Lynch, Thomas Toke, an English Congregational minister, was born at Dunmow, Essex, July 5, 1818, and was educated at Islington and at Highbury Independent College. He was pastor of a small Church at Highgate in 1847 to 1849, and from 1849 to 1852 of a congregation on Mortimer Street, London, that later moved to Fitzroy Square. He was an invalid for three years (1856-59), but resumed pastoral relations in 1860 with his former parishioners, who completed a new place of worship (Mornington Church) on Hampstead Road, London, in 1862, where he continued to preach until his death, May 9, 1871. His hymns were published in a volume titled The Rivulet, a Contribution to Sacred Song, which appeared in several editions, 1855-68. W. G. Horder gives the following discriminating estimate of Lynch's merits and influence as a hymn writer:
The influence of Lynch's ministry was great, and reached far beyond his own congregation, since it included many students from the theological colleges of London and thoughtful men from other Churches, who were attracted to him by the freshness and spirituality of his preaching. His prose works were numerous. . . . His hymns are marked by intense individuality, gracefulness and felicity of diction, picturesqueness, spiritual freshness, and the sadness of a powerful soul struggling with a weak and emaciated body.
The publication of his Rivulet caused one of the most bitter hymnological controversies known in the annals of modern Congregationalism. Time, however, and a criticism broader and more just have declared emphatically in favor of his hymns as valuable contributions to cultured sacred song.
It is to be regretted that only one of his twenty-five hymns is found in our Hymnal.
Gracious Spirit, dwell with me 195