Posted by: rcottrill | August 14, 2011

Great Hymns That Are Less Familiar

Here are a few hymns that are not found in many current non-denominational hymn books. I printed them on a hand-out for a church music seminar I conducted a few years back. When I mentioned the list in a blog this week, I immediately got a request for it. So here are the hymns.

O PRAISE YE THE LORD!
By Henry W. Baker, 1875
Tune: Laudate Dominium (Parry)
Could use Hanover, or Lyons)

Baker’s hymn of exuberant and abounding praise to God is to my mind almost unmatched by any other on the same theme. What a great hymn to sing on Thanksgiving Sunday!

O praise ye the Lord! praise Him in the height;
Rejoice in His Word, ye angels of light;
Ye heavens, adore Him by whom ye were made,
And worship before Him in brightness arrayed.

O praise ye the Lord! Praise Him upon earth,
In tuneful accord, ye sons of new birth;
Praise Him who hath brought you His grace from above,
Praise Him who hath taught you to sing of His love.

O praise ye the Lord! All things that give sound;
Each jubilant chord re-echo around;
Loud organs, His glory forth tell in deep tone,
And sweet harp, the story of what He hath done.

O praise ye the Lord! Thanksgiving and song
To Him be outpoured all ages along!
For love in creation, for heaven restored,
For grace of salvation, O praise ye the Lord!

O praise ye the Lord and sing a new song,
Amid all His saints His praises prolong;
The praise of their Maker His people shall sing,
And children of Zion rejoice in their King.

With timbrel and harp and joyful acclaim,
With gladness and mirth, sing praise to His name,
For God in His people His pleasure doth seek,
With robes of salvation He clotheth the meek.

In glory exult, ye saints of the Lord;
With songs in the night, high praises accord;
Go forth in His service, be strong in His might,
To conquer all evil and stand for the right.

For this is His Word: His saints shall not fail,
But over the earth their pow’r shall prevail;
All kingdoms and nations shall yield to their sway.
To God give the glory and praise Him for aye.

 

AT EVEN, ERE THE SUN WAS SET
By Henry Twells, 1868
Tune: Angelus

The author refers to the scene described in Mark 1:32-34, making a personal application to those of us who struggle with “various ills.” (Some have noted that a more accurate wording of the first stanza might be “when the sun was set,” marking the end of the Sabbath, vs 21.) But that does not obscure Mr. Twells’s remarkable catalogue of cares, which touches each of us.

At even, ere the sun was set,
The sick, O Lord, around Thee lay;
O, with what divers pains they met!
O, with what joy they went away!

Once more ’tis eventide, and we,
Oppressed with various ills, draw near;
What if Thy form we cannot see?
We know and feel that Thou art near.

O Saviour Christ, our woes dispel;
For some are sick, and some are sad;
And some have never loved Thee well,
And some have lost the love they had.

And some are pressed with worldly care
And some are tried with sinful doubt;
And some such grievous passions tear,
That only Thou canst cast them out.

And some have found the world is vain,
Yet from the world they break not free;
And some have friends who give them pain,
Yet have not sought a friend in Thee.

And none, O Lord, has perfect rest,
For none is wholly free from sin;
And they who fain would serve Thee best
Are conscious most of wrong within.

O Saviour Christ, Thou too art Man;
Thou hast been troubled, tempted, tried;
Thy kind but searching glance can scan
The very wounds that shame would hide.

Thy touch has still its ancient power.
No word from Thee can fruitless fall;
Hear, in this solemn evening hour,
And in Thy mercy heal us all.

 

FORTH IN THY NAME
By Charles Wesley, 1749
Tune: Duke Street
(Or Rockingham)

Wesley has captured the need of the working man or woman to honour Christ through the day. No other hymn I know of expresses the theme so well.

Forth in Thy name, O Lord, I go,
My daily labour to pursue;
Thee, only Thee, resolved to know
In all I think or speak or do.

The task Thy wisdom hath assigned,
O let me cheerfully fulfil;
In all my works Thy presence find,
And prove Thy good and perfect will.

Preserve me from my calling’s snare,
And hide my simple heart above,
Above the thorns of choking care,
The gilded baits of worldly love.

Thee may I set at my right hand,
Whose eyes mine inmost substance see,
And labour on at Thy command,
And offer all my works to Thee.

Give me to bear Thy easy yoke,
And every moment watch and pray,
And still to things eternal look,
And hasten to Thy glorious day.

For Thee delightfully employ
Whate’er Thy bounteous grace hath giv’n;
And run my course with even joy,
And closely walk with Thee to heav’n.

 

LAMP OF OUR FEET
By Bernard Barton, 1826
Tune: Beatitudo

This lovely hymn praises the Word of God with some memorable imagery.

Lamp of our feet whereby we trace
Our path when wont to stray;
Stream from the fount of heav’nly grace,
Brook by the traveler’s way.

Bread of our souls whereon we feed,
True manna from on high;
Our guide and chart wherein we read
Of realms beyond the sky.

Pillar of fire, through watches dark,
Or radiant cloud by day;
When waves would break our tossing bark,
Our anchor and our stay.

Word of the ever living God,
Will of His glorious Son;
Without Thee, how could earth be trod
Or heav’n itself be won?

Yet to unfold thy hidden worth,
Thy mysteries to reveal,
That Spirit which first gave thee forth,
Thy volume must unseal.

Lord, grant us all aright to learn
The wisdom it imparts
And to its heavenly teaching turn
With simple, childlike hearts.

 

THE DAY THOU GAVEST, LORD, IS ENDED
By John Ellerton, 1870
Tune: St. Clement

At first appearance, this hymn may seem to be an evening, or closing hymn. But it is actually presents a missionary theme, with an inspiring vision that carries us around the world.

The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended,
The darkness falls at Thy behest;
To Thee our morning hymns ascended,
Thy praise shall sanctify our rest.

We thank Thee that Thy church, unsleeping,
While earth rolls onward into light,
Through all the world her watch is keeping,
And rests not now by day or night.

As o’er each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor dies the strain of praise away.

The sun that bids us rest is waking
Our brethren ‘neath the western sky,
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high.

So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never,
Like earth’s proud empires, pass away:
Thy kingdom stands, and grows forever,
Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.

 

LORD, WITH GLOWING HEART I’D PRAISE THEE
By Francis Scott Key, 1819
Tune: Hyfrydol
(Or Faben)

Francis Scott Key is the author of America’s Star Spangled Banner. Many may not realize he was a vibrant Christian, but this hymn certainly reveals his heart.

Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise Thee,
For the bliss Thy love bestows,
For the pardoning grace that saves me,
And the peace that from it flows:
Help, O God, my weak endeavour;
This dull soul to rapture raise:
Thou must light the flame, or never
Can my love be warmed to praise.

Praise, my soul, the God that sought thee,
Wretched wanderer, far astray;
Found thee lost, and kindly brought thee
From the paths of death away;
Praise, with love’s devoutest feeling,
Him Who saw thy guilt-born fear,
And the light of hope revealing,
Bade the blood-stained cross appear.

Praise thy Saviour God that drew thee
To that cross, new life to give,
Held a blood sealed pardon to thee,
Bade thee look to Him and live.
Praise the grace whose threats alarmed thee,
Roused thee from thy fatal ease;
Praise the grace whose promise warmed thee,
Praise the grace that whispered peace.

Lord, this bosom’s ardent feeling
Vainly would my lips express.
Low before Thy footstool kneeling,
Deign Thy suppliant’s prayer to bless:
Let Thy grace, my soul’s chief treasure,
Love’s pure flame within me raise;
And, since words can never measure,
Let my life show forth Thy praise.


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