Peters, Mary, née Bowly, daughter of Richard Bowly of Cirencester, was born in 1813, and subsequently married to the Rev. John M. William Peters, sometime Rector of Quennington, Gloucestershire, and died at Clifton, July 29th. 1856. Her prose work, 'The World's History from the Creation to the Accession of Queen Victoria', was published in seven volumes. Several of her hymns were contributed to the Plymouth Brethren, Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, London, D. Walther, 1842. These, with others, 58 in all, were published by Nisbet and Company, London, 1847, as "Hymns Intended to Help the Communion of Saints". Dr. Walker introduced several from these collections into his "Psalms and Hymns, 1855". Many of these have been repeated in Snepp's "Songs of Grace and Glory, 1872" and other Church of England hymn books.
Extracts from Songs of Pilgrimage and Glory by E.E. Cornwall:
Some of our readers will notice how many really good hymns Miss Bowly has given us; and they will further see that her hymns are not so much for personal piety, nor do they often contain the invitations of the Gospel, but are rather hymns for the Church of God, taking up the privileges, pathway and prospects of their belonging to it. Miss Bowly was intelligent in the truth as taught in the Word of God. "Our God is Light, we do not go, (although we go)". In this hymn Miss Bowly probably indicates the place of fellowship she had found among some of the Lord's people.
Cornwall quotes from an interesting article in "Home Words" by the late Miss Francis Ridley Havergal:
"Calmer, riper and maturer are the hymns of Mary Bowly. They are not the hymns of a young Christian, but evidently of one who has found 'grace for grace' and gone from 'strength to strength', every line, generally speaking, contains some distinct reality of Scripture truth or Christian experience. The bright assurance of faith expressed in these hymns with the simple, absolute rest of the soul in the infinite and absolute love of the Father in His Son, Jesus Christ."
Many of the hymns of Miss Bowly were written before she became 30 years of age.
Knapp in his "Who wrote our hymns?" records that Mary Bowly's husband died in 1834 and left her a widow at the early age of 21.
Mary Bowly's hymns in 'Spiritual Songs' are:
6 Jesus — how much Thy Name unfolds
16 Many sons to glory bringing
56 O Lord, how blest our journey
111 By Thee, O God, invited
114 The holiest we enter
153 Whom have we, Lord, but Thee?
156 Praise ye the Lord again, again
206 O Lord, we know it matters nought
275 Our God is light; and though we go
302 O blessed Lord, what hast Thou done
316 We are by Christ redeemed
334 Through the love of God our Saviour
411 Rest, my soul, the work is done
434 We're pilgrims in the wilderness
466 O Lord, of Thee we ne'er would tire
These hymns of Mary Bowly are an invaluable part of 'Spiritual Songs'. The proof of their spiritual worth is their constant use in the gatherings of the saints who use the 'Spiritual Songs' hymn-book.