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Phillips Brooks (1835 – 1893)
Phillips Brooks (1835 – 1893) was a noted United States clergyman and author, who briefly served as Bishop of Massachusetts in the Episcopal Church during the early 1890s. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, his father was William Gray Brooks and his mother was Mary Ann Phillips Four of the couple’s six sons (Phillips, Frederic, Arthur and John Cotton) were ordained in the Episcopal Church.
Phillips Brooks prepared for college at the Boston Latin School and graduated from Harvard University in 1855 at the age of 20. After a brief period as a teacher at Boston Latin, he began in 1856 to study for ordination in the Episcopal Church in the Virginia Theological Seminary at Alexandria, Virginia, graduating in 1859. In 1860 he was ordained priest, and in 1862 became rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia, where he remained seven years, gaining an increasing name as preacher and patriot. In addition to his moral stature, he was a man of great physical bearing as well, standing six feet four inches tall.
During the American Civil War he upheld the cause of the North and opposed slavery, and his sermon on the death of Abraham Lincoln was an eloquent expression of the character of both men. In 1869 he became rector of Trinity Church, Boston; today, his statue is located on the left exterior of the church.
He was consecrated Bishop of Massachusetts in 1891. He died unmarried in 1893, after an episcopate of only 15 months. His death was a major event in the history of Boston.
O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep The silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth The everlasting Light; The hopes and fears of all the years Are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary; And gathered all above, While mortals sleep, the angels keep Their watch of wondering love; O morning stars, together Proclaim the holy birth, And praises sing to God the King, And Peace to men on earth.
How silently, how silently, The wondrous gift is given! So God imparts to human hearts The blessings of His heaven. No ear may his His coming; But in this world of sin, Where meek souls will receive him still, The dear Christ enters in.
O holy Child of Bethlehem, Descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin and enter in, Be born to us today. We hear the Christmas angels The great glad tidings tell: O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel.
On Christmas night all Christians sing To hear the news the angels bring; On Christmas night all Christians sing To hear the news the angels bring; News of great joy, news of great mirth, News of our merciful King’s birth.
Then why should men on earth be sad Since our Redeemer made us glad; Then why should we on earth be sad Since our Redeemer made us glad; When from our sin, He set us free All for to gain our liberty.
When sin departs before Your grace Then life and health come in its place; When sin departs before Your grace Then life and health come in its place; Angels and men with joy may sing All for to see the newborn King.
All out of darkness we have light Which made the angels sing this night; All out of darkness we have light Which made the angels sing this night; “Glory to God and peace to men Now and forevermore. Amen.”