Sunday, September 23, 2012

For the Beauty of the Earth

This is one of my favorite hymns, especially as we come in to the wonderful season of Autumn!

Title: For the Beauty of the Earth

Tune: Dix


Composer: Conrad Kocher (1786-1872)

Author: Folliott S. Pierpoint (1835-1917)

     As we walk out into the world during the season of fall, we are filled with sensations that can only be described as overwhelmingly beautiful. We come out into a world full of color, full of fresh, cool, crisp, air with the smell of the harvest season lingering on our noses. The world seems a more beautiful place, even though the season of relaxation (i.e. Summer) has come to an end. As Autumn approaches, we see the different birds flying south for the winter, the fields turn from the green growth, into waves of amber color that seem to stretch on for miles in the country. It was these things that inspired the author, Folliot S. Pierpoint, to compose the text for this wonderful hymn. Born in 1835 in Bath, England, Pierpoint was an educated man, studying at Queens College in Cambridge, and graduating with a degree in Classical Honours. after he graduated, Pierpoint went out for a walk around his hometown. While out on his walk, he was so inspired by the beauty of the nature that he sat down and penned the words.
     The words to "For the Beauty of the Earth" were published when Pierpoint was at the young age of 29. He published the text in Rev. Orvy Shipley's Lyra Eucharistica in 1864, because the hymn was originally meant to be a Eucharistic Hymn for the Anglican Church (of which Pierpoint was a member of). The Chorus that was originally penned was originally read "Christ our God, to the we raise this our sacrifice of praise," but was later changed to "Lord of all, to thee we raise, this our grateful hymn of praise," in order that the hymn could be used for more than just the Eucharist. The original text had eight verses that were published, but in the most recent publications of Hymns Ancient and Modern, as well as the Presbyterian Church Hymnary, the final three verses have been removed for being "too Catholic in wording." While these churches have omitted the last three verses, they have, however, published the hymn with the original line of the chorus ("....this our sacrifice of praise.").
     The tune "Dix," was written by a man named Conrad Kocher, who was originally born in Ditzingen, Wurttemberg, Germany, where he was trained as a teacher. At the age of 17, Kocher left Germany to work as a tutor in St. Petersburg, Russia (this would have been c. 1803). Eventually, Kocher's love for composers such as Mozart and Haydn influenced him to pursue a career in music. in 1811, he moved back to Germany and settled into the town of Suttgart, Germany, where he would remain for most of his life. During the early years of his music career, the prestigious Cotta Music Firm published some of his works, and eventually sent him to study music in Italy for a period. After kocher completed his studies in Italy, he returned to Suttgart where he founded the School for Sacred Song, which encouraged the use of four part singing in the church. In his career, Kocher published two Operas, an Oratorio, and a few Sonatas. The most well known version of "Dix" came from a shortening of Kochers Treuer Heiland, wir sind hir,” found in Kocher's Stimmen aus den Reiche Gottes, (published in 1838). The final arrangement was done by William H. Monk and was published in the 1861 version of Hymns Ancient and Modern, of which Monk was the music editor for. Though Monk regretted using this tune as a pair for the text, it has proven to be a good match over the last several years. 

     This hymn is one of great praise and thanksgiving. The text talks about all the wonderful things that we have been given on this Earth, and that we should raise them up to God and be thankful for them. As we come into the season of Autumn, the wonderful beauty that envelopes us as we go out into the world is a gift from God that we should be ever thankful for. Pierpoint does however go beyond the simple aesthetics of the world, but of the beauty of friendship found in one another. There is beauty in the world all around us, and even if we cannot see it, beauty still remains in the intangible. 

The Text: 

(1) For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies;
For the love which from our birth,
Over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

(2) For the wonder of each hour,
Of the day and of the night;
Hill and vale and tree and flow'r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

(3) For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind's delight;
For the mystic harmony,
Linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

(4) For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child;
Friends on Earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

(5) For Thy church that evermore,
Lifteth holy hands above;
Off'ring up on ev'ry shore,
Her pure sacrifice of love;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

My Take on the Hymn:

      This hymn is one of great praise and thanksgiving. The text talks about all the wonderful things that we have been given on this Earth, and that we should raise them up to God and be thankful for them. As we come into the season of Autumn, the wonderful beauty that envelopes us as we go out into the world is a gift from God that we should be ever thankful for. Pierpoint does however go beyond the simple aesthetics of the world, but of the beauty of friendship found in one another. There is beauty in the world all around us, and even if we cannot see it, beauty still remains in the intangible. 

The Hymn:

If you cannot read music, just play the youtube video and follow along. 


Guidebook, Psalter Hymnal. "DIX (Kocher)." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. <>.

Guidebook, Psalter Hymnal. "DIX (Kocher)." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. <>.

"For the Beauty of the Earth." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. <>.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

Here is another Hymn. This one goes out again to Father Tim Biren, thank you so much for your donation of books to my study of hymns! This one comes from the third edition of Worship, A Hymnal and Service Book for Roman Catholics.

Title: I Know That My Redeemer Lives

Tune: Duke Street

Meter: (Long Meter)

Composer: John Hatton, (c. 1710-1793)

Author: Samuel Medley, (1738-1799)

                Often times, some of the best known works in the religious world come from people that did not begin their life in a religious way. Samuel Medley was a prime example of this, much like fellow poet John Newton. Born June 23rd 1738 in Chestnut, England, Medley was the son of a School teacher, but none-less, he was educated privately by his grandfather. While studying with his grandfather, Medley was taught to live faithfully by Christian values, but he was not interested in following what was being taught. As he grew up, Medley became friends with boys who were not Godly, and lead sinful lives. Eventually at the age of 14 (c. 1752), Medley was given an apprenticeship with an oil-man in London, but he only lasted 3 years in with the oil-man before he began searching for a way out. After finding a loop-hole in the law, Medley discovered that a person can leave an apprenticeship and join the military service, which lead him to join the British Royal Navy. While in the Navy, Medley’s life style did not improve, but rather became even more crass and profane than before.
 In 1759, during the Seven Year’s War, Medley’s ship engaged in a naval battle with a French ship, during which Medley’s leg was severely injured. After the battle was over, Medley’s leg continued to grow worse, even to the point of potentially having to amputate the leg to save Medley’s life. One evening, the physician aboard the ship told Medley that if his leg did not improve by morning, they would have to amputate or he could face death. During the night, Medley turned back and remembered what his grandfather had taught him when he was younger, and he began to pray vigorously that his leg may be spared. The next morning, to the surprise of all on the ship, the physician examined the leg and determined that it had healed so well that amputation was no longer needed. Immediately afterwards, Medley returned to his room, found the bible his grandfather had given him, and began reading. When Medley’s ship had finally returned to England, he was sent to his grandfather’s house where he was allowed to recover. Eventually, during his recovery, Medley’s grandfather read a sermon written by Isaac Watts, which moved Medley so greatly; he immediately converted and became a Christian. After his conversion, Medley began attending the Baptist Church in Eagle Street, London. Shortly after, Medley opened a school, which he ran with great success for nearly six years, but then he found a new calling.
In 1767, Medley began preaching, and eventually he became so popular in his teachings that he was called to be Pastor at the Baptist Church in Watford, England. After five short years in Watford, Medley moved on to Byrom Street, Liverpool, where he gathered a large congregation of a 27 year period. Medley took a special interest in the souls of Seamen and Servicemen, and was so wildly popular that soon his meeting place could not sustain the number of people coming to hear him preach. After a short time, the meeting space was enlarged, but this would prove useless as the number of people coming to hear the sermons was still growing. Eventually the crowds grew so great that an entirely new building had to be constructed to allow room for everyone who wanted to hear the words of Medley. Although his career was successful, Medley fell ill and maintained his illness for quite some time. After his long fight, Medley finally passed away July 17th 1799, but many of his hymns maintain their popularity in the Baptist Church, one of the most famous of which is “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.”
The first publication of “I Know that My Redeemer Lives,” appeared in Emma Smith’s hymnal published in 1835 with only seven short verses. Eventually the text was compressed into four longer verses, but in order to make the text fit the new musical form, the last line of the verse had to be repeated (found on some occasions). The first appearance of the tune “Duke Street,” came anonymously in Henry Boyd’s 1793 publication of Select Collection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes. Eventually the tune was credited to one John Hatton, of which virtually nothing is known, other than he lived on Duke Street in St. Helen, Lancaster, England. The tune is only one of many different potential tunes that can be used with this given text, but this tune is generally found to be used in the Catholic Church.
The Text:
I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living Head.

He lives to bless me with His love,
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need.

He lives triumphant from the grave,
He lives eternally to save,
He lives all glorious in the sky,
He lives exalted there on high.

He lives to grant me rich supply,
He lives to guide me with His eye,
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.

He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly Friend,
He lives and loves me to the end;
He lives, and while He lives, I’ll sing;
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.

He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death:
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives, all glory to His Name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives,
I know that my Redeemer lives!
My Take on the Hymn:
                This hymn is one of great praise, especially coming from someone who did not know God’s love until later in life. The story of Samuel Medley serves to show that God does not leave us alone, even when we constantly tell ourselves that we do not want, nor do we believe in, God’s love. This hymn reminds us that God does live every day in us, and that he lives for us, not just so that we may sing his praise, but that we may be saved in Him. Just the other day while in church, I thought to myself, why does God get to use us, and furthermore, why does He want to use us? There isn’t really any other answer to this question other than His love for us is so strong that he wants us to be with him eternally, and the only way to do that is to live in his way. Living like Christ and like God is not an easy task, and is something that we as humans cannot do simply on our own. It takes God and His power to allow us to live a life worthy of Him.
The Hymn:

If you can't read the music, just follow along with the Youtube video.

Here is the Youtube Video:


Julian, John. "Samuel Medley." - Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 17 Sept. 2012. <>.

Graves, Dan. "Church History and Christian Timeline.", May 2007. Web. 17 Sept. 2012. <>.

Chicago, Archdiocese Of. "Hymn No 445." Worship: A Hymnal and Servic Book for Roman Catholics. Third ed. Vol. Vol 1. Chicago, IL: GIA Publications, 2001. N. 


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blessed Assurance: Jesus is Mine

Sorry for the delay, but here is another one for the books!

Title: Blessed Assurance: Jesus is Mine

Tune: Assurance

Numeric Outline: with refrain

Composer: Phoebe Palmer Knapp (1839-1908)

Author: Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915)

     Many authors who are known for hymns have been ordained ministers before they started writing verse, but Fanny J. Crosby, however, was not. Although she was not ordained, she held a very prominent role in the history of the United States, Crosby was the first woman to be heard in front of the United States Senate. Born Southeast County, Putnam, New York, March 24th 1820, she became blind at only six weeks of age. She became blind because she did not receive proper treatment while she had a bout of illness. As Crosby grew older, she moved to the city of Eidgefield, Connecticut and lived there for four years, when she eventually returned to New York. At the age of 15, Crosby began her studies as the New York institution for the Blind, and later in 1847 she became a teacher there as well. During her time at the institution, Crosby spent the school vacations away in North Reading, Massachusetts, where she wrote numerous poems for Dr. Geo F. Root, professor of music at the blind institution.
     Through her years at the blind institution, Crosby came across many prominent political figures, and among them was one Henry Clay. When Crosby met with Henry Clay, she had already wrote him several poems, one of which was written to honor Clay's son who had been killed in the Civil War. Crosby says of her meeting with Clay  " When Mr. Clay came to the institution during his last visit to New York, I was selected to welcome him with a poem. Six months before he had lost a son at the battle of Monterey, and I had sent him some verses. In my address I carefully avoided any allusion to them, in order not to wound him. When I had finished he drew my arm in his, and, addressing the audience, said through his tears: ' This is not the first poem for which I am indebted to this lady. Six months ago she sent me some lines on the death of my dear son.' Both of us were overcome for a few moments. Soon, by a splendid effort, Mr. Clay recovered himself, but I could not control my tears." Over the 95 ninety-five years of Crosby's life, she penned nearly eight thousand poems in all, but not all of them were set to music. Though she never officially published collections of hymns, she did have four collections of verse that she published on her own: The Blind Girl, and Other Poems (1844), Monterey, and Other Poems (1849), A Wreath of Columbia's Flowers (1858) and finally, The Bells at Evening and Other Verses (1897). 
     The tune "Assurance," comes from the pen of one Phoebe Palmer knapp, who was born in New York, New York in 1839. From a young age, it was noted that she had considerable musical talent, and being the daughter of a well known Methodist Evangelist, Walter C. Palmer, it was no wonder she began writing gospel tunes to be used as settings for many poems. In 1855 at the young age of 16, Knapp was married to her husband John Farfield Knapp, and several years later they became founders of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. After her husbands death, Knapp was left with a considerable wealth, which she shared with many different charitable organizations throughout New York. Through her career, Phoebe Palmer Knapp wrote nearly 500 different gospel tunes, of which two remain in popular use today, "Blessed Assurance," and "Open the Gates of the Temple."

The Text

  1. 1) Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
    Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
    Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
    Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

  2. Refrain:
  3. This is my story, this is my song,
  4. Praising my Savior all the day long;
  5. This is my story, this is my song,
  6. Praising my Savior all the day long.
  7. 2) Perfect submission, perfect delight,
    Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
    Angels, descending, bring from above
    Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
  8. 3) Perfect submission, all is at rest,
    I in my Savior am happy and blest,
    Watching and waiting, looking above,
    Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

My Take on the Hymn
     This hymn seems to me to be telling the story of a person who is living in the light of Christ throughout their life. The first verse talks about having a" foretaste of glory divine!" which we as Christians can get a taste of every day if we simply turn to God in prayer. The refrain is interesting as well because it says "Praising my savior all the day long," but in this instance one could take the meaning of day to be "Life," not just a 24 hour period. The second verse goes into giving ourselves to God, especially because the Kingdom of Christ is at hand. The voice of the text is having visions of the rapture and knows that the end is near, but even in this vision, the voice knows that God loves them and that God will be merciful to the righteous. The last verse talks about loving Christ with your whole heart, especially in reference to 1 Peter 1:8 which reads "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy." This is one of the most important bible verses to me, because it says it all when it comes to faith. If we are patient and have faith, we will be filled with hope and filled with love that will be inexpressibly joyful. 

The Hymn

The Music:

Here is the Music, if you can't read it, listen to the video and follow along!

Julian, John. "Blessed Assurance." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2012. <>.