George West Frazer, 1840-1896.

This information is obtained from "Songs of Pilgrimage and Glory" by E.E. Cornwall:

G.W. Frazer was born in 1840 in Co. Leitrim, Ireland. In May 24th. 1872 he married Eleanor Louisa Knox. They had no children. She died on May 14th. 1914. G.W. Frazer died on Jan. 24th. 1896 and was buried in Cheltenham Cemetery.

In the 18th. century, a branch of the Lovat-Frazers of Inverness, migrated from the Highlands of Scotland to settle down in Ireland. Among them was William Potter Frazer who, settling in Tuam, became an inspector in the Royal Irish Constabulary. The father of ten children, George, the third son, is the subject of this paper. At the time of George's birth, an earnest young man, after much exercise of soul, withdrew from the Church of England, and associated with others like minded; this was Charles Henry Mackintosh, with whom in later years, George Frazer became so intimately connected. The early and triumphant death of a younger brother awakened in George deep anxiety of soul which he sought in vain to hide.

It was the time of the Irish Revival (1859-1860) and during these memorable days, Dr. Grattan Guinness came to preach in Dublin. George was persuaded by his brother William to hear him at the Rotunda. Unable to get in the building because of the crush, the two brothers climbed up to a window outside to listen. Through that window floated the message of salvation, and as he, himself, puts it:

The Saviour calls, to Him I go
As guilty, lost undone,
Life and forgiveness from Him flow,
God's well-beloved Son.

He was then 20 years of age, and later on it was the recollection of those amazing crowds that led Mr. Frazer to write, "Come, hear the Gospel sound, 'Yet there is room'". The reality of his conversion was new seen in his godly walk and conversation, and the truths that he now enjoyed, he jotted down in verse. A clerk in Close's Bank in Dublin, his busy life did not wholly absorb his thoughts:

In crowded street, and shaded bower,
Some thoughts of my dear Lord,
Snatched from the busy passing hour,
My pen doth here record.

and his evening hours were given to his new Master. His business relationships were most happy, Mr. Farnham Close being his best friend.

Mr. Frazer's withdrawal from the Church of Ireland was a great blow to his relatives so long connected with that body, no fewer than nine of his cousins being clergymen; yet in after years, his own father expressed the wish to be buried by "George's people".

When 32 years of age (1872), Mr Frazer was united in marriage to Miss Eleanor Louisa Knox. Fearing that his affection for her might prove a hindrance to Christ having the first place in his heart, led to much exercise of soul, and to the writing of the hymn, "Have I an object, Lord, below Which would divide the heart from Thee?", a fear that proved groundless: the human love did not dim the lustre of love divine, but on the contrary, it was enhanced by that so infinitely greater.

Mr. Frazer submitted several of his hymns to Mr. Darby with a view to their inclusion in the 1881 edition of the Little Flock Hymn Book which the latter was then editing. In a gracious reply Mr. Darby thanked him, saying, "he was very glad to have them for the new edition, as they were scripturally sound and the rhyme good". In the same letter Mr. Darby alludes to the hymns of Sir Edward Denny, which he had declined as there were alterations he wished to make, which Sir Edward would not allow. In this 1881 edition, 14 of Mr. Frazer's hymns appeared. It pained him, however, to find that it had been thought necessary to alter some of these: and it was this that moved him to publish his hymns and poems as first composed. The year following, "Midnight Praises" was published and in this volume his best compositions will be found. This was followed by a second book entitled "Day Dawn Praises": also our Lord's life in verse "The Dayspring". The preface to his first volume is by his life-long friend, Mr. C.H. Mackintosh, in which C.H.M. says, "the hymns will speak for themselves to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. I have read them with real interest and profit".

"Bright, loving, wise and true". It is in these words that Miss Frazer described her beloved brother George. The writer (E.E. Cornwall) well remembers Mr. Frazer lecturing at the Waverley Rooms, Cheltenham with his freshness of mind and evident enjoyment of that whereof he spoke. He delighted in the company of the saints, and gave himself to their service. The meeting Room was to him a hallowed place.

C.H.M. used to speak of Mr. Frazer as his "son by adoption". In early years they were thrown together in Dublin, and during the last years of their lives were intimately associated at Cheltenham. They departed to be "with Christ" in the same year (1896) and were laid to rest in the same spot, under the shadow of the Cotswolds.

During Mr. Frazer's last illness, following an operation, he said, "I grieve to leave my work for the Master... and all whom I love, but it is infinitely more precious to me to be with Christ than all beside". Doctors and nurses alike bore witness that they had never seen such a joyous departure. His last words were "Oh God". Mr Frazer was only 56 at his death and his wife survived him some 18 years, taking up her residence in Croydon. Just before the Great War came in 1914, she was laid to rest beside her husband in Cheltenham.

Mr. G.W. Frazer's hymns in Spiritual Songs are: (97) "Blest be the God and Father"; (140) "O Lord, our hearts are waiting"; (141) "In deep eternal counsel"; (158) "God and Father, we adore Thee!" (162) "What rich eternal bursts of praise"; (163) "The Lord of Life is risen"; (188) "'Twas on that night of deepest woe"; (244) "That bright and blessed morn is near"; (245) "On that same night, Lord Jesus"; (265) "O God of Grace, our Father'; (364) "Have I an object, Lord, below"; (413) "The Lamb was slain, His precious blood"; (421) "Glory unto Him who died"; (472) "Once we stood in condemnation"; (484) "This do, remember Me"; (485) "Thou art the First, Lord Jesus".

Of all the hymns in this list, none are sung more often than the two communion hymns, bringing to our remembrance "the same night in which He was betrayed". From a poetic standpoint, these hymns may not be considered of great merit, but what is of greater importance is, as C.H.M. observes, they "are marked by a strict adherence to the form of sound words, so deeply important in this day of laxity and indifference as to the supreme authority of Holy Scripture". They are useful hymns too, and marked by earnestness and sincerity; and these are the qualities that characterized the author. Mrs Frazer regretted in her declining years that her husband's hymns were not used so constantly as in former years.

No. 485 in S.Songs is a hymn which deserves to be sung more often. The varied glories of our Lord Jesus are admirably portrayed in verse.

Hymns by George West Frazer