Mason, John, an earnest and pious clergyman of the English Church, was the son of a Dissenting minister; lived in the seventeenth century; was graduated at Cambridge in 1664; and died at the rectory of Water-Stratford, Buckinghamshire, in 1694. His Spiritual Songs were published in 1683. He was the best English hymn writer preceding Watts, and many think they can detect his influence upon Watts and Wesley. Richard Baxter styled him |the glory of the Church of England,| and said that |the frame of his spirit was so heavenly, his deportment so humble and obliging, his discourse of spiritual things so weighty, with such apt words and delightful air, that it charmed all that had any spiritual relish.| This character well befits the author of a hymn so deeply devotional and truly spiritual as the one here given.
Now from the altar of our hearts 46