Posted by: rcottrill | January 23, 2013

Praise Him, Praise Him

Words: Frances Jane (“Fanny”) Crosby (b. Mar. 24, 1820; d. Feb. 12, 1915)
Music: Allen, by Chester G. Allen (b. Feb. 15, 1838; d. Oct. 18, 1878)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: There’s an interesting thing about this song, noted in the Cyber Hymnal. When it was first published in 1869, in a Sunday School song book entitled Bright Jewels, it was quite a different hymn. I had never seen the original, so I looked it up on a Net reprint of the old song book. And there it was, number 82, called in its first publication “Praise! Give Praise.” My friend Dick Adams has printed the original text on the Cyber Hymnal, but it’s more of a curiosity now.

I doubt there’s a single contemporary hymnal that uses the original song. The different endings to the three stanzas actually seem rather cumbersome. Whether it was Fanny herself who recognized this, and made changes for later printings, or an editor who did so, what we have now seems clearer and brighter. The eight-line stanzas are reduced to six, with an added refrain. (In addition, a couple of lines are changed in CH-2 and CH-3.)

This hymn is a joyful call to praise the Lord, giving a number of reasons why we should do so. Various forms of the word “praise” are used 264 times in our English Bibles, with 152 of those found in the book of Psalms, the hymn book of the Bible. Just looking at Psalms for a few examples, we can divide the references into several categories: who we are to praise; why we are to praise; and how we are to praise.

¤ Who? Thirty-five times Psalms tells us we are to “Praise the LORD [Jehovah God]” (e.g. Ps. 135:1; 150:6). The Triune God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–is the subject of our praise as we witness to others, and object of our praise as we address God Himself. He, above all others, is “worthy to be praised” (Ps. 18:3).

¤ Why? For God’s marvelous works (9:1); His salvation (9:14); His power (21:13; 59:17); because it’s a beautiful thing to do (33:1; 147:1); for God’s greatness (48:1; 96:4); because God’s name (reputation) is good (54:6); for His loving kindness (63:3); as a witness to the younger generation (78:4); for God’s faithfulness (89:5); because God is holy (99:3); because His truth endures (117:2); because God answers prayer (118:21); because He is righteous (119:1); and because we are wonderfully made (139:14).

¤ How? With singing (many references to this, e.g. 7:17; 9:2, 11; 18:49; 27:6); with our whole hearts (86:12); in the assembly of God’s people (22:22; 52:9; 66:8; 111:1); among the nations (i.e. a witness among the unsaved (108:3); continually (34:1; 35:28); with understanding (47:7); with joy (63:5); with musical instruments (71:22; 144:9; 150:3-5); as long as we live (104:33); with songs expressing our fresh experience of God (149:1).

When we get to the New Testament, we learn that God is revealed, in His fullness, in the person of the incarnate Christ, so that when we praise our “blessed Redeemer” (CH-1) for His “excellent greatness” (refrain), we are indeed praising God, and we bring all that the Psalms teach us over on this side of the cross.

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14). “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). “God…has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” (Heb. 1:1-3). “Our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit. 213).

CH-1) Praise Him, praise Him–Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer,
Sing, O earth, His wonderful love proclaim.
Hail Him! hail Him! highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honour give to His holy name!
Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children,
In His arms He carries them all day long:

Praise Him! praise Him! tell of His excellent greatness;
Praise Him! praise Him! ever in joyful song.

CH-3) Praise Him, praise Him–Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer,
Heav’nly portals loud with hosannas ring,
Jesus, Saviour, reigneth forever and ever.
Crown Him! crown Him–Prophet, and Priest, and King!
Christ is coming! over the world victorious,
Power and glory unto the Lord belong:

Questions:
1) What is the most important truth this article has taught you, or brought to mind?

2) What is commendable about the praise of God in the present-day church? What is weaker or less worthy of Him in our praise?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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