John Cawood’s “After a Sermon”
“Almighty God, Thy word is cast” was a song written by John Cawood in 1815. “After a Sermon” was its original title, and it was published in five stanzas of four lines in 1819 on the 8th edition of Cotterill’s Selection. It became well-known as a congregational hymn in 1825 after it has appeared in James Montgomery’s Christian Psalmist. Later on, it became wide-spread in all English-countries. There are some versions where they omit one or more stanzas and some they added a doxology. The best version of the hymn with minimal alteration was found in Taring’s Collection in 1882.
John Cawood, M.A. was born on March 18, 1775, at Matlock in Derbyshire. He was the son of a small farmer, and he had very limited education when he was a child. He found himself engaged in the service of Rev. Mr. Cursham in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts when he was eighteen years old. He persevered and strived to improve himself. With the help of the people who supported him, he was able to enroll in 1797 at St. Edmund Hall in Oxford. He graduated his B.A. in 1801 and took Holy Orders right after. He became Curate of Ribsford and Dowles and later on became Incumbent of St. Ann’s Chapel of Ease in Bewdley, Worcestershire. He completed his M.A in 1807. He composed 13 hymns in all; however, these were never printed under his name or to any publication. His proses were anyhow published, and he died on November 1852.