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Happiness Thy Lovely Name / Object of My First Desire

Happiness! thou lovely name,
Where's thy seat? O tell me where!
Learning, pleasure, wealth and fame,
All cry out, "It is not here."
Not the wisdom of the wise,
Can inform me where it lies,
Nor the grandeur of the great
Can the bliss, I seek, create.

Object of my first desire,
Jesus! Crucified for me.
All to happiness aspire,
Only to be found in Thee:
Thee to praise, and Thee to know,
Constitute my bliss below:
Thee to see, and Thee to love,
Constitute my bliss above.

Lord it is not life to live,
If Thy presence Thou deny;
Lord! If Thou Thy presence give
Tis no longer Death to die.
Source and giver of repose,
Singly from Thy smile it flows,
Peace and happiness are Thine,
Mine they are if Thou art mine.

Whilst I feel Thy love to me,
Every object teems with joy;
Here, O may I walk with Thee,
Then into Thy presence die!
Let me but Thyself posses,
Total sum of happiness!
Real bliss I then shall prove,
Heaven below, and heaven above.

Just a week into the project and I get a request to include a hymn unknown to me and hardly used at all now if the sparcity of hits on a google search are anything to go by.  Rachel and Pete sang this at their wedding and Rachel suggested it for inclusion here. I'm so glad she did! 
Toplady is better known as the author of "Rock of Ages" but this hymn, barring the use of eighteenth century language, is SO contemporary to our age of hedonism and a relevant corrective to Christian songs which place happiness in our immediate feelings rather than in our condition before God in Christ Jesus.  I'm slightly puzzled as to why I've never sung this in church or conference: I guess if I'd been at Rachel and Pete's wedding I wouldn't be able to say that.
Not only was it sung at their wedding but Pete has written music for it to be sung to.  I found the lyrics here but Pete's version starts at verse 2.  Either way the music is beautiful and the words powerful, you can check out the new musical setting in the video below.  I especially love the lyrics of the third verse, a compelling reality and a heart strenthening truth!

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gainIf I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account."
Paul writing to the church in Philippi - chapter 1:21-13 (emphasis mine).


video

1 comments:

Ah! I've never met that first verse - I know it and sang it in church as Object of my first desire, but not often enough that I can think of what tune we used! As it's 8888, there'd be a fair few tunes you could put to it though. Marvellous hymn.

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