To Thee I Lift My Soul” (Psalm 25)

EUROTAS PARMALEE HASTINGS

(picture of Eurotas Parmalee Hastings)

“TO THEE I LIFT MY SOUL” (Psalm 25)

“Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul” (Ps. 25:1)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which encourages us to life up our souls to the Lord is “To Thee I Lift My Soul” or Psalm 25 (#607 in Hymns for Worship Revised).  The text, based on Ps. 25:1-7, is taken from The Book of Psalms for Singing, 1973, originally published by The Board of Education and Publication, Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. An updated version beginning “To You I Lift My Soul” appears in The Book of Psalms for Worship, 2010, from the same publisher. Unlike most of the other Psalm texts from this source found in Hymns for Worship, this one also did not come to use in churches of Christ through Selected Psalms for Church Singing, edited by Edward Fudge and originally published by C. E. I. Publishing Co. in 1974.  Apparently, it is based on a previous version of Psalm 25:1-7 found in The Psalter of the United Presbyterian Board of Publication, Pittsburgh, PA, dated 1912:

  1. To Thee I lift my soul,

In Thee my trust repose;

My God, O put me not to shame

Before triumphant foes.

  1. None shall be put to shame

That humbly wait for Thee,

But those that willfully transgress,

On them the shame shall be.

  1. Show me Thy paths, O Lord,

Teach me Thy perfect way,

O guide me in Thy truth divine,

And lead me day by day.

  1. For Thou art God that dost

To me salvation send,

And patiently through all the day

Upon Thee I attend.

  1. Recall Thy mercies, Lord,

Their tenderness untold,

And all Thy loving-kindnesses,

For they have been of old.

This, in turn, was evidently based on an even earlier version taken from The Scottish Psalter of 1650:

  1. To thee I lift my soul:

O my God, I trust Thee;

Let me not be ashamed, nor let,

My foes triumph o’er me.

  1. Let none that wait on thee

Be put to shame at all;

But those that without cause transgress,

Let shame upon them fall.

  1. Show me thy ways, O Lord;

Thy paths, O teach thou me:

And in thy Truth lead me Thyself,

Therein my teacher be:

  1. For thou art God that dost

To me salvation send,

And I upon thee all the day

Expecting do attend.

  1. Thy tender mercies, Lord,

Remember pray I thee,

And loving-kindnesses; for they

Have ever been to me.

  1. My sins and faults of youth

Do thou, O Lord, forget:

After thy mercy think on me,

And for thy goodness great.

     Hymns for Worship Revised uses a tune (Dennis) composed by Johann Georg Nageli and arranged by Lowell Mason which we usually associate with “Blest Be the Tie That Binds.”  The original edition of Hymns for Worship had words only with a note to use the tune for “Awake and Sing the Song.”  The title there was “Psalm 25:1-7,” but there were only four stanzas covering the first five verses of the Psalm.  The Book of Psalms for Singing, has six stanzas and uses a tune (Detroit) attributed to Eurotas Parmalee Hastings, who was born in Litchfield, CT, on July 20, 1791, one of ten children of Seth and Eunice Parmalee Hastings. Little is known of Eurotas’s early life, with the exception of his moving to New York state in 1805. It was there that he decided upon a career as a banker, and eventually found employment as a teller in a Geneva, NY, bank.  In 1819 he married his first wife Electa Owen, who died two years after their marriage.  Hastings moved to Michigan in 1825 and occupied many important positions in Detroit.   In 1826 he married Philema Moore, a Michigan native. She too died within a few years of their marriage, and he was married a year after Philema’s death to Theodosia Petit in 1835.  The father of five children, he was named as the President of the Bank of Michigan in May, 1825 and remained in the post until 1839.   The following year he was appointed by the Michigan State Legislature as State Auditor, and served in that office until 1842.  After leaving office he was named as an assignee in bankruptcy.  Also, sources of the time mention Hastings as a very religious man, serving as an elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Detroit, and died in that city on June 1, 1866, at age 74.  The Book of Psalms for Worship combines the six stanzas into three and uses a double tune (Leominster) composed by George W. Martin and arranged by Arthur Sullivan.

The song is a plea for deliverance and forgiveness.

I. Stanza 1 expresses trust in the Lord

To thee I lift my soul:

O Lord, I trust in Thee:

My God, let me not be ashamed,

Nor foes exult o’er me.

  1. Lifting up the soul is a term for praying to God: Ps. 86:1-4
  2. The one who lifts His soul to God is showing trust in the Lord: Ps. 37:5-6
  3. The specific occasion that elicits this trust is the danger of enemies: Ps. 13:3-4

II. Stanza 2 looks to the Lord for help against persecution

Yea, none that wait on Thee

Shall be ashamed at all;

But those that wantonly transgress,

Upon them shame shall fall.

  1. To wait on the Lord means to abide by faith in God’s strength: Ps. 62:5-7
  2. Those who do so will never be ashamed: Ps. 31:1
  3. However, those who transgress will have reason to be ashamed: Ps. 31:17-18

III. Stanza 3 asks the Lord to teach us

Show me thy ways, O Lord;

Thy paths, O teach thou me:

And do thou lead me in thy truth;

Therein my teacher be.

  1. We should always seek the Lord’s way: Ps. 5:8
  2. The way of the Lord is the paths of righteousness: Ps. 23:3
  3. Thus, we can always depend on Him to lead us in truth: Ps. 119:30

IV. Stanza 4 rejoices in the Lord’s salvation

For thou art God that dost

To me salvation send,

And I upon thee all the day

Expecting do attend.

  1. We worship and serve the God whose glory is declared by the heavens: Ps. 19:1
  2. This same God sends salvation to us: Ps. 3:8
  3. Therefore, we should expect, attend, and wait on Him: Ps. 27:14

V. Stanza 5 extends thanks to the Lord for His mercies

Thy tender mercies, Lord,

To mind do Thou recall,

And loving-kindnesses; for they

Have been through ages all.

  1. God’s mercies are tender: Ps. 69:15
  2. His loving-kindnesses are great: Ps. 36:7
  3. Both His mercies and loving-kindnesses endure forever: Ps. 136:1

VI. Stanza 6 seeks the Lord’s forgiveness

My sins of youth, my faults

Do Thou, O Lord, forget:

In loving-kindness think on me,

And for Thy goodness great.

  1. We need to obtain forgiveness from all sins of the past: Ps. 51:1-2
  2. God is merciful to think on us with loving-kindness and pardon: Ps. 103:8-12
  3. Therefore, we praise Him for His goodness: Ps. 331:19

CONCL.:  The Psalms are filled with such rich expressions of praise for God and trust in God.  Even though the Psalms are part of the Old Testament, Psalms is the most frequently quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament.  Therefore, we would naturally conclude that God intended the Psalms to say something to us who live under the New Testament as well.  As I consider the God whose loving nature is so beautifully revealed in the Psalms, it is only fitting that I would say to Him, “To Thee I Lift My Soul.”

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