Sunday, 30 December 2012

A hymn for Ulster

Songs of Praise concluded tonight with a medley of four hymns reflecting the four nations within the United Kingdom. 
W Y Fullerton
They started with the Welsh hymn Guide me O Thou great Jehovah which was written in Welsh by William Williams and published in 1745.  It was then translated into English by Peter Williams in 1771.  The tune Cwm Rhondda was composed by John Hughes in 1907.
The medley continued with the hymn Spirit of God, unseen as the wind, which is sung to the Scottish tune 'The Skye Boat Song'.  The words were written by Margaret Old.
The third hymn was I cannot tell why He whom angels worship, which is sung to the tune known as the Londonderry Air.  The words were written by the Belfast-born pastor, preacher, author and hymn-writer William Y Fullerton. 
The medley finished with Jerusalem, with words written about 1808 by William Blake.  The tune we use today was composed in 1916 by Sir Hugh Parry.  The poem was inspired by the tradition that during his youth and before he began His public ministry, Jesus visited England with Joseph of Arimathea and came to Glastonbury.
William Young Fullerton was born in Belfast on 8 March 1857.  He was brought up in a Presbyterian church and converted as a young man.  However he was influenced by the Baptist preacher Charles H Spurgeon, who became his friend and mentor, and he joined the Baptists.  He compiled several hymnbooks and wrote several hymns including his best-known, 'I cannot tell'.  Fullerton died on 17 August 1932.
  • I cannot tell why He, whom angels worship,
    Should set His love upon the sons of men,
    Or why, as Shepherd, He should seek the wand’rers,
    To bring them back, they know not how or when.
    But this I know, that He was born of Mary,
    When Bethl’hem’s manger was His only home,
    And that He lived at Nazareth and labored,
    And so the Savior, Savior of the world, is come.

  • I cannot tell how silently He suffered,
    As with His peace He graced this place of tears,
    Or how His heart upon the Cross was broken,
    The crown of pain to three and thirty years.
    But this I know, He heals the broken-hearted,
    And stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear,
    And lifts the burden from the heavy laden,
    For yet the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is here.

  • I cannot tell how He will win the nations,
    How He will claim His earthly heritage,
    How satisfy the needs and aspirations
    Of east and west, of sinner and of sage.
    But this I know, all flesh shall see His glory,
    And He shall reap the harvest He has sown,
    And some glad day His sun shall shine in splendor
    When He the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is known.

  • I cannot tell how all the lands shall worship,
    When, at His bidding, every storm is stilled,
    Or who can say how great the jubilation
    When all the hearts of men with love are filled.
    But this I know, the skies will thrill with rapture,
    And myriad, myriad human voices sing,
    And earth to heaven, and heaven to earth, will answer:
    At last the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is King.


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