Wednesday, December 21, 2005

From Out of the Carol Barrel - #2

Here is another great, yet oft-neglected Christmas carol.

This one was written by that most amazing poet, William Cowper and first published in John Newton's Olney Hymns. The Olney hymnbook has been reprinted (in original typeface) and is a beautiful companion in devotional times. Newton and Cowper could take simple spiritual thoughts and press them with great precision to the conscience. Cowper was certainly the better poet of the two, but where Newton's works lack poetic genius they more than make up for it in profound theology.

This carol could be sung to the tune “Walt­ham (Cal­kin),”by John B. Cal­kin (listen here.) This tune was written for the carol, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."

My song shall bless the LORD of all,
My praise shall climb to his abode;
Thee, Savior, by that name I call,
The great Supreme, the mighty GOD.

Without beginning, or decline,
Object of faith, and not of sense;
Eternal ages saw him shine,
He shines eternal ages hence.

As much, when in the manger laid,
Almighty ruler of the sky;
As when the six days’ works he made,
Filled all the morning–stars with joy.

Of all the crowns JEHOVAH bears,
Salvation is his dearest claim;
That gracious sound well–pleased he hears,
And owns EMMANUEL for his name.

A cheerful confidence I feel,
My well–placed hopes with joy I see;
My bosom glows with heav’nly zeal
To worship him who died for me.

As man, he pities my complaint,
His pow’r and truth are all divine;
He will not fail, he cannot faint,
Salvation’s sure, and must be mine.

William Cowper, Olney Hymns (London: W. Oliver, 1779), # 38. 8,8,8,8

For more carols click here or here.