Saturday, June 28, 2014

Poem Hymns For Christian Weddings

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While making my way through Gadsby's Hymns for my devotional reading, I found some lovely old poems written as hymns which would be appropriate to be sung at Christian weddings, recited during the ceremony or reception, or included somewhere on the program.[1]

The first is by John Berridge (1716-1793) entitled Our Jesus Freely Did Appear, traditionally sung to the tune SABBATA or any other Common Meter (C.M.) tune such as Amazing Grace or O God Our Help In Ages Past.

On a Christian Marriage -- John 2:1, 2; Heb. 13:4

Our Jesus freely did appear
     To grace a marriage feast;
And, Lord, we ask thy presence here
     To make a wedding-guest.

Upon the bridal pair look down;
     Who now have plighted hands;
Their union with thy favour crown,
     And bless the nuptial bands.

With gifts of grace their hearts endow;
     (Of all rich dowries best!)
Their substance bless, and peace bestow,
     To sweeten all the rest.

In purest love their souls unite,
     And linked in kindly care,
To render family burdens light,
     By taking mutual share.

True helpers may they prove indeed,
     In prayer, and faith, and hope;
And see with joy a godly seed,
     To build thy household up.

As Isaac and Rebecca give
     A pattern chaste and kind:
So may this new-met couple live,
     In faithful friendship joined.


The next one is called Great God of Order, Truth, and Grace, which I believe was penned by Richard Burnham (1749-1810). It is also written in the Common Meter and may be sung to any tunes written in that meter.

"Heirs together of the grace of life." -- I Peter 3:7

Great God of order, truth, and grace, 
     Fountain of social joys,
Shine with thy sweet approving smile,
     And crown the nuptial ties.

Look on the now united pair,
     And O, the union bless;
Here may true friendship ever reign,
     In firmest bonds of peace.

May each the other kindly help
     To run the shining road;
Join with delight in prayer and praise,
     And ever cleave to God.

May both be fired with one concern
     For one eternal prize;
And warmest zeal their souls inflame
     For joys beyond the skies.

One be their views, their aim, their end
     Pure heavenly bliss to prove,
Meeting at last around the throne,
     To reign in realms of love.

There may we all with them unite
     In one harmonious song;
And one pure anthem swell the joys 
     Of one celestial throng.



[1] William Gadsby, A Selection of Hymns For Public Worship (Southgate, London: Gospel Standard Publications, 1965). Also available for free here:  http://gadsbyshymns.neocities.org/.