The Heavenly Contention (Jeremiah Ingalls)

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  • (Posted 2017-04-19)   CPDL #44111:       
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2017-04-19).   Score information: Letter, 2 pages, 94 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Oval note edition, as written in 1805. Four groups of four stanzas each are included, as in Ingalls 1805. MusicXML source file is in compressed .mxl format.
  • (Posted 2017-04-19)   CPDL #44110:   
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2017-04-19).   Score information: 7 x 10 inches (landscape), 2 pages, 95 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Note shapes added (4-shape). Included are the four groups of four stanzas each, as appears in Ingalls 1805.

General Information

Title: The Heavenly Contention
First Line: In heavenly choirs a question rose
Composer: Jeremiah Ingalls
Lyricist: Ralph Erskine

Number of voices: 3vv   Voicing: STB
Genre: SacredSet piece   Meter: 88. 88 (L.M.), twice doubled in Ingalls

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1805 in Ingalls' The Christian Harmony, pp. 91-93

Description: Tune is apparently derived from earlier instrumental music of some kind (Jackson 1952, no. 118). Words by Ralph Erskine, attributed to him by several authors, such as The Life and Diary of the Rev. Ralph Erskine, Donald Fraser, 1834. American collections have as many as 24 stanzas. Ingalls selected sixteen of them (apparently from A Choice Collection of Hymns, in which are Some Never Before Printed, Philadelphia, 1782), and used groups of four stanzas in his work.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

A Choice Collection of Hymns
(Philadelphia, 1782) 88. 88. (L. M.)

1. In heavenly choirs a question rose
That stirred up strife will never close,
What rank of all the ransomed race,
Owes highest praise to sovereign grace?

2. Babes thither caught from womb and breast,
Claimed right to sing above the rest;
Because they found the happy shore
They never saw or sought before.

3. Those that arrived at riper age,
Before they left the dusky stage,
Thought grace deserved yet higher praise,
That washed the blots of numerous days.

4. Anon, the war more close began,
What praising harp should lead the van:
And which of grace's heavenly peers
Was deepest run in her arrears.

5. Tis I, said one, ’bove all my race,
Am debtor chief to glorious grace,
Nay, said another, hark, I trow ,
I'm more obliged to grace than you.

6. Stay, said a third, I deepest share
In owing praise beyond compare;
The chief of sinners, you’ll allow,
Must be the chief of singers now.

7. Hold, said a fourth, I here protest,
My praise must outvie the rest;
For I’m of all the human race
The highest miracle of grace.

8. Stop, said a fifth, these notes forbear,
Lo, I’m the greatest wonder here;
For I, of all the race that fell,
Deserved the lowest place in hell.

9. A soul that higher yet aspired
With equal love to Jesus fired,
Tis mine to sing the highest notes
To love, that washed the foulest blots.

10. Ho! cried a mate, tis mine, I'll prove
Who sinned in spite of light and love,
To sound his praise with loudest bell,
That saved me from the lowest hell.

11. Come, come, said one, I'll hold the plea
That highest praise is due by me;
For mine of all the saved by grace
Was the most dreadful, desperate case.

12. Another, rising at his side,
As fond to praise, and free of pride,
Cried, pray give peace, for I defy
That you should owe more praise than I.

 

From Jeremiah Ingalls, 1805
88.88.88.88.88.88.88.88. (L. M. D. D.)

1. In heavenly choirs a question rose
That stirred up strife will never close,
What rank of all the ransomed race,
Owes highest praise to sovereign grace?

2. Babes thither caught from womb and breast,
Claimed right to sing above the rest;
Because they found the happy shore
They never saw or sought before.

3. Those that arrived at riper age,
Before they left the dusky stage,
Thought grace deserved yet higher praise,
That washed the blots of numerous days.

4. Anon, the war more close began,
What praising harp should lead the van:
And which of grace's heavenly peers
Was deepest run in her arrears.

5. Tis I, said one, ’bove all my race,
Am debtor chief to glorious grace,
Nay, said another, hark, I trow ,
I'm more obliged to grace than you.

6. Stay, said a third, I deepest share
In owing praise beyond compare;
The chief of sinners, you’ll allow,
Must be the chief of singers now.

7. Hold, said a fourth, I here protest,
My praise must outvie the rest;
For I’m of all the human race
The highest miracle of grace.

8. Stop, said a fifth, these notes forbear,
Lo, I’m the greatest wonder here;
For I, of all the race that fell,
Deserved the lowest place in hell.

 

Choice Collection 1782, continued

13. I’ll yield to none in this debate;
I’m run so deep in grace’s debt,
That sure I am, I boldly can
Compare with all the heavenly clan.

14. Quick o'er their heads a trump awoke.
Your songs my very heart have spoke;
But every note you here propel,
Belongs to me beyond you all.

15. The listening millions round about,
With sweet resentment loudly shout;
What voice is this comparing notes,
That to their song chief place allots?

16. We can’t allow of such a sound,
That you alone have highest ground,
To sing the royalties of grace;
We claim the same adoring place.

17. What, will no rival singer yield
He has a match upon the field?
Come then, and let us all agree
To praise upon the highest key.

18. Then jointly all the harpers round
In mind unite, with solemn sound,
And strokes upon the highest string
Made all the heavenly arches ring.

19. Ring loud with hallelujahs high
To him who sent his Son to die,
And to the worthy Lamb of God,
That loved and washed them with his blood.

20. Free grace was sovereign empress crowned
In pomp, with joyful sounds around;
Assisting angels clapped their wings,
And sounded grace on all their strings.

21. The emulation round the throne
Made prostrate hosts, who every one
The humblest place their right avow,
Strive who should give the lowest bow.

22. The next contention without vice
Among the birds of paradise,
Made every glorious warbling throat
Strive who should raise the highest note.

23. Thus in sweet, holy, humble strife,
Along their endless joyful life,
Of Jesus all the harpers rove,
And sing the wonders of his love.

24. Their discord makes them all unite
In raptures most divinely sweet;
So great the song, so grave the Bass,
Melodious music fills the place.

 

Ingalls 1805, continued

9. I’ll yield to none in this debate;
I’m run so deep in grace’s debt,
That sure I am, I boldly can
Compare with all the heavenly clan.

10. Quick o'er their heads a trump awoke.
Your songs my very heart have spoke;
But every note you here propel,
Belongs to me beyond you all.

11. The listening millions round about,
With sweet resentment loudly shout;
What voice is this comparing notes,
That to their song chief place allots?

12. We can’t allow of such a sound,
That you alone have highest ground,
To sing the royalties of grace;
We claim the same adoring place.

13. What, will no rival singer yield
He has a match upon the field?
Come then, and let us all agree
To praise upon the highest key.

14. Then jointly all the harpers round
In mind unite, with solemn sound,
And strokes upon the highest string
Made all the heavenly arches ring.

15. Ring loud with hallelujahs high
To him who sent his Son to die,
And to the worthy Lamb of God,
That loved and washed them with his blood.

16. Free grace was sovereign empress crowned
In pomp, with joyful sounds around;
Assisting angels clapped their wings,
And sounded grace on all their strings.