Sanctify a fast (William Billings)

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  • (Posted 2015-01-13)   CPDL #34299:     
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2015-01-13).   Score information: Letter, 9 pages, 294 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Oval note edition. Several editing changes made; see page 9.

General Information

Title: Sanctify a fast
Composer: William Billings

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredAnthem

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1794 in The Continental Harmony

Description: Published in The Columbian Harmony, 1794, pp. 186-197. Words adapted by Billings from Joel chapters 1 and 2.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Sanctify a fast,
Call a solemn assembly,
Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land
   into the house of the Lord your God,
And cry unto the Lord,
The seed is rotten under the clods,
The barns are broken down,
For the corn is withered.
How do the beasts groan, because they have no pasture.
O Lord, to Thee will I cry,
For the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness,
And the flame hath burnt all the trees of the field.
The beasts of the field cry also unto Thee,
For the rivers of water are [all] dried up.
Blow ye the trumpet, blow the trumpet,
Let the trumpet sound!
Blow the trumpet in Zion.
Sanctify a fast,
Call a solemn assembly.
Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep
Between the porch and the altar,
And let them say,
O Lord, spare Thy people,
For wherefore shall the heathen say, where is now their God?

Fear not, O land, be glad and rejoice,
For the Lord will do great things.
Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice
In the Lord your God.
For He hath given you the former rain moderately,
And He will cause to come down
The former and the latter rain in the first month.
And the floor shall be full of wheat,
And the [vats] shall overflow with wine and oil,
Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice
In the Lord your God.
For He hath given you the former rain moderately,
And He will cause to come down
The former and the latter rain in the first month.