“Exalt the Lord, His Praise Proclaim”

"Praise ye the Lord…O ye servants of the Lord" (Ps. 135.1)

     INTRO.: A hymn which calls upon us to express our praise for the Lord is "Exalt the Lord, His Praise Proclaim." The text, taken from Psalm 135.1-7 and 21, is a metrical version made by an unknown arranger and used in The Psalter of 1912 published by the United Presbyterian Board of Publication. The tune (Duane Street) was composed by George C. Coles, who was born on Jan. 2, 1792 at Stewkley, England. Converted at age thirteen, he began preaching in the Methodist Church at 22 and emigrated to the United States in 1818. For twelve years he served as editor of the Christian Advocate, and his written works include The Antidote: A Treatise Against Infidelity; Lectures to Children; A Concordance of the Holy Scriptures; My Youthful Days; My First Years in America; and Heroines of Methodism.

     This tune was produced in 1835 and named after the Duane St. Methodist Church in New York City, NY, where Coles was minister. In 1839, during the centennial celebration of the stablishing of that church, he preached his famous sermon on "The History and Character of Methodism." Zion’s Herald said of him, "His fondness for the society of children, and his faculty of interesting and instructing them was extraordinary. Wherever he went, after a short acquaintance, they clustered about him as a father, and, not by anecdote, of which he had no great fund, but by original conceptions and by questions and by quaint remarks fitted to their capacity, he always succeeded in controlling their attention."

     Coles died on May 1, 1858, at New York City. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ during the twentieth century, this hymn appeared in the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater. The tune is used as an alternate melody to "The Doxology" in the 1956 Sacred Selections for the Church edited by Ellis J. Crum.

     The hymn offers several reasons why we should exalt the Lord and proclaim His praise.

I. Stanza 1 suggests that we praise the Lord because of His name
"Exalt the Lord, His praise proclaim; All ye His servants, praise His name,
His people for His own He takes And His peculiar treasure makes;
The Lord is good, His praise proclaim; Since it is pleasant, praise His name:
Who in the Lord’s house ever stand And humbly serve at His command."
 A. We should praise His name because His name respresents who and what He is: Ps. 111.9
 B. It is by His name that His people are called: 2 Chron. 7.14
 C. Those who are called by His name stand in the Lord’s house and humbly serve Him: Ps. 116.18-19

II. Stanza 2 suggests that we should praise the Lord because of His power
"I know the Lord is high in state, Above all gods our Lord is great;
The lightnings flash at His command, He holds the tempest in His hand.
He makes the vapors to ascend In clouds from earth’s remotest end:
The Lord performs what He decrees, In heaven and earth, in depths and seas."
 A. The Lord is higher and more powerful than all other so-called gods: Ps. 95.3
 B. His power is seen in that He orders the lightnings, the tempests, and the clouds by His command: Job 38.24-28
 C. Indeed, He performs whatever He decrees whether in heaven or in earth: Ps. 115.3

III. Stanza 3 suggests that we praise the Lord because of His grace
"Exalt the Lord, His praise proclaim; All ye His servants, praise His name,
In Zion is His dwelling place; Praise ye the Lord, show forth His grace.
Forever praise and bless His name, And in the Church His praise proclaim:
Who in the Lord’s house ever stand And humbly serve at His command."
 A. The dwelling place of this gracious God is called Zion: Ps. 9.11
 B. From His throne He pours out His grace upon mankind: Ps. 84.11
 C. The recipients of His grace constitute the church in which praise is to be sung to Him: Ps. 22.22

     CONCL.: At one time, only metrical versions of Psalms were sung in nearly all English-speaking churches. Many of those older renditions now sound very stilted to our ears, and "hymns of human composure" eventually supplanted them in most places. However, in recent years, attempts have been made to versify the Psalms in a way that is more applicable to modern mankind. While we do not sing Psalms exclusively, it is surely good from time to time to use the language of the Bible itself to encourage us to "Exalt the Lord, His Praise Proclaim.


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