We Rest On Thee!

Today, I preached on Isaiah 26:3:  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. ”

We closed by singing “We Rest On Thee.”  It is often sung to the tune Finlandia.  Because we use Finlandia for “Be Still My Soul,” we decided to set this one to Mendelssohn’s  lovely piece, Consolation (embedded video with music below):

1 We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

2 Yes, in Thy Name, O Captain of salvation!
In Thy dear Name, all other names above;
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
Our Prince of glory and our King of love.

3 We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace to know:
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
‘We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.’

4 We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendour,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.

Edith G. Cherry, 1872-1897
Music: Felix Mendelssohn, 1809-1847

The video includes Mendelssohn’s entire piece.  The whole thing is beautiful, but the hymn is sung to the first 50 seconds.  (Another hymn, “Still, Still With Thee,” is often sung to this music as well.)


About Jon Gleason

Former Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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6 Responses to We Rest On Thee!

  1. Hi Pastor Jon,
    I was just wondering if you had ever considered changing the Thous, Thees and Thys to modern English in such a Hymn, to bring it into this day and age without really changing it?
    Blessings, Angus

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hi Angus. A very, very good question. When we compiled our hymnbook, we did do a little modernisation on a few hymns, or used modernisations that had been used elsewhere. We didn’t, however, do away with the Thees and Thous.

      One reason is we use the Authorised Version as our Bible translation. I’m still persuaded it is the best translation we have. Since our Bible uses these words, it would be silly to take them out of our hymns. Especially in this case, since the hymn is quoting II Chronicles 14:11 “And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.”

      I actually think the dropping of the thous and thees is a loss to the English language. Let’s talk about John 14:1. In the prior verse, Jesus talked to Peter alone, saying that he would deny his Lord three times. In this verse, He says, “Let not your heart be troubled.” To whom is He talking — to Peter, or to all the disciples? Modern English doesn’t tell us. It translates with “you” instead of “thou” in 13:38, and “your heart” in 14:1. It could be singular or it could be plural.

      The Authorised Version has the thees and thous, so it is clear, if anyone understands how they are used. Thee, thou, and thy are singular, you and your are plural. 13:38 uses “thou” to address Peter alone, he is the only one who is told here that he will deny. 14:1 uses “your” heart, thus in the plural addressing all the disciples. Anyone who knows Greek would know this immediately, of course. But for someone who doesn’t, the AV in this verse is much more helpful than modern English.

      So anyway, I’m glad to have the thous and thees in our Bible, because it gives an English reader a better picture of the original Greek. And if we have them in our Bible, including them in our hymns helps people with their Bibles. So that is one modernisation that I’m not likely to use.

      There is another reason, too. I just can’t see myself singing, “Guide me, O You great Jehovah.” Just doesn’t work. 🙂

      • Hi Pastor Jon. Yes, points well made and well taken and so glad you did not think I was asking you to change!
        I grew up with: I, thou, he, she and it … and me, thee, him, her and it….. etc. as grammar taught in Scotland in the ’50s, so I fully understand and concur with your points of view.
        The reason this was all on my mind is that on our website we changed recently from Google translation to Bing and Bing just cannot deal with the KJV, 100%. So since a lot of our patrons have English as a second language and many use the translation function, we’ve sadly changed to the NKJV as standard. It is good, but wins no prizes 🙂
        Blessings and always to you and to all of yours, Angus

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Hi, Angus. The NKJV is a pretty accurate translation, and based on a much better text (as I understand it) than the other major modern translations. I am persuaded there are strong reasons for us to stay with the AV, however, so we have.

        Anyway, I appreciate your comment / question, because you’ve triggered me to think I maybe should do a full post (rather than just a comment) on thees and thous. 🙂

  2. Ron Gatlin says:

    Pastor Gleason, This is Pastor Gatlin from Greenville, SC. I am the pastor of the Gethsemane Baptist Church. I noticed that you preached a message this past Sunday from Isaiah 26:3. That verse is one of my favorite verses. I am so thankful that because of Christ we can have perfect peace! I appreciate your comments on the “thees” and “thous” Yes, I can’t imagine singing “Guide me O You great Jehovah.”
    I am beginning a series of messages from the book of I John. I am excited about preaching through this book.
    I would love to meet you folks at some point in the future. I would love to visit the British Isles. My ancestors are from there. I have always had a keen interest in England/Scotland/Ireland.
    Your daughter told me some time ago about your blogs. I plan to read some of them as I have time. May God bless you as you serve the Lord in Scotland.

    Pastor Gatlin
    Romans 8:28

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Pastor Gatlin! Good to hear from you! Yes, if we get back to Greenville some time, we certainly would like to meet you!

      I’ve been preaching through Isaiah, not verse by verse, but rather choosing some of the best-known / most quoted verses, and preaching on them in the context of the book. I’ve been finding the series very profitable.

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