1 Dread Jehovah! God of nations!
From Thy temple in the skies,
Hear Thy people's supplications;
Now for their deliverance rise.
2 Though our sins, our hearts confounding,
Long and loud for vengeance call,
Thou hast mercy more abounding,
Jesus' blood can cleanse them all.
3 Let that love veil our transgression,
Let that blood our guilt efface,
Save Thy people from oppression,
Save from spoil Thy holy place.
4 Lo! with deep contrition turning,
Humbly at Thy feet we bend;
Hear us, fasting, praying, mourning,
Hear us, spare us, and defend.
Source: Book of Worship with Hymns and Tunes #560
Dread Jehovah! God of nations. [In Time of Trouble—National.] This hymn appeared in the Christian Observer, in April, 1804, in 4 stanzas of 8 lines. At that time Bonaparte was First Consul, and meditating an immediate invasion of England. A day of humiliation and prayer was appointed. In anticipation of this day the following editorial note, together with the hymn as given below, appeared in the Christian Observer:—
"His Majesty has been graciously pleased to appoint Friday, the 25th of May next, to be observed throughout England and Ireland as a day of public humiliation and fasting. We earnestly hope it may be observed in a proper manner. We subjoin a hymn for the occasion, which has just reached us in time to obtain a place in this number.
Hymn for the Fast Day.
"Dread Jehovah! God of Nations,
From thy Temple in the Skies,
Hear thy People's Supplications,
And for their Deliv'rance rise.
Lo! with deep Contrition turning,
In thy Holy Place we bend;
Fasting, praying, weeping, mourning,
Hear us, spare us, and defend.
“Foes, who've ravag'd peaceful Regions,
Now for us the Yoke prepare;
And if thou forsake our Legions,
We, like them, the Yoke must wear.
Shall Religion's Foes enslave us?
Shall their Heathen Tongues exclaim,
‘Where's your God?' O rise to save us,
And assert Thy glorious Name.
”Though our Sins, each Heart confounding,
Long and loud for vengeance call;
Thou hast Mercy as abounding,
Thou hast Blood can cleanse them all.
Let that Mercy veil Transgression,
Let that Blood our Guilt efface;
Save thy People from Oppression,
Save from Spoil thy Holy Place.
"Hear, O God! the Vows we tender;
With our Hosts to battle go;
Shield the Head of each Defender,
And confound the impious Foe.
So when ceas'd the Battle's raging,
Thine shall be the Victor's Praise;
And in thy holy Bonds engaging,
We will serve thee all our Days. "C.F."
In 1805, in John Gresham's Select Portions of Psalms and Hymns, 3rd edition, it is given as Hymn xiv., and a note states it to have been "Written by a Clergyman," and to have been separately published with music by Haydn. In 1819, Cotterill, having slightly altered the text, and omitted stanza ii., included the hymn in his Selection in 3 stanzas, No. 337. Bickersteth went further in reducing it to the first and third stanzas, with alterations, in his Christian Psalmody, 1833. Hall adopted the same stanzas in his Mitre Hymn Book, 1836, but introduced many alterations therein. These alterations are repeated in the New Mitre Hymnal, 1874, together with a doxology in 2 stanzas of 4 lines. Nearly all the modern collections, including the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Psalms & Hymns, 1852-69; Barry, 1862-67; Hymnal Companion 1872; Snepp, 1872; Harland; Stevenson's Hymns for Church & Home; and many others, have the altered text as given in Bickersteth's Christian Psalmody, 1833, and not the original. In Church Hymns, 1871, No. 260, the hymn, "Lord Almighty, God of nations," is also Bickersteth's text with the alteration of the first and last lines of the hymn only. The hymn is in one form or another in somewhat extensive use in Great Britain and America.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)