Wake, and lift up thyself.

GL 10 P1020112 sunflowersWe often sang the last verse of this hymn as a Doxology in The Presbyterian church in which I grew up. I didn’t know until recently that it is composed of many more stanzas of exhortation, including “Wake up!”, which one might speak to one’s soul to good effect. On those mornings when I’m slow to get moving and my thoughts start sinking precipitously, I would do well to use this song to stir up my spirit.

I have heard at least two melodies for the composition; it was the one from the Geneva Psalter that I used to sing, and to which I hope to learn these other heartening words.

Awake, My Soul, and With the Sun

Awake, my soul, and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise,
To pay thy morning sacrifice.

Thy precious time misspent, redeem,
Each present day thy last esteem,
Improve thy talent with due care;
For the great day thyself prepare.

By influence of the Light divine
Let thy own light to others shine.
Reflect all Heaven’s propitious ways
In ardent love, and cheerful praise.

In conversation be sincere;
Keep conscience as the noontide clear;
Think how all seeing God thy ways
And all thy secret thoughts surveys.

Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,
And with the angels bear thy part,
Who all night long unwearied sing
High praise to the eternal King.

All praise to Thee, Who safe has kept
And hast refreshed me while I slept
Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake
I may of endless light partake.

Heav’n is, dear Lord, where’er Thou art,
O never then from me depart;
For to my soul ’tis hell to be
But for one moment void of Thee.

Lord, I my vows to Thee renew;
Disperse my sins as morning dew.
Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with Thyself my spirit fill.

Direct, control, suggest, this day,
All I design, or do, or say,
That all my powers, with all their might,
In Thy sole glory may unite.

I would not wake nor rise again
And Heaven itself I would disdain,
Wert Thou not there to be enjoyed,
And I in hymns to be employed.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

–Thomas Ken, Man­u­al of Pray­ers for the Use of the Schol­ars of Win­ches­ter Col­lege, 1674

7 thoughts on “Wake, and lift up thyself.

  1. In my former Baptist church (when I was a child), we sang the “Doxology” every Sunday – the last verse, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” I had no idea there were so many verses! I have to admit though, having seen them all, I like the last verse best!

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  2. As a faithful reader of your blog, and as an Anglican priest and anchorite, I thought you might like to know a bit more about Thomas Ken.

    Thomas Ken was the Anglican Bishop of Bath and Wells, dying on March 19, 1711. A non-Juror (a bishop or priest who would not take the oath of allegiance to William and Mary as legitimate king and queen of England, Scotland and Ireland, after Mary’s father, James II—was deposed in 1688) Ken was deposed from office, and spent the remainder of his life in virtual seclusion. As death approached, he wrote:

    “I am dying, in the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith professed by the whole Church before the disunion of East and West; and, more particularly, in the Communion of the Church of England, as it stands distinguished from both Papal and Protestant innovation, and adheres to the Doctrine of the Cross.” (Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. 2nd Edition, 1974)

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    1. Thank you, Susan,
      I hadn’t read this by and about Ken, so I appreciate knowing a little more of the context for his writing. What I did read was the following, which I almost included in my posting of the hymn, but I don’t know from where I copied it:
      “Ken wrote this hymn at a time when the established church believed only Scripture should be sung as hymns, with an emphasis on the Psalms. Some considered it sinful and blasphemous to write new lyrics for church music, akin to adding to the Scriptures. In that atmosphere, Ken wrote this and several other hymns for the boys at Winchester College, with strict instructions that they use them only in their rooms, for private devotions. Ironically, the last stanza has come into widespread use as the Doxology, perhaps the most frequently used piece of music in public worship. At Ken’s request, the hymn was sung at his funeral, fittingly held at sunrise.”

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  3. I’ve always assumed the last verse was sung as a separate entity. After reading and hearing on YouTube I wish I had learned the entire hymn.-keep conscience as the noontide clear; WOW I’ve been experiencing an intolerable period of sloth for the last few months. I hope to use this hymn as a tonic! Thanks

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