#36 O Thou in Whose Presence

Words by Joseph Swain (1761-1796)

Music by Freeman Lewis, 1813 (1780-1859)

 

O Thou in whose presence my soul takes delight,

On whom in affliction I call,

My comfort by day and my song in the night,

My hope, my salvation, my all!

 

His voice, as the sound of the dulcimer sweet,

Is heard through the shadows of death;

The cedars of Lebanon bow at His feet,

The air is perfumed with His breath.

 

His lips, as a fountain of righteousness flow,

To water the gardens of grace;

From which their salvation the Gentiles shall know,

And bask in the smiles of His face.

 

He looks, and ten thousands of angels rejoice,

And myriads wait for His word;

He speaks, and eternity, filled with His voice,

Re-echoes the praise of the Lord.

     Joseph Swain was born in 1761 at Birmingham, England; christened May 22, 1761, at St. Johnís Church, Deritend and Bordesley (a suburb of Birmingham), Warwickshire, England. After being apprenticed to an engraver, Swain moved to London. After coming to Christ, he began expressing his poetic temperament by writing hymns. The words of this hymn are part of a long poem of nine stanzas of eight lines each, written in 1791, and published as "Redemption: A Poem in Five Parts." Swain later republished it as "A Description of Christ by His Graces and Power. From Solomon's Song." In 1783, he was baptized by John Rippon, and in 1791 became minister of a Baptist congregation in East Street, Walworth. Swain died on April 16, 1796, at Walworth, London, England.

 

His other hymns are:

 

   1. Brethren, While We Sojourn Here

   2. Children of the King of Grace

   3. Christ the Lord Will Come Again

   4. Come, Ye Souls by Sin Afflicted

   5. How Sweet, How Heavenly Is the Sight

   6. In Expectation Sweet

   7. Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Gates

   8. Love Is the Sweetest Bud that Blows

   9. O How the Thought That I Shall Know

  10. On Earth the Song Begins

  11. On the Wings of Faith Upspringing

  12. Pilgrims We Are to Canaan Bound

  13. Praise Ye the Lord, the Eternal King

  14. Praise Your Redeemer, Praise His Name

  15. Redeemer of Israel

  16. íTis Heaven Begun Below

  17. What Is It for a Saint to Die?

  18. What Must It Be to Dwell Above?

  19. When Firm I Stand on Zionís Hill

  20. Who Can Forbear to Sing?

  21. Ye Daughters of Zion, Declare, Have You Seen?