Sunday, July 24

Sunday's Hymn: Reader's Choice

This week's hymn is chosen for us by Jeri.
I went to church with my grandmother (my Granny) in rural Alabama when I was a child, and I loved to go to her Sunday school class with her and be around all those old people. This was a hymn she used to sing around the house as she worked and when she rocked me sometimes...I don't remember if they sang it in church or not, but it has a plaintive mountain-folk feel, being in a minor key, and I'd love to know the history of it. Anyway, it's called, I guess, "I Will Arise".

It's called "I Will Arise" in many southern U.S. sources, but in the Cyberhymnal, it's called "Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy".
Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Weary

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.


I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God's free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you're better,
You will never come at all.

View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies.
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?

Lo! th'incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood:
Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.

[Update: Kim had chosen this one, too, but I hadn't noticed. She writes:
"Venture on Him, venture wholly, let no other trust intrude"--I can't sing that without my heart lifting in praise and tears springing to my eyes.

If there was ever a few words that could keep a Pilgrim's feet on the path, I think those are the ones. "Venture on Him, venture wholly, Let no other trust intrude"

At our church when we sing it that verse it is followed by, "None but Jesus, none but Jesus, can do helpless sinners good."

Jesus can do helpless sinners good; no one else can.

An amazing hymn and one that lifts my heart.]

The words were written by Joseph Hart, a British preacher, and published in 1759. The tune is called "Restoration". It's an Appalacian folk tune published by William Walker in The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion in 1835. William Walker used the shaped note system to compile these songs, and this song is still often sung by shaped note singing groups, usually with the words to "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" for the verses and the words from "Come Ye Sinners" for the refrain. You can listen to one shaped note choir singing this tune here. (Shaped note groups sing the names of the notes the first time through, and the words to the song after that.)

If that's too much for you, listen to a simple piano.

You don't know what shaped notes are? I remember my mom talking about them. She'd experienced them either singing in little churches while we lived in Tennessee, or perhaps even with some her own relatives from Missouri. In the shaped note system, the various notes are distinguished by their shapes rather than their placement on the staff. Some old hymnals have both types of notation, with shaped notes placed on a staff, so people acquainted with either system can sight read the music.

[Update: You'll find a bit of an explanation of shape-note singing here, and here is a whole page of links to midi files of traditional shape-note singing groups.

If you're interested in traditional American Christian music, you'll probably find this page as much fun as I did.]

You can choose a hymn to be featured here on Sunday, too.

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