192. The People Who in Darkness Walked

1 The people who in darkness walked
have seen a glorious light;
the heavenly dawn broke forth on those
who dwelt in death and night,
who dwelt in death and night.

2 To greet you, Sun of Righteousness,
the gathering nations come,
rejoicing as when reapers bring
their harvest treasures home,
their harvest treasures home.

3 To us the promised child is born,
to us a son is given;
and on his shoulders ever rests
all power in earth and heaven,
all power in earth and heaven.

4 His name shall be the Prince of Peace
forevermore adored,
the Wonderful, the Counselor,
the Mighty God and Lord,
the Mighty God and Lord.

5 His peace and righteous government
shall over all extend;
on judgment and on justice based,
his reign shall never end,
his reign shall never end.

Text Information
First Line: The people who in darkness walked
Title: The People Who in Darkness Walked
Versifier: John Morison (1781, alt.)
Meter: CM with repeat
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ;
Topic: Judge, God/Christ as; Christmas; Judgment
Tune Information
Composer: Nikolaus Herman (1554)
Harmonizer: Johann S. Bach (c. 1738)
Meter: CM with repeat
Key: E♭ Major
Source: Cantata 151 (harm. in)

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Isa. 9:2
st. 2 = Isa. 9:3
st. 3 = Isa. 9:6
st. 4 = Isa. 9:6
st. 5 = Isa. 9:7

The well-known messianic prophecy from Isaiah 9:2-7 was fulfilled in the coming of Christ and in the rule of his kingdom. This passage was versified by John Morison (b. Cairne, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, 1750; d. Canisbay, Caithness, Scotland, 1798) for the 1781 version of the Scottish Paraphrases; it originally began “The race that long in darkness pined.” Morison's text has since been altered by many hymnal editors; it is published in the Psalter Hymnal without the stanza for Isaiah 9:4-5. This text is one of a handful of the sixty¬-seven Scottish Paraphrases still in popular use today.

Morison studied at King's College in Aberdeen and at the University of Edinburgh. A schoolteacher before he became ordained in the Presbyterian Church, he served as pastor in Canisbay from 1780 until his death. Morison served on the editorial committee of the 1781 Scottish Paraphrases and contributed seven of the sixty-seven paraphrases to that popular collection, which added significantly to the exclusively psalm-song repertoire of the Scottish Presbyterian tradition.

Liturgical Use:
Advent; Epiphany.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

LOBT GOTT, IHR CHRISTEN is a relatively short tune for a German chorale, but it is distinguished by insistently repeated soprano tones and a charming rising-scale motif that leads into the final phrase. The tune was composed by Nikolaus Herman (b. Altdorf, near Nuremberg, Germany, c. 1485; d. Joachimsthal, Bohemia, 1561) and first published in Ein Christlicher Abentreien (1554) as a setting for a children's hymn by Herman about John the Baptist. The tune's name derives from its use since 1561 with the chorale text "Lobt Gott, ihr Christen allzugleich." The harmonization by Johann S. Bach (PHH 7) was taken from his Cantata 151 (1725). Bach also used the tune in his Cantata 195; organists may also know one of Bach's preludes on this tune in his Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book). Harmony singing is challenging but rewarding. Keep the tempo moving.

Herman spent most of his life (1518-1560) in the mining town of Joachimsthal, where he served as schoolmaster in the Latin School and organist and choirmaster in the Lutheran Church. After a careful study of Martin Luther's writings, he adopted the Protestant faith. Many of his 190 hymn texts were inspired by the sermons of Johannes Mathesius, pastor of the Lutheran Church where Herman worked. A writer of hymn tunes as well as texts, he often wrote his hymns for use in homes and schools, but they gained acceptance as well in a number of Lutheran churches. His texts and tunes were included in Die Sontags-Evangelia (1560) and Die Historien von der Sindfludt (1562).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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