William Williams van Pontycelyn
was the sweet singer of Wales. He was born in Cefn-y-Coed, in
the Parish of Llanfair-y-bryn, near Llandovery, in 1717. He
was ordained deacon of the Established Church in 1740. He served
two parishes in the Anglican Church for a time, but never felt
at ease in the established, ritualistic church. He decided to
take all of Wales as his parish and for the next forty-three
years he travelled nearly 100,000 miles on horseback, preaching
and singing the gospel in his native tongue. Throughout Wales
he was respected as a persuasive preacher, yet it is said that
the chief source of his influence was his hymns. He wrote approximately
800 of them, all in Welsh. Williams died in Pontycelyn, on January
1717 - 1791
"Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah" first appeared
in a hymnal published by Williams in Bristol, England, in
1745. It originally consisted of five six-line stanzas. In
1771, another hymnal was published by Peter Williams (no relation),
in which he translated 3 stanzas into English. A year later
the original author, William Williams, or possibly his son
John, made another English version. The tune for the present
version was made in 1907 by John Hughes, (1873-1932), a noted
The text with this tune is still one of the most popular
and widely used hymns in Wales. The hymn has been translated
into over seventy-five different languages.
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy pow'rful 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,
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.
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Bear me thro' the swelling current,
Land me safe on Canaan's side.
Songs and praises, songs and praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee.
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