Frances Ridley Havergal was very widely known and highly regarded on both sides of the Atlantic. Likely four million of her books (not pamphlets or leaflets, but books) were published between 1870 and 1910, and a number of her books were published in several languages in Europe, South Africa, India, etc. Those knowledgeable of her in 1880 or 1900 would not have guessed that she would become so very obscure. Early in the 21st century few recognize her name at all, and most of those few only know of her a a hymnwriter. “Take my life” (called the Consecration Hymn) is her most widely known piece, and a few of her other hymns are found in many hymnbooks.
A musician to the core, she was blessed with very fine gifts. A very advanced pianist, she accompanied herself at the keyboard; apparently – based on things that she wrote – she did not have the finest sort of voice, but she sang with heart and true communication that deeply moved those who heard her. Music to praise and worship the Lord, both alone, with others in homes, and in churches and public places, was a very dear priority to her. She was the choir leader in at least one church (St. Paul’s Church, Leamington Spa), and she edited the music – more than 1,100 scores – in the golden hymnbook Songs of Grace and Glory (such a treasure, now sadly forgotten and unknown, given completely in Volume V of the Havergal edition).
Frances’ oldest sister, Jane Miriam Crane (who was nineteen when Frances was born, tutored her when she was two and a half, and knew her all her life) wrote this about a Sunday when F.R.H. was too sick to go to church, and alone at home wrote the words and music of “Tell it out!” 1

When the church-goers returned, hymn and harmonies were all
beautifully written out, and then sung, in quick tune, and with the
spirit which only those who heard her can imagine.”

There are a number of accounts of her gifts in music being wonderfully blessed by God to others. Frances wrote this in a letter to James Parlane in 1876: 2

. . . I must tell you a wonderful bit of Ministry of Song, through
“Whom having not seen, ye love.”  I was taken on speculation to
call on a clever young gentleman, just an infidel, knowing the Bible
and disbelieving it, and believing that nobody else really believes,
but that religion is all humbug and mere profession.  I was not
primed at all, only knew that he was “not a religious man.”  In the
first place, I had no end of fun with him, and got on thoroughly
good terms—then was asked to sing.  I prayed the whole time I
was singing, and felt God very near and helping me.  After a
Handel song or two which greatly delighted him, I sang “Tell it
out !” felt the glorious truth that He is King, and couldn’t help
breaking off in the very middle and saying so, right out!
Then I sang, “Whom having not seen, ye love,” and felt as if
could sing out all the love of my heart in it.  Well, this young
infidel, who had seemed extremely surprised and subdued by
“tell it out,” competely broke down, and went away to hide his
tears in a bay window.  And afterwards we sat down together,
and he let me “tell it out” as I pleased, and it was not hard to
speak of Him of whom I had sung.  He seemed altogether struck
and subdued, and listened like a child.  He said, “Well there is
faith then, you have it anyhow—I saw it when you sang, and
could not stand it, and that’s the fact! ”  He was anxious for me
to come again.
When I came away, his sister, who had introduced me, wept
for joy, saying she had persuaded me to come with a vague hope
that he “might find he could tolerate a religious person,” but never
dared to hope such an effect as this, and that she thought I had
been most marvellously guided in drawing the bow at a venture, for
every word and even action had been just right.  I tell you this just
because you are publishing both “Tell it out” and other leaflets for
me.  Will you sometimes pray that God’s especial blessing will go
with them?  I should add that it was almost a miracle in another
way, for I had such a wretched cold that I doubted being able to
sing at all, and yet I believe I never sang clearer and better and
stronger.  How good God is!

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