Scripture Verse

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Isaiah 9:2

Introduction

Words: Mi­chael M. Dutt, 1843.

Music: Ab­er­deen pos­si­bly by An­drew Tait, in James Chal­mers’ un­ti­tled col­lect­ion, 1749. Me­lo­dy from Ru­di­ments of Mu­sic, by Ro­bert Brem­ner, 1756 (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
Michael M. Dutt
(1824–1873)

A stu­dent of the Hin­doo Col­lege, named Mo­doo­soo­dun Dutt, had for some time past de­ter­mined to re­nounce the re­li­gion of his fa­thers, and to em­brace Chris­ti­an­i­ty.

It is ve­ry sin­gu­lar, that be­fore he had ac­tu­al­ly made up his mind to take this step, he had re­ceived no cler­ic­al ins­truc­tion what­so­ev­er, hav­ing been in the ha­bit of read­ing books and tracts by him­self.

A few weeks ago, he pre­sent­ed him­self be­fore a cler­gy­man in Cal­cut­ta [Kolkata], as a Ca­te­chu­men, and stat­ed his will­ing­ness to em­brace the re­li­gion which rea­son, con­science, ex­per­ience, all con­spired to tell him was the true one. He was shor­tly af­ter­wards in­tro­duced to the arch­dea­con, who was high­ly sa­tis­fied with the proofs he ex­hib­it­ed in him­self of a sound faith and a well ground­ed con­vic­tion.

His re­lations be­ing men of wealth and re­spec­ta­bil­i­ty, he was sub­jected to a great deal of an­noy­ance and trou­ble. He with­stood their op­po­si­tion with a great firm­ness, and con­tinued un­shak­en in his de­term­in­a­tion.

A thou­sand ru­pees, in Gov­ern­ment se­cur­i­ty, were sent to him, with a re­quest that he should im­me­di­ate­ly take his pas­sage to En­gland, and get bap­tized there, that no oblo­quy might be cast up­on his fa­mi­ly by his em­brac­ing Chris­ti­an­i­ty on the spot. He re­fused the gift up­on such con­di­tions, and was bap­tized in the old church of Cal­cut­ta, by the Ven­er­a­ble Arch­dea­con Deal­try.

He had been ac­cus­tomed to write oc­ca­sion­al piec­es of po­et­ry in the Hin­doo Col­lege, and sev­er­al of his pro­du­ctions were print­ed in the Lit­er­a­ry Ga­zette and oth­er per­i­od­i­cals there. On the oc­ca­sion of his bap­tism, he com­posed the fol­low­ing vers­es.

The Friend of In­dia, Feb­ru­ary 6, 1843, quot­ed in Mem­oirs of the Life and Writ­ings of James Mont­gom­e­ry, by John Holl­and & James Ev­er­ett (Lon­don: Long­man, Brown, Green & Long­mans, 1856), pp. 213–14

Lyrics

Long sunk in superstition’s night
By sin and Satan driven,
I saw not, cared not, for the light,
That leads the blind to Heaven.

I sat in darkness—reason’s eye
Was shut, was closed in me:
I hastened to eternity
O’er error’s dreadful sea.

But now at length Thy grace, O Lord,
Bids all around me shine:
I drink Thy sweet, Thy precious word;
I kneel before Thy shrine.

I’ve broke affection’s tenderest ties
For my blest Savior’s sake:
All, all I love beneath the skies
Lord, I for Thee forsake.