Hymn of the week: Hark the glad sound! The Saviour comes

Philip Doddridge wrote his Advent hymn in December 1735, under the title ‘Christ’s Message, from Luke iv. 18, 19.’

John Telford (The New Methodist Hymnbook Illustrated p.58) offers the following account of the author:

Doddridge was the grandson of a minister ejected in 1662, and the twentieth child of a London tradesman. His mother, the daughter of a Protestant refugee from Bohemia, taught him the Bible stories by some Dutch tiles in their sitting-room. He declined an offer from the Duchess of Bedford to send him to the University in preparation for Orders, and went to a Nonconformist seminary at Kibworth, in Leicestershire, where he became pastor in 1723. In 1729 he took a pastorate at Castle Hill, Northampton, and trained two hundred students for the ministry and other professions. Wesley called to see him on September 10, 1745. ‘It was about the hour when he was accustomed to expound a portion of Scripture to the young gentlemen under his care. He desired me to take his place. It may be that the seed was not altogether sown in vain.’ At his request Doddridge sent Wesley, In June, 1746, a list of books suitable for a library for young preachers.

His Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul has had enormous influence. It had a large share in Wilberforce’s conversion. Doddridge was always delicate, and at his birth seemed so lifeless that he would have been buried had it not been for the intervention of the nurse. When threatened with consumption he was ordered to take a sea voyage, and died at Lisbon, October 26, 1751.

Here follows the hymn in its entirety. However in British Methodist hymn books verses 2, 4 and 6 are customarily omitted.

Hark, the glad sound! The Saviour comes,
The Saviour promised long;
Let every heart prepare a throne,
And every voice a song.

On Him the Spirit, largely poured,
Exerts His sacred fire;
Wisdom and might, and zeal and love,
His holy breast inspire.

He comes the prisoners to release,
In Satan’s bondage held;
The gates of brass before Him burst,
The iron fetters yield.

He comes, from thickest films of vice
To clear the mental ray,
And on the eyes oppressed with night
To pour celestial day.

He comes the broken heart to bind,
The bleeding soul to cure;
And with the treasures of his grace
To enrich the humble poor.

His silver trumpets publish loud
The jub’lee of the Lord
Our debts are all remitted now
Our heritage restored.

Our glad hosannas, Prince of Peace,
Thy welcome shall proclaim;
And heaven’s eternal arches ring
With thy belovèd Name.

Philip Doddridge 1702-51


About Holloway Rev

Paul Weary is a Methodist minister living and working in Holloway, North London.
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