Scripture Verse

O Lord God of our fathers. 2 Chronicles 20:6

Introduction

portrait
Henry M. Dunham (1853–1929)

Words: Ben­ja­min Cope­land, 1898.

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

Alternate Tune:

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Cope­land (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

Introduction

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

Lyrics

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.