Category Archives: The Psalms of Davey – My hymns
The Psalms of Davey is a cycle of ten hymns written by me many years ago, in England and in Russia. I may add to them one day, but in the main I said in these hymns what I wanted to say in the main, and they make up a cycle I am happy with. Please go ahead and sing them in your meetings. The links to the tunes are given in the posts wherever possible.
This is the eighth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org To find the category of “Psalms of Davey” please review the categories section in the side bar.
8 . “THE LORD ABOVE IS KEEPING HIS WATCH UPON MY SOUL”
(Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, October-November 1985. Music John Pyke Hullah (1812-1884) Tune name “Bentley”. The tune is usually sung to the excellent hymn “Sometimes a light surprises the christian while he sings”, by the very famous poet and hymnwriter William Cowper. The hymn is such a favorite of mine that I would like to put Cowper’s words here for your perusal first:
Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, Who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.
In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.
It can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people, too;
Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.
Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice,
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.
I have used Hullah’s tune for a similar topic, confidence in God, which seems to echo through the notes of this hymn. I cannot compare my poetry to that of Cowper, for all I might like to try, but at least the theme is the same.
First published 27th June 2004, on usenetposts.com
The Lord above is keeping
His watch upon my soul
His guardian care unsleeping
Keeps me both strong and whole
His angels watch my feet tread
They make secure my track
My going out is guarded
So too my coming back.
The nets and gins of satan
Are set to do me harm
Yet God my Father keeps me
With His almighty arm
The greatest tests and trials
Can scarcely me distress
Nor demons’ practised wiles
For long my soul depress.
The providence and caring
Of God, my Lord on high
Shall keep me from despairing
And guide me till I die
Till I, with eyes immortal
His guardian angels see
Yea more, at heaven’s portal
“The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (Psalm 121 v 8)
- Why Are the Psalms Numbered Differently? (jimmyakin.com)
- Psalms 2 – The Reign of the LORD’s Anointed (revthechristianlife.wordpress.com)
- Amazing Grace (theophilusmaranatha.wordpress.com)
This is the seventh of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org To find the category of “Psalms of Davey” please review the categories section in the side bar.
7. “I SOUGHT THE PRAISE OF SINNERS”
(Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, 12th October 1985. Music Chretien d’Urhan (1790-1845) Tune name “Rutherford“. People interested in historical curiosities, don’t overlook to click on the link I gave to the wikipedia article on the composer, as his life was interesting and the end of it something of an enigma.)
The tune is named for Samuel Rutherford, and is normally sung to Anne Cousin’s hymn The sands of time are sinking, which when unabridged is one of the longest hymns in use, as well as some of the best religious poetry in the English language.
My text cannot compare in beauty with the usual use of the tune I have selected for it, but the state of mind in it is something which I, and I am sure not only I, have needed to face up to again and again. Pride is a very sneaky sin, you can even feel pride for believing you’ve dealt with your pride. I don’t think I’ve managed to perfectly rid myself of wrongful pride for more than a few seconds of my entire waking life, if that, which is why I cannot but hope on the mercy of God, and why I say that those Christians who believe we can only endure to the end and be saved if we become somehow free of sin, (which when I compare that to my own experience seems frankly laughable) and who reject the doctrine of eternal security of believers unless they can attain to some sinless perfection on earth – these people either don’t have the same problems as I do or they just gloss over them. Actually it is simply a lie from the devil, who will put anything in a person’s mind that will stop them from going to God repeatedly for forgiveness as often as he goes to the tap for water, which is the true experience of the penitent sinner. I hope someone out there is blessed by these words as they resonate with your own experience.
I sought the praise of sinners,
Their glance and their regard
I sought their admiration
And now my heart is hard
Lord, make me poor in spirit
That I might humble be
Cut back my vain delusions
Be all in all to me.
My soul is sick and suffering
Lord, now I pray Thee, cleanse me
From sinful pride me free
O set me free from bondage
From seeking praise of men
And may I seek Thy glory
Not vaunt myself again.
This hypocrite repentant
Lord, purge in sovereign grace
And may my spirit’s leaven
Dissolve before Thy face
Lord, grant me self-abasement
And singleness of mind
To worship Thee for only
In Thee my all I find.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5 v 3)
- Approach, My Soul, the Mercy Seat (challies.com)
- Contemporary Hymns (challies.com)
- 1 reviews of The Best Worship Songs of the 90s (Various Artists) (rateitall.com)
This is the sixth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org
6. “FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST”
Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, 10th October 1985. Music Robert Jackson (1842-1914) Tune name “Trentham”. The tune appears to be named after the village of Trentham near Stoke-on-Trent, England, which has a pleasant lake backed by hills and the river Trent and the canal nearby. It is my favourite of the four famous tunes we have from this composer. It is of course a Short Meter tune, and ideal for meditative hymns. Most commonly it is sung to “Breathe on me breath of God”.
First published on the net on 24th April 2004
(NB. The picture to the right was taken in 1985, this is how I looked when I wrote this hymn.)
For me to live is Christ,
For me to die is gain
Lord, may this blessed truth me guide,
In comfort and in pain.
Not I it is who live
But Christ doth dwell within.
My former, carnal self hath died
And I am dead to sin.
The life which now I live
I live by faith alone,
In Christ who loved me and gave
Himself, me to atone.
So may the Lord restrain
Me from all other plea
And may the cross of Christ my God
My only glory be.
“”For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”(Philippians 1 v 21) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2 v 20) “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6 v 14)
This is the fifth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org
5. “O LORD OF HOSTS, I BOW TO THEE”
(Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, 5-7 October 1985. Music Dmitry Stepanovich Bortniansky (1751-1825) Tune name “Russia”. The tune is well known in both Protestant and Catholic Churches, one of the more frequent songs of worship heard in Poland , though to a slightly different arrangement. The tune will also go well with “Ombersly” (see the previous hymn) by William Henry Gladstone. I also composed a tune for this called “Alexandra”, but as yet I have no midi for it.)
First published on the net on 4th April 2004
(NB. The picture to the right was taken in 1985, this is how I looked when I wrote this hymn.)
O Lord of Hosts, I bow to Thee
With all my heart, on bended knee
But Lord, my soul is dank and dim,
Like foisty tinder, soiled by sin.
Fain would I, Lord, to Thee make haste
Pour forth my prayer, nor moment waste.
Yet deep within my soul I glare
And see vague guilt still lurking there.
O search me, Lord, and try my heart
O sift my soul in every part!
O may I all the substance see
Of how I have offended thee.
O how unworthy I have been
My very nature how unclean;
How selfish, hard and proud and cold
How full of vanities untold.
Yet all this wrong, O Lord of might,
Is not too much for Thee to right:
For Christ the Lamb who bore my pain
Could not have suffered death in vain.
Whilst I consider, by Thy grace,
This spotless Lamb who took my place
And bore my curse, may I begin
To brim with thankful love within.
Then may I pour forth raptured praise
And bless the Lord’s most holy ways,
For He, my strength and shield and song
Now my salvation is become.
“The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.”(Psalm 118 v 14)
This is the fourth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org
4. “O PRECIOUS SAVIOUR, DRAW THEE NEAR”
Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, 2nd October 1985. Music William Henry Gladstone (1840-1892) Tune name “Ombersley”. The composer was the eldest son of British Prime Minister William E. Gladstone, and was himself a member of parliament for twenty years. The tune is named for his political constituency, but despite the political aspect, I have to say I consider it to be one of the finest gentle devotional tunes, borne out of the composer’s painstaking study of the history of sacred music.)
First published 4th April 2004
O precious Saviour, draw thee near,
For Thy sweet mercy’s sake, me hear
I am a sinner, lost and lone,
Gracious Lord, take me for Thine own.
O blessed Saviour, in Thy grace
Within mine heart take sovereign place.
O Lord, accept this lowly throne:
Gracious Lord, take me for Thine own.
Lord Jesus, Thou dost reign on high
Yet dost to my poor soul draw nigh,
And Thou dost hear my sin-sick groan
And Thou dost take me for Thine own.
Lord! Hold me back from tempting schemes
And from fulfilling sinful dreams.
How can I now such sin condone?
For I am Thine, and not mine own.
Lord, of my will, and mind and heart,
O take control in every part!
Make me no more to satan prone:
I am not his, I am Thine own.
Lord, since Thou dost within me dwell
Do Thou me keep from pow’rs of hell.
For Thou hast suffered to atone
All those whom Thou dost call Thine own.
And at times end, when sinners all
Before God’s judgement seat shall fall,
Those who ne’er did repent shall moan
That they remained, till death, their own.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Corinthians 6 vv 19-20)
This is the third of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org
3. “THOU ART THE LORD WHO ART HIGHLY EXALTED”
Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, 1985. Music Alexey Fyodorovich Lvov Tune name “Russian Hymn”, also known as “The Tsarist national anthem” – the pre-Revolutionary Russian National Anthem. This is one of the finest national anthems in the world and not currently used as an anthem by any country, but the first two lines of the verse will be familiar from Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, where it is mixed with the crash of the cannon and snatches of ‘La Marsellaise’ to produce one of the most evocative pieces of classical music ever composed. At present, Russia, being a republic, chose after the dismantling of the Soviet Union by the power of God and the prayer of the Church, to retain for itself instead of a Tsarist hymn, the old Soviet anthem known as “Soyuz nerushimy” but with new, pluralist words. The Tsarist hymn is not even widely known among the youth of Russia today, the most the man in the street is likely to remember are the three opening words; “Bozhe, tsarya khrani!” (“God save the King”) To which I can only say that the Tsar of all the Russias now cannot be saved by God. For God himself, the LORD Jesus Christ, is Tsar of all the Russias and of all earthly and heavenly dominions, and Vladimir Putin, who is to my mind a very good President for the Russian Federation, is but an instrument in His hands. So the best use for this majestic piece of music is as a hymn to God. It is widely sung in English speaking Churches throughout the world to the hymn “God of the covenant, triune Jehovah”, and also for “God the omnipotent king who ordaineth” which are both much finer hymns than this is, but nevertheless, maybe this will catch someone at the right mood and be a source of comfort or inspiration.
Thou art the Lord who art highly exalted,
Far over earth and Thy creatures below
Thou art the sov’reign of all creation,
Thou standest sure when to ashes we go.
We are rebellious, thou art yet sov’reign
Thou hast our life breath in Thine holy hand
Sinners, we howl in our hard-hearted stupor
Still Thou art king, and Thy statutes all stand.
We are idolatrous, Thou art the true God
Thou art o’erall and Thou rulest in pow’r.
Search, Lord, our hearts, and, saviour, within us
Shatter the brickwork of Babylon’s tow’r.
Thou art almighty, Thou art all-holy
All heathen gods are but ashes and dust.
Thou art the Judge and Thou art the Saviour
Thy works declare Thou art perfect and just.
“Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18v25b)
This is the second of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They will be reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org
2. “ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, HOLY NATION”
This one was written in Hemel Hempstead on August 1985, but verse 3 was added in November 1988. Music Franz J. Haydn 1797 Tune name “Austria“, also known as “Das Deutschlandlied” – the German National Anthem. When I wrote this I had a mind to use the East German national anthem “Auferstanden aus Ruinen und der Zukunft zugewandt” for this hymn, and in this way to reclaim for God a Communist tune, but since shortly afterwards the prayers of many people were answered and Communist hegemony in East Germany crumbled away as all the principalities that ruled Luther’s land at any time, the point became moot, and I prefer the anthem of the united Germany for this hymn. They became a united nation, but one day the elect from all over the world will be united as one.)
Royal Priesthood! Holy Nation!
Shew forth praises of your God!
Hail Him, chosen generation,
Who hath washed you in His blood!
From before the ages’ dawning
He His own elect hath known
Who, on Resurrection’s morning
Worshipping, shall throng His throne.
Ye were bound in sin’s perdition
Wand’ring lost in blackest night
Jesus called you to contrition
Shone you o’er with marvellous light!
On that threshold of salvation
Lo! Your hearts felt newborn thrill;
There ye joined the Holy Nation
And that Nation waxeth still.
Yea, the Lord himself hath claimed you
Through the work of God the Son.
In electing grace He named you
By Christ’s merit ye are won
In the extradition glorious
Ye shall meet Him face to Face
When the Church shall rise victorious
To her endless dwelling-place.
What a calling! What redemption!
Thus our gracious God we bless.
How could we not sing His praises?
To His name give holiness!
Worship, chosen generation,
Praise, ye ransomed by His blood
Royal Priesthood, Holy Nation
Bow your hearts before your God!
“…But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
This is the first of a cycle of Hymns I wrote mainly while at University. This is a picture of me taken at that time.
They will be reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org
1. “O LORD OUR GOD, HOW GREAT THOU ART”
First published 10th January 2004
O Lord, Our God, how great
Thou art, in all the Earth!
How excellent Thy name
Who causedst heaven’s birth.
Who hast Thy glory set on high
O Lord, Thy name we magnify.
Out of the mouths of babes
Thou hast ordained strength
Thine enemies to still
And be avenged at length
Lord, when Thy weak ones cry to Thee
Thou art at hand to set us free.
When I consider all
The works Thy hand hath made
The sun, the moon and stars
Whose courses Thou hast laid
Then what is man, that Thou shouldst send
Thine only Son, his soul to mend?
Thy mercy unto man
Transcendeth all our thought
Our sins were sore to scan
But Jesus Christ us sought
He bore our curse and misery
In agony on Calvary
Because Christ all hath done
We hurry to believe
And bitterly repent
New, holy hearts receive
In filthy rags we did despair
But now Christ’s righteousness we wear
Redeemed, restored we stand
Thee ever to adore
By grace constrained to love,
We seek to know Thee more
In full assurance of Thy grace
We press to bow before Thy face
” 1. O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 2. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 3. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4. What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5. For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 7. All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8. The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 9. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8, Authorised Version)