Hymns - James Deck
June 20, 2024
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
The Plymouth Brethren and similar Brethren churches arose in the 19th century and had a major role the revival of the literal interpretation of prophecy.

They published many hymnals, the first being as
Hymns for the Poor of the Flock (1840). Other Brethren hymnals were A Christian Hymnbook (1847), A Little Flock Hymn Book (1856), The Wellington Hymn Book (1857), and The Brethren Hymnal (1901).

An archive of Brethren hymnals can be found at this site - https://www.brethrenarchive.org/hymnology/

James George Deck
(1802-1884), a Plymouth Brethren elder in England and New Zealand, was a major hymn writer. His ancestors included the terribly persecuted Protestant Huguenots. He was well educated, literate in French, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. After serving as a British officer in India for several years, he was born again in about 1927 on a visit to England and was baptized by the Brethren. He founded Brethren churches in New Zealand. He had 19 children by his two wives, Alicia, who died in 1853, and Lewanna, who died in 1865. Twelve children survived to adulthood.

“James Deck wrote of his youth, ‘I hoped there were no God,’ yet his mother's training pursued after him. ‘She read to me of Jesus, Of all his grace and love.’ After his conversion, the study of Scripture revealed the doctrinal error of his Anglican upbringing. Forsaking all, he set his heart to follow God ‘at any cost.’ Later, his son testified this determination was ‘a trust never disappointed’” (
Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 2018).

Deck’s hymns were first published in
Hymns for the Poor of the Flock in 1840, and they appeared in many other hymn books in the 19th century. “His compositions are marked by directness of aim, simplicity of language, and great earnestness. The rhythm is good, and an expressive tenderness pervades many of them” (hymnary.org).

Deck’s hymns extol Christ, His incarnation, sinless character, cross-work, resurrection, and ascension. Christ’s return is preeminent.

Deck interpreted prophecy literally and held to the doctrine of the pre-tribulation Rapture. Many of his hymns deal with Christ’s Second Coming. These include “A Little While, Our Lord Shall Come,” “Christ the Lord Will Come Again,” “How Long, O Lord Our Savior,” “In Hope We Lift Our Wishful, Longing Eyes,” and “Savior, Haste, Our Souls Are Waiting.”

Deck’s hymn “Abba, Father, We Approach Thee” is in
Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs (Melody Publications, 2020).

A list of 50 of Deck’s hymns with links to scores is available at

“A Little While, the Lord Shall Come”
James G. Deck
1 A little while, our Lord shall come,
And we shall wander here no more;
He'll take us to our Father's home,
Where he for us has gone before.

2 A little while, he'll come again;
Let us the precious hours redeem,
Our only grief to give him pain,
Our joy to serve and follow him.

3 A little while, 'twill soon be past,
Why should we shun the shame and cross;
O let us in his footsteps haste,
Counting for him all else but loss.

4 A little while, come, Saviour, come!
For thee thy church has tarried long;
Take thy poor, wearied pilgrims home,
To sing the new, eternal song.

Music Score

“Called from Above” James G. Deck
1 CALLED from above, and heavenly men by birth, (Who once were but the citizens of earth) As pilgrims here, we seek a heavenly home, Our portion in the ages yet to come. 2 Where all the saints of every clime shall meet, And each with all shall all the ransomed greet, But oh, the height of bliss, our Lord, shall be To owe it all, and share it all, with Thee. 3 Thou wast the image in man's lowly guise Of the invisible to mortal eyes; Son of His bosom, come from heaven above, We see in Thee incarnate, "God is love". 4 Thy lips the Father's name to us reveal; What burning power in all Thy words we feel, As with enraptured hearts we hear Thee tell The heavenly glories which Thou know'st so well! 5 No curse of law, in Thee was sovereign grace, And now what glory in Thine unveiled face! Thou didst attract the wretched and the weak, Thy joy the wanderers and the lost to seek. 6 That precious stream of water and of blood Which from Thy pierced side so freely flowed, Has put away our sins of scarlet dye, Washed us from every stain, and brought us nigh. 7 We are but strangers here, we do not crave A home on earth, which gave Thee but a grave: Thy cross has severed ties which bound us here, Thyself our treasure in a brighter sphere.

The musical scores can be found at these links -

“O Lord, When We the Path Retrace”
James Deck

1 O Lord, when we the path retrace

Which Thou on earth hast trod;
To men Thy wondrous love and grace,
Thy faithfulness to God:

Thy love, by man so sorely tried,
Proves stronger than the grave;
The very spear that pierced Thy side
Drew forth the blood to save.

Faithful amid unfaithfulness,
'Mid darkness only light,
Thou didst Thy Father's name confess,
And in His will delight;

Unmoved by Satan's subtle wiles,
Or suffering, shame, and loss:
Thy path, uncheered by earthly smiles
Led only to the cross.

We wonder at Thy lowly mind, And fain would like Thee be, And all our rest and pleasure find In learning, Lord, of Thee.

The tune and music can be found at this link -

Many of Deck’s hymns deal with Christ’s Second Coming. These include “A Little While, Our Lord Shall Come,” “How Long, O Lord Our Savior,” and “Savior, Haste, Our Souls Are Waiting.”

“The Veil Is Rent”
Tune - Raphael

1 The veil is rent--lo! Jesus stands
Before the throne of grace:
And clouds of incense from His hands
Fill all that glorious place.

2 His precious blood is sprinkled there,
Before and on the throne;
And His own wounds in heaven declare
His work on earth is done.

3 “’Tis finished!” on the cross He said,
In agonies and blood;
“’Tis finished!” now He lives to plead,
Before the face of God.

4 “’Tis finished!” here our souls can rest,
His work can never fail:
By Him, our Sacrifice and Priest,
We enter through the veil.

5 Boldly our hearts and voice we raise,
His name, His blood, our plea;
Assured our prayers and songs of praise
Ascend by Him to thee.

The musical score can be found at this link -

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