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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.
Hymn History: Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah.
In England the Wesleys and George Whitefield were conducting similar revivals and outdoor campaigns. One of the lives touched during this time was William Williams. Prior to this time Williams had been preparing for the medical profession, but upon hearing the word of God, young Williams gave his heart and life to God and decided to enter the ministry. 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 traveled nearly 100,000 miles on horseback, preaching and singing the gospel in his native tongue. Though he suffered many hardships, he was affectionately known as the "sweet singer of Wales."
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. One hymnologist
has said, "What Isaac Watts has been to
England, that and more has William
Williams been to Wales." Unfortunately,
most of Williams's hymns are un-translated, and this is the only hymn for which he is widely known today.
The imagery of the hymn is drawn wholly from the Bible. The hymn compares the forty-year journey of the Israelites to the promised land with the living of a Christian life as a "pilgrimage through this barren land."