O God, Great Father

Representative Text

1 O God, great Father, Lord and King,
our children unto you we bring.
We come in faith and hope and love;
we dare your steadfast word to prove.

2 Your covenant blessing did of old
our parents and their seed enfold.
That ancient promise stands secure
and shall while heaven and earth endure.

3 Look down upon us while we pray
and visit us in grace today.
These little ones you did receive;
your precious promise we believe.

4 They now the outward sign receive;
your promised Holy Spirit give.
O keep and help them by your power
in every hard and trying hour.

5 Direct their feet in holy ways
and shine on them through darkest days.
Uphold them till their life is past
and bring them all to heaven at last.

Author: E. Embree Hoss

Hoss, Elijah Embree, D.D., Bishop of the Amer. Methodist Episcopal Church South, was born in Washington County, Tenn., April 14, 1849, and graduated at Emory and Henry College, Va., 1869, of which he was subsequently President. He was Professor in Vanderbilt University for some time, and from 1885 to 1890 editor of the Nashville Christian Advocate. His hymn, "O God, great Father, Lord and King " (Holy Baptism), was included in The Methodist Hymnal, N.Y., 1905. [Rev. L. F. Benson, D.D. --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: O God, great Father, Lord, and King
Title: O God, Great Father
Author: E. Embree Hoss (1905)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Scripture References:
st. 1 = Mark 10:13-16
st. 2 = Gen. 17:7
st. 3 = Mark 10: 13-16
st. 4 = Titus 3:5
st. 5 = Ps. 119: 133,135

"O God, Great Father" alludes to the gospel story of bringing little children to Jesus, especially in stanzas 1 and 3 (Mark 10:13-16). The Reformed view of God's covenant shows up in stanza 2, and the work of the Holy Spirit appears in stanza 4. Stanza 5 is similar to the consecration prayer that follows the act of baptism in the Psalter Hymnal's baptism forms.

Methodist Bishop Elijah Embree Hoss (b. Washington County, TN, 1849; d. Muskogee, OK, 1919) composed these words for a baptismal service he conducted in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, in November 1903. The text was printed in the Nashville Christian Advocate in early 1904 and subsequently published in The Methodist Hymnal of 1905; Hoss served on the Joint Commission that produced this hymnal. An ordained minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church South, Hoss served parishes in Knoxville, Tennessee; San Francisco, California; and Asheville, North Carolina. He was also professor of church history at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and president of Emory and Henry College, Emory, Virginia.

Liturgical Use:
Infant baptism.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



Also known as: ST. PHILIPS BENEDICTION GRANTON NAZARETH MELCOMBE was first used as an anonymous chant tune (with figured bass) in the Roman Catholic Mass and was published in 1782 in An Essay on the Church Plain Chant. It was first ascribed to Samuel Webbe (the elder; b. London, England, 1740; d.…

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BAPTISM (Lutkin)




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