Monday, May 16, 2016

"Joy doth wait on his command"

Continuing to browse in Ian Bradley's The Penguin Book of Hymns (1989), I came to "All My Hope on God is Founded." From the description:
This is a good example of a hymn which has only become really popular because of a particular tune. Until Herbert Howells composed Michael for it in 1930, 'All my hope on God is founded' was sung comparatively little. Since then it has been a favourite...although it is still not found in as many hymn-books as it ought to be considering the quality of both its words and music....

It is loosely based on a German hymn, 'Meine Hoffnung Stehetfeste', by Joachim Neander (1650-80). Neander was born in Bremen, became a Christian pastor following a dramatic conversion after a youth devoted to riotous living, and at the age of twenty-four was appointed headmaster of the Latin School at Dusseldorf. His highly independent and unorthodox views caused some trouble with the authorities and he was forced to sign a declaration that he would not engage in extreme religious fervour. Although he died of consumption at the age of thirty, he left around sixty hymns, many of which are still sung by reformed congregations in Germany.

'Meine Hoffnung Stehetfeste', which appeared in Neander's hymn collection Alpha and Omega, published in 1680, was originally intended to be sung as a grace after a meal. It was based on the passage in I Timothy 6:17, in which the rich are charged not to 'trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy'. .... (Ian Bradley, ed., The Penguin Book of Hymns, 1989.)
Robert Bridges (1844-1930) did the English translation:

All my hope on God is founded;
He doth still my trust renew,
Me through change and chance He guideth,
Only good and only true.
God unknown,
He alone
Calls my heart to be His own.

Pride of man and earthly glory,
Sword and crown betray his trust;
What with care and toil he buildeth,
Tower and temple, fall to dust.
But God's power,
Hour by hour,
Is my temple and my tower.

God's great goodness aye endureth,
Deep His wisdom, passing thought:
Splendour, light, and life attend Him,
Beauty springeth out of naught.
From his store
New-born worlds rise and adore.

Daily doth th' Almighty Giver
Bounteous gifts on us bestow;
His desire our soul delighteth,
Pleasure leads us where we go.
Love doth stand
At his hand;
Joy doth wait on his command.

Still from man to God eternal
Sacrifice of praise be done,
High above all praises praising
For the gift of Christ His Son.
Christ doth call
One and all:
Ye who follow shall not fall.

The version sung here omits the 4th verse above.

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