506. Glorious Things of You Are Spoken

1 Glorious things of you are spoken,
Zion, city of our God.
He whose word cannot be broken
formed you for his own abode.
On the Rock of Ages founded,
what can shake your sure repose?
With salvation's walls surrounded,
you may smile at all your foes.

2 See, the streams of living waters,
springing from eternal love,
well supply your sons and daughters
and all fear of want remove.
Who can faint while such a river
ever will their thirst assuage?
Grace which, like the Lord, the giver,
never fails from age to age.

3 Round each habitation hovering,
see the cloud and fire appear
for a glory and a covering,
showing that the Lord is near.
Thus deriving from their banner
light by night and shade by day,
safe they feed upon the manna
which God gives them on their way.

4 Savior, since of Zion's city
I through grace a member am,
let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in your name.
Fading are the world's best pleasures,
all its boasted pomp and show;
solid joys and lasting treasures
none but Zion's children know.

Text Information
First Line: Glorious things of you are spoken
Title: Glorious Things of You Are Spoken
Author: John Newton (1779, alt.)
Meter: 87 87 D
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ; ; ;
Topic: Shepherd, God/Christ as; Church and Mission; Church (2 more...)
Tune Information
Composer: C. Hubert H. Parry (1897)
Meter: 87 87 D
Key: F Major

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Ps. 87: 1-3, Ps. 132:13-14, Matt. 16:18, Isa. 26:1
st. 2 = Ps. 46:4, Rev. 7:17 , Rev. 22:1
st. 3 = Ex. 13:21-22, Ex. 16:14-16, Isa. 4:5-6, Ps. 105:39-41
st. 4 = Gal. 6:14, Matt. 6:19-21, Ps. 87:6

Written in five stanzas by John Newton (PHH 462), this text was published in the Olney Hymns (1779). There it was part of a group of hymns inspired by Scripture passages (Newton referred to Isa. 33:20-22). The original stanzas 1-3 and 5 are printed in the Psalter Hymnal (with "you" in place of the original "thee"). The hymn has been described as the "one truly joyful hymn" in the Olney collection and the evangelical equivalent to the more catholic “The Church's One Foundation.” John Julian ranks “Glorious Things” with the finest hymns in the English language.

The text uses the metaphor of Zion, the (new) city of God (see Heb. 12:22) for the church or people of God. Founded securely on Christ's salvation, God's people experience his presence, protection, and guidance, and share in his glory.

Liturgical Use:
With preaching on ecclesiology (Lord's Day 21, etc.); profession of faith; ordination/commissioning services; church festivals, anniversaries, and ecumenical services.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

C. Hubert H. Parry's (PHH 145) RUSTINGTON was first published in the Westminster Abbey Hymn Book (1897) as a setting for Benjamin Webb's "Praise the Rock of Our Salvation." The tune is named for the village in Sussex, England, where Parry lived for some years and where he died.

This is such a distinguished melody that it is probably best to sing all the stanzas in unison, although confident choirs will want to sing the harmony of the middle stanzas. Organists, use bright mixtures. The tune AUSTRIA is most commonly associated with this text, as it was in earlier editions of the Psalter Hymnal. In 1985, however, the synod of the Christian Reformed Church rejected the use of AUSTRIA in its hymnal because Dutch immigrants and Jewish Christians associate that tune with its use by Nazis during World War II.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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