Wednesday, August 12, 2009

GUEST POST: "Unsung Hymns and Stanzas" by Robert E. Smith

While writing hymn essays for the upcoming Lutheran Service Book Companion, I discovered the following nifty hymns and stanzas:

John Newton, "What contradictions meet" Olney Hymns in Three Books, London: W. Oliver, 1779.

What contradictions meet
In minister's employ!
It is a bitter sweet,
A sorrow full of joy!
No other post affords a place
For equal honor, or disgrace!

Who can describe the pain
Which faithful preachers feel;
Constrain'd to speak, in vain,
To hearts as hard as steel?
Or who can tell the pleasures felt,
When stubborn hearts begin to melt!

The Savior's dying love,
The soul's amazing worth;
Their utmost efforts move,
And draw their bowls forth;
They pray and strive, their rest departs,
Till Christ be form'd in sinners hearts.

If some small hope appear,
They still are not content,
But with a jealous fear,
They watch for the event.
Too oft they find their hopes deciev'd
Then, how their inmost souls are grieved!

But when their pains succeed,
And from the tender blade,
The rip'ning ears proceed,
Their toils are overpaid.
No harvest-joy can equal theirs,
To find the fruit of all their cares.

And the sung stanza:

On what has now been sown
Thy blessing, Lord, bestow;
The pow'r is Thine alone
To make it spring and grow.
Do Thou the gracious harvest raise
And Thou, alone, shalt have the praise.

Samuel Stone, "The Church's One Foundation" (Written for the first Lambeth Conference)

So, Lord, she stands before Thee,
For evermore thine own;
No merit is her glory'
Her boasting this alone;
That she who did not choose Thee
Came.chosen, at Thy call
Never to leave or lose Thee
Or from Thy favour fall.

Isaac Watts, "Our God, Our Help in Ages Past"

IV. Thy Word commands our Flesh to Dust,
Return, ye Sons of Men:
All Nations rose from Earth at first,
And turn to Earth again.

VI. The busy Tribes of Flesh and Blood
With all their Lives and Cares
Are carried downwards by Thy Flood,
And lost in following Years.

VIII. Like flow’ry Fields the Nations stand
Pleas’d with the Morning-light;
The flowers beneath the Mower’s Hand
Ly withering e’er ‘tis Night

(Robert E. Smith is an ordained pastor of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod and is currently the Electronic Resources Librarian at the Walther Library of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.)

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