O Lord God of our fathers.@2 Chronicles 20:6
portrait
Henry M. Dunham (1853–1929)

Ben­ja­min Cope­land, 1898.

Pur­i­tan Hen­ry M. Dun­ham, 1905 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Written dur­ing the stir­ring ev­ents that took place at the close of the Spa­nish-Am­er­i­can War, when Por­to [sic] Ri­co on the east and the Phi­lip­pines in the far west came un­der the stars and stripes. Ref­er­ence is made to our wid­en­ing bounds in the fourth verse.

It was writ­ten while the au­thor was pas­tor of the Rich­mond Av­e­nue Me­tho­dist Epis­co­pal Church, Buf­fa­lo, N. Y., and was first pub­lished in Zi­on’s Her­ald, Bos­ton, under the title Thanks­giv­ing Day, Nov­em­ber 18, 1903.

It is a whole­some and tru­ly Chris­tian hymn of thanks­giv­ing.

Nutter, pp. 370–71


The nam­ing of the tune Theodore has an in­ter­est­ing his­to­ry. When the com­pos­er first played it ov­er to one of the ed­it­ors, the lat­ter ex­claimed, That tune sounds stren­u­ous! This ad­jec­tive, so oft­en ap­plied to Pre­si­dent The­o­dore Roo­se­velt, at once sug­gest­ed Roose­velt as a name for the tune. But as that seemed too obv­ious, they chose in­stead the President’s first name, The­o­dore.

After the [Me­tho­dist] Hymn­al ap­peared, the Rev. Ben­ja­min Cope­land, au­thor of Our fa­thers’ God, to thee we raise, to which the tune The­o­dore is set, wrote to ask why the tune was called by that name. Did the com­pos­er know that the au­thor had lost a lit­tle boy whose name was The­o­dore?

The reply came to Dr. Cope­land that the tune had been named for the Pre­si­dent. Where­up­on Dr. Cope­land re­plied that the co­in­ci­dence was ev­en more re­mar­ka­ble be­cause when Roo­se­velt was po­lice com­mis­sion­er in New York he had been such an ad­mir­er of the com­mis­sion­er’s in­te­gri­ty and de­vo­tion to du­ty that he had named son af­ter him.

Price, pp. 210–11

Our fathers’ God, to Thee we raise,
In cheerful song, our grateful praise;
From shore to shore the anthems rise;
Accept a nation’s sacrifice.

Incline our hearts with godly fear
To seek Thy face, Thy Word revere;
Cause Thou all wrongs, all strife to cease,
And lead us in the paths of peace.

Here may the weak a welcome find,
And wealth increase with lowly mind;
A refuge, still for all oppressed,
O be our land forever blest!

Thy wisdom, Lord, Thy guidance lend,
Where’er our widening bounds extend;
Inspire our wills to speed Thy plan:
The kingdom of the Son of Man!

Through all the past Thy truth we trace,
Thy ceaseless care, Thy signal grace;
O may our children’s children prove
Thy sovereign, everlasting love.