Father, Thy name our souls would bless

Father, Thy name our souls would bless,
  As children taught by grace,
Lift up our hearts in righteousness,
  And joy before Thy face.
Sweet is the confidence Thou giv’st,
  Though high above our praise;
Our hearts resort to where Thou liv’st
  In heaven’s unclouded rays.
Eternal ages shall declare
  The riches of Thy grace,
To those who with Thy Son shall share
  A son’s eternal place.
Absent as yet, we rest in hope,
  Treading the desert path,
Waiting for Him who takes us up
  Beyond the pow’r of death.
We joy in Thee, Thy fulness shall
  Our endless portion be,
Like Thine own Son, with whom we’ll dwell
  In bright eternity.
O Holy Father, keep us here
  In that blest name of love,
Walking before Thee without fear,
  Thy perfect will to prove.
Ana Lara

Storrs, Connecticut, United States

John Nelson Darby was born in 1800, 100 years after the birth of Count Zinzendorf. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin between the ages of 15 and 19. Darby was an outstanding student, gaining many honors and capturing the gold medal in the classics. He studied law at Trinity and was admitted to the Irish bar, but he left shortly to pursue spiritual matters. Darby was ordained a priest in the Church of Ireland in 1826 and from then on was considered a very High Churchman. He relates that at one time even disowned the name protestant:

“I looked for the church… I too, governed by a morbid imagination, thought much of Rome, and its professed sanctity, and catholicity, and antiquity… I held apostolic succession fully, and the channels of grace to be there only. ”

By this Darby indicated that he too, at one time, had thought that grace was with the Catholic Church because it seemed to be in succession with the apostles that had gone before. Darby said further, “I held thus Luther and Calvin and their followers to be outside [the church]. ” He started meeting with the others for the Lord’s table beginning in the winter of 1827 and resigned his curacy in 1828. However he still kept one foot in the state church, while meeting informally with the brothers around the Lord’s table. Though Darby was still a Churchman, the Lord gradually was shining upon him, opening him to the matters concerning the Church. He wrote a treatise called “Considerations of the Nature and Unity of the Church of Christ” (1828). This is considered the Brethren’s first published pamphlet.

Most church historians acknowledge Darby to be the principal leading one in the beginning of the Brethren movement. The following summary is by Neatby:

“… The maker of Brethrenism as a system, its guiding an energizing spirit throughout, was John Nelson Derby. In the grandeur of his conceptions, in the irresistible vehemence of his will, in his consummate strategic instinct, in his genius for administration, and most of all in his immense personal ascendency, he stands unrivaled amongst the Brethren. His energy was stupendous. He was working for Brethrenism before he was 30, and when he was 80 he was working as hard as ever; nor had he been known to relax his efforts—efforts to put forth up the to the full measure of his great strength, and often beyond it—during the whole of the intervening time.

John Nelson Darby and the Brethren Assemblies


B. Some of the Brethren

Brother John

United Kingdom

Missing verse 3

3. There in the purpose of Thy love

Our place is now prepared,

As sons with Him who is above,

Who all our sorrows shared.

Ref: Little Flock Hymnal

I love hymn #44 in the Chinese hymnbook. The first stanza says that we bless the name of our Father as children taught by grace and we rejoice that because of His life we were brought back to the flock. This is exactly what John 10 says. Once His life comes into us, it causes us to return to the flock. We were formerly lost sheep; it was by His life coming into us that we became sheep belonging to the flock and being shepherded under the hand of the good Shepherd.

J. N. Darby, one of the Brethren, wrote #47 in Hymns. It is difficult to find a similar hymn of such quality. The first two stanzas say, "Father, Thy name our souls would bless, / As children taught by grace, / Lift up our hearts in righteousness, / And joy before Thy face. / Sweet is the confidence Thou giv'st, / Though high above our praise; / Our hearts resort to where Thou liv'st / In heaven's unclouded rays." The truth in this hymn is truly high, deep, and penetrating. We must note here that when Brother Watchman Nee translated this hymn into Chinese, he improved upon the original English. Although the hymn was already very good, it was not so clear in its meaning. After passing through Brother Nee's translation, it is clearer.