Born: April 6, 1785, Litchfield, Connecticut.
Died: August 27, 1866, Medford, Massachusetts.
Buried: Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
John was the son of James Pierpont and Elizabeth Collins.
He graduated from Yale College (1804), worked as a tutor in New Haven, Connecticut, and in Charlestown, South Carolina, then became a lawyer in 1812.
Shortly after, he left law and went into business, only to leave it, too, and attend Harvard College to study theology.
In 1819, he became pastor of the Hollis Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts. His zeal against drinking and slavery made him resign in 1840.
In 1845, he became pastor of a Unitarian congregation in Troy, New York. He served another Unitarian church in Medford, Massachusetts (1849–59).
At age 70, he became a chaplain in the American army, and was later appointed a clerk in the Treasury Department in Washington, DC.
No moon hung o’er the sleeping earth,
But, on their thrones of light,
The stars, that sang ere morning’s birth,
Filled up the vault of night
With heav’nly music; earthly ears
Not often catch that hymn;
the music of the spheres,
The song of seraphim.
But there were those in Judah’s land,
Who watched, that night, their fold,
Who heard the song of angel band,
As over them unrolled
The starry glory; and there came
This burst of heav’nly song,
From shining trumpets, lips of flame,
In chorus loud and long.
“To God be glory! For, this day,
Hath shot, from Judah’s stem,
A Branch, that ne’er shall know decay:
The royal diadem
Shall grace the brow of One, whom ye
Shall in a manger find;
For, Him hath God raised up to be
The Savior of mankind.
To God be glory! Peace on earth!
Glory to God again!
For, with this infant Savior’s birth,
There comes good will to men!
Good will to men! O God, we hail
This, of Thy law the sum;
For, as this shall o’er earth prevail,
So shall Thy kingdom come.
Based on John Pierpont,
Airs of Palestine and Other Poems, 1840