The Last Sunday of the Church Year

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living Head.

One of the hymns I remember singing during this time of the year is “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.” It is a suggested hymn for the last Sunday of Pentecost. Samuel Medley, a Baptist minister wrote the word to this hymn. Samuel was born in Chestnut, England on June 23, 1738. He received his early education from his grandfather who tried hard to give him a Christian background. Samuel was not interested in embracing the faith and instead hung out with ‘bad boys who led sinful lives.’

He started an apprenticeship, but after three years joined the British Royal Navy to break his contract. The ship he was on became involved in a fight with the French during the Seven Years War and Samuel received a wound on his leg. The physician declared that if the leg didn’t started improving by morning it would have to be amputated. During the night Samuel remembered some of the lessons his grandfather taught him and prayed in earnest. The next morning the physician found his leg improved enough that amputation was not necessary.

Samuel went to live with his grandfather while he recovered. One day his grandfather read him a sermon by Isaac Watts. Moved by his experiences and the sermon by Watts Samuel was converted. He eventually because a Baptist minister in Liverpool where he focused on Seamen and Servicemen. His services were very popular and the hall where they were held had to be enlarged to hold all the people. During his lifetime he wrote several poems which were put to music, one of these was “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.”

Samuel’s poem is generally sung to the tune Duke Street which was first published anonymously in Henry Boyd’s 1793 publication of Select Collection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes. Later it would be credited to John Hatton. Little is known of him except that he lived on Duke Street in St. Helen, Lancaster, England.                      JoBC