Archive for the ‘Psalter Hymnal (1934)’ Tag

I Sought the Lord   Leave a comment

I Sought the Lord

Above:  The Hymn, from The Pilgrim Hymnal (1904)

A Scan I Made from My Copy of That Volume

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Sometimes a little historical research goes a long way.

I noticed this hymn this morning, for we were singing “A Mighty Fortress” in church.  Opposite that hymn in The Hymnal 1982 is this one.  This reality led me to the listed source, The Pilgrim Hymnal (1904), the first U.S. hymn book to include the text.  The hymn debuted on page 142 of Holy Songs, Carols, and Sacred Ballads (1880), the hymn’s author listed as Anonymous.  Yet the range of estimated dates of composition includes

  • 1878 (as in The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns, 1966, The Methodist Church–later The United Methodist Church– as well as the Psalter Hymnal, 1987, Christian Reformed Church),
  • 1880 (as in Hymns of Faith and Life, 1976, the Wesleyan Church and the Free Methodist Church),
  • 1887 (as in the Psalter Hymnal, 1934, Christian Reformed Church), and
  • 1890 (The United Methodist Hymnal, 1989, The United Methodist Church.)

One reason for post-1880 estimates is the erroneous date of 1889 for the publication of Holy Songs.

Who was Anonymous?  Although Frank Sealy, editor of Common Praise (1913), listed the author as Anonymous in that hymnal, the handbooks to The Hymnal (1933, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.) and the Pilgrim Hymnal (1958, United Church of Christ) suggest that the author was poet Jean Ingelow (1820-1897).  In fact, the former says that Sealy suggested that Ingelow was the author of the text.  We do not know for certain who wrote the hymn, however.  And does that person’s identity really matter?  For the text stands on its own merit.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 9, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINT SOPHRONIUS OF JERUSALEM, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT GREGORY OF NYSSA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF MARY ANN THOMPSON, EPISCOPAL HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HALL BAYNES, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF MADAGASCAR

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1.  I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew

He moved my soul to seek him, seeking  me;

It was not I that found, O Saviour true,

No, I was found of thee.

2.  Thou didst reach forth thy hand and mine enfold;

I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea,–

‘Twas not so much that I on thee took hold,

As thou, dear Lord, on me.

3.  I find, I walk, I love, but, O, the whole

Of love is but my answer, Lord, to thee;

For thou wert long beforehand with my soul,

Always thou lovedst me.

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