Faith of our fathers, living still

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1 Faith of our fathers! living still
in spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;
oh, how our hearts beat high with joy
whene'er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!

2 Faith of our fathers! we will strive
to win all nations unto thee,
and through the truth that comes from God,
the world shall then be truly free:
faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!

3 Faith of our fathers! we will love
both friend and foe in all our strife;
and preach thee, too, as love knows how,
by kindly words and virtuous life:
faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!

Source: Celebrating Grace Hymnal #645

Author: Frederick William Faber

Faber, Frederick William, D.D., son of Mr. T. H. Faber, was born at Calverley Vicarage, Yorkshire, June 28, 1814, and educated at Balliol College, Oxford, graduating B.A. in 1836. He was for some time a Fellow of University College, in the same University. Taking Holy Orders in 1837, he became Rector of Elton, Huntingdonshire, in 1843, but in 1846 he seceded to the Church of Rome. After residing for some time at St. Wilfrid's, Staffordshire, he went to London in 1849, and established the London "Oratorians," or, "Priests of the Congregation of St. Philip Neri," in King William Street, Strand. In 1854 the Oratory was removed to Brompton. Dr. Faber died Sept. 26, 1863. Before his secession he published several prose works, some of which were… Go to person page >


Faith of our fathers! living still. F. W. Faber. [A Pledge of Faithfulness.] This hymn appeared as the first of two hymns, one “Faith of our Fathers," for England; and the second the same for Ireland, in his Jesus and Mary; or, Catholic Hymns for Singing and Reading, 1849, in 4 stanzas of 6 lines. It was repeated in his Oratory Hymns, and several Roman Catholic collections for missions and schools. Its use illustrates most forcibly how in hymnody, as in other things, "extremes meet." In the original stanza iii., lines 1, 2, read:—

"Faith of our Fathers! Mary's prayers
Shall win our country back to thee."

In 1853 Drs. Hedge & Huntington altered these lines to:—

"Faith of our Fathers! Good men's prayers
Shall win our country all to thee."

for their Unitarian Hymns for the Church of Christ, No. 455. With this alteration it has passed into several Nonconformist collections in Great Britain and America. With the alteration of these few words the hymn is regularly sung by Unitarians on the one hand, and by Roman Catholics on the other, as a metrical embodiment of their history and aspirations.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



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Include 681 pre-1979 instances