God Is Working His Purpose Out

God is working his purpose out

Author: Arthur Campbell Ainger (1894)
Tune: PURPOSE (Shaw)
Published in 75 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI, Recording

Full Text

1 God is working his purpose out,
as year succeeds to year,
God is working his purpose out,
and the time is drawing near;
nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

2 From utmost east to utmost west,
wherever feet have trod,
by the mouth of many messengers
goes forth the voice of God,
'Give ear to me, ye continents,
ye isles, give ear to me,
that the earth may be filled with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.'

3 What can we do to work God's work,
to prosper and increase
the love of God in all mankind,
the reign of the Prince of peace?
What can we do to hasten the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea?

4 March we forth in the strength of God,
with the banner of Christ unfurled,
that the light of the glorious gospel of truth
may shine throughout the world;
fight we the fight with sorrow and sin,
to set their captives free,
that the earth may be filled with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

5 All we can do is nothing worth
unless God blesses the deed;
vainly we hope for the harvest-tide
till God gives life to the seed;
yet nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

Source: Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #646

Author: Arthur Campbell Ainger

Ainger, Arthur Campbell, M.A., son of the Rev. F. A. Ainger, incumbent of Hampstead, Middlesex; born in 1841, educated Trinity College, Cambridge, 1st Class Class. Trip. 1864, Assistant Master at Eton 1864-1901. Author of Eton Songs, 1901-2; Carmen Etonense, Vale, &c, and joint author with H. G. Winkle, M.A., of an English-Latin Verse Dictionary. Mr. Ainger's hymns in common use are the following :— 1. God is working His purpose out. [Missions.] Written and first published in 1894, with Dedication to Archbishop Benson. It was given in Church Hymns, 1903, Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1904, and other collections. 2. God of our Fathers, unto Thee. [National Thanksgiving.] Included in English Hymnal, 1906. 3. Let all our bret… Go to person page >

Notes

Scripture References:
st. 2 = Isa. 42:4
st. 4 = Ps. 127:1-2
ref. = Isa. 11:6-9
Hab.2:14

In 1894 Arthur C. Ainger (b. Blackheath, England, 1841; d. Eton, England, 1919) wrote the text in five irregular stanzas for use by the boys at Eton College, where Ainger was a popular schoolmaster from 1864-1901. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, England, Ainger wrote numerous songs and hymns for use at Eton.

Dedicated to Edward W. Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury, the text was first issued as a leaflet and then published in the Hymn Book of the Church Missionary Society (1899). The Psalter Hymnal includes the original stanzas 1, 2, 4, and 5.

Broadly defined as a missions hymn, this text is united by the closing biblical line of each stanza (similar to a refrain): "when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea." "God Is Working" provides a clear testimony that God is the Lord of history, that he "is working his purposes out" (st. 1) even when we cannot fathom his ways. But it also presents a challenge: to press the cause of Christ through¬out the whole world (st. 2), to let the gospel of Christ set free those who are captive to sin and sorrow (st. 3), and to make sure our deeds are worthy of God's blessing (st. 4).

The entire text affirms the passage from Philippians 2 (12-13), where we are commanded to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in YOU to will and to act according to his good purpose."

Liturgical Use:
As a hymn of divine sovereignty and providence; worship that emphasizes the public task or kingdom work of Christians in the world.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Timeline

Media

The Cyber Hymnal #1953
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Small Church Music #1504
  • PDF Score (PDF)

Instances

Instances (1 - 26 of 26)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #646Text
Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #481
Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #235TextPage Scan
Common Praise: A new edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern #444Page Scan
Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #225
Complete Mission Praise #189
Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #534Text
Hymns and Psalms: a Methodist and ecumenical hymn book #769
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #191
Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #246
Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #172
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #594Text InfoTune InfoTextAudio
Rejoice in the Lord #425Text
Scripture Song Database #1198
Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #225
Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century #451
Small Church Music #1504Audio
Small Church Music #1968Audio
The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #692
The Cyber Hymnal #1953TextScoreAudio
The New English Hymnal #495Page Scan
The Worshiping Church #750Text
Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #74Text
Worship (3rd ed.) #507
Worship (4th ed.) #862
Worship and Rejoice #564Text
Include 49 pre-1979 instances



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