Sears, Edmund Hamilton
b Sandisfield, Mass, USA 1810, d Weston, Mass 1876. Union Coll Schenectady, NY and Harvard Univ Divinity Sch. He was ordained as a Unitarian minister but (not uniquely in that persuasion) claimed to believe in and preach the deity or ‘absolute divinity’ of Christ. Some have dubbed him more of a Swedenborgian; this was certainly the religion of his educationalist son of the same name (1852–1942), who was also an author. EHS senr served as pastor in Wayland (1838) and Lancaster (1840) in Massachusetts, returning to Wayland in 1847 through ill health and then devoting most of his energies to writing. He co-edited the Monthly Religious Magazine where many of his hymns were first seen, and was clearly aware of the social, national and global upheavals of his time. Although only one hymn has endured, he also wrote another strong ‘Bethlehem’ text (also based on Luke 2:14, and more popular in the USA than in Britain), Calm on the listening ear of night. Among several books he wrote Athanasia, or Foregleams of Immortality (1858), The Fourth Gospel, the Heart of Christ (1872) and Sermons and Songs of the Christian Life (1875). No.362.