Circa 1645–1694

Cir­ca 1645, Ir­ches­ter, North­amp­ton­shire, Eng­land.

March 1646.

1694, Wa­ter Strat­ford, Buck­ing­ham­shire, Eng­land.

May 22, 1694.

Mason was the son of a dis­sent­ing min­is­ter, and grand­fa­ther of John Mason, au­thor of A Trea­tise on Self-Know­ledge.

He was ed­u­cat­ed at Strix­ton School, North­amp­ton­shire, Eng­land, and Clare Col­lege, Cam­bridge.

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing his mas­ter’s de­gree, he became Cur­ate of Ish­am, and in 1688, Vic­ar of Stan­ton­bury, Buck­ing­ham­shire.

A lit­tle more than five years lat­er he be­came Rec­tor of Wa­ter Strat­ford. Here he com­posed the vol­ume con­tain­ing The Songs of Praise, his par­a­phrase of The Song of Sol­o­mon, and the Po­em on Di­ves and Laz­a­rus, with which Shep­herd’s Pen­i­ten­tial Cries was lat­er bound up. This vol­ume passed through 20 ed­i­tions; be­sides the Songs of Praise, it con­tains six Pen­i­ten­tial Cries by Ma­son.

Mason’s hymns were prob­ab­ly used in pub­lic wor­ship, and, if so, they are among the ear­li­est hymns so used in the Church of Eng­land.

About a month be­fore his death, Ma­son had a vi­sion of Je­sus wear­ing a glor­i­ous crown, and with a look of un­ut­ter­able ma­jes­ty on His face. Of this vi­sion he spoke, and preached a se­rmon called The Mid­night Cry, in which he pro­claimed the nea­rness of Christ’s re­turn.

A re­port spread that this would take place at Wa­ter Strat­ford it­self, and crowds gath­ered there from the sur­round­ing vil­lag­es. Fur­ni­ture and pro­vi­sions were brought in, and ev­ery cor­ner of the house and vil­lage oc­cu­pied.

The ex­cite­ment had scarce­ly died down when Ma­son passed away, still tes­ti­fy­ing that he had seen the Lord, and that it was time for the na­tion to trem­ble, and for Chris­tians to trim their lamps. His last words were, I am full of lov­ing kind­ness of the Lord.

  1. Blest Be My God That I Was Born
  2. Blest Day of God, Most Calm, Most Bright
  3. How Shall I Sing That Ma­jes­ty?
  4. I’ve Found the Pearl
  5. Living Stream, as Crys­tal Clear, A
  6. Lord, for the Merc­ies of the Night
  7. Lord of My Life, Length of My Days
  8. My God, a God of Par­don Is
  9. My God, My Re­con­ciled God
  10. My God Was with Me All This Night
  11. My Lord, My Love, Was Cru­ci­fied
  12. Now from the Al­tar of My Heart
  13. Thou Wast, O God, and Thou Was Blest