Joyful Tidings (Oliver Holden)

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  • (Posted 2015-07-18)  CPDL #36158:       
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2015-07-18).   Score information: Letter, 1 page, 67 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Oval note edition, as written in 1800. Three more pairs of stanzas from Stennett's hymn added below.
  • (Posted 2015-07-18)  CPDL #36157:     
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2015-07-18).   Score information: 7 x 10 in (landscape), 1 page, 66 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Note shapes added (4-shape). Three more pairs of stanzas added below.

General Information

Title: Joyful Tidings
First Line: When first the God of boundless might
Composer: Oliver Holden
Lyricist: Samuel Stennett

Number of voices: 3vv   Voicing: STB
Genre: Sacred   Meter: 86. 86 (C.M.) (Stennett), Meter: 86. 86. D (C.M.D.) (Holden)

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1800 in Plain Psalmody, p. 42, voiced for three parts: Treble-Tenor-Bass
Description: Words adapted from Samuel Stennett's hymn, 1787, in nine stanzas. Holden used stanzas one and two of Stennett's hymn in his composition.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

1. When first the God of boundless grace (a)
Disclosed his kind design,
To rescue our apostate race (b)
From misery, shame and sin; (c)

2. Quick, through the realms of light and bliss,
The joyful tidings ran; (d)
Each heart exulted at the news,
That God would dwell with man. (e)

3. Yet midst their joys they paused awhile
And asked with strange surprise,
But how can injured justice smile,
Or look with pitying eyes?


4. Will the Almighty deign again
To visit yonder world;
And hither bring rebellious men,
Whence rebels once were hurled?

5. Their tears, and groans, and deep distress
Aloud for mercy call;
But ah! must truth and righteousness
To mercy victims fall?

6. So spake the friends of God and man,
Delighted, yet surprised;
Eager to know the wondrous plan,
That wisdom had devised.


7. The Son of God attentive heard,
And quickly thus replied,
In me let mercy be revered,
And justice satisfied.

8. Behold! my vital blood I pour,
A sacrifice to God ;
Let angry justice now no more
Demand the sinner's blood.

9. He spake, and heaven's high arches rung,
With shouts of loud applause;
He died, the friendly angels sung,
Nor cease their rapturous joys.

Mercy and truth met together, or, the harmony of the divine perfections, based on Psalm 85:10

(a) Holden has "boundless might." (b) Holden has "unhappy race." (c) Holden has "From death and shame."
(d) Holden has "tidings came." (e) Holden has "God could dwell."