Sunday, February 09, 2020

The gospel uniform

I referenced the following hymn January the 27th when I wrote in memory of Burl Russell. It is a Common Meter hymn titled “The gospel uniform,” No. 184 in Benjamin Lloyd’s The Primitive Hymns. In churches in East Texas, it is often sung with the tune on page 75 of The Sacred Harp, I Would See Jesus. That tune is Common Meter Doubled, so two lines of the stanza are sung to coordinate with the full amount of the tune.

1. Dressed uniform the soldiers are,
When duty calls abroad;
Not purchased by their cost or care,
But by their Prince bestowed.

2. ’Tis wrought by Jesus’ skillful hand,
And tinged in his own blood;
It makes the Christian gazing stand
To view this robe of God.

3. No art of man can weave this robe,
’Tis of such texture fine;
Nor could the wealth of all this globe
By purchase make it mine.

4. ’Tis of one piece, and wove throughout ;
So curious wove that none
Can dress up in this seamless coat,
Till Jesus puts it on.

5. This vesture never waxes old.
No spot thereon can fall;
It makes the Christian brisk and bold
And dutiful withal.

6. This robe put on me, Lord, each day.
And it shall hide my shame;
Shall make me fight, and sing, and pray
And bless my Captain’s name.

I have been unable to determine the author of the words. It appears at least as early as 1832 in A New Selection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs: Designed for Prayer, Conference and Camp-meetings with ten stanzas.

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