Saturday, March 25, 2017

Singing the Faith: Day 20: Lament and Personal Devotion

Through all the changing scenes of life

This is one of the many fine metrical psalms which appeared in the Psalter produced by Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady in 1696. “The Lord’s my shepherd”, and “As pants the hart” are two others. Nahum Tate (1652-1715), who seems to have written this hymn himself, was an aspiring poet, who had come to London from Dublin. To make a living he translated French and Latin texts for publishers, and wrote and adapted plays, including Shakespeare’s – he rewrote King Lear to give it a happy ending. He also wrote the libretto for Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas”. He became Poet Laureate in 1692, but later became an alcoholic and died in a debtors’ refuge in the Royal Mint. This hymn is a paraphrase of Psalm 34, which is a psalm of praise to God in the face of difficulties. It is easy to praise God when all is going well, but it is when times are hard that our trust in him is really vital.

The tune, Wiltshre, was written by Sir George Smart, (1776-1867) when he was just 19 and organist at St James Chapel London. In Scottish tradition it is known as New St Ann and is one of the tunes to which “The Lord’s my Shepherd” is sung. Metrical Psalm tunes were often used interchangeably.

Through all the changing scenes of life,
in trouble and in joy,
the praises of my God shall still
my heart and tongue employ.

O magnify the Lord with me,
with me exalt his name;
when in distress to him I called,
he to my rescue came.

The hosts of God encamp around
the dwellings of the just;
deliverance he affords to all
who on his succour trust.

O make but trial of his love,
experience will decide
how blest are they, and only they,
who in his truth confide!

Fear him, ye saints, and you will then
have nothing else to fear;
make you his service your delight,
your wants shall be his care.

To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
the God whom we adore,
be glory, as it was, is now,
and shall be evermore. 
  • ·      How easy do you find it to trust God when life seems to be going wrong?


  1. Anonymous1:13 pm

    I am going to miss these hymns when they stop! I particularly liked the phrase today " to me His rescue came" as that is so true.

    1. I'm glad you are enjoying them. I hope that perhaps when these posts come to the end, people will tell me which hymns I missed out that they think I ought to have included! There are lots of hymns on Youtube and I expect I could make up another set for another time.