For a Public Fast

See, gracious God, before Thy throne

Author: Anne Steele
Published in 185 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, Noteworthy Composer
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

1 Almighty Lord, before Thy throne
Thy mourning people bend;
'Tis on Thy grace in Christ alone
Our failing hopes depend.

2 Dark judgments from Thy heavy hand
Thy dreadful pow'r display;
Yet mercy spares this guilty land,
And still we live to pray.

3 How changed, alas, are truths divine
For error, guilt, and shame!
What impious numbers, bold in sin,
Disgrace the Christian name!

4 Oh turn us, turn us, mighty Lord;
Convert us by Thy grace!
Then shall our hearts obey Thy word,
And see again Thy face.

5 Then, should insulting foes invade,
We shall not yield to fear,
Secure of all-sufficient aid
When God in Christ is near.


Source: The Lutheran Hymnal #579

Author: Anne Steele

Anne Steele was the daughter of Particular Baptist preacher and timber merchant William Steele. She spent her entire life in Broughton, Hampshire, near the southern coast of England, and devoted much of her time to writing. Some accounts of her life portray her as a lonely, melancholy invalid, but a revival of research in the last decade indicates that she had been more active and social than what was previously thought. She was theologically conversant with Dissenting ministers and "found herself at the centre of a literary circle that included family members from various generations, as well as local literati." She chose a life of singleness to focus on her craft. Before Christmas in 1742, she declined a marriage proposal from contemporar… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: See, gracious God, before Thy throne
Title: For a Public Fast
Author: Anne Steele
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


See, gracious God, before Thy throne. Anne Steele. [Public Humiliation.] Written for the Public Fast, Feb. 6, 1756, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines, and published in her Poems on Subjects chiefly Devotional, 1760, ivol. i. pp. 248-9; in the new ed. of same, 1780, vol. i. pp. 248-9; and in D. Sedgwick's reprint of her Hymns, &c, 1863, p. 115. In its full form it is not in common use. From it, however, the following centos are taken:—

1. Almighty God, before Thy throne. This, as given in Bickersteth's Christian Psalmody, 1833, No. 274, and some of the older collections, is the above slightly altered, together with the omission of st. v. The same first line begins a cento in 4 stanzas usually found in modern hymnals. It is composed of st. i., ii., vi. and vii., also altered, sometimes as in Stevenson's Hymns for Church & Home, No. 5, and again as in Snepp's Songs of Grace & Glory, No. 860.
2. Almighty Lord, before Thy throne, is the same cento with further alterations; Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Psalms & Hymns, No. 138; and in a fuller form of 3 stanzas of 8 lines, being st. i., i., ii., v.-vii. (again altered), and a doxology.
3. Behold, 0 Lord, before Thy Throne. This cento in the New Congregational Hymn Book, 1859, No. 994, is composed of st. i., ii., iii., vi., and a concluding stanza, "Hear Thou our prayer," which we have not traced. The second stanza of the original "Tremendous judgments from Thine hand," sometimes given as "Dark judgments," &c, and again as "Dire judgments," &c, has, according to a note to the original, a special reference to the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.
4. See, gracious God, before Thy throne. An abbreviated form of the original in a few modern collections.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


BANGOR (Tansur)

Traditionally used for Montgomery's text and for Peter Abelard's "Alone Thou Goest Forth, O Lord," BANGOR comes from William Tans'ur's A Compleat Melody: or the Harmony of Syon (the preface of which is dated 1734). In that collection the tune was a three-part setting for Psalm 12 (and for Psalm 11 i…

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BURFORD (Purcell)



The Cyber Hymnal #9516
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Instances (1 - 3 of 3)

The Baptist Hymnal #695


The Cyber Hymnal #9516

The Sacred Harp #354a

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