Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Broken Heart to Bind

Not many birthdays or other events to mark this week, but another Advent hymn is certainly appropriate. We move from the prophecies regarding the reign of God to the promised coming of Christ as Savior and Healer.

Hark, the glad sound! the Savior comes,
The Savior promised long;
Let every heart prepare a home,
And every voice, a song.

On you, the Spirit, largely poured,
Exerts her sacred fire;
And wisdom and might, and zeal and love,
Your holy words inspire.

You come, the prisoners to release,
In sorrow's bondage held;
The gates of brass before you burst,
The iron fetters yield.

You come, the broken heart to bind,
The bleeding soul to cure;
And with the treasures of your grace
Life's vict'ry to ensure.

Heavn's silver trumpets publish loud
The jubilee of God!
Our debts are all remitted now,
Our heritage restored.

Our glad hosannas, Prince of Peace,
Your welcome shall proclaim;
And heav’n’s eternal arches ring
With your belov├Ęd Name.

Philip Doddridge, 1735; alt.
Thomas Haweis, 1792; adapt. Samuel Webbe, 1808

Philip Doddridge we have met before. I have reinstated the fifth verse of his hymn, which is frequently left out of modern hymnals. One more verse that is rarely seen:

You come, from thickest films of vice
To clear the mental ray,
And on the eyes oppressed with night
To pour celestial day.

Thomas Haweis, expelled from Oxford University for proclaiming himself a Calvinist, is somewhat more remembered as a writer of hymn texts rather than tunes, though he wrote both. He compiled a hymnal titled Carmina Christo; or, Hymns to the Savior (1792), "designed for the use and comfort of those who worship the Lamb that was slain" and containing 256 of his own hymns.


Dorothy said...

I like this hymn text very much, C.W.S., especially that fourth verse from which you took the title of your post. I think its the verse that proclaims the most personal comfort.

I found that little tidbit about Thomas Haweis getting expelled from Oxford University for proclaiming himself a Calvinist quite interesting!

Anonymous said...

This hymn followed the sermon on Dec. 7. I find it interesting to see the differences, subtle though they be, in the words from my hymnal to what you've quoted. I'm using The Book of Praise, c. 1997, Presbyterian Church in Canada.

v.1, line 3 "...prepare a throne"
your v. 2 I don't have
v. 3, line 2 "in Satan's bondage..."

v. 4 reads:
You come the broken heart to bind,
the wounded soul to cure,
to bring the treasures of God's grace,
good tidings for the poor.

v. 5 I don't have
v. 6, line 4 "with your most honoured name."

One word can make such a difference, don't you find?

C.W.S. said...

One word can make a difference from denomination to denomination, certainly. Both my version and your version contain multiple changes from Doddridge's eighteenth-century text, for a variety of reasons. Omitting whole verses is also part of how the full "meaning" of hymns has been altered over the years.

Before we go much farther I will mention again my own explanation for this sort of thing, to be found in the entry for February 5 of this year. Words do get changed here at CWS the blog and not necessarily the same words that are changed in any printed hymnal you may find.

I hope we can all agree that the hymns and songs we share need not always match up in every particular.

Leland Bryant Ross said...

You don't need a word to make a huge difference! A comma will do quite nicely. Consider the difference between

You come, from thickest films of vice
To clear the mental ray,


You come from thickest films of vice,
To clear the mental ray,

The latter is how I first misread the verse, and I did a double take, because it seemed to suggest Jesus had once been involved in porn flicks.

Leland aka Haruo