Begin, my tongue, some heavenly theme

Full Text

1 Begin, my tongue, some heav'nly theme
And speak some boundless thing;
The mighty works or mightier Name
Of our eternal King.

2 Tell of His wondrous faithfulness
And sound His pow'r abroad;
Sing the sweet promise of His grace,
The love and truth of God.

3 His very word of grace is strong
As that which built the skies;
The voice that rolls the stars along
Speaks all the promises.

4 O might I hear Thy heav'nly tongue
But whisper, "Thou art mine!"
Those gentle words shall raise my song
To notes almost divine.

Source: The Celebration Hymnal: songs and hymns for worship #29

Author: Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts was the son of a schoolmaster, and was born in Southampton, July 17, 1674. He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In 1698, he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St., London. In 1702, he became pastor. In 1712, he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas' pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. It was a residence most favourable for his health, and for the prosecution of his literary… Go to person page >


Begin, my tongue [soul], some heavenly theme. I. Watts. [Faithfulness of God.] First published in his Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707 (2nd edition, 1709, Book ii., No. 169), in 9 stanzas of 4 lines, and entitled "The faithfulness of God in His promises." In 1776, Toplady included it, in an altered and abbreviated form, in his Psalms and Hymns, No. 388, as "Begin, my soul, some heavenly theme." This form of the hymn has been repeated in many collections, sometimes verbatim from Toplady, and again, with further alterations, as in the Wesleyan Hymn Book, 1830, and revised edition, 1875. Its use in America, usually abbreviated, is much more extensive than in Great Britain.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



MANOAH was first published in Henry W. Greatorex's Collection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes (1851). This anthology (later editions had alternate titles) contained one of the best tune collections of its era and included thirty-seven original compositions and arrangements by compiler Greatorex as well as m…

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ST. MAGNUS (Clarke)

ST. MAGNUS first appeared in Henry Playford's Divine Companion (1707 ed.) as an anonymous tune with soprano and bass parts. The tune was later credited to Jeremiah Clark (b. London, England, c. 1670; d. London, 1707), who was a chorister in the Chapel Royal and sang at the coronation of James II in…

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