November 2012


Words by John Keble (1792-1866)

(Also included in the Broadman Hymnal, 1940 ed., Broadman Press, Nashville – #177; Voice of Praise, 1947, Broadman Press, Nashville – #177; Inspiring Hymns, 1968, Zondervan, Grand Rapids – #19; The Celebration Hymnal, 1997, Word/Integrity, Waco – #625; The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration, 1986, Word, Waco – #412; Favorite Hymns of Praise, 1967, Tabernacle Publishing, Chicago – #422.)

The Hymn

  1. Sun of my soul, Thou Savior dear,
    It is not night if Thou be near;
    O may no earthborn cloud arise
    To hide Thee from Thy servant’s eyes.
  2. When the soft dews of kindly sleep
    My wearied eyelids gently steep,
    Be my last thought, how sweet to rest
    Forever on my Savior’s breast.
  3. Abide with me from morn till eve,
    For without Thee I cannot live;
    Abide with me when night is nigh,
    For without Thee I dare not die.
  4. If some poor wandering child of Thine
    Has spurned today the voice divine,
    Now, Lord, the gracious work begin;
    Let him no more lie down in sin.
  5. Watch by the sick, enrich the poor
    With blessings from Thy boundless store;
    Be every mourner’s sleep tonight,
    Like infants’ slumbers, pure and right.
  6. Come near and bless us when we wake,
    Ere through the world our way we take,
    Till in the ocean of Thy love
    We lose ourselves in Heaven above.

(Hymn words accessed at CyberHymnal) Stanzas in bold are those used in our sample hymnal.

Scriptural Connection

Two or the hymnal editors (as well as the editors at CyberHymnal) selected Psalm 84 as the scriptural background for this hymn. Specifically mentioned is verse 11 which starts with the line “The Lord God is a Sun and Shield . . .” In keeping with the praise aspect and the psalmly connection to our current section of hymns I would be glad to take this connection.

On the other hand, I see a closer relationship between the poem used for lyrics and the declaration in Revelation 22:5 “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” This verse allows for the exchange of the Sun for the Savior as the light that illumines and gives comfort.

What does it mean?

As suggested, this hymn is one that is designed to bring comfort, warmth, and light to the worshiper. The call is to the Savior (a reason to move from the Psalms to the Revelation in our scripture of choice), and the request is for continual abiding.

Theologically, this hymn calls for all people to trust in the Christ indicating that without Him all hope is lost. The majority of the hymnals I consulted choose stanzas 1, 2, 3, and 6 as text inclusions with a variation on verse 6: “Be near to bless us when we wake . . .” Even so, the hymn directs people first to believe in Christ and rest in Him, and also requests that the Savior abide or remain with the worshiper.

This hymn, while not as avidly used in circles where I worship, has not lost its power of comfort of those who rest in the light provided by the Sun, the Savior. May your life today be filled with that same comforting light.

*Hymn numbers for this series’ titles are from the Baptist Hymnal, 1956 edition, Nashville, Convention Press.

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Words by Anna L. Barbauld (1743-1825)

(Also included in the Broadman Hymnal, 1940 ed., Broadman Press, Nashville – #251.)

This hymn, appearing in only two of my available hymnbooks, is edited in two different forms. One containing four six-line stanzas (Baptist Hymnal) and using the melody “DIX” arranged by Conrad Kocher (1780-1872), while the other has three four-line stanzas (Broadman Hymnal) and is sung to “PLEYEL’S HYMN” by I. Pleyel.

The Hymn

  1. Praise to God, immortal praise,
    For the love that crowns our days;
    Bounteous Source of every joy,
    Let Thy praise our tongues employ,

    All to Thee, our God, we owe,
    Source whence all our blessings flow.
  2. All the plenty summer pours;
    Autumn’s rich, o’erflowing stores;
    Flocks that whiten all the plain;
    Yellow sheaves of ripened grain, —
    Lord, for these our souls shall raise
    Grateful vows and solemn praise.
  3. Peace, prosperity, and health,
    Private bliss, and public wealth,
    Knowledge with its gladdening streams,
    True religion’s holier beams,
    Lord, for these our souls shall raise
    Grateful vows and solemn praise.
  4. As Thy prospering hand hath blest,
    May we give Thee all our best
    And by deeds of kindly love
    For Thy mercies grateful prove,

    Singing thus through all our days
    Praise to God, immortal praise.

(Hymn words accessed at Lutheran Hymnal Online) (Italics indicates Broadman Hymnal verses—the second verse in this version reads “For the blessings of the field,/For the stores the gardens yield,/For the joy which harvests bring,/Grateful praises now we sing.”)

Just for fun we will post a shorter-lined verse version from CyberHymnal.

  1. Praise to God, immortal praise,
    For the love that crowns our days;
    Bounteous Source of every joy,
    Let Thy praise our tongues employ.
  2. Flocks that whiten all the plain;
    Yellow sheaves of ripened grain;
    Clouds that drop their fattening dews,
    Suns that temperate warmth diffuse.
  3. All that Spring with bounteous hand
    Scatters o’er the smiling land;
    All that liberal Autumn pours
    From her rich o’erflowing stores.
  4. These to Thee, my God, we owe,
    Source whence all our blessings flow;
    And for these my soul shall raise
    Grateful vows and solemn praise.
  5. Yet, should rising whirlwinds tear
    From its stem the ripening ear;
    Should the fig tree’s blasted shoot
    Drop her green untimely fruit,
  6. Should the vine put forth no more,
    Nor the olive yield her store;
    Though the sickening flocks should fall,
    And the herds desert the stall,
  7. Yet to Thee my soul shall raise
    Grateful vows and solemn praise;
    And, when every blessing’s flown
    Love Thee for Thyself alone.

Scriptural Connection

Psalm 67 provides a good backdrop in which to see this hymn of praise and thanksgiving.

What does it mean?

Assuming that we have no difficulty with understanding praise, I will address the concept of “immortal praise.” By this the writer is referring not to “immortals” giving praise to the only One who is immortal, and though we are praising the immortal God, the modifier “immortal” refers to the praise. This means that we should allow our praise of the Immortal One to be ever-living as well. There is no end to the praise we lift.

We praise and thank Him for his love, joy, and blessings. It is He who has the right to such praise and thanksgiving. While our praise begins on this earth and is initiated by the things and blessings that we can see and feel. Our praise is to be modified by its thanksgiving and be lifted up into infinity (and beyond as Buzz Lightyear would say).

*Hymn numbers for this series’ titles are from the Baptist Hymnal, 1956 edition, Nashville, Convention Press.

Words paraphrase from Psalm 100 by William Kethe; Thomas Ken

(Also included in the Broadman Hymnal, 1940 ed., Broadman Press, Nashville – #3 Baptist Hymnal, 1975 ed. Convention Press, Nashville – #17, 1991 ed. Convention Press, Nashville – #5, 2008 ed. LifeWay,  Nashville – #40; Voice of Praise, Broadman Press, Nashville, 1947 – #123; Favorite Hymns of Praise, Tabernacle Publishing Co., Chicago, 1967 – #12; The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration, Word, Waco, 1986 – #20; The Celebration Hymnal, Word/Integrity, Waco, 1997 – #101.)

Traditionally sung to the tune known as “Old 100” this is perhaps the wording for which the tune was composed. (see Reynolds, William J., Companion to Baptist Hymnal, Broadman Press, 1976, p.32, for commentary on the use of this tune.)

The Hymn

  1. 1.      All people that on earth do dwell,
    Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
    Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell;
    Come ye before Him and rejoice.
  2. 2.      The Lord, ye know, is God indeed;
    Without our aid He did us make;
    We are His flock, He doth us feed,
    And for His sheep He doth us take.
  3. 3.      Oh, enter then His gates with praise;
    Approach with joy His courts unto;
    Praise, laud, and bless His Name always,
    For it is seemly so to do.
  4. 4.      For why? the Lord our God is good;
    His mercy is for ever sure;
    His truth at all times firmly stood,
    And shall from age to age endure.
  5. To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
    The God Whom Heaven and earth adore,
    From men and from the angel host
    Be praise and glory evermore.

[Verses in bold print are found in our example hymnal – which also includes the following doxology:

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.]

(Hymn words accessed at Cyberhymnal)

Scriptural Connection

Some hymn connections are much easier than others. For instance as this one is a paraphrase of Psalm 100, it is safe to assume that this is the best connection for the hymn. And as such here is the King James translation of that Psalm:

1Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

2Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

3Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

5For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

What does it mean?

As simply as can be put, this psalm calls all of creation into praise of the Creator God. The opening lines call out all the people who live on Earth. We must assume that the word “all” includes all, and therefore, every person who lives (or “dwells”) on this Earth should participate in raising their voice to God.

This praise includes service to God. We are asked to serve in fear. Here is another difficulty, because we want to equate fear with fright or cowardice. This is not the type of fear that is spoken of at this point though. Instead it is a reverence, an awe if you will, for One who makes us, but treats us as lovingly as a shepherd would his sheep. (One quick note: if you access the link you will notice that the Cyberhymnal uses the word “folk” in its rendering of the lyrics for this hymn, where the original paraphrase and the context call for the word “flock” so I have corrected the wording here.)

The hymn continues: Praise, praise, praise again. And then poses the question “for why?” and then answers in the next words “the Lord our God is good.” Need we any other reason to send praise after praise after praise to Him? The psalmist and the hymnist and this commentator agree that we do not? So “Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

*Hymn numbers for this series’ titles are from the Baptist Hymnal, 1956 edition, Nashville, Convention Press.

Words by Anonymous

(Also included in the Broadman Hymnal, 1940 ed., Broadman Press, Nashville – #4 Baptist Hymnal, 1975 ed. Convention Press, Nashville – #2, 1991 ed. Convention Press, Nashville – #247, 2008 ed. LifeWay,  Nashville – #336; Inspiring Hymns, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1968 – #21; Voice of Praise, Broadman Press, Nashville, 1947 – #124; Favorite Hymns of Praise, Tabernacle Publishing Co., Chicago, 1967 – #4; The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration, Word, Waco, 1986 – #267; The Celebration Hymnal, Word/Integrity, Waco, 1997 – #8; The Kids Hymnal, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody MA, 2007 – #30.)

This hymn, although the author is unknown, has been a popular song of praise throughout many decades. While some attribute the poem to Charles Wesley (and the timing of its appearance in collections of hymns would fit), the great hymn writer never claimed it as his own.

The Hymn

1.      Come, thou almighty King,
            help us thy name to sing,
            help us to praise!
            Father all glorious,
            o'er all victorious,
            come and reign over us, Ancient of Days!
2.      Come, thou incarnate Word,
            gird on thy mighty sword,
            our prayer attend!
            Come, and thy people bless,
            and give thy word success,
            Spirit of holiness, on us descend!
3.      Come, holy Comforter,
            thy sacred witness bear
            in this glad hour.
            Thou who almighty art,
            now rule in every heart,
            and ne'er from us depart, Spirit of power!
4.      To thee, great One in Three,
            eternal praises be,
            hence, evermore.
            Thy sovereign majesty
            may we in glory see,
            and to eternity love and adore!

(Hymn words accessed at Hymnsite)

Scriptural Connection

According to the collectors of hymns there are a couple of options from the Psalms to connect with this hymn. Some of the modern editors would turn us to Psalm 95 – extolling the greatness of God (specifically verse 3). The editors of in the Baptist tradition which is my own background opt for Psalm 24 – with a focus on verse 10 which draws attention to both the sovereignty and the glory of God. “Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.”

While the hymn does highlight the power and glory of God Almighty, and either of these connections would be appropriate, I believe the hymn goes beyond this. It is an invocation—an invitation for the One who is mightier than all, above all, and before all, into a communion with the body of worshipers.

What does it mean?

This week’s hymn moves beyond the simple praise songs we have been seeing, and literally invites the presence of Almighty God to do more than accept the praises of His people – the Church. It is an invitation for Him to actually direct that praise so that it will be a proper praise.

This hymn again reminds us that while God is One and one God, He is Trinity. When we worship Him we worship all that He is – King, Savior, and Comforter. Some of the difficulty could be found in phrases such as “our prayer attend” which actually is another invitation for God to listen to our prayers. Not just to listen to them by to be present in them. Some versions of this hymn substitute the phrase “Spirit of Holiness on us descend” (stanza 2) with “’stablish Thy righteousness Savior and Friend” (see Lutheran Hymnal online) which is more awkward for modern readers. In either case the worshiper again invites the Spirit of God to join in union with the spirit of the worshiper—and thus increasing the worshiper’s righteousness or holiness.

One of the reasons that I see this hymn as being included so often in the collections of hymns used by churches in a variety of traditions is that it is a hymn which draws the attention of the body gathered to the presence of the King of Kings, and calls those present to invoke—or invite—Him to be not only present with them, but present and influential in their lives and worship. It is timeless in its call to worship.

*Hymn numbers for this series’ titles are from the Baptist Hymnal, 1956 edition, Nashville, Convention Press.