Brethren Archive


Speed Thy Servants, Saviour, Speed Them

by Thomas Kelly (1769-1854)

Tune: Melbourne

1 SPEED Thy servants, Saviour, speed them,
Safely through land, sea, and air,
Go before them, guide, and lead them,
In their journeys everywhere.
Be Thou with them;
We commit them to Thy care.

2 Friend and home and all forsaking,
They have gone at Thy command,
As their stay, Thy promise taking;
Grant them always from Thy hand,
Strength and wisdom;
Help them faithfully to stand.

3 Send them forth at Thy direction,
To the places of Thy choice,
Yielding in complete subjection,
Listening only to Thy voice;
Bless and use them,
In Thy service to rejoice.

4 Should no fruit appear to cheer them,
And they seem to toil in vain,
Then in mercy, Lord, draw near them,
Then their sinking hopes sustain;
Thus supported,
Let their zeal revive again.

5 In the midst of opposition,
Let them trust, O Lord, in Thee;
When success attends their mission,
Let Thy servants humble be;
Never leave them,
Till Thy face in heaven they see.

6 There to reap in joy for ever
Fruit that grows from seed here sown;
There to be with Him who never
Ceases to preserve His own,
And with gladness
Give the praise to Him alone.

Nick Fleet said ...
With remarkble foresight, Thomas Kelly anticipated air-travel in 1820!
Sunday, Jul 18, 2021 : 22:01
Timothy Stunt said ...
I believe that the first verse as Thomas Kelly wrote it was less prophetic:
Speed Thy servants, Saviour speed them!
Thou art Lord of winds and waves;
They were bound, but Thou has freed them;
Now they go to free the slaves;
Be Thou with them
'Tis Thine arm alone that saves.
Timothy Stunt
Tuesday, Jul 20, 2021 : 00:31
Timothy Stunt said ...
Did anyone ever say why Kelly's first verse was changed? Was going 'to free the slaves' deemed to be 'political'? What is the date of the doctored version? Timothy
Thursday, Jul 22, 2021 : 03:33
Nick Fleet said ...
The hymn first appeared as the last one (#436) in WJ Hocking's 1928 revision of Darby's 1881 and W Kelly's 1894 editions following the reuniting of Kelly and Lowe-Continental brethren in 1926. It had Thomas Kelly's original first verse as Timothy Stunt exactly has quoted above. The changes were made by the four 1978 editors, where the author is shown as "T. Kelly, (vv.1-3) updated"
Sunday, Jul 25, 2021 : 20:06
Timothy Stunt said ...
Many thanks to Nick Fleet for clarifying the chronology of change.I am still mystified as to the motivation for the change. One dreads to think what they might have done to the opening line of Charles Gabriel's "Send the Light". . . Would "a call comes ringing o'er the restless wave" have been updated to a divine "phone call" ringing on a "sound wave"? Timothy
Monday, Jul 26, 2021 : 03:43

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