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St Oswald's

The parish church of Bollington

Bollington Road, Bollington Cross, SK10 5EG
07895 363 038

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Sing-Along Hymns

Revd John Samuel Bewley Monsell (1811-1875)

He was born in Ireland and ordained deacon in 1834, priest in 1835. He came to England in 1853 to be Vicar of Egham, near Windsor. From 1870 until his death he was Rector of St Nicholas, Guildford and Chaplain to Queen Victoria.

He wrote about 300 hymns. The two included here are his best-known.

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Fight the good fight

Monsell's hymn is based on 1 Timothy 6.12: Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

It was published in Hymns of Love and Praise for the Church’s Year (1863).

The tune Duke Street is attributed to John Warrington Hatton (c1710-1793). Little is known about him other than that he lived on Duke Street, St Helens and that his funeral was held at the Presbyterian chapel in that town. It is said that he died in a stagecoach accident. The tune may originally have been written for the hymn Jesus shall reign where’er the sun by Isaac Watts

The descant provided here is by Donald Davison.

Fight the good fight with all thy might;
Christ is thy Strength, and Christ thy Right;
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.

Run the straight race through God’s good grace,
Lift up thine eyes, and seek His face;
Life with its way before us lies,
Christ is the Path, and Christ the Prize.

Cast care aside, upon thy Guide,
Lean, and His mercy will provide;
Lean, and the trusting soul shall prove
Christ is its Life, and Christ its Love.

Faint not nor fear, His arms are near,
He changeth not, and thou art dear.
Only believe, and thou shalt see
That Christ is all in all to thee.

Duke Street

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness

The first line of Monsell's hymn is the first phrase of verse 9 of Psalm 97. The rest of the hymn does not follow the text of the psalm, except in a very general sense.

The tune Was lebet, was schwebet is from the Rheinhardt MS of 1754, a German chorale book compiled between 21 June and 22 July 1754, bearing the name of Johann Heinrich Rheinhardt.

The descant provided here is by Donald Davison.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Bow down before him, his glory proclaim;
with gold of obedience, and incense of lowliness,
kneel and adore him, the Lord is his name!

Low at his feet lay thy burden of carefulness,
high on his heart he will bear it for thee,
comfort thy sorrows, and answer thy prayerfulness,
guiding your steps as may best for thee be.

Fear not to enter his courts in the slenderness
of the poor wealth thou would reckon as thine:
truth in its beauty, and love in its tenderness,
these are the offerings to lay on his shrine.

These, though we bring them in trembling and fearfulness,
he will accept for the name that is dear;
mornings of joy give for evenings of tearfulness,
trust for our trembling and hope for our fear.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Bow down before him, his glory proclaim;
with gold of obedience, and incense of lowliness,
kneel and adore him, the Lord is his name!

Was lebet, was schwebet

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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Last modified: 03 March 2021