Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Preacher’s Farewell

A portion of the following hymn (the first two stanzas) is used twice in The Sacred Harp, 2012 Cooper Edition, with the tunes Essay (191) and Winning Souls (469). The earliest source I found for the hymn is A Selection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs, In Two Parts, by John Purify (Raleigh, NC: Bell and Lawrence, 1823). The 1851 edition/printing of A Selection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs by J. Gales and Sons presents is as below, where it is titled “The Preacher’s Farewell” and is Number 220.

1. See how the wicked’s kingdom is falling ev’ry day,
And still our blessed Jesus is winning souls away;
But O, how I am tempted, no mortal tongue can tell,
So often I am surrounded with enemies from hell.

2. With weeping and with wailing, my Jesus I have found,
To crucify old nature, and break its kingdom down;
Dear children, don’t you tire, but march on in the way,
But Jesus will stand by you, and be your guard and stay.

3. If sinners will serve Satan, and join with one accord,
Dear brethren, as for my part, I’m bound to serve the Lord;
And if you will go with me, pray give to me your hand,
And we’ll march on together, unto the promised land.

4. Thou dear to me, my brethren, each one of you do feel,
My duty to my Jesus compels me now to yield;
But while this parting grieves us, I humbly ask your pray’rs,
To bear me up in trouble, and ease me of my fears.

5. And now, my loving brothers, I bid you all farewell;
With you, my loving sisters, I can no longer dwell;
Farewell to all that’s mourning, I hope the Lord you’ll find,
To ease you of your trouble, and give you peace of mind.

6. Farewell, poor careless sinners, I love you dearly well;
I’ve labor’d much to bring you with Jesus Christ to dwell,
I now am bound to leave you, O tell me, will you go;
But if you won’t decide it, I’ll bid you all adieu!

7. We’ll bid farewell to sorrow, to sickness, care, and pain,
And mount aloft to Jesus for evermore to reign;
We’ll join to sing his praises, above the ethereal blue,
And then, poor careless sinners, what will become of you?

William Walker’s Southern Harmony and Musical Companion gives eight stanzas with the tune Essay, and includes this below as the fourth stanza[i]:

Through troubles and distresses, we’ll make our way to God;
Though earth and hell oppose us, we’ll keep the heavenly road.
Our Jesus went before us, and many sorrows bore,
And we who follow after, can never meet with more.

Walker also uses the first stanza with his tune The Christian’s Conflicts.[ii]

[i] The Sacred Harp by White and King in 1844 originally had eight stanzas as well.
[ii] Curiously, Walker gives Baptist Harmony, No. 455 (probably the one by Staunton Burdett), as the source of the words for Essay, and The Dover Selection, No. 198 (“Christian Conflicts and Adieu”), as the source of the words for The Christian’s Conflicts. The Dover Selection has all eight stanzas, and Baptist Harmony possibly does as well.

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