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Holy God, We Praise Thy Name

By Hymn Stories


      From the Te Deum, c. 4th century, Attributed to Ignace Franz, 1719-1790

      English Translation by Clarence Walworth, 1820-1900

      "In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise Your name forever." (Psalm 44:8)

      Much of the origin of this noble expression of praise and worship is lost in obscurity. Through the centuries the "Te Deum" has been one of the supreme triumphal expressions of praise used by the Christian Church.

      The original setting of "Te Deum Laudamus" was likely composed by Bishop Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Italy, in AD 387, and an important leader in the development of early church music. Paraphrases of this fourth century "Te Deum" have been written in many languages, including this text in German, from which it was later translated into English by an American Catholic priest, Clarence A. Walworth. The hymn is still an important part of the morning service liturgy in Anglican churches and it is sung frequently in all Protestant churches.

      The fourth stanza is one of the strongest hymn affirmations of the doctrine of the Triune Godhead. The Trinity was an important controversy in the early church. Arius, c. AD 250-336, was a proponent of the doctrine of Arianism, which maintained that "if the Father was God, then the Son was a creature of the Father"--a middle Being between God and the world--a divine Being but not to be worshiped as God. At the Council of Alexandria (AD 321) and later at the Council of Nicaea (AD 325), this teaching was thoroughly branded as heresy. However, this controversy on the person and deity of Christ has continued even to the present time in the teachings of various cults.

      "Holy God, we praise Thy name--Lord of all, we bow before Thee! All on earth Thy scepter claim; all in heav'n above adore Thee: Infinite Thy vast domain, everlasting is Thy reign.

      "Hark, the loud celestial hymn angel choirs above are raising; cherubim and seraphim, in unceasing chorus praising, fill the heav'ns with sweet accord--Holy, holy, holy Lord!

      "Lo, the apostolic train joins Thy sacred name to hallow; prophets swell the glad refrain and the white-robed martyrs follow; and, from mom to set of sun, thru the Church the song goes on.

      "Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit, three we name Thee; while in essence only one, undivided God we claim Thee, and adoring bend the knee, while we sing our praise to Thee."

      For Today: Deuteronomy 32:3; 1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 107:8; Isaiah 63; Revelation 15:3

      Take time to worship and praise the triune Godhead.

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