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Guide Me, O
Thou Great Jehova
The words to “Guide
Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” were penned by
William Williams, Pantycelyn
(also known as
Pantycelyn and Pantycelyn)
(1717 – January 11, 1791).
is generally acknowledged as Wales's most important hymn writer.
He was also one of the
key leaders of the 18th century Welsh Methodist revival,along
with Daniel Rowland and Howell Harris.
As a poet and prose writer he is today considered to be
Wales's greatest writers.
Williams was born in the parish of Llanfair-ar-y-bryn,
Carmarthenshire, early in 1717. His family were nonconformists.
He was educated locally and intended to become a doctor. This
changed when he had a religious conversion while listening to
Howell Harris, the evangelical reformer, preaching in Talgarth
in 1737. He took deacon's orders in the Church of England in
1740 and was appointed curate to Theophilus Evans (1693-1767) in
the parishes of Llanwrtyd, Llanfihangel Abergwesyn and
Because of his
Methodist activities he was refused ordination as a priest and from then
on he committed himself entirely to that movement. He travelled
throughout the country preaching and establishing seiadau, local
fellowships of Methodist people, for the converts he won. He died in
John Hughes, 1907. Hughes wrote this tune in
Tonteg (near Pontypridd), Wales, to commemorate a music festival held in
nearby Capel Rhondda, Hopkinstown. It was first performed
November 1 that year to Welsh words by Ann Griffiths; in the early
days it was simply known as Rhondda, but
within a year he changed the name to Cwm Rhondda,
used Peter Williams’ translation, and the rest is history.
This hymn was sung, in Welsh, in the Academy
Award winning movie How Green Was My Valley
(1941). It was sung in English at the funeral of Diana, Princess
of Wales, in Westminster Abbey, London, September 6, 1997.
Lyrics by William Williams
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
[or Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer…]
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.
Open now the crystal fountain,
I trust Thy mighty power,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.
Wondrous are Thy works of old;
Thou deliver’st Thine from thralldom,
Who for naught themselves had sold:
Thou didst conquer, Thou didst conquer,
Sin, and Satan and the grave,
Sin, and Satan and the grave.
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Musing on my habitation,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee.
Musing on my heav’nly home,
Fills my soul with holy longings:
Come, my Jesus, quickly come;
Vanity is all I see;
Lord, I long to be with Thee!
Lord, I long to be with Thee!