Doddridge was a Dissenting minister who had declined training for ordination in the Church of England. He suffered from tuberculosis and died in Lisbon, a few weeks after arriving there in the hope that the climate would help him recover from a bout of the disease. He wrote over 400 hymns, these generally accompanying or encapsulating his sermons.
Another of his hymns is O God of Bethel, by whose hand.
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Ravenscroft was an English musician, theorist and editor, notable as a composer of rounds and catches, and especially for compiling collections of British folk music. Little is known of his early life; it is thought that he was a chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral. Apart from a number of hymn tunes, much of his music has been forgotten. He also wrote the words to a number of songs, although he is not often credited as the author of his most enduring creation – Three Blind Mice. See more below (Hark the glad sound.)
The words were written by Doddridge.
The tune to this Advent hymn appeared in The Whole Booke of Psalmes: With The Humnes Evangelicall, and Songs Spiritual published in 1621 by Thomas Ravenscroft. Of the 150 Psalms, 78 have tunes by Ravenscroft (although some tunes are duplicated).
The tune Bristol was set in his psalter to a metrical version of Psalm 16 (and also Psalm 64). As is often the case, Ravenscroft put the melody line in the tenor part.
Each line of the tune begins and ends with a long note. This original rhythm is preserved* in the setting provided here (although some modern hymnals, including ours, have “modernised” the rhythm). Here the first two verses have the melody in the top line, the third verse is in the Ravenscroft format, and the last verse has a modern descant.
(*although the first note of the last line of verse 3 is split to accommodate the first two syllables of “to enrich”, which appeared as “t’enrich” in the original version of the words.)
Hark, the glad sound! The Saviour comes,
the Saviour promised long!
Let every heart prepare a throne,
and every voice a song.
He comes the prisoners to release,
in Satan’s bondage held;
the gates of brass before Him burst,
the iron fetters yield.
He comes the broken heart to bind,
the bleeding soul to cure,
and with the treasures of His grace,
to enrich the humbled poor.
Our glad Hosannas, Prince of Peace,
Thy welcome shall proclaim;
and heaven’s eternal arches ring,
with Thy beloved Name.
This version of the hymn is from 1792. Four of Doddridges original verses are included in this setting. The third verse may be unfamiliar. The missing verses are shown below.
The words are set to the tune O waly waly, a folk-song tune, probably Scottish in origin, but widely known in the UK and (in recent decades) around the world. A version of it is used for “The river is wide, I can not cross o’er”
 My God, and is thy table spread,
and doth thy cup with love o’erflow?
Thither be all thy children led,
and let them thy sweet mercies know.
 Hail, sacred feast which Jesus makes,
rich banquet of his flesh and blood!
Thrice happy he who here partakes
that sacred stream, that heavenly food.
 Why are its dainties all in vain
before unwilling hearts displayed?
Was not for you the Victim slain?
Are you forbid the children’s bread?
 O let thy table honoured be,
and furnished well with joyful guests;
and may each soul salvation see,
that here its sacred pledges tastes.
O waly waly
 Drawn by thy quick'ning grace, O Lord!
In countless numbers let them come,
And gather from their father's board,
The bread that lives beyond the tomb!
 Nor let thy spreading gospel rest,
Till through the world thy truth has run,
Till with this bread all men be blest,
Who see the light, or feel the sun!
An Advent hymn by Doddridge (that can be sung at other times too).
Matthew 25:1-13: Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
This parable is one of several told by Jesus in answer to the question in the previous chapter: Matthew 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
So – be ready for the Day of Judgment and the Second Coming! It’s what Advent is all about.
The melody for this hymn tune was published in Johannes Leisentritt’s Catholicum Hymnologium Germanicum of 1584. A harmonised version appeared in 1619 in the Katholische Kirchengesang (Cologne), and this was adapted by by William Henry Havergal to provide the well-known tune Narenza.
Ye servants of the Lord,
each in his office wait,
observant of his heavenly word,
and watchful at his gate.
Let all your lamps be bright,
and trim the golden flame;
gird up your loins as in his sight,
for aweful is his name.
Watch! ’tis your Lord’s command,
and while we speak, he’s near;
mark the first signal of his hand,
and ready all appear.
O happy servant he
in such a posture found!
he shall his Lord with rapture see,
and be with honour crowned.
Christ shall the banquet spread
with his own royal hand,
and raise that faithful servant’s head
amid the angelic band.
For each hymn we have provided a set of verses together with an electronically generated sound-track. The sound track does not provide any words - just the tune.
The selection of hymns to be included was subject to certain limitations, notably the restrictions of copyright. This meant that many modern hymns were excluded, and the exclusion even applied to some updated versions of traditional hymns. Some publishers have made a few minor changes to make hymns more "inclusive" and have then claimed copyright over the revised text. So in most cases the ORIGINAL texts have been used, even though these may not be the versions that appear in modern hymnals.
In deciding what tunes to be used, this has largely been the Webmaster's personal choice. It is a mixture of familiar tunes and tunes that are not well-known, but deserve to be better known. The webmaster has included some personal favourites (and excluded some pet hates!). The soundtracks provided go with the words provided - if there are four verses, the tune is repeated four times. Where possible tunes have been provided with descants or alternative arrangements.
Wherever possible, there is an explanation of who wrote the words or tunes, the circumstances under which they were written, when (and sometimes why). Many hymns include references to verses appearing in the King James Version of the Bible; more modern translations were not then available! In some cases we have tried to explain these scriptural references or other instances where words have changed their meaning over time.
This selection of "Sing-along Songs of Praise" was originally a series of blog posts written during the COVID Lockdowns of 2020. It was intended to allow people to sing hymns in the safety and privacy of their own homes at a time when hymn-singing in church was not allowed (even if the church building was open!).
When hymns are sung as part of a church service, it is normally the case that the hymn books are set aside at the end of the hymn and the next part of the service continues. There is no time to sit and reflect on the meaning or the beauty of words and/or music. This collection allows you to take your time, to read, listen sing along, reflect, and to repeat a hymn again if you wish.
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