. All the pieces are by F.R.H. unless specified otherwise. All of this is copyright 2012 The Havergal Trust, all rights reserved. Readers are welcome to copy parts of this for personal use or in a local church bulletin, but permission is needed for any use in a formal publication (to applicants we would also be generous, wanting these works to be widely read and known). The purpose of all this work is ministry to the Lord and to His people.
This next quotation (F.R.H. quoting Dr. Marsch) is to me one of the dearest things in the Havergal edition. This was the fifth of “Five Interesting Truths Illustrated” – “From ‘Our Own Correspondent.’ ” (Frances put these in a parish magazine, and she is the “correspondent.”)
Gratitude for Redemption.—A penitent and believing sailor said,
“To save such a sinner as I am! He shall never hear the last of it!”
This expression, so frequently made use of by unforgiving persons,
never was, that I know, applied in a Christian sense before this case.
It was remarkably scriptural, for the hallelujahs of heaven will be
eternal. “I will praise Thy name for ever and ever.”— Rev Dr. Marsch.
He will never hear the end of His love to us. – David Chalkley
Quotations about Frances Ridley Havergal
“Frances Ridley Havergal, was one of the most gifted poets ever to
write for the Christian church. To this day some of her hymns are
sung and loved all over the world yet much of her no-less valuable
writing and poetry has long been scarce and little known. I am
thankful that the Havergal Trust has been founded to remedy this
lack and the Havergal books that they have already so attractively
brought back into circulation deserve to be widely known. They
show unusual natural gifts wedded to a strong evangelical theology,
and like all the foremost Christian writers she speaks to the heart
as well as to the mind.”
Rev. Iain H. Murray, in a letter on October 31, 2003
Rev. Iain H. Murray found this in a biography: In Reminiscences of C. H. Spurgeon (London: Religious Tract Society, 1895, pages 80-81), the author, William Williams, says that Spurgeon’s eyes “sparkled with delight” as he read Havergal’s verse, “From glory unto glory” and said of her;
“There is a centre to every storm where perfect calm reigns. There
is a point within the circle of the most consumeing [sic] flame where
life is possible without any danger to its being consumed. Miss
Havergal seems to me to have got into the very centre of the storms
that are disturbing others, and abides in perfect peace. She seems
to have penetrated to the very heart of God who is a consumeing
fire, and rests absolutely in His love. She could never have written
as she has except for an extraordinary intimacy with God.”
This next review was published in the February, 1879 issue of Spurgeon’s magazine The Sword and the Trowel. C. H. Spurgeon very likely or almost surely wrote this review. (A knowledgeable person said that reviews in this periodical were written by Spurgeon unless otherwise initialed.)
Loyal Responses; or, Daily Melodies for the King’s Minstrels. By
Frances Ridley Havergal. James Nisbet. We have been charmed
with Miss Havergal’s exquisite little books upon the King, his com-
mandments, invitations, and bounties; they are each one rich with
food for the mind and cheer for the heart. Condensed spiritual meat
of the finest quality, we might call them. She now most fitly closes
the series with “Loyal Responses.” These are choice poems, a few
of which, such as— “Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee,”
are well known to the Christian public. Most of the others are new,
and exceedingly good. The little book is a marvellous shillingsworth
of gracious minstrelsy.
almost certainly by C. H. Spurgeon, published in February before F.R.H. died June 3, 1879