Text:God of the Prophets
Author (st. 1-2, 4-5):Denis Wortman
Author (st. 3):Carl P. Daw, Jr.
Composer (desc.):Emily R. Brink
Media:MIDI file

521. God of the Prophets

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Text Information
First Line: God of the prophets, bless the prophets' heirs
Title: God of the Prophets
Author (st. 1-2, 4-5): Denis Wortman (1884, alt.)
Author (st. 3): Carl P. Daw, Jr. (1981, alt.)
Meter: 10 10 10 10
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ; ;
Topic: Biblical Names & Places: Elijah; Biblical Names & Places: Elisha; Church and Mission (3 more...)
Copyright: St. 3 © 1981, Hope Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Used by permission
Tune Information
Composer (desc.): Emily R. Brink (1986)
Meter: 10 10 10 10
Key: F Major
Source: Geneven Psalter, 1551; adapted from GENEVAN 124
Copyright: Descant © 1987, CRC Publications

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = 2 Kings 2:8-14
st. 3 = 1 Pet. 2:5,9
st. 5 = Rom. 1:1-6

Denis Wortman (b. Hopewell, NY, 1835; d. East Orange, NJ, 1922) wrote the poem "God of the Prophets! Bless the Prophets' Sons" in 1884 for the one-hundredth anniversary of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, from which he had graduated in 1860. Wortman entitled his poem "Prayer for Young Ministers" and sent it with the following note to the seminary:

May I take the liberty of sending you the enclosed verses; a very humble attempt
to express the prayer that our Class of 1860, and indeed all loyal sons of New Brunswick Seminary, lift to God at this unusual anniversary, for his blessing upon her and all who go forth from her instructions.

Also educated at Amherst College, Wortman served a number of Reformed Church in America congregations, mainly in New York State. He was the denomination's secretary of ministerial relief from 1901 to 1922 and served as president of General synod in 190 I. His publications include Reliques of Christ (1888), The Divine Processional (1903), and this one hymn text.

His hymn text was first published in the Episcopal Church Hymnal (1892) in six stanzas. Of those, stanzas 1-2 and 4-5 are retained with many revisions. Carl P. Daw,Jr. (PHH 193), wrote the third stanza in 1981 for The Hymnal 1982.

All the stanzas were originally cast in third person ("Anoint them") since the hymn was written for clergymen; the revised text in first person ("Anoint us") now includes all God's people as ministers or servants. The text refers to various biblical offices to depict Christian ministries: prophets, priests, kings (all Old Testament offices), and apostles (the only New Testament office mentioned in this text).

Liturgical Use:
Renewal services; for commissioning the entire congregation at the beginning of a church season; for an ordination service one or several of the middle stanzas could be sung in the older form–“Anoint them prophets…”

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

TOULAN was originally an adaptation of the Genevan Psalter melody for Psalm 124 (124). In one melodic variant or another and with squared-off rhythms, the tune was used in English and Scottish psalters for various psalm texts. It was published in the United States in its four-line abridged form (called MONTAGUE) by Lowell Mason (PHH 96) and George Webb (PHH 559) in The National Psalmist (1848). That version, now called TOULON, is named quite arbitrarily after the French city. Sing the outer stanzas in unison and the middle stanzas in harmony. On the fifth stanza add the descant by Emily R. Brink (PHH 158). TOULON is a fine tune for accompaniment by brass quartet. It should be sung and played with power and dignity.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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