Sunday, September 16, 2018

Joy in the Holy Ghost

John Mason’s hymn “A Song of Praise for Joy in the Holy Ghost,” first published in Mason’s Spiritual Songs, or Songs of Praise to Almighty God, 1683, consists of 5 stanzas of 8 lines (C.M.D.), and 1 stanza of 4 lines (C.M.)

1. My Soul doth magnify the Lord,
My Spirit doth rejoice
In God, my Saviour and my God:
I hear his joyful Voice.
I need not go abroad for Joy,
Who have a Feast at Home;
My sighs are turnèd into Songs:
The Comforter is come.

2. Down from on high the Blessed Dove
Is come into my Breast,
To witness God’s Eternal Love;
This is my Heavenly Feast.
This makes me Abba Father cry,
With Confidence of Soul ;
It makes me cry, My Lord, my God,
And that without Controul.

3. There is a Stream which issues forth
From God’s Eternal Throne,
And from the Lamb a living Stream,
Clear as the Crystal Stone.
The Stream doth water Paradise,
It makes the Angels sing:
One Cordial Drop revives my Heart,
Hence all my Joys do spring.

4. Such Joys as are unspeakable,
And full of Glory too;
Such hidden Manna, hidden Pearls,
As Worldlings do not know.
Eye hath not seen, nor Ear hath heard,
From Fancy ‘tis conceal’d,
What thou, Lord, hast laid up for thine,
And hast to me reveal’d.

5. I see thy Face, I hear thy Voice,
I taste thy sweetest Love;
My Soul doth leap: But, O for Wings,
The Wings of Noah’s Dove!
Then should I flee far hence away,
Leaving this World of Sin:
Then should my Lord put forth his Hand,
And kindly take me in.

6. Then should my Soul with Angels feast
On joys that always last:
Blest be my God, the God of Joy,
Who gives me here a Taste.

The fifth stanza and a revised sixth stanza are used for the Sacred Harp song Noah’s Dove, by C. J. White:

1. I see Thy face, I hear Thy voice,
I taste Thy sweetest love;
My soul doth leap, but O, for wings,
The wings of Noah’s Dove;
Then would I fly far hence away,
And leave this world of sin:
Then would my Lord put forth his Hand,
And kindly take me in.

2. Then should my soul with angels feast
On joys that ever last,
Refin’d and full, and always new,
Delightful to the taste.
Bless’d be my God, the God of love,
Who gives me here a crumb,
And fills my soul with earnest hope
Till I arrive at home.

I am not sure when the revision of stanza six occurred, but the earliest I found as above is in The Cluster of Spiritual Songs, Divine Hymns, and Sacred Poems by Jesse Mercer (Hymn CCLXX, pages 216-217).[i] It is found coupled with William Bradbury’s tune Brown in The Primitive Baptist Hymnal: a Choice Collection of Hymns and Tunes of Early and Late Composition (No. 462, page 178) by Sears and Ausmus. J. C. White’s song was first published in The New Sacred Harp in 1884.

[i] It is also in The Dover Selection of Spiritual Songs: With an Appendix of Choice Hymns. Either of these books (Mercer or Broaddus) might be a likely source for White’s text, assuming he was a Missionary Baptist like much of the rest of the B. F. White family. It is also found in Benjamin Lloyd’s Primitive Hymns, a popular hymn book which might be a source as well.

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