Holy Fortitude

Representative Text

1 Am I a soldier of the cross,
a foll'wer of the Lamb,
and shall I fear to own his cause,
or blush to speak his name?

2 Must I be carried to the skies
on flow'ry beds of ease,
while others fought to win the prize,
and sailed thro' bloody seas?

3 Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
to help me on to God?

4 Since I must fight if I would reign:
increase my courage, Lord;
I'll bear the toil, endure the pain,
supported by thy Word.

5 Thy saints, in all this glorious war,
shall conquer, though they die;
they view the triumph from afar,
and seize it with their eye.

6 When that illustrious day shall rise,
and all thine armies shine
in robes of vict'ry through the skies,
the glory shall be thine.

Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #539

Author: Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts was the son of a schoolmaster, and was born in Southampton, July 17, 1674. He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In 1698, he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St., London. In 1702, he became pastor. In 1712, he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas' pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. It was a residence most favourable for his health, and for the prosecution of his literary… Go to person page >

Notes

Am I a soldier of the Cross? I. Watts. [Holy Fortitude.] Appended to his Sermons, published in 1721-24, in 3 vols., vol. iii., and intended to accompany a sermon on 1 Cor. xvi. 13. It is in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and entitled "Holy Fortitude." In Spurgeon's Our Own Hymn Book, No. 671, st. v. and vi. are omitted, but the rest are unaltered. Original full text in all editions of Watts's Works. In the New Congregational Hymn Book, No. 623, it is given in an abbreviated and slightly altered form as — "Are we the soldiers of the Cross?" This is also found in Snepp's Songs of Grace & Glory, 1872, and other collections. It dates as early as the Leeds Hymn Book, 1853. The American use of this hymn is extensive.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
================
Am I a soldier of the Cross? p. 55, ii. In some annotations of this hymn we have found it stated that it is a portion of "Do I believe what Jesus saith?" that the hymn in its full form appeared in Watts's Hymns & Sacred Songs, 1709; and that the portion beginning "Am I a soldier of the Cross?" subsequently appeared in his Sermons, 1721-24. The facts are (1) both hymns appeared in the Sermons, &c, 1721-24, “Do I believe, &c," for Ser. 30, and "Am I a soldier, &c." for Ser. 31; and (2) the two were united as one hymn, and included in the Hymns and Sacred Songs, Bk. i., No. 37, Pt. ii. sometime in the present century. We find it in T. Nelson's edition of Watts, 1844, and others, but in no edition before 1800.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)

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