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.
|First Line:||O God, great Father, Lord, and King|
|Title:||O God, Great Father|
|Author:||E. Embree Hoss (1905)|
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.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook