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Monday, February 3, 2014

ETERNAL FATHER STRONG TO SAVE

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From Wikipedia
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The original hymn was written in 1860 by William Whiting,
 an Anglican churchman from Winchester, Great Britain.
 Whiting grew up near the ocean on the coasts of England,
and at the age of thirty-five had felt his life spared by God
 when a violent storm nearly claimed the ship he was travelling
 on, instilling a belief in God's command over the rage and calm
 of the sea.
 As headmaster of the Winchester College Choristers' School
 some years later, he was approached by a student about to
 travel to the United States, who confided in Whiting an
 overwhelming fear of the oean voyage. Whiting shared his
 experiences of the ocean, saying he wrote the hymn to
 "anchor his faith". 
In writing it, Whiting is generally thought to have been
 inspired by Psalm 107, which describes the power and fury
 of the seas in great detail:
Some went out on the sea in ships;
 they were merchants on the mighty waters.
They saw the works of the Lord,
 his wonderful deeds in the deep.
For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
 that lifted high the waves.
They mounted up to the heavens and
 went down to the depths;
 in their peril their courage melted away.
Psalm 107: 23-26
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Within a year the text appeared in the influential first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern (HA&M) in 1861 and its circulation became widespread throughout England.
 The text was substantially revised by the compilers of that
 edition. In response Whiting continued to revise his own text,
 releasing another version in 1869 and third in 1874, the last
 one incorporating most of the suggested changes by HA&M.
Meanwhile, John B. Dykes, an Anglican clergyman, composed
 the tune "Melita" to accompany the HA&M version of 1861.
 Dykes was a well-known composer of nearly three hundred
 hymn tunes, many of which are still in use today.
 "Melita" is an archaic term for Malta, an ancient seafaring
 nation which has been a colony of the British Empire. It was
 the site of a shipwreck, mentioned in Acts of the Apostles
 (chapters 27-28), involving the Apostle Paul.
The original words of the 1861 version are:
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Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.
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Here's the song by the U.S.Navy Band & Chorus,
a very moving, very powerful version.  Video background
is simply satellite footage over the "blue planet."
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