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Holy, Holy, Holy
Revelation 4:8-11
NICAEA  |  Hymn History  |  Bible Passage
Author: Reginald Heber, 1783-1826
Musician: John B. Dykes, 1823-1876

  Play MP3 • Click to listen to the music for this hymn.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, Holy, Holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Tho' the darkness hide Thee,
Tho' the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea,
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!



HYMN HISTORY:

The historic hymn 'Holy, Holy, Holy' was writen by Reginald Heber to be sung on Trinity Sunday in the parish of Hodnet in western England. He was vicar there in his family's church from 1807 to 1823.

Heber was an uncommon man. Born into a family of wealth and culture, he gave his life to the service of God both at home in England and far away in India. Though he possessed unusual literary gifts and was a friend of Britain's leading men of letters, his greatest ambition was to improve the hymn singing in his own church.

When Reginald Heber accepted the post of Bishop of Calcutta in 1823, it as the realisation of a longtime, deep-seated interest in foreign missions. As a bishop, Heber served a diocese that included much of the south Padtic. For three years he travelled tirelessly from place to place, using his remarkable gifts to advance the work of the church in that distant area.

On April 3rd, 1826, Heber preached on the evils of the caste system before a large audience at Trichinopoly. Afterwards, he went to cool off in the swimming pool at the home where he was staying. Some time later, he was found drowned, the result of a stroke. At the age of forty-three his brilliant life was ended, and he was buried in the Anglican church at Trichinopoly. In 1875 the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) honoured his memory by plating a tablet there.

Reginald Heber lived and worked at a time in history when his contemporaries in English literature were becoming aware of the beauty of words and of poetic structure. The romantic movement of that day added a new dimension of elegance and lyric grace to Christian worship. This characteristic is never more evident than in Heber's hymn 'Holy, Holy, Holy' which Lord Tennyson said was the greatest in the English language.

The powerful phrases of the hymn declared the attributes of the Triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Heber shows his mastery of poetic design in composing each verse to re-emphasise the doctrine of the Trinity by using a 'trinity of words' to say something about God.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, Holy, Holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Tho' the darkness hide Thee,
Tho' the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee
Perfect in Ixrwer, in love, and purity.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth, and sky and sea;
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!


BIBLE PASSAGE:

8 ¶ And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.



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