Beginning a New Year
By the middle of January, the new year is well underway. We are certainly well into our new year’s resolutions and already have a sense of how they will turn out.
Samuel John Stone (1839-1900) wrote The Old Year’s Long Campaign is O’er, one of the few hymns on the topic of properly beginning a new year. Combining gifts of theological scholarship and poetic skill, he wrote in a manner even those with little education could appreciate.
The Old Year's Long Campaign is O'er
The old year’s long campaign is o’er;
Behold a new begun;
Not yet is closed the holy war,
Nor yet the triumph won:
Out of his still and deep repose
We hear the old year say:
“Go forth again to meet your foes,
Ye children of the day!”
“Go forth, firm faith on every heart,
Bright hope on every helm;
Through that shall pierce no fiery dart,
And this no fear o’erwhelm!
Go in the spirit and the might
Of Him who led the way;
Close with the legions of the night,
Ye children of the day.”
Lord God, our glory, Three in One,
Thine own sustain, defend!
And give, though dim this earthly sun,
Thy true light to the end;
Till morning tread the darkness down,
And night be swept away,
And infinite sweet triumph crown
The children of the day!
New Year's Resolution
The Church’s One Foundation is the most popular of Samuel J. Stone’s output of 57 hymns, combining Christian theology with beautiful poetic expression. Equally rich theologically and poetically is Stone’s hymn, God the Spirit, We Adore Thee. Though published about 150 years ago, it remains a compelling meditation and prayer for today… And, a wonderful new year’s resolution.
God the Spirit, We Adore Thee
God the Spirit, we adore Thee,
In the triune Godhead One,
One in love and power and glory
With the Father and the Son;
Prayer and praise to Thee we bring,
Our devotion’s offering.
Holy Fount of inspiration,
By whose gift the great of old
Spake the word of revelation,
Marvelous and manifold,
Grant to us who see and hear
Reverence of eye and ear.
Priceless gift of Christ forever,
Righteousness and peace and joy,
Which the evil world, that never
Can receive, cannot destroy,
Shall the Church or faint or fear
While the Comforter is near?
Author of our new creation,
Giver of the second birth,
May Thy ceaseless renovation
Cleanse our souls from stains of earth,
And our bodies ever be
Holy temples meet for Thee.
Come, Thy glorious gifts providing,
Foretaste of the future now,
Bring that sweet sense of abiding
Thou canst give and only Thou,
One in Thee, we shall be one
In the Father and the Son. Amen.