Scripture Verse

Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord. Psalm 113:1


James Montgomery (1771–1854)
National Portrait Gallery


Words: James Mont­go­me­ry, 1789.

Music: Tru­ro, from Psal­mo­dia Ev­an­ge­li­ca, by Tho­mas Will­iams, 1789 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Holland, in his Mem­oirs of Mont­go­me­ry, says that af­ter Mont­gom­ery ran away from the Mo­ra­vi­an school at Ful­neck, he lived from 1788 to June 19, 1789, with one Lock­wood, at Mir­field, near Leeds. This person was a Mo­ra­vi­an. He kept a small re­tail shop, and went by the name of the “Fine Bread Bak­er.” Hol­land says:—

Of the con­duct of Mont­go­me­ry be­hind the coun­ter we ne­ver heard much; he did not re­main there more than a year and a half; he had lit­tle to do, and still less in­cli­na­tion for the em­ploy­ment, such as it was. While there he com­posed the lar­gest part of the po­em of Alf­red, and amongst his smal­ler piec­es a me­tri­cal ver­sion of the 113th Psalm, which, ma­ny years af­ter­wards, was pu­blished, with some ver­bal al­te­ra­tions, in the col­lect­ion [Cot­ter­ill’s Sel., 1819] now in use un­der the aus­pic­es of the Arch­bish­op of York in Va­ri­ous church­es in the dio­cese and else­where.

Memoirs, i. p. 73

This ver­sion of Ps. 113 is on p. 57 of Cot­ter­ill’s Sel., 1819, in 5 st. of 4 l. It was re­pub­lished in Mont­go­me­ry’s Songs of Zi­on, 1822, and is found in sev­er­al mo­dern hymn­books. It ve­ry fre­quent­ly be­gins, Serv­ants of God! in joy­ful lays. This is the first line of the last stan­za, and is sub­sti­tut­ed for the orig­in­al op­en­ing of the hymn. This is the ear­li­est of Mont­go­me­ry’s hymns to which a date can be giv­en.

Julian, p. 1053


Servants of God, in joy­ful lays,
Sing ye the Lord Je­ho­vah’s praise;
His glo­ri­ous name let all adore,
From age to age, for­ev­er­more.

Blest be that name, su­preme­ly blest,
From the sun’s ris­ing to its rest;
Above the heav’ns His pow’r is known,
Through all the earth His good­ness shown.

Who is like God? so great, so high,
He bows Him­self to view the sky;
And yet, with con­des­cend­ing grace,
Looks down up­on the human race.

He hears the un­com­plain­ing moan
Of those who sit and weep alone;
He lifts the mourn­er from the dust;
In Him the poor may safe­ly trust.

O then, aloud, in joy­ful lays,
Sing to the Lord Je­ho­vah’s praise;
His sav­ing name let all adore,
From age to age, for­ev­er­more.