324

O For a Closer Walk with God

Full Text

1 O for a closer walk with God,
a calm and heavenly frame,
a light to shine upon the road
that leads me to the Lamb!

2 Where is the blessedness I knew
when first I sought the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
of Jesus and his Word?

3 What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
the world can never fill.

4 The dearest idol I have known,
whate'er that idol be,
help me to tear it from thy throne
and worship only thee.

5 So shall my walk be close with God,
calm and serene my frame;
so purer light shall mark the road
that leads me to the Lamb.

see more

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Although Cowper frequently battled depression, doubt, and melancholy, this text speaks of a very intimate walk with the Lord. That walk is rooted in Scripture (st. 1), rejoices in conversion (st. 2-3), and denounces all idols that would usurp God's sover­eignty (st. 4). The text concludes with a return to the prayer of the first stanza, but now that prayer is sung with increased confidence and serenity.

 

Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

This song reminds us of the reality that we, though being children of God, do still wander from him, lose the sense of his presence, and need to return. Stanzas 2-4 are the prayer of a believer who has lost the sense of a one-time close walk with God. The Canons of Dort V, 4 teaches us that even true believers are led astray by the desires of the flesh, of the world and of Satan, and therefore are called to watch and pray that they may be restored to a “closer walk with God.”

324

O For a Closer Walk with God

Tune Information

Name
BEATITUDO
Key
F Major
Meter
8.6.8.6
324

O For a Closer Walk with God

Hymn Story/Background

William Cowper wrote this text on December 9, 1769, during the illness of his long-time friend and housekeep­er, Mrs. Unwin. In a letter written the next day Cowper voiced his anxieties about her condition and about what might happen to him if she died. Saying that he composed the text "to
surren­der up to the Lord" all his "dearest comforts," Cowper added,
Her illness has been a sharp trial to me. Oh, that it may have a sanctifying effect!
. . . I began to compose the verses yesterday morning before daybreak, but fell asleep at the end of the first two lines; when I awoke again, the third and fourth were whispered to my heart in a way which I have often experienced.
 
The text was published in Richard Conyers's Collection of Psalms and Hymns (1772) and, with some revision, in the Olney Hymns (1779). There it had the heading "Walk with God" and included a reference to Enoch in Genesis 5:24. The original fourth stanza is omitted.
 
Although Cowper frequently battled depression, doubt, and melancholy, this text speaks of a very intimate walk with the Lord. That walk is rooted in Scripture (st. 1), rejoices in conversion (st. 2-3), and denounces all idols that would usurp God's sover­eignty (st. 4). The text concludes with a return to the prayer of the first stanza, but now that prayer is sung with increased confidence and serenity.
 
Composed by John B. Dykes, BEATITUDO was published in the revised edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern (1875), where it was set to Isaac Watts' "How Bright Those Glorious Spirits Shine." Originally a word coined by Cicero, BEATITUDO means "the condition of blessedness."
 
Like many of Dykes's tunes, BEATITUDO has a convincing melodic contour and a somewhat chromatic harmonization. Sing the outer, framing stanzas in unison and the middle ones in parts. Use just enough organ to keep this hymn moving. Maintain one pulse per measure.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

William Cowper (pronounced "Cooper"; b. Berkampstead, Hertfordshire, England, 1731; d. East Dereham, Norfolk, England, 1800) is regarded as one of the best early Romantic poets. To biographers he is also known as "mad Cowper." His literary talents produced some of the finest English hymn texts, but his chronic depression accounts for the somber tone of many of those texts. Educated to become an attorney, Cowper was called to the bar in 1754 but never practiced law. In 1763 he had the opportunity to become a clerk for the House of Lords, but the dread of the required public examination triggered his tendency to depression, and he attempted suicide. His subsequent hospitalization and friendship with Morley and Mary Unwin provided emotional stability, but the periods of severe depression returned. His depression was deepened by a religious bent, which often stressed the wrath of God, and at times Cowper felt that God had predestined him to damnation.
 
For the last two decades of his life Cowper lived in Olney, where John Newton became his pastor. There he assisted Newton in his pastoral duties, and the two collaborated on the important hymn collection Olney Hymns (1779), to which Cowper contributed sixty-eight hymn texts.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

As a young child John Bacchus Dykes (b. Kingston-upon-Hull' England, 1823; d. Ticehurst, Sussex, England, 1876) took violin and piano lessons. At the age of ten he became the organist of St. John's in Hull, where his grandfather was vicar. After receiving a classics degree from St. Catherine College, Cambridge, England, he was ordained in the Church of England in 1847. In 1849 he became the precentor and choir director at Durham Cathedral, where he introduced reforms in the choir by insisting on consistent attendance, increasing rehearsals, and initiating music festivals. He served the parish of St. Oswald in Durham from 1862 until the year of his death. To the chagrin of his bishop, Dykes favored the high church practices associated with the Oxford Movement (choir robes, incense, and the like). A number of his three hundred hymn tunes are still respected as durable examples of Victorian hymnody. Most of his tunes were first published in Chope's Congregational Hymn and Tune Book (1857) and in early editions of the famous British hymnal, Hymns Ancient and Modern.
— Bert Polman
You have access to this FlexScore.
Download:
Are parts of this score outside of your desired range? Try transposing this FlexScore.
General Settings
Stanza Selection
Voice Selection
Text size:
Music size:
Transpose (Half Steps):
Capo:
Contacting server...
Contacting server...

Questions? Check out the FAQ

A separate copy of this score must be purchased for each choir member. If this score will be projected or included in a bulletin, usage must be reported to a licensing agent (e.g. CCLI, OneLicense, etc).

This is a preview of your FlexScore.
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us



Advertisements


It looks like you are using an ad-blocker. Ad revenue helps keep us running. Please consider white-listing Hymnary.org or subscribing to eliminate ads entirely and help support Hymnary.org.