Hymn of dedication - 1774
Benjamin Francis was born in Wales. Although he spoke only Welsh until he was twenty, he set his sights on becoming a Baptist minister and learned English so well that he pastored a Baptist church in Shortwood, Gloucester, England for over forty years. Attendance grew so greatly that he had to enlarge the building three times and build a chapel in a neighboring town. He wrote a hymn for use on this day, 18 September 1774 at the consecration of the third enlargement of the Shortwood church. We have selected three verses for today’s excerpt.
In sweet exalted strains
The King of glory praise
O’er heaven and earth he reigns
Through everlasting days
He with a nod the world controls
Sustains or sinks the distant poles.
Then King of Glory, come,
And with thy favour crown
This temple as thy dome,
This people as thy own:
Within this house, O deign to show
How God can dwell with men below.
Here, may thine ears attend
Our interceding crises,
And grateful praise ascend
All fragrant to the skies:
Here, may thy word melodious sound
And spread the joys of heav’n around.
Hatfield, Edwin F. The Poets of the Church. New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Co., 1884.