Posted by: rcottrill | February 6, 2013

Saviour, Again, to Thy Dear Name

Words: John Ellerton (b. Dec. 16, 1826; d. June 15, 1893)
Music: Ellerton, by Edward John Hopkins (b. June 30, 1818; d. Feb. 4, 1901)

Wordwise Hymns (Edward Hopkins)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: This beautiful hymn was written in 1866 for a Choral Festival, in England. The original had six stanzas, but Ellerton later revised it and included only four–though some hymn books still retain the original six (as does the Cyber Hymnal). The author’s biographer comments, “By its condensation into four stanzas its spirit and power are wonderfully increased.” The hymn ranks as one the finest evening or closing hymns in the English language. One critic says, “It is tenderly spiritual as it is ethically strong.”

For those congregations that do not physically kneel in their services, the last line of stanza one can be replaced with: “And still our hearts to wait Thy word of peace.” (Of course, the word “kneeling” can also be considered poetic imagery, a metaphor for a submissive heart.)

William Monk’s tune Eventide (used with Abide with Me) works well with this hymn. But I encourage you to use Hopkins’ Ellerton–the preferred tune of Ellerton himself. The rising melody in the early lines beautifully suits our reaching up to God for His blessing. Then, as the tune settles in the lower register for the last line, it gives us a sense of the peace which answers the repeated petition of the prayer.

John Ellerton wrote many hymns. He also gave us another that is thought of as an evening hymn, but its emphasis is quite different. The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended moves quickly in the stanzas that follow the first to a kind of missionary theme. Ellerton pictures the church of Christ around the world, praying and praising at different times, as the earth revolves beneath the beaming sun.

When it was first published in a hymnal, John Ellerton headed the present hymn with the words of Psalm 29:11, “The LORD will bless His people with peace.” The song is a prayer for peace. A sense of inner peace and tranquility (Stanza 1), a peace in our walk, as we enter the world again (Stanza 2), peace in our rest at night, safe from danger (Stanza 3), and a life of peace, ending in eternal peace at last (Stanza 4).

“Peace” was a common salutation in the letters of Paul and other New Testament writers–often expressed as a prayerful desire for God’s “grace and peace” to be upon the readers’ lives (e.g. Rom. 1:7; I Cor. 1:3; II Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; Phil. 1:2, etc.). This and other references to the subject indicate its importance. I believe only First John, of all the epistles, makes no use of the word at all.

Ephesians 2:14 declares, “He [Christ] is our peace”–He Himself, “having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20). This has to do with our being reconciled to God, through faith in the sacrifice of our Saviour at Calvary. “Therefore, having been justified [declared righteous] by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).

This is basic. But it has ramifications to other kinds of peace as well. That is, our inner peace, and peace with one another, international peace as well as our eternal peace, all are founded on the cross.

¤ Critical to our achieving the peace of God within is prayer (Phil. 4:6-7), and access to God in prayer is opened to us by the cross (Heb. 10:19-20).

¤ The indwelling Holy Spirit (ours through faith in Christ, Jn. 7:37-39) prompts and empowers our peace with one another (Gal. 5:22; Eph. 4:3).

¤ Peace on earth will be a characteristic of Christ’s millennial reign (Isa. 2:1-4; Mic. 4:1-3; Zech. 9:9-10)

¤ The final peace of heaven is ours through Christ as well (Jn. 14:2-3; Rom. 5:1-2).

1) Saviour, again to Thy dear name we raise
With one accord our parting hymn of praise;
We stand to bless Thee ere our worship cease;
Then, lowly kneeling, wait Thy word of peace.

4) Grant us Thy peace throughout our earthly life;
Our balm in sorrow, and our stay in strife;
Then, when Thy voice shall bid our conflict cease,
Call us, O Lord, to Thine eternal peace.

1) What are some reasons so many born again Christians seem to lack inner peace?

2) What can be done about this? (For some excellent clues, see the words of Edward Bickersteth’s hymn, Peace, Perfect Peace.)

Wordwise Hymns (Edward Hopkins)
The Cyber Hymnal


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