John Byrom

1692-1763. English poet. Educated at Merchant Taylors School, he became a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge and subsequently lived in Manchester. He is now known for his hymn “Christians, awake!” but his real claim to fame lies in his devotion to the ideas of the mystical writer, William Law.* Many of Byrom's poems are versifications of Law. Hence it is not surprising to find his exaltation of divine love, especially in the exemplary character of Christ's death, and-what was so uncharacteristic for the eighteenth century-his awareness of the activity of the Holy Spirit; hence also his frequent spiritual application of natural law and his frank avowal of “enthusiasm,” the spontaneous response, in preference to the rational.