Charge to Keep, A
DESCRIPTION: "A charge to keep I have, a God to glorify, A never-dying soul to save, And fit it for the sky. Arm me with jealous care, As in thy sight to live, Thy servant, Lord, prepare, A strict account to give. To serve the present age, My calling to fulfill...."
AUTHOR: Words: Charles Wesley
EARLIEST DATE: 1762 (Short Hymns on Select Passages of Holy Scripture, according to Reynolds, Companion to Baptist Hymnal)
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
BrownIII 522, "A Charge to Keep" (1 fragment)
NOTES: This, like many shape note hymns, appears with a bewildering variety of tunes. William Walker apparently printed it to "Carolina." "Songs of Zion" put it to "Kentucky." And in the Sacred Harp, it is called by the text-title "A Charge to Keep"; it's said to have a tune by Paine Denson. This large collection of melodies hasn't stopped moderns from fitting even more tunes; William J. Reynolds, editor of Baptist Hymnal, composed a tune "Keegan" for it.
The text is said to be based on Leviticus 8:35. As is common in these cases, there really isn't much in common between the Biblical verse and the song text except the word "charge."
For the life of Charles Wesley, author of the lyrics of this piece, see the notes to "Jesus Lover of My Soul." - RBW
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