Posted by: rcottrill | August 1, 2010

Today in 1779 – Francis Scott Key Born

TGraphic American Flaghe name Francis Scott Key is well known to most Americans. He is the author of that country’s national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. Key’s father was an army officer who fought with distinction in the Revolutionary War. The son studied law and served three terms as district attorney for the District of Columbia.

But there was another side to the man. Francis Key was a committed Christian. He was a Sunday School teacher, and a writer of devotional verse. In 1823, he became a member of a committee charged with preparing a new hymnal for the Protestant Episcopal Church. In addition to the anthem mentioned above, Key also authored a couple of hymns that are still in use: Lord, with Glowing Heart I’d Praise Thee, and Before the Lord We Bow.

The latter (sung to the tune Darwall), is actually a strongly-worded national hymn, written for the July 4th celebration in 1832.

Before the Lord we bow, the God who reigns above,
And rules the world below, boundless in power and love.
Our thanks we bring in joy and praise,
Our hearts we raise to heav’n’s high King.

The nation Thou hast blessed may well Thy love declare,
From foes and fears at rest, protected by Thy care.
For this fair land, for this bright day,
Our thanks we pay, gifts of Thy hand.

Because it is nonspecific with regard to the details, the hymn could be used by other countries besides the United States. It says in its final stanzas:

Earth, hear thy Maker’s voice, thy great Redeemer own;
Believe, obey, rejoice, and worship Him alone.
Cast down thy pride, thy sin deplore,
And bow before the Crucified.

And when in power He comes, O may our native land,
From all its rending tombs, send forth a glorious band;
A countless throng, ever to sing
To heav’n’s high King salvation’s song.

(2) Eternal Monarch, King Most High (Data Missing)
The need to recognize the rule of God, not only as a nation, but individually–particularly as it relates to the ascended Lord Jesus Christ–is reflected in this hymn of unknown authoriship. Eternal Monarch, King Most High was translated from Latin by John Mason Neale. You can hear the tune paired with it on the Cyber Hymnal.

Eternal Monarch, King most high,
Whose blood hath brought redemption nigh,
By whom the death of Death was wrought,
And conquering grace’s battle fought.

Ascending to the throne of might,
And seated at the Father’s right,
All power in heav’n is Jesu’s own,
That here His manhood had not known.

Be Thou our joy and strong defense,
Who art our future recompense;
So shall the light that springs from Thee
Be ours through all eternity.

O risen Christ, ascended Lord,
All praise to Thee let earth accord,
Who art, while endless ages run,
With Father and with Spirit One.


  1. […] a dedicated Christian, and has given us a couple of fine hymns as well, Before the Lord We Bow (see Today in 1779), and Lord, with Glowing Heart I’d Praise […]


%d bloggers like this: