Wednesday, January 23, 2013

On What Has Now Been Sown

Here is another hymn for you to enjoy! Please Check out Etymology of Hymns of Facebook, and feel free to post there what your favorite hymns are!

Title: On What Has Now Been Sow

Tune: Darwall’s 148th


Composer: John Darwall (Baptized 13 January 1731- 18 December 1789)

Author: John Newton (29 July 1725- 21 December 1807)

                This beloved hymn written by John Newton is actually a compilation of two separate hymns. The first Stanza is the sixth and final stanza from Newton’s “What Contradictions Meet,” found in Olney Hymns book ii published in 1779 (#26). The final two stanzas are taken from Newton’s “short hymn,” “To Thee Our Wants Are Known,” published in Olney Hymns Book iii (#103, as well as #68 in the Irish Church Hymnal published in 1873). Written by the infamous John Newton, this hymn holds a deep meaning to the man who once was fighting against the Church itself.
                John Newton was born in London, England in 1725 as the son of a Shipmaster. While Newton was very young, he and his mother were very close, but unfortunately she died when Newton was only 7 years old. After his mother’s death, Newton was sent to a boarding school where he spent the majority of his time studying Latin. Newton remained at the boarding school until he was 11 years old, when Newton left the school to join his father at sea. Once Newton was at sea, his life began to spiral in the wrong direction. Serving in the British Royal Navy, Newton was charged with deserting the Military when he failed to report back from his time off duty. It was later found that he deserted because he was spending time with the woman who would eventually become his wife, Mary Catlett. After Newton was dishonorably discharged from the British Royal Navy, he was placed on a Slave-Trade ship, where he was known to be one of the crudest sailors on the ship. After studying the works of Shaftesbury as well as the teachings of Newton’s shipmate, Newton was in full disregard of religion.
                Eventually Newton’s father grew tired of Newton’s misbehaving, and placed Newton at the mercy of an African slave trader. During this time, Newton spent nearly 15 months working a plantation in Sierra Leone. By Chance, one of Newton’s Father’s ships arrived in Sierra Leone, and picked Newton up to return him to London in 1748. The ship was named “the Greyhound.” While on the journey back to London, the ship had to weather through a severe storm, and was almost lost to the sea. Due to a chance reading of Thomas A. Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ, Newton began to see the ideals of Christianity, especially after crying out for “God to have mercy on our souls” while the ship was in its darkest hours of the storm. Eventually, the ship arrived safely in England, and Newton married Mary Catlett in 1750 and his life began to change. Over a period of 14 years, Newton began listening to the influences of George Whitefield, John and Charles Wesley, and many influential Christians at the time. Eventually Newton began studying Greek, preaching around different townships in England, and eventually became ordained into the Curacy in Olney.
                During his time at Olney, Newton was found to have made the most progress in his life. Newton was known for his zeal for preaching, and was moved to write several works, one of which was a collection of hymns, Olney Hymns (1779), written with his close friend William Cowper. In 1780, Newton became the Rector of St. Mary in Woolnoth, London where he would remain for the rest of his life. In 1805, Newton could no longer read his own text, and was politely asked to step down from his position and stop preaching, in which he replied with “What, shall the African blasphemer stop while he can speak!” John Newton died in 1807, and wrote his own Epitaph, which read:
John Newton
Once an infidel and libertine,
A servant of slaves in Africa,
By the rich mercy
Of our Lord and savior,
Jesus Christ,
Preserved, restored, pardoned,
And appointed to preach the faith
He had long labored to destroy. He ministered
Near 16 years as Curate and Vicar
Of Olney in Bucks
And 28 years as rector
Of these united parishes.
On February the first, 1750, he married
Daughter of the late George Catlett,
Of Chatham, Kent.
Whom he resigned to the Lord who gave her
On December the 15th, 1790. (Westermeyer, P 385-386)

For more information on Newton, see "Amazing Grace"

                The tune for “On What Has Now Been Sown,” written by John Darwall (1731-1789) can be found in Psalmody in Miniature, II (London, 1769), and again in A New Universal Psalmist (London, 1770), both published by Aaron Williams. The original use of this tune was used to praise Psalm 148, and thus is sometimes shown without the “148” in the title, leaving it just as “Darwall.” Born in Staffordshire, England, Darwall studied at Manchester Grammar School and Brasenose College in Oxford, earning his BA in 1756. In 1761, Darwall became ordained as an Anglican Priest and became the curate of St. Matthew’s Church in Walshall, Staffordshire in the same year. Several years later, in 1769, Darwall became the Vicar at the same parish, where he would remain until his death. Being a musician, Darwall had composed two full volumes of piano sonatas and hymn tunes with bass for each of the 150 Psalms in Tate and Brady’s New Version published in 1696 (Westermeyer, p 386). In a dedication speech given in 1773, Darwall supported the faster singing of the Psalm tunes, so that the congregation could fit six stanzas in the same time it would usually take to sing four. Darwall’s 148th is the only one of John Darwall’s hymntunes that is still in common use today.

The Text:
(1)    On what has now been sown
Your blessing, Lord, bestow;
The power is yours alone
To make it sprout and grow.
O Lord, in grace the harvest raise,
And yours alone shall be the praise!

(2)    To you our wants are known,
From your are all our powers;
Accept what is your own,
And pardon what is ours.
Our praises, Lord, and prayers receive,
And to your Word a blessing give.

(3)    Oh, grant that each of us,
Now met before you here,
May meet together thus
When you and yours appear,
And follow you to heaven, our home.
Even so, amen! Lord Jesus, come!

My Take on the Hymn:
        This hymn shows the humility that Newton discovered when he found God in his life again. It is important that each and every day we give of ourselves to Christ so that we may live freely in Him. The first stanza comes from Newton’s willingness to give himself over to Christ. The seed has been sown in his heart, and now he is asking Jesus to let that seed grow and become good. If we have had a seed sown in us, it is up to us to ask Christ to help us along the journey, for without Him, the seed will lay dormant and will not grow to its full potential. In the second stanza, Newton asks God to take his life back for God to use him as a tool. We are here on earth for only a short time, so let us give to God what is Gods, and give to the earth what it deserves (Mat 22: 15-22). The third stanza talks about Christ revealing himself to us. When it is time for Christ to appear to us on earth with his host of Angels, the time will come that we shall follow Christ into heaven and take our seat at the banquet with him. Though we cannot wait until that day, we must be patient and not forget to do the work that is called of us while we are here on earth. Each and every day, Christ gives us the opportunity to see new seeds that are sown in our hearts, but it is up to us to decide whether or not we want to take that seed and let it grow in Christ, or let it lay still and hope that we make it on our own. Through Christ, we will not be led astray, but rather we will be led down a road full of Glory in our Heavenly Home!

The Hymn:

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


Westermeyer, Paul. "On What Has Now Been Sown." Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Vol. 1. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2010. 385-86. Print.

Julian, John. "On What Has Now Been Sown." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2013.

Julian, John. "John Newton." - Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2013.

Julian, John. "DARWALL." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2013.

"On What Has Now Been Sown." On What Has Now Been Sown. Christian Lyrics, n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2013.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

O Come, All Ye Faithful

Here is another wonderful hymn! I know it is a little late for Christmas hymns, but I was very busy during the Christmas season, and I am going to make up for it now!

Title: Oh Come, All Ye Faithful

Tune: Adeste Fideles

Meter: Irregular

Composer: John Francis Wade (1711-1786)

Author: John Francis Wade (") Tr. Frederick Oakeley ((1802-1880)

               The hymn "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful," was originally written in Latin, and is written to invite Christians to worship Christ at the time of his birth. This text uses multiple references from the Nicene Creed (St 2), and also talks of singing the praises of Angels (St 3), and finally celebrates the arrival of Christ (St 4)! The hymn is irregular in two ways, it does not rhyme, and it has an irregular meter. Even though the hymn has two rare irregularities, it still remains wildly popular. Written by John Francis Wade between 1735 and 1740, this hymn has been translated multiple times, and has been written with four stanzas as well as eight stanzas. The original version of the hymn made its first appearance in Wade's 1751 collection Cantus Diversi pro Dominicis et Festis per Annum, which contained eight stanzas. Of all the different translations of the hymn, the version done by Fredrick Oakeley remains the most commonly used version. Though still popular, the second stanza of this traditional hymn is usually omitted, making it a more universal hymn (leaving out the reference to the Virgin). Though the text is mostly sung in English, Jean Francois Borderies, a French author, composed a new version of the text using the original first stanza, and creating four entirely new stanza's of his own.

               Though not much is known about John Francis Wade, it is known that he was born in either England, or Douai, France. Wade grew up as a Roman Catholic, and was forced to flee from England to France because of his beliefs in the Jacobite Rising in 1745 (He was in support of the uprising). The Jacobite Rising was a failed attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain control of Scotland and turn the country back into an absolute Monarchy. The battles eventually spilled over to England, but because the British Army was able to respond so quickly, the rebellion was spoiled, and Charles Edward Stuart spent the rest of his life in exile. It has not been confirmed, but some experts say that many of Wade's works contained Jacobite artwork that could be seen as having special meaning and specials codes that were used to communicate. The translator of this text, Frederick Oakeley, is a little more well known than Wade.

               Frederick Oakeley was born the youngest son of Sir Charles Oakeley who was at some point the Governor of Madras. Born in Shrewsbury, England, Oakeley was educated in Christs Church at nearby Oxford, where he earned his B.A. in 1824. In 1825, Oakeley won the University prize for a Latin essay, and in 1827 was elected a Fellow of Balliol. Taking holy orders in 1832, Oakeley became Prebendary of Lichfield Cathedral, and in 1837 he became a preacher at Whitehall, and eventually in 1839 he became the Minister of Margaret Chapel in Margaret Street, London. Though Oakeley had grown up in the Anglican Church, he eventually his beliefs began to change. Oakeley's change of views can be traced back to 1827, when Dr. Charles Lloyd, Regius Professor, Gave a lecture at Oxford regarding the history and structure of the Anglican Prayer book. During that time, there was a great demand at Oxford for Missals and Breviaries, which Oakeley sympathized with this movement, and cooperated the London book-sellers to try and meet that demand. In 1845, Oakeley and his opinions about the church had changed so much, that he called attention to his faith to see if he could still hold a degree from Oxford, even though his beliefs had been altered greatly. Eventually, proceedings were held against Oakeley in the Court of Arches, and he was told that he would be perpetually suspended if he did not retract his beliefs. Because of this sentence, Oakeley left his Prebendal Position at the church in Lichfield, and entered into the Roman Catholic Church.

               The tune "Adeste Fideles" was originally known as the "Portuguese Hymn," because it was often times sung in the Chapel of the Portuguese Embassy in London. Because the tune for the hymn was found in a mid 18th-century manuscript with the text, it is assumed that John Francis Wade is responsible for writing the text as well as composing the tune. Because of the influence of the folk operas going on during Wade's life, it can be assumed that the repetition of the final line was inspired by the current style of composing. The melody is very plain and simple, but contains many different opportunities for harmonization, as well as a beautiful descant that is usually played on the organ during the third Stanza.

The Text: 

(1 )O come, all ye faithful,
Joyful, and triumphant:
O come ye, o come ye, to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him
Born the King of angels:
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
(2 )God of God,
Light of Light,
Lo! He abhors not the Virgin's womb;
Very God,
Begotten, not created:
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
(3 )Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above,
Glory to God
In the highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
(4 )Yea, Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning;
Jesu, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing:
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

My Take on the Hymn:

               This hymn is very celebratory of the arrival of Christ. It is invitational in nature, because it is saying "O come, let us adore Him." The repetition of the last line emphasizes the desire to worship Christ and be a part of the arrival of our savior. The adoration of Christ is something that comes up during the Christmas season, but should be done all throughout the year. The fourth stanza is my favorite, especially the line "Word of the Father, Now in flesh appearing." Christ is the word of God, given to man in the actual flesh. The bible contains three different appearances of the Holy Trinity. The Old Testament refers to God the Father. God is the one who leads the people out of Egypt and to the promise land, and it is also God the Father that comes to Moses and gives him the 10 commandments. Eventually, the New Testament begins, and as is promised in the book of Isaiah, Christ arrives in the flesh as the Son of God. It was during this time that the world was rocked. Christ says in John 20: 29, "'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'" God asked us to believe in his power, but there was doubt among the world. In order that there may be no more doubt, and that Man may be saved from sin, God gave us his Son in the flesh. The third and final appearance of the Holy Trinity is in the book of Acts. After Christ has ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit returns to the disciples and shows them how to be faithful, and leads us to creating the church of Christ. God has given us the greatest gift of love in the form of an innocent child, who is born without sin, and is born not in sin, but above it. Let us take time each and every day to adore Christ in his fullness and glory!

The Hymn:

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


Jong, Laura De. "O Come, All Ye Faithful." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2013.

Julian, John. "Frederick Oakeley." - Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2013.

"ADESTE FIDELES." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2013.

"John Francis Wade." - Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2013.