Posted by: rcottrill | October 26, 2010

Today in 1751 – Philip Doddridge Died

Philip Doddridge was the youngest of 20 children. (Only he and one sister survived past childhood.) In later years, he became a non-conformist clergyman in England, in addition to being known as an educator and author. As one of the dissenting clergy who did not associate themselves with the Church of England, he served an independent congregation, and tutored at a seminary for dissenting ministers from 1739 until his death.

Doddridge was also a prolific hymn writer, and quite a number of his songs are still found in our hymnals. (For more on Philip Doddridge and his hymns, see Today in 1702.) Among the hymns he gave us are:

Awake, My Soul, Stretch Every Nerve
Grace, ‘Tis a Charming Sound
Great God, We Sing That Mighty Hand
How Gentle God’s Commands
O God of Bethel, By Whose Hand
O Happy Day
See Israel’s Gentle Shepherd Stand

Great God, We Sing That Mighty Hand was originally headed by the words:

Help obtained of God. Acts xxvi:22
For New Year’s-Day.

And it would make a fine New Year’s song indeed! The text referenced is from the testimony of the Apostle Paul:

Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come-that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles. (Acts 26:22-23)

Great God, we sing that mighty hand
By which supported still we stand;
The opening year Your mercy shows,
That mercy crowns it ’til its close.

By day, by night, at home, abroad,
Still are we guarded by our God,
By His incessant bounty fed,
By His unerring counsel led.

With grateful hearts the past we own;
The future, all to us unknown,
We to Thy guardian care commit,
And peaceful leave before Thy feet.

(2) Today in 1909 – Francis Pott Died
Francis Pott was an English clergyman. He wrote several original hymns, but is better known for his translation work, especially of ancient hymns in Latin and Syriac. But one original hymn of Pott’s bears mention here, as it concerns sacred music. It was written for the occasion of the dedication of a new church organ. He says, in Angel Voices Ever Singing:

Angel voices, ever singing, round Thy throne of light,
Angel harps, forever ringing, rest not day or night;
Thousands only live to bless Thee, and confess Thee Lord of might.

Thou who art beyond the farthest mortal eye can scan,
Can it be that Thou regardest songs of sinful man?
Can we feel that Thou art near us and wilt hear us? Yea, we can.

Here, great God, today we offer of Thine own to Thee;
And for Thine acceptance proffer, all unworthily,
Hearts and minds, and hands and voices, in our choicest melody.

In 1859, Francis Pott translated from Latin into English the resurrection hymn The Strife Is O’er. There is some question about the origin of the Latin song in the beginning. Some attribute it to the twelfth century. Others believe it was written by a German Jesuit in the seventeenth century. Likely its first publication, by an anonymous author, was in Colgne, in 1695.

The strife is o’er, the battle done;
The victory of life is won;
The song of triumph has begun: Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The powers of death have done their worst;
But Christ their legions hath dispersed;
Let shouts of holy joy outburst: Alleluia!

The three sad days are quickly sped;
He rises glorious from the dead;
All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!


Responses

  1. […] Wordwise Hymns (Philip Doddridge) The Cyber […]

  2. […] Wordwise Hymns (Francis Pott) The Cyber […]


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