Sunday, 26 August 2012

Great Tune, Great Words

hid with xt

Charitie Lees Smith [another minister’s daughter] wrote this hymn – entitled “The Advocate” 150 years ago. She was only 22 at the time. It was one of my Dad’s favourite hymns, and we used to sing it to the tune ‘Breslau’ when I was younger. That tune is absolutely ancient – adapted in about 1625 from a tune originally written two hundred years before.

Before the throne of God above,
I have a strong, a perfect plea,
A great High Priest whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there! The risen Lamb,
My perfect, spotless righteousness;
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace!
One with Himself I cannot die,
My soul is purchased by His blood;
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Saviour and my God.

Lately the hymn has had a tune written especially for it, which many people will know. Vikki Cook penned her music in 2006. But we are singing it this morning to Parry’s great “Jerusalem”  This YouTube clip isn’t the best – but it gives you an idea of how it sounds.

Better words than Blake’s, I think!


  1. So glad you posted this, Angela. My husband discovered this hymn about two years ago and it has become very special to both of us. We have never heard it sung to Jerusalem before, but it is really beautiful too. Being British, but 'over here' Jerusalem has always been a favorite for us too -- except for the part about Jesus having visited England (think that has British Israelism roots?) So putting these wonderful words to this beautiful song is great. i visit your blog often but don't always comment. Blessings for this post!

    1. Thanks for the comment Chris- I visit your blog too.

      blessings x

  2. Love this hymn, but think I am probably best aquainted with the modern tune - never heard it to Jerusalem before, but better words.

    1. Our congregation sung it well, and with great enthusiasm this morning!

  3. LOVE this! Beautiful! This blessed my soul this morning, Angela!

  4. It's such a wonderful song, and I didn't know much of its history before (except realising that it was older words with a newer tune). So thanks, Ang!

    In terms of singing well-known words to different tunes, I worshipped in the Church of Scotland this morning...

  5. I hate to be in any way sacriligeous, but I have to say I much prefer the modern song. Somehow it moves me more. Maybe I can 'hear' the words more when I'm not thinking of the words to the other tune. I do so struggle to do two things at once, lol!!

    Arwedd xx

    1. I DO understand what you mean - hymn tunes are a very personal thing I think - and I sometimes struggle on a Sunday when the musicians play the 'wrong' tune to something. I usually make faces at the Pastor, and he just grins back at me, cos he knows what I am thinking!

  6. It's funny how a different tune can sometimes either bring a song to life, or make it less than exciting.

    What a wonderful lyric. "My name is graven on His hands" just brings tears to my eyes.

    P.S. Hearing of the tune "Jerusalem" makes me think of Angela Thirkell's books - several of her characters proclaimed it their favourite.

  7. P.S. This song woke echoes in my head of another hymn - "Arise, My Soul, Arise" - with very similarly beautiful lyrics, among which are these words: "Before the throne my surety stands, my name is written on His hands."


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