Moule, Handley Carr Glyn


b Fordington nr Dorchester, Dorset 1841, d Cambridge 1920. Home-educated in a vicarage, the youngest of 8 sons (one dying in infancy, two going on to serve in China and write and edit hymns there), by the age of 16 he had memorised the Gk text of Eph and Phil as well as many poems by Cowper and others. He remained close in spirit to his brothers, and his love of writing and his concern for ‘foreign missions’ date from this time; he was deeply moved by the 1859 revival. He became an outstanding and prizewinning poet and classical scholar at Trinity Coll Cambridge, tutored initially by J B Lightfoot; his faith was tested by absorption in the classics on one hand, and the flood-tide of Darwinism on the other. He was elected a college Fellow in 1865, and taught at Marlborough Coll 1865–67. His decisive conversion (from a ‘second-hand’ faith to ‘a full and conscious acceptance of our crucified Redeemer in his complete atonement, as peace and life’) came on a ‘glad day’ at Christmas 1866, and he was ordained in the following year. He assisted his father in the parish of Fordington for two periods in the 1860s (when he developed consecutive biblical preaching, and wrote verse about the village) and 70s, with a spell as Dean of Trinity in between, 1873–77. He delighted in both studying and teaching from the Gk NT. In 1879 saw his first (shorter) Commentary on Romans, which outlasted many in its series; in 1880 he became the first Principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge’s new evangelical theological college founded to combat both ritualism and rationalism (following Wycliffe Hall at Oxford in 1877). Remaining there until 1899, he had a crucial role in training over 500 ordinands of whom over 100 served overseas. He preached persuasively at Holy Trinity Ch (including a notable sermon affirming the biblical teaching on final judgement), gained his BD and DD and completed 4 further commentaries on the epistles of Paul as well as other doctrinal and devotional writing and some published verse. The students’ Daily Prayer Meeting which had begun in 1862, the seed from which CICCU (1876) and IVF/UCCF were to grow, had his full support; so did the ground-breaking Moody and Sankey mission of 1882, and the overseas work of CIM and CMS. At the Mildmay Conference and the Islington Clerical Conference he was a regular speaker, and much in demand for quiet days; a further experience of spiritual renewal came in 1884. A year later he memorably addressed a men’s missionary meeting at a crowded Exeter Hall in London, on ‘the claims of the heathen and Mohammedan world’. A sportsman in youth, he kept fit by walking and, where possible, cycling, with his Lat Virgil among the books in his holiday luggage. Milton, Pope and Cowper remained his English favourites and Sophocles among the Greeks; he also felt that Watts, Wesley and Toplady deserved recognition as poets in their own right. Many Scottish and Swiss vacations gave opportunities for reading, sketching, water-colours, and Bible ministry. In 1897 he lectured in Greece, Turkey, Palestine and Egypt; always avoiding Sunday travel.

Having earned his DD in 1895 with a thesis on Bp Ridley’s On the Lord’s Supper, from 1899 Moule became briefly the Norrisian Prof of Divinity, succeeding J Armitage Robinson (qv) and lecturing first on Scripture (2 Cor) and Reformation theology; but in 1901 (having rejected earlier invitations) he was chosen as Bp of Durham following Lightfoot and B F Westcott in an honoured tradition of biblical scholarship. His opening text was 2 Cor 4:5. Like Walsham How (qv) at Wakefield, he offered counsel in mining disputes and in 1908 faced a mining disaster; he also wrote a hymn for miners: ‘O Christ, thine eyes of light and love/ with Christians always go,/ alike on earth’s green fields above/ and in the caves below./ Thou with the miner in the dark/ dost down the shaft descend…’ A supporter of evangelical causes within and beyond the CofE, he became both a royal chaplain and (13 times between 1886 and 1919) a Keswick Convention speaker—the latter after initial qualms, and not always appreciated by his friends or opponents. His letter-writing, spiritual priorities, peaceableness and willingness to listen became legendary, but as essentially a pastor and teacher, his graciousness won the hearts (if not the minds) of the ritualists. While he confessed to ‘a personal dread of the process of controversy’ and administration did not come easily to him, a clergyman of a different persuasion testified that ‘his saintliness carried him through’. He would pray aloud while walking in his garden each morning, and in opening the Gospels he loved to ask ‘What is today’s news from Palestine?’ He wrote more than 60 books and pamphlets, including verse, as well as many articles for journals and newspapers; one ‘outreach’ work was How Can The Individual Soul Approach God? (1905); his 1892 biography of Charles Simeon (1759 – 1836) became a classic, as did the pastoral To my Younger Brethren published that same year. His hymn Come in, O come! the door stands open now was no.1 in Hymns of Consecration and Faith; like his father Henry (Vicar of Fordington for 50 years) he also composed hymn tunes. He died soon after preaching to the King (George V) and Queen at Windsor; J B Harford and F C MacDonald published an affectionately detailed biography in 1922. No.846.

Hymns and songs by Moule, Handley Carr Glyn

Number Hymn Name
846 Lord and Saviour, true and kind