January 2013


Attributed to “Hayword” in John Dobell’s Selection, 1806

Also included in The Broadman Hymnal 1940 edition, Broadman Press, Nashville – #175.

The Hymn

  1. Welcome, delightful morn,
    Thou day of sacred rest!
    I hail thy kind return;
    Lord, make these moments blest;
    From the low train of mortal toys,
    I soar to reach immortal joys,
    I soar to reach immortal joys.
  2. Now may the King descend,
    And fill His throne with grace;
    Thy scepter, Lord, extend,
    While saints address Thy face:
    Let sinners feel Thy quickening Word,
    And learn to know and fear the Lord,
    And learn to know and fear the Lord.
  3. Descend, celestial Dove,
    With all Thy quickening powers;
    Disclose a Savior’s love,
    And bless the sacred hours:
    Then shall my soul new life obtain,
    Nor Sabbaths be enjoyed in vain,
    Nor Sabbaths be enjoyed in vain.

(Hymn words accessed at CyberHymnal)

Scriptural Connection

This week’s hymn is one that is difficult to approach scripturally unless we take the first lines as our guide. In doing this we discover a Sabbath-day hymn and our mind quickly jump to Exodus 20. Here in the midst of the Ten Commandments (specifically verses 8-11) we find the command to keep the Sabbath Day holy. The reason is that the Sabbath is a day of rest; a day that the Creator ceased from all His creative work and rested. In doing this He made the Sabbath a special day in which mankind is to rest.

Our hymn writer would have us focus on the blessing of rest as given to mankind in the example of the Creator. And so, narrowing our focus even more, we might choose verse 10 as the specific connection for our current hymn.

What does it mean?

The Sabbath, Jesus assures us, was made for man and not man for the Sabbath (see the context in Mark 2:23-28). When we write a hymn to celebrate the Sabbath, it should be one that calls our attention to the meaning of the word (a simple translation would be “rest”). This is what we find in today’s selection. The first stanza focuses on the point of Sabbath celebration—rest.

The remaining stanzas call us to the reason for taking a day of rest in the first place—so that we can enjoy time with God. We learn that (1) we can abandon our earthly playthings as we find joys that reach beyond our physical/mortal realm. (2) We then invite God in His Trinity to be a part of our day. The Bible teaches that when we gather in Christ’s name, He is with us in the form of the Holy Spirit, so why should we invite God? The answer to this question is that we are not “inviting” Him in the truest sense of the word, but actually realizing that we are in His presence and proclaiming “We’re so glad You’re here!”

As with a number of the older hymns, this one has not seen as much use in worship services in the modern church, but it is an excellent reminder of the fact that we are made by God, we are in need of communion with Him, and that we can find delight in the day that He set aside for our sake.

So, on our next Sabbath Day, our day of rest and worship, we can proclaim, “Welcome! Delightful Morn!”

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

Words by Robert Grant (1779 -1838)

Also included in The Broadman Hymnal 1940 edition, Broadman Press, Nashville – #2; Voice of Praise, Broadman Press, Nashville (1947) – #122; The Baptist Hymnal, 1975 edition, Convention Press, Nashville – #30; 1991 edition, Convention Press, Nashville – #16; 2008 edition, LifeWay, Nashville – #24; Inspiring Hymns, Singspiration, Grand Rapids (1951/1968 edition) – #407; Favorite Hymns of Praise, Tabernacle, Chicago (1967/1969 edition) – #13; The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration, Word, Waco (1986) – #10; The Celebration Hymnal, Word, Waco (1997) – #104; New Songs of Inspiration Volume 12, Brentwood, Nashville (1983) – #215.

One note: The Celebration Hymnal includes a fifth verse penned by David Guthrie (included below in italics), all other hymnals hold to Grant’s original four stanzas.

The Hymn

  1. O worship the King, all glorious above,
    O gratefully sing His power and His love;
    Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
    Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.
  2. O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
    Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
    His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
    And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.
  3. The earth with its store of wonders untold,
    Almighty, Thy power hath founded of old;
    Established it fast by a changeless decree,
    And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.
  4. Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
    It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
    It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
    And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.
  5. Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
    In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
    Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
    Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.
  6. O measureless might! Ineffable love!
    While angels delight to worship Thee above,
    The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
    With true adoration shall all sing Thy praise.
  7. All hail to the King! In splendor enthroned;

             Glad praises we bring, Thy wonders make known.

             Returning victorious, great conqueror of sin,

             King Jesus, all glorious, our vict’ry will win.

(Hymn words accessed at CyberHymnal) Stanzas in bold are those used in our sample hymnal. [Bracketed words are from the 1956 Baptist Hymnal]

Scriptural Connection

The scriptural connection for this hymn is from the Psalms – 104 to be exact. It is another worship song. The present version that we have from hymn-writer Grant is a re-working of an earlier treatment of Psalm 104 by William Kethe from 16th Century Genevan Psalter. Here (also from CyberHymnal) is a sample of Kethe’s original language:

  1. My foule praise the Lord, speake good of his Name,
    O Lord our great God how doeft thou appeare,
    So passing in glorie, that great is thy fame,
    Honour and maieftie, in thee fhine moft cleare.
  2. His chamber beames lie, in the clouds full fure,
    Which as his chariot, are made him to beare.
    And there with much fwitneff his courfe doth endure:
    Vpon the wings riding, of winds in the aire.

Notice the ancient spelling of the original wording.

What does it mean?

While we are in the section of the 1956 Baptist Hymnal dedicated to worship and calls to worship, it almost seems redundant to say it over again, but here we are – another call to worship. This one focuses on the “otherness” of God, pointing out how glorious He is. He is mighty, spectacular, beyond our understanding of just how great He is. The stanza traditionally placed last (#4 in all our hymnals, see #5 above) places those who are called into worship in stark contrast to the Mighty Maker.

Sing this hymn with the regal tune attributed to Johann Haydn (1737-1806) and you will be transported into the throne room of heaven and be in the very presence of the One to whom we are called to worship.

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

[Having taken a couple of weeks off for the holidays, we will take up where we left off, with number 19.]

Words by Isaac Watts (1674 -1748)

The Hymn

  1. Now to the Lord a noble song!
    Awake, my soul; awake, my tongue;
    Hosanna to th’eternal Name,
    And all His boundless love proclaim.
  2. See where it shines in Jesus’ face,
    The brightest image of His grace;
    God, in the person of His Son,
    Has all His mightiest works outdone.
  3. The spacious earth and spreading flood
    Proclaim the wise and powerful God;
    And thy rich glories from afar
    Sparkle in every rolling star.
  4. But in His looks a glory stands,
    The noblest labor of thine hands;
    The pleasing luster of His eyes
    Outshines the wonders of the skies.
  5. Grace! ‘tis a sweet, a charming theme;
    My thoughts rejoice at Jesus’ Name:
    Ye angels, dwell upon the sound!
    Ye heav’ns, reflect it to the ground!
  6. O may I live to reach the place [O may I reach the happy place]
    Where he unveils His lovely face!
    Where all His beauties you behold,
    And sing His Name to harps of gold!

(Hymn words accessed at CyberHymnal) Stanzas in bold are those used in our sample hymnal. [Bracketed words are from the 1956 Baptist Hymnal]

Scriptural Connection

An excellent connection to make for this hymn because of the desire to direct praise to God the Son is found in Philippians 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord always, I say again, ‘Rejoice!’”

What does it mean?

With yet another hymn calling worshipers to the act of praise is found here. This time we are called to awake from our sleepy state to offer praise to, specifically, God the Son. We are reminded that Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God’s love (see John 3:16), and the epitome of all that God has planned.

The love of God shines from Christ. The grace of God proceeds from Christ. The wealth of God is found in Christ. Therefore as we lift a noble song to the Lord, we discover that Christ is that noble song that we sing.

May we forever keep singing it.

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