Wednesday, December 19, 2007


This hymn alludes to the gospel account of parents bringing their little children to the Lord Jesus (stanzas 1 and 3; see Mark 10:13-16). Stanza two sets forward the Reformed and biblical view of God's covenant with believers and their children (Genesis 17:7). The work of the Holy Spirit is sung about in stanza 4 (Titus 3:5). The fourth stanza is a summary of the prayer of thanksgiving after baptism. It would be very suitable to sing during a service of infant baptism or in connection with Lord's Day 27 of the Heidelberg Catechism.

The author, Elijah Embree Hoss (1849-1919) was a Methodist Episcopal pastor in the USA, musician and church historian.

The tune, MELCOMBE, was composed by the Englishman Samuel Webbe (1740-1816). Webbe's father died soon after Samuel was born without providing financial security for the family. Thus Samuel Webbe received little education and was apprenticed to a cabinet maker at the age of eleven. However, he was determined to study and taught himself Latin, Greek, Hebrew, German and Latin while working as an apprentice. He received musical training from an organist who met him and saw in him some potential. Webbe went on to become an accomplished organist and composed many hymn tunes, motets, madrigals and choral works. This song is best sung in two long lines with a small pause halfway through for a breath (see the periods halfway through each stanza).

Sources: Psalter Hymnal Handbook; Internet

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