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Choosing the Better Part

Beset with snares on every hand

Author: Philip Doddridge (1755)
Tune: HEBRON (Mason)
Published in 160 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

1 Beset with snares on every hand,
In life’s uncertain path I stand:
Saviour divine! diffuse Thy light,
To guide my doubtful footsteps right.

2 Engage this roving treacherous heart
Wisely to choose the better part;
To scorn the trifles of a day,
For joys that none can take away.

3 Then let the wildest storms arise;
Let tempests mingle earth and skies:
No fatal shipwreck shall I fear,
But all my treasures with me bear.

4 If Thou, my Jesus, still be nigh,
Cheerful I live, and joyful die:
Secure, when mortal comforts flee,
To find ten thousand worlds in Thee.

Source: Church Book: for the use of Evangelical Lutheran congregations #450

Author: Philip Doddridge

Philip Doddridge (b. London, England, 1702; d. Lisbon, Portugal, 1751) belonged to the Non-conformist Church (not associated with the Church of England). Its members were frequently the focus of discrimination. Offered an education by a rich patron to prepare him for ordination in the Church of England, Doddridge chose instead to remain in the Non-conformist Church. For twenty years he pastored a poor parish in Northampton, where he opened an academy for training Non-conformist ministers and taught most of the subjects himself. Doddridge suffered from tuberculosis, and when Lady Huntington, one of his patrons, offered to finance a trip to Lisbon for his health, he is reputed to have said, "I can as well go to heaven from Lisbon as from Nort… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Beset with snares on every hand
Title: Choosing the Better Part
Author: Philip Doddridge (1755)
Source: Published posthumously in Hymns Founded on Various Texts in the Holy Scriptures, by Job Orton (J. Eddowes and J. Cotton, 1755)
Language: English
Publication Date: 1755
Copyright: Public Domain


Beset with snares on every hand. P. Doddridge. [Mary's choice.] This hymn is not in the Doddridge Manuscript. It was first published by J. Orton in the posthumous edition of Doddridge's Hymns, 1755. No. 207, in 4 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed "Mary's Choice of the Better Part;" and again in J. D. Humphreys's edition of the same, 1839. Although used but sparingly in the hymnals of Great Britain, in America it is found in many of the leading collections, and especially in those belonging to the Unitarians. The translation—-"In vitae dubio tramite transeo," in Bingham's Hymnologia Christiana Latina, 1871, p. 109—is made from an altered text in Bickersteth's Christian Psalmody, 1833.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #475
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)


Instances (1 - 2 of 2)

Primitive Baptist Hymn and Tune Book #56


The Cyber Hymnal #475

Include 158 pre-1979 instances
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