Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Young Adults in Global Mission

Hello all!

I know I haven't posted on this page for nearly three years, and for that, I truly do apologize. The last three years of my life have been a whirlwind to say the least. Many things have changed during this time, including my studies. I am no longer in school, I am working my way back there, however. Getting a degree is very important to me, especially because the opportunity to have an education is something that isn't awarded to everyone, and I cannot waste the opportunities I have given.

The second change is one that I am very excited about. I am currently serving a 1 year term as a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church program, Young Adults in Global Mission. Y.A.G.M. is a program made up of 85 men and women between the ages of 21-29 serving in 11 different countries world wide. I am currently living in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I am one of eight volunteers in South Africa, and we are all doing well and enjoying the challenges that this program is creating.

During my time in South Africa, I have been writing a different blog to keep track of my adventures and to share some of the lessons I am learning while I am here. I would like to point you towards that blog, still on blogger, but under a different domain. The other blog can be found at evanssa.blogspot.com 

I hope you are all well, and thank you so much for all of the views on my hymns. Who knows, maybe when life becomes a little more settled, I will find it in my heart to continue writing about the history of hymns, hopefully from a more global perspective.

with many blessings,


Monday, May 19, 2014

coming back soon!

Hello everyone! I just wanted to post a note letting everyone know that I will be back soon with more posts on hymns. I apologize for the hiatus (it has been almost 6 months since my last post), but life gets in the way sometimes. I will be back soon, but for now, let me know if there are any hymns you guys are interested in learning more about! Best regards,


p.s. college life is pretty crazy!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Good Christian Men, Rejoice

Here is a Hymn for the beginning of the Christmas Carol season. I have missed it the last few years because of a busy schedule, but I will not miss it this year!
Title: Good Christian Men, Rejoice
Tune: Indulce Jubilo
Author/Translator: John Mason Neale (See “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”)
Composer: Unknown

                This medieval tune has been sung for many years, and dates all the way back to the 14th century. Though the text was not published until 1533 in Joseph Klug’s Geistliche Lieder, it was mentioned earlier by a famous 14th century writer who claims to have seen Angels singing the hymn while dancing around the mystic Heinrich Suso (D. 1366) (hymnary.org, Notes, par. 1). This hymn was written in the middle of the medieval tradition of teaching bible stories to the uneducated peasants by using music. Though we sing this text in English today, the original manuscript was written in a combination of Latin and German. Though not much is known about this hymn, the translator, however, is very well known.
                John Mason Neale was known as one of the most prominent translators of hymns from Latin, Greek, or other languages to English. One of his most famous translations is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” which was written in the eighth century, but translated by Neale in 1851 (http://etymologyofhymns.blogspot.com/2012/11/o-come-o-come-emmanuel.html, par.1). For more information on J.M. Neale, see “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

The Text:
(1)    Good Christian men rejoice
                With heart and soul and voice!
                Give ye heed to what we say
                News! News!
                Jesus Christ is born today!
                Ox and ass before Him bow
                And He is in the manger now
                Christ is born today!
                Christ is born today!

(2)    Good Christian men, rejoice
                With heart and soul and voice
                Now ye hear of endless bliss
                Joy! Joy!
                Jesus Christ was born for this
                He hath ope'd the heav'nly door
                And man is blessed evermore
                Christ was born for this
                Christ was born for this

(3)    Good Christian men, rejoice
                With heart and soul and voice
                Now ye need not fear the grave:
                Peace! Peace!
                Jesus Christ was born to save
                Calls you one and calls you all
                To gain His everlasting hall
                Christ was born to save
                Christ was born to save

My take on the Text:
                This text is fairly clear and easy to interpret. The text talks of the gratefulness that all men should have for Christ’s arrival on Earth. The three verses celebrate the three different stages of Christ’s birth, the first of which is the news of his arrival, the second, the fulfillment of prophecy and proving that Christ has come to save us, and the third, we have nothing to fear now that our savior has come. The Christmas season is always a beautiful time, full of life, love, and family, but we cannot forget that miracle of Christ’s birth. By giving us a young child, we were all humbled simultaneously. By the king of the heavens being brought down in the form of an innocent baby, who held no standing, who had no form of earthly power, who was born outside of town in a dirty manger, God has shown us that the last shall be first in the kingdom of heaven. Getting back to the happier message of the text, we should all be thankful that God has sent us his son. Christmas is a reminder that even though Christ was born 2,000 years ago, we can still spread the news of great joy and of peace that has come to us all. Christ is born in us each and every day, and we can live out our lives spreading the news that we have been saved by a child, and that we have been given the greatest gift of all, God’s everlasting love and the promise of life eternal, fulfilled by the birth of Christ!

The hymn:

if you cannot read music, just start the youtube video and follow along!


Julian, John. "Good Christian Men, Rejoice." Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 4th Nov. 2013. <http://www.hymnary.org/text/good_christian_men_rejoice>.

Unknown. "Joseph Klug." - Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. <http://www.hymnary.org/person/Klug_J>.

Julian, John. "J. M. Neale." - Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. <http://www.hymnary.org/person/Neale_JM>.

Collins, Evan. "Etymology of Hymns." : O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. N.p., 24 Nov. 2012. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. <http://etymologyofhymns.blogspot.com/2012/11/o-come-o-come-emmanuel.html>.

"Good Christian Men Rejoice." GOOD CHRISTIAN MEN REJOICE Lyrics ***. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. <http://www.carols.org.uk/good_christian_men_rejoice.htm>.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun

Here is another hymn for the morning time!

Title: Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun

Tune: Morning Hymn


Author: Thomas Ken (July 1637- 19th March, 1711)

Composer: Francois H. Barthelemon (27th July, 1741-23rd July 1808)

          This hymn was originally written at the same time as two others. The author, Thomas Ken, wrote this hymn specifically as a morning prayer, as well as another for an evening prayer, and one more for a midnight prayer, which was used only during special occasions. Written sometime prior to 1674, Ken gave this text to his students at Winchester College, which is one of the oldest public preparatory schools in England. It is speculated that Ken had written the text on manuscript papers and handed them out to the students, because he made reference to the works in his publication A Manual of Prayers for the Use of the Scholars of Winchester College (London, 1674). In a short message to his students in A Manuel, Ken said “Be sure to sing the Morning and Evening Hymn in your chamber devoutly, remembering that the Psalmist, upon happy experience, assures you that it is a good thing to tell of the loving kindness of the Lord early in the morning and of his truth in the night season” (Westermeyer, 2010, p. 393). Though Ken makes reference to the hymns in his publication, he did not publish “Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun” in the book. Ken did not actually publish the works until his 1695 version of A Manuel was published. Ken would sing these hymns accompanied by a viol or a spinet, but it is unknown what tunes he used (http://www.hymnary.org/person/Ken_Thomas, par. 2).

          Though Ken did not publish his works for years, it would eventually become a necessity, to avoid confusion over other hymns that were similar to his. In 1694, all three of his hymns were published in a pamphlet, but the copies were found to be “imperfect and surreptitious copies of these hymns printed without his [Ken's] knowledge” (Westermeyer, p. 394). Because the copies of the hymns were so wrong, Ken felt it was necessary to publish the works in his own defense. Ken published these hymns in his 1695 version of A Manuel, and again in his 1709 version of A Manuel, with a total of fourteen stanzas in each. The Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) used only five of the stanzas, using stanzas 1, 9, 12, 13, and 14, and did it using only small alterations to singular words, instead of entire phrases or passages. The Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006) follows the same structure as the Lutheran Book of Worship (Westermeyer, p. 394).

          Thomas Ken was a very successful man, having been schooled well, and having faced death at such a young age. Born in Berkhampstead, England, Ken lost both his mother and father at the age of nine. After the death of his parents, he was forced to move in and be raised by his older sister, Ann, and by Ann's husband, Izaak Walton. Ken was educated at Winchester College, Hart Hall, and New College, Oxford, but throughout the heavy Presbyterian presence throughout Oxford, Ken maintained his strong connections to the Church of England. Ken was ordained in 1662, and quickly became a parish priest and chaplain. In 1669, Ken became the prebendary of Winchester Cathedral and College chaplain to the bishop, a position he would hold for ten years. It was during this ten year stay at Winchester that Ken wrote this morning hymn. Finally, Ken left Winchester so that he may serve as a chaplain to Princess Mary at The Hague in 1679, and in 1685, he was named bishop of Bath and Wells (Westermeyer, p. 393). Ken spent only a short time away from Winchester. He returned from his work with Princess Mary at The Hague after Ken's remonstrance against a case of immorality in the church (http://www.hymnary.org/person/Ken_Thomas, Par. 2).

          Ken was a well-respected man of integrity who was known for his strong stances, but was also known for his “conciliatory spirit....gentleness, modesty, and love,” (Westermeyer, p. 395). He was also known as one of the first Anglican writers of hymns as opposed to metrical psalms, though he is only known best for these three hymns. Ken is known for having been made Bishop of Bath and Wells by King Charles II. King Charles still favored Ken, even though Ken had refused the kings mistress, Nell Gwynne, the use of his house while she was visiting. King James II called Ken the most eloquent protestant preacher of his time, and Charles was noted of saying “I must go and hear Ken tell me my faults,” (Westermeyer, p. 394).

          The tune “Morning Hymn” comes from a Swedenborgian from Philadelphia by the name of Jacob Duche (1737-1798). Duche was the chaplain of the Female Orphan Asylum in London, a place where a young woman by the name of Mary Young Barthelemon had close associations with. While Duche was putting together a collection of hymns and psalms to be used at the asylum, he requested a hymn tune from her husband, Francois H. Barthelemon (27th July, 1741- 23rd July, 1808), to accompany the text to Ken's text (Westermeyer, p. 395). The tune first appeared in a supplement to William Gawler's Hymns and Psalms Used at the Asylum for Female Orphans, which was published in London around 1785. The tune, when first heard, was thought to be a children's tune, though it is difficult to tell what exactly is a children's tune, and what is not. Paul Westermeyer is quoted as saying “Whether such distinctions can be made very successfully is a question, since children love to sing fine hymn tunes as well as adults, and adults delight in singing what children also enjoy” (Westermeyer, p. 395).

          Barthelemon was born at Bordeaux, France, as the oldest child of sixteen. His Father was a French army officer, and his mother a well-to-do Irish woman. Barthelemon was a well-educated man, having a knowledge of several modern languages, studied music, fencing and Hebrew, gave up his career as an Irish Regiment officer to become a violinist and conductor. He played in the orchestra of the Paris Comedie-Italienne, as well as served as the director of the Opera Orchestra in London (Westermeyer, p. 395). Barthelemon's wife, Mary Young, was a vocalist who was related to the composer Thomas Arne, and the bassoonist, Johann Lampe, who is known to have composed music for several of Charles Wesley's hymns. Barthelemon and his wife became members of the Swedenborg Church, possibly under the influences of Jacob Duche, who became a close friend of the two. Mary Young and Francois H. Barthelemon gave many concerts across Europe, including several at Versailles for Marie Antoinette, and Franz Joseph Haydn was also one of his close friends.

The Text:

Awake, my soul, and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise,
To pay thy morning sacrifice.

Thy precious time misspent, redeem,
Each present day thy last esteem,
Improve thy talent with due care;
For the great day thyself prepare.

By influence of the Light divine
Let thy own light to others shine.
Reflect all Heaven’s propitious ways
In ardent love, and cheerful praise.

In conversation be sincere;
Keep conscience as the noontide clear;
Think how all seeing God thy ways
And all thy secret thoughts surveys.

Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,
And with the angels bear thy part,
Who all night long unwearied sing
High praise to the eternal King.

All praise to Thee, who safe has kept
And hast refreshed me while I slept
Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake
I may of endless light partake.

Heav’n is, dear Lord, where’er Thou art,
O never then from me depart;
For to my soul ’tis hell to be
But for one moment void of Thee.

Lord, I my vows to Thee renew;
Disperse my sins as morning dew.
Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with Thyself my spirit fill.

Direct, control, suggest, this day,
All I design, or do, or say,
That all my powers, with all their might,
In Thy sole glory may unite.

I would not wake nor rise again
And Heaven itself I would disdain,
Wert Thou not there to be enjoyed,
And I in hymns to be employed.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

My Take on the Hymn:

          This hymn is very simple, asking for God to help us be better each and every day. The text is perfect for a morning prayer, because it not only asks God to help us “redeem time misspent,” but it serves as a reminder for us that we need to try harder ourselves. God will always help us, and with Him, anything is possible. First and foremost, we must put effort in ourselves. God will provide us with the answers and the help that we need, but he cannot do it if we don't act as his hands and feet. I have struggled to find a good prayer for the morning time, but this text seems to be good for helping remind me to be a better person each and every day. Each and every day, we should set a goal. We don't need to be able to go from sitting on the couch, to running six miles in one day, but, we should strive instead to be even a little better today than we were yesterday. God will carry us through our troubles, and we, in turn, can be just a little better for Him each and every day!

The Hymn:

If you cannot read music, just start the Youtube video, and follow along!


"Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun." Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun. Cyber Hymnal, n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2013.

Julian, John. "Thomas Ken." - Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2013.

Psalter Hymnal Handbook. "Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun." Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2013.

Westermeyer, Paul. "Morning/Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun." Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Vol. 1. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2010. 393-96. Print.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

O Worship the King

Here is another wonderful hymn! One of my personal favorites.

Title: O Worship the King

Tune: Lyon


Author: Robert Grant (1779-1838)

Composer: Joseph Martin Kraus (20th June, 1756-15th December, 1792)

The text for “O Worship the King” was inspired by a paraphrasing of psalm 104, written by William Kethe (died circa 1608), which was originally published in the Anglo-Genevan Psalter (1561). The text that we know today was published in Edward Bickersteth's (1825-1906) Christian Psalmody (1833), which had many unauthorized alterations included in the text. The original text (the one Grant wrote) appeared unaltered for the first time in Henry Elliott's Psalms and Hymns (1835), where it appeared with six different stanzas. Instead of being written in a form of versification, this hymn is written as more of a meditation on the themes of psalm 104. The first three stanzas focus on the creation aspect of God and the psalm, where as the last two stanzas (stanzas four and five) focus on God's compassion for the creatures on earth, and confirm that in the end, we will all with God and the heavenly hosts in the end.

Robert Grant was a well distinguished member of the British Government, as well as a known hymn writer. Grant was born as the second son to Charles Grant, who was a member of parliament as well as a director for the East India Company. R Grant studied at Cambridge and graduated in 1806. Only a year later, he was admitted to the bar, which would lead him to become a member of Parliament for Inverness in 1826. In 1831, R Grant was known as a “Privy Councilor,” and finally in 1834, he became Govenor of Bombay, India (http://www.hymnary.org/person/Grant_Robert , John Julian, par. 1). Grant was eventually Knighted in the same year he became Governor of Bombay, in 1834. Most of Grant's works can be found in The Christian Observer (1806-1815), in Henry Elliott's Psalms and Hymns (1835), and in a collection published posthumously by his brother, Sacred Poems (1839).

The origins of the tune “Lyons” took some deciphering over several years. Though the easy part was getting the name. “Lyons” is named after a small town in France. The tune was originally attributed to Franz Joseph Haydn, but was later found to have been originally written by Joseph Martin Kraus. The tune for “Lyons” matches well with one of Kraus' works, Tema con Veriazioni (Scherzo), which was written in 1785, and published in 1791 as a set of twelve variations for piano and violin. Though the violin part was not originally written by Kraus, it may have been, in fact, written by G. Haydn. This assumption comes from a publication of Kraus' work in 1808 under the title “Sonita with Twelve variations for the Piano Forte with Violin Accompaniments” (http://www.hymnary.org/tune/lyons , Psalter Hymnal Handbook, par. 1). Kraus is known for being a great composer in the classical era. He grew up in Germany, but moved to Stockholm, Sweden in 1778. While in Sweden, Kraus was elected to the Swedish Academy of Music, and became the conductor of the Court Orchestra, and would eventually go on to be the best-known composer to have been associated with the court of Gustavus III (http://www.hymnary.org/tune/lyons par. 2).

Though Kraus' life may have seemed fairly successful, it was marked by trials throughout. At the beginning of his studies, Kraus was forced to attend the University of Mainz by his parents. Unhappy with the state of things at Mainz, Kraus left the school after a year, and wrote a satire about the schools sad state. Kraus eventually matriculated to the University of Erfurt, where he could continue to study law, as well as take music lessons. After a while, Kraus became so wrapped up in the musical traditions of Erfurt, that he abandoned his study of law, and focused entirely on his study of music and literature. After only a short time at Erfurt, Kraus' father was caught up in a defamation case, and Kraus was forced to put his studies on hold for a year. During his time off, Kraus wrote his first tragedy, Tolon, and he wrote several smaller works of music for his local church, St. Oswald. In 1775, Kraus composed his first requiem, though it is not known if he wrote the work of church music for the purpose of the current literary movement, or if it was for personal reasons.

Three years later, in 1778, Kraus moved to Stockholm, where he had heard that King Gustavus III was a huge patron of the arts. For several years, Kraus lived in poverty, struggling to get the attention of the King. Finally, Gustavus noticed Kraus, after having written a libretto to an opera, Proserpina. Kraus' music fit perfectly to this libretto, and was finally premiered on 6th June, 1781, in front of Gustavus. After his performance, Kraus was appointed Vice-Kapellmeister of the Swedish Royal Opera, and as director of the Royal Academy of Music. It was after his performance, that King Gustavus talked with Kraus, and informed him that he would be taking a journey through Germany, France, and Italy, as a member of the Chorus and from the Academy of Music. Not only was Kraus a wonderful composer, having been cited by Franz Joseph Haydn as “one of the greatest geniuses I have met,” but he was also a well known poet. Kraus had several of his own collections of poetry published throughout his lifetime.

The Text:

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 and 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 Your 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.

4 Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
in you do we trust, nor find you to fail.
Your mercies, how tender, how firm to the end,
our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!

5 O measureless Might, unchangeable Love,
whom angels delight to worship above!
Your ransomed creation, with glory ablaze,
in true adoration shall sing to your praise!

Take on the Text:

This hymn is all about worshiping God for the wonders that he has done on earth. The whole theme of the piece is the adoration of God's creation, and of God's promise to sing with the angels above. The first stanza sings of God being our creator, and our defender, keeping us safe from all harm. He will never let us fall, and he created us in his image, making us a glorious creation. The second stanza talks about his might. The power that God has covers all of us, with his canopy being the great space above us. God has the power to ride over every storm, but also he has the power to bring his wrath upon us, if we aren't willing to listen to him. The third stanza talks about God being in everything that is around us. God is in the air, he is in the sun, and he is definitely in all creatures on earth. The fourth stanza is a verse written out of humility. We are born from dust, and to dust we shall return. Our only hope in the world is to turn to God in all of his glory, and surrender ourselves to Him. The fifth stanza is my favorite, because it tells us that we will all one day sing of God and praise Him in glory. Throughout our lives, we will always run across struggle, and that can sometimes come in between God, and ourselves. But, if we manage to wade through the difficulties, in the end, we will be able to rest, and join the heavenly hosts in singing the praises of God forever and ever!

The Hymn:

If you cannot read music, just start the Youtube video and follow along!
Note: The text from the video and the text from the page are slightly different. 


Julian, John. "Edward Henry Bickersteth." - Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2013.

Julian, John. "William Kethe." - Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2013.

Julian, John. "Robert Grant." - Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2013.

Julian, John. "LYONS." Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2013.

Psalter Hymnal Handbook. "Psalter Hymnal (Gray)‎ #100." Psalter Hymnal (Gray) 100. All People That on Earth Do Dwell (Vous Tous Qui La Terre Habitez). Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2013.

Psalter Hymnal Handbook. "O Worship the King All Glorious Above." Hymnary.org. Calving Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 13 Aug. 2013.

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Come, Ye Sinners

Here is another hymn for those who are struggling from day to day!

Title: Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy

Tune: Arise/Restoration (published in Southern Harmonies as “Restoration,” but is also known as “Arise”)


Author: Joseph Hart (1712-1768)

Composer: Anonymous, found in William Walker's (6th May, 1909-24th September, 1875) Southern Harmonies (1835), see “What Wondrous Love is This”

          This hymn is another that comes with an interesting history for the tune, but the text does not have much of a story. The text to “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy,” was first published in Joseph Hart's Collection Hymns Composed on Various Subjects (1759, no. 118). The original text was published with seven stanza's of six lines each, but over time and with too many variations to count, the text has taken on a completely different form. In some hymnals (The Baptist Praise Book, New York, 1871, Canterbury Hymnal, 1863, Book of Hymns, 1846, and Church Hymn Book, 1872), the first line has been changed to several different variations, and in other hymnals (as is most commonly found today), the last two lines from each stanza have been omitted. The last two lines read “He is able, he is able, He is willing; doubt no more,” and have been taken out because they seem to have a redundancy with the rest of the text. Though there is reason to take out the last two lines, some believe that the lines are important, and thus a controversy has started over which text is the most correct (http://www.hymnary.org/text/come_ye_sinners_poor_and_needy_weak_and , “Text”, par. 2).

          John Hart did not have much record of his early life. He lived mostly in obscurity, and what we do know of him comes from his own account. Hart lead a life that was marked by “loose conduct, serious conviction of sin, and endeavors after amendment of life” (http://www.hymnary.org/person/Hart_Joseph, par. 1). It was not until 1757 that Hart would begin to turn his life around, a change that he attributes to his attendance to divine services at a Moravian church in Fetter Lane, London. During the next two years, Hart would compose some of his best hymns, and he eventually published them in his collection Hymns Composed on Various Subjects, With the Author's Experience (London, 1759), which included a short preface with notes on Hart's early life. Eventually, Hart would publish a Supplement to the hymnal in 1762, and in 1765, Hart published an Appendix to accompany the hymns. Later, all three books were published together as one collection titled Hymns Composed on Various Subjects, With the Author's Experience, The supplement and Appendix, by the Rev. Joseph Hart, Late Minister of the Gospel in Jewin Street, London (no date was given). At the time of Hart's death, many of his hymns were being used by the Calvinistic Nonconformists.

          The tune “Arise,” or also known as “Restoration,” was first published in William Walker's collection, Southern Harmonies (1835), where it was originally titled “Restoration,” but was eventually changed to “Arise.” Walker is known for being a collector of Folk tunes from around the different parts of the Shenandoah region, and most of the south-east part of the United States. Southern Harmonies is a collection of several hymns that were used for church services, but also for a text book in learning how to sing. All of the hymns in the collection are written in “shape note” notation. Shape note notation is a very early style of musical notation that was based off the Elizabethan form of Solmization (Eskew, Southern Harmonies, par. 2). The notations would show one of four shapes for each of the given notes in a major scale. As opposed to modern solfege (Do, Re, Me, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do), the Elizabethan form of Solmization would look more like Fa, Sol, La, Fa, So, La, Mi, Fa. Walker’s collection, besides being an instructional book on singing, helped to provide music for hymns that may have been published in a words-only hymnal. Many congregations were using words-only hymnals that were pocket sized, and contained no music, only the name of tunes as well as the text for each hymn. Southern Harmonies is credited with having published the first appearance of the hymn “Amazing Grace” with the tune we most commonly know it by today, “New Britain.” Though the text for “Amazing Grace” had been paired with other tunes, and the tune “New Britain” had been paired with other texts, the two had never been paired together, prior to Walker's hymnal.

The Text:

1 Come ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love, and pow'r.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.

2 Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome,
God's free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Ev'ry grace that brings you nigh.

3 Come ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you're better,
You will never come at all.

4 Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.

My Take on the Hymn:

          Based off of the text from Matthew 11: 25-30, this hymn is quickly becoming one of my favorites. The text from the bible tells us that we only need to trust in God, and that all of us who are weary should come to God and place our burdens on Him. The text of this hymn helps to remind us that we can't do this on our own. The third stanza admits that everyone is lost because of the fall (Adam and Eve from Genesis, eating the forbidden fruit), and that if we try to figure out our problems all by ourselves, we will never fully come to God. The fourth stanza provides a nice cap to the hymn by saying “All the fitness He requireth; Is to feel your need of Him.” God does not require anything from us except that we admit that he is our God, and that we need Him each and every day of our lives. God taking our strife away from us is a part of God's gift of grace. Grace is something that I will never fully understand, and that I have never been good at accepting it without question, but the only thing God requires of us, is our full devotion to Him. If we but trust in God, our days will be rewarded with life eternal by God's side!

The Hymn:

If you cannot read music, just start the Youtube video and follow along!


De Jong, Laura. "Come, Ye Sinners." Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 30 July 2013.

Julian, John. "J. Hart." - Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 30 July 2013.

Julian, John. "RESTORATION." Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 30 July 2013.

Anonymous. "William Walker." - Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 30 July 2013.

Eskew, Harry. "Southern Harmony -- Intro." Southern Harmony -- Intro. Journal of the South Carolina Baptist Historical Society, n.d. Web. 30 July 2013.

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Heal us, Emmanuel, Hear our Prayer

Here is another wonderful hymn about the healing powers of God and of Christ!

Title: Heal Us, Emmanuel, Hear Our Prayer

Tune: Grafenberg


Author: William Cowper (26th November, 1731- 25th April, 1800)

Composer: Johann Cruger (Kruger) (1598-1662)

          Finally, here is a hymn written by the ever famous, William Cowper, who is known to have partnered with John Newton in publishing the Olney Hymns in 1779 (For more on Newton, see “Amazing Grace”). This hymn was first published in the Olney Hymns as No. 14, with six stanzas of four lines each. The original title for this hymn was “Jehovah Rophi—I am the Lord that Healeth thee,” and can still be found in this original title, but only in many of the older hymnals (Prior to 1900). Though this hymn is still around today, it is not very popular, having lost most of it's popularity shortly after the beginning of the 1990's. The Author of this tune, William Cowper, was known for his simple recreations and his good friendships, but his life would be marred with tragedy throughout.

          William Cowper was born in his father's rectory in Berkhampstead, London, in 1731, where he grew up. When he was only six years old, his mother passed away (he would later draw a portrait of her, and give a better description of her in one of his later works), leaving him with only a father to raise him. Cowper's father placed him in a school (the name was not given), but ultimately Cowper hated the school, and left to attend Westminster, where he was much happier. While at Westminster, Cowper succeeded in sports such as football (soccer), and cricket (a strange, but enjoyable sport). It was clear that Cowper was destined for the bar, and began preparing for it. During this time, he fell in love with his cousin, Theodora Cowper, but was forbidden to marry her by Theodora's father. Even though he was forbidden to marry her, Cowper would never forget Theodora, and she would never forget him, often times taking care of him when he was in need. As Cowper grew older, his sudden events of prolonged sadness began to increase in frequency.

          In 1754, Cowper was called to the bar, and this sparked a period of nine years in which he was characterized as “Playful,” and Humorous” (http://www.hymnary.org/person/Cowper_W, Julian, John, par. 1). After he was called to the bar, Cowper spent time writing satires for The Connoisseur and the St. James Chronicles, as well as some halfpenny ballads. Unfortunately, this period of happiness would end in 1763, when Cowper received news that he had been nominated for the Clerkship of the Journals of the House of Lords. Though this was good news, Cowper was so anxious about having to appear in front of the House of Lords to be interviewed for the position, that his reason gave way to his anxieties. Cowper attempted to take his life by “Laudanum, Knife, and Cord” (an opium laced drink, a knife, and I am assuming a rope). The first two attempts were unsuccessful, but the third almost worked, leaving him mostly sedentary, and an invalid for the rest of his life. This was the first time that Cowper's delusions of life first appeared, thinking that he was being punished by God. By the treatment of the Christian Doctor, Dr. Cotton, at St. Albans, this delusion passed away, leaving him to a happy period of time for nearly eight years.

          The first two years of Cowper's next period of happiness were spent in Huntingdon, and the next six were spent in Olney, where he worked closely with the poor, and did devotionals under the close guidance of John Newton. Those eight years would prove to be the most lucid and the happiest years of Cowper's life, but his misfortunes would continue. Cowper spent most of his time with Newton, who was far more than Calvinistic, which was not healthy for the more shy and reserved Cowper. A short time later, Cowper's brother passed away, leading him into another depression, and going against his Calvinistic beliefs, he thought that God was punishing him by taking his brothers life, and in turn, Cowper tried to kill himself again. This dark depression lasted nearly sixteen months, during which he lived with Newton, and was under the care of the nurse, Mrs. Unwin, of whom Cowper would become life-long friend with. Eventually, Cowper became interested in carpentry, gardening, and glazing, and took to playing with pet rabbits and a few other pets as well. Mrs. Unwin would also play a role in Cowper's poetical life.

          Towards the end of 1780, Mrs Unwin suggested to Cowper that he read some serious works of poetry. This sparked Cowper's interest, and led him to publish his first major literary work in 1782. In 1783, Cowper had a short period of happiness in which two of his greatest poems, The Tash, and John Gilpin, were written (http://www.hymnary.org/person/Cowper_W, par. 1). Under the care of his Aunt, Lady Hesketh, Cowper moved away from Olney to Weston in 1786, which was another time of happiness, but this was also short lived. Shortly after his arrival in Weston, Cowper received news of the death of his good friend, William Unwin. Finally, Mrs. Unwin fell ill in a time which was called the “Five-years Illness,” which threw Cowper into even more despair. Upon her death in 1796, Cowper wrote his last poem, The Castaway, which was written as a memorial of Mrs. Unwin. Though Cowper was haunted by madness his entire life, rarely does it show in his poetry. His hymns are marked by great piety, and reflect more on peace and thankful contemplation rather than on Joy, as is the case in many other hymnals (http://www.hymnary.org/person/Cowper_W , par. 2).

          The tune “Grafenberg,” was written by Johann Cruger to accompany the text “Nun Danket all” or better known as “Now Thank We All our God”, written by Paul Gerhardt. Published in Crugers 1647 collection Praxi Pietatis Melica. The tune, though unintentionally, shares a name with a water spa in Silesia, Austria, which became famous in the 1820's. For more information on Johann Cruger, see “Ah, Holy Jesus”

The Text:

1.      Heal us, Emmanuel, hear our prayer; 
        we wait to feel thy touch; 
        deep-wounded souls to thee repair, 
        and Savior, we are such. 

2.      Our faith is feeble, we confess 
        we faintly trust thy word; 
        but wilt thou pity us the less? 
        Be that far from thee, Lord! 

3.      Remember him who once applied 
        with trembling for relief; 
        "Lord, I believe," with tears he cried; 
        "O help my unbelief!" 

4.      She, too, who touched thee in the press 
        and healing virtue stole, 
        was answered, "Daughter, go in peace: 
        thy faith hath made thee whole." 

5.      Like her, with hopes and fears we come 
        to touch thee if we may; 
        O send us not despairing home; 
        send none unhealed away. 

My Take on the Hymn:

          From what I can tell of this hymn, it is based off the text from Mark 5: 21-34. The text tells of a woman who was ill for nearly 12 years, and she had seen many doctors and many different physicians, but none could heal her, and she only became more sick. After touching Jesus' robes, she was healed because of her faith. If we have faith in Christ, he will heal us too. The second half of this text talks about Jesus raising a little girl back from the dead. No matter how long we have been sick, no matter how long we have been dead, Christ has the power to bring life back to us. This knowledge, paired with the history of Cowper's life, seems to me all too powerful. The idea the Cowper struggled so much through his life, but still maintained his faith, is incredible. Though he attempted to take his life, Christ saved him because he knew of Cowper's purpose, and we are thankful for that. Without Cowper, Newton may not have published his hymns, and without Newton, we may have had fewer hymns in this world. God has the power to save us, he has the power to do miracles, and he has the power to show us love beyond what we can imagine. Faith in Christ will provide healing of all ills and of all that is hurting out spirit each and every day!

The Hymn:


Donovan, Richard Neil. "Hymns." Lectionary Hymn List: Mark 2:1-12 , Epiphany 7, Year B. Lectionary.org, n.d. Web. 07 Aug. 2013.

Julian, John. "Heal Us, Emmanuel, Hear Our Prayer." Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 07 Aug. 2013.

Julian, John. "William Cowper." - Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 07 Aug. 2013.

Julian, John. "Johann Crüger › Tunes." - Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 07 Aug. 2013.

Psalter Hymnal Handbook. "GRÄFENBERG." Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 07 Aug. 2013.

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