With this hymn I surpassed my goal of 200 hymns planned for the "expanded edition" of my book Useful Hymns, with a "heroes of the faith" topic I have been planning to write on for a long time. The tune I picked for it is ROCKINGHAM by Lowell Mason, 1830. It's an attempt to make as much as possible of the contribution of women to the Bible's salvation history without sliding into the "let's ordain women" error, which is unfaithful to the Bible. Excuse it for being long. Believe me, it could have been longer.
1. God bless, uphold the faithful lives
Of mothers, daughters, sisters, wives,
Whose love at home, at work, abroad,
Upholds the church and blesses God!
2. For even Eve, when You had sworn
A Savior would through her be born,
Shrank not from childbirth’s dreadful pain,
Inventing motherhood with Cain.
3. Though Sarah laughed to hear the word
Her dry womb was to be restored,
Your promise was what made her say
The handmaid’s son must go away.
4. While Leah’s sister hotly strove
To grasp their husband’s tender love,
In her sons’ names we see her trace
Her fruitful bearing to Your grace.
5. Tamar and Rahab both bore fruit,
And though they were of ill repute,
You turned to them a pard’ning face
And knit them in Your line of grace.
6. Naomi’s love for pious Ruth
Knit her into Your grace and truth;
And though she sprang from Moab’s side,
Boaz redeemed her as his bride.
7. Then Mary, when the time was ripe,
Became to them an antitype;
Of her, without a husband’s seed,
Was born the Savior all men need.
8. The first to greet the Christ with joy,
Elizabeth’s yet unborn boy
Leaped at the virgin mother’s voice;
She was the second to rejoice.
9. A certain Mary sat and heard
The word of God’s incarnate Word;
Another, at His last low bed,
First saw the Firstborn from the dead.
10. Give Annas, Miriams, and more,
Dear Savior, from Your mercy’s store,
Who will bear witness of Your love
To those who seek the realm above!
11. Should men their godly duty fail,
Raise up a Debòrah, a Jael,
To bear the banner of Your name
And put its enemies to shame!
12. Now, as with Lydia, dear Lord,
Our hearts prise open to Your word,
Whereby we take Your kingdom come
Into our ears, our mouth, our home!
13. As, clasping Lois’ faithful knee,
And Eunice’s, young Timothy
Was taught Your doctrine’s written norm,
Keep in our view the sound words’ form!
14. As with Priscilla’s counsel wise,
Correct false teachers who arise;
Lest from Your way we blindly swerve,
Let each within her calling serve!
15. At last, our Bridegroom strong and true,
Present us all as bride to You
In wedding robes of spotless good:
The perfect type of womanhood!