O for an overcoming faith
To cheer my dying hours;
To triumph o'er the monster Death,
And all his frightful powers!
Joyful with all the strength I have
My quiv'ring lips should sing-
Where is thy boasted vict'ry, Grave?
And where the monster's sting?
If sin be pardoned, I'm secure,
Death hath no sting beside;
The law gives sin its damning power;
But Christ, my ransom, died.
Now to the God of victory
Immortal thanks be paid,
Who makes us conquerors while we die,
Through Christ our living head.
O for an overcoming faith. J. Watts. [Second Advent]. First published in his Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707 (2nd edition 1709, Book i. 17), in 4 stanzas of 4 lines. It is based on 1 Cor. xv. 55-58, and in included in several hymn-books in Great Britain and America.
Another form is that given to it as No. 41 in the Draft Scottish Translations and Paraphrases, 1745, beginning, "When the last trumpet's awful voice." It is in 7 stanzas of 4 lines, of which i.-iii. and vii. are new, and stanzas iv.-vi. are stanzas ii.-iv. of this hymn by Watts. It was rewritten in the public worship edition of the Translations and Paraphrses, issued by the Church of Scotland in 1781 and still in common use; stanza iii., 11. 3, 4, being altered from the 1745 text, and stanza vii. rewritten as stanzas vii. and viii. The text of 1745 is ascribed by the eldest daughter of W. Cameron to Thomas Randall (an opinion not shared in by the other authorities); and the alterations in 1781 to W. Cameron. This form of the text is in common use outside of the Trs. and Paraphrases, both in Great Britain and America. Sometimes stanzas iii.—vi. are slightly altered as, "Behold what heavenly prophets sung." This form is in the Edinburgh Diocesan Selection of 1830, No. 23, and again in the Scottish Episcopal Collection, 1858, No. 126. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)