College Song of Gurukul Lutheran Theological College


My great grandfather wrote the college song in 1926.

Most of what I know about this good man Rev N. Samuel, is from the writings of his son, my grandfather Rev S. Gnanamanickam, whom we called Dhadi thatha because of his flowing beard. Let me read to you from Chapter IV of the book Dhadi thatha co-authored with Rev. J. Sandegren called ‘N. Samuel of Tranquebar‘.

“When the Gurukul at Madras was being planned, he had agreed, in spite of his 77 years, to take one or two lessons a week there. But death intervened before the Gurukul was opened. He did, however write a college song for the Gurukul, which is at present daily used by the students and has become Samuel’s last contribution as teacher of theology.”

I translated this song in 2003. I have not taken the meter of the original lyric into account, but it should serve to better understand the lyric, which is written in literary Tamil.

In the hands, pure as petals, of the blessed of the Lord
Deeply rooted is their heritage—the gospel of the cross.
Like the great white lotus spreads its scent, so from their hand,
May the gospel’s fragrance sweetly pervade through this land.

Blooms the creeper as it climbs, entwined upon a tree;
To the Tree, hold on, everyday, together, steadfastly.
As you blossom forth for India’s sake from Gurukul,
May the Lord Jesus’ blessings in your labour be rich and full.

From the pond the lotus looks up woken by the brightness
With much joy and ardour, and did Luther in that likeness.
With his eyes fixed on the cross, to mankind appealing,
Taught the truth—the word of God—words of life and healing.

Ours to study, discern the truth and hold to the Bible way
Ours, ever transfixed in deep devotion to Jesus dear, to pray
Ours to let the songs ring out; to the Holy One be love and honor,
And at the feet of the Triune God, day by day, be rooted stronger.

Wheel of Time — Thinking of my babies




Wheel of time, ever turning,

Slow your pace that I may savour

The chapter you have brought me to –

A time so full and gratifying.

Turn O wheel a trifle slower

Before I pass to another view.

Can’t you hear the children’s chatter

And their baby feet that patter?

With your turning

Comes the changing–

Progress, growth, life’s rearranging.

But hugs and kisses, love and laughter,

Now whirl and flow, swirl me along.

Little prayers of little children

Bless these days of joy and song.

Maybe nothing fearful in your turning,

Yet let me just a moment linger–

A moment more before you turn.


(7 October 1995 when Prisy was 6, Tim was 4, and Lydia was not quite 3 )

Ascribe to the Lord


Nearly two years ago, Tim plagiarised King David’s Psalm 96 and composed this song. Prisy and Lydia, as usual, were happy to sing for him. I don’t think they had mastered it because they seem to falter a bit in the second verse. After recording it, they seem to have almost forgotten about it, till this morning when I have used the mother’s privilege to post it here.

Following the piper


This year, everyone in our family gets a smart phone on their birthday. So I get mine this week—officially—but being the one who got it from the store, I have already had more than a little peek at it. Being the decent person that I am, I have not peeled the stickers off from the glass and from the back of the phone, which I’ll do when the phone formally becomes mine soon.

I’d like to use this post as a way of dedicating this new step to God. The attraction of the Internet and social media will be stronger and closer than ever before. Have things gotten more dangerous now? Yes, as much more dangerous as an automobile is to a horse carriage, and just as much faster and expedient.


This move of ours is unavoidable if we do not want to be left behind; already we have some catching up to do. My little niece Joanna is in her element when she picks up her mother’s phone; the Pied Piper of technology is leading the children on, and we’ll have to follow if we do not want to lose sight of them.

As unavoidable as I think this step is, I’d like for you to pray a double-pronged prayer for me— for safety and for effectiveness.

For safety —because this phone can distract me from the things of God, offering many good and lawful things, which may not be profitable for me. May your prayers be to me the arms of Odysseus’ crew as they sailed within hearing range of the song of the Sirens. May I hear the promptings of the Spirit instead as He guides me, and may I be given the strength to pay heed.

For effectiveness —as I use technology to engage with friends. At the other end of every text message, email, and tweet is a human being created in the image of God to whom the grand invitation has been extended. May I then be able to interact in a manner becoming of my own sure calling. May matters to do with the Lord take great prominence in the way I use my phone, the apps I download, and the time I spend reading and listening to the word of God, sermons, and music.

and I shall walk in a wide place,
for I have sought Your precepts.
I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame,
for I find my delight in Your commandments,
which I love.
I will lift up my hands toward Your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on Your statutes.
Psalm 119:45-48

Gentleman types and flea types


The paragon of crims has died. Of Brian Curtis, today’s NZ Herald quotes:

“He’s the idealised type of criminal, the very likeable villain. There’s two types of criminals, the gentleman and the flea, and he’s the gentleman . . . He was a hard man and lived strictly by the criminal code – the code of silence, the code of respectability, of being uncompromising in his interests. He was honest, dignified, staunch; a real gentleman.”

HookeFlea01Isn’t it like that with sinners generally. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All human beings have sinned. The obviously foul “flea” types murder and commit adultery and steal. The rest of us are the “gentleman” types. Either way, our end is the same – death and separation from God.

The wages of sin is deathbut the free gift of God is eternal life because of Christ’s finished work on the cross.

It is easier for the flea types to know that something is wrong. The gentleman types are self-righteous, causing Lord Jesus to say: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

பூர்வ பாதைகள் Publications


Is this the start of many more books?


Vinotha, my sister-in-law (and first cousin once removed) is a gifted translator, who began translating books from English for her own pleasure. She is a voracious reader in Tamil. As far as I can recollect the only books she loved reading in English as a young girl were Asterix comics and all the books of James Hardley Chase, the thriller writer. Otherwise, she did not like reading books in English for pleasure; the magical satisfaction she felt after reading a good book in Tamil did not happen with English books.

She had to start reading books in English again when she developed a love for theology, but only because of a dire dearth for good theological books in Tamil.

Vinotha decided to translate the English books that she found useful into Tamil, in order to enjoy them properly. In God’s providence, before this, for over a decade she had translated 1000s of pages for GB, our pastor and my father, and had honed her translation skills as well as become familiar with typing in Tamil.

I started uploading her work on our family website (, which now houses her translations and GB’s hymns.  Pastor Albert N. Martin, who retired after 46 years of ministry, kindly gave us the permission to publish Vinotha’s translation of the last series of sermons that he delivered as his closing words of counsel to the congregation in Trinity Baptist Church in Montville, N.J.

She has had the privilege of doing some translating work for திருமறைத்தீபம் (Bible Lamp), an excellent magazine in Tamil with sound theological content, edited by Pastor R.Bala.  She also translates for the DesiringGod website, having translated a series of 16 sermons of John Piper on the New Birth.

This latest step of actually having a book in print is exciting. I am excited. Watching her though, I think the only thing she wants is for good material to reach people who, like her, love reading – but in Tamil.

The publication name is பூர்வ பாதைகள் (Poorva Pathaigal), which means “Ancient Paths”.


We pray that many more useful books are translated through this ministry to the glory of God and the upbuilding of the elect.

Singing scripture into memory


When the children were little, I was fed up with the school curriculum, which seemed to allow for no joy of learning. I had myself studied in three top schools in the country and knew what my kids were missing. Because I was working outside the home, I did not have the time or the energy to supplement their learning and neither was I sufficiently enthusiastic about their daily school work. When came exam time, I found that I could compose tunes for History facts, science definitions, maths formulae, and especially Hindi answers and they would happily sing their way to their next class, not aloud in the exam hall of course.

If this could work for school work, it should work for memorising Bible passages. This led to a period of many years when we memorised several passages this way.

Here is a recording of the kids singing Psalm 12 from memory.