Awake, Ye Saints of God, Awake! (#17)
Text: Eliza R. Snow
Music by: Evan Stephens
Before his death, Father Lehi pleaded, “Awake! and arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return; a few more days and I go the way of all the earth.” (2 Ne 1:14). Later Nephi declared. “Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.” (2 Ne 4:28). The Lord’s call for us to awaken is key to walking the Covenant Path.
With such inspiration, Sister Eliza R. Snow penned the words to “Awake, Ye Saints of God, Awake!” (#17). This is another forgotten hymn with a powerful message.
1. Awake, ye Saints of God, awake!
Call on the Lord in mighty prayer.
That he will Zion’s bondage break
And bring to naught the tempter’s snare,
And bring to naught the tempter’s snare.
2. Tho Zion’s foes have counseled deep,
Although they bind with fetters strong,
The God of Jacob does not sleep;
His vengeance will not slumber long;
His vengeance will not slumber long.
3. With constant faith and fervent prayer,
With deep humility of soul,
With steadfast mind and heart, prepare
To see th’eternal purpose roll,
To see th’eternal purpose roll.
4. Awake to righteousness; be one,
Or, saith the Lord, “Ye are not mine!”
Yea, like the Father and the Son,
Let all the Saints in union join.
Let all the Saints in union join.
This is the first of ten hymns written by Snow in the English hymn book.
Eliza R. Snow
Eliza Roxcy Snow was born in Massachusetts in 1804. However, she grew up in Ohio. As a girl, is learned to write poetry, keep books for her father, and keep a house.
Her family was introduced to the Gospel by Sidney Rigdon in 1831. Her mother and sister quickly joined the church. For Eliza it took four more years of thought, studying, and prayer. At 31 years old, Eliza was baptized and moved to Kirtland.
At Kirtland, she wrote hymns for the first Church hymnal, taught school, and donated her large inheritance for building the Kirtland temple.
The Prophet Joseph Smith called Eliza to write about the saints and their struggles and message. In the 1850s, she became known as “Zion’s Poetess.” Eliza wrote more than 500 poems, many of them becoming beloved hymns.
Eliza was involved in the creation of the Relief Society in Nauvoo, Once in Salt Lake, Eliza became the second General Relief Society President. She implemented Relief Societies in local congregations throughout the West. She also helped create the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association (founded in 1870) and the Children’s Primary Association (founded in 1878).
Eliza was the plural wife of Joseph Smith and later a plural wife of Brigham Young, but she never had children. She fostered relationships with the Young children and other pioneer families.
‘Eliza died on December 5, 1887. At her funeral in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, a choir sang her well-known hymn “O My Father.” Apostles, family, and friends paid tribute to her with poetry, discourses, personal memories, and firm testimonies. Her obituary in the New York Times described her as ‘one of the central figures of the Mormon galaxy.’” (ChurchofJesusChirst.org)
Evan Stephens was also a Welshman but was born 32 years after Davis. Like Davis, Stephens was also born in Carmarthenshire, Wales, on June 28, 1854, to David Phillips Stephens and Jane Evans.
He joined the Church on December 19, 1863, at the age of nine. He emigrated to Utah with his family, arriving on October 1, 1866. They settled in Willard, Box Elder County.
Stephens had a lengthy career in music. He was the director of the University of Utah Music Department between 1883-1900, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir conductor between 1890-1916, and wrote the words and/or music for more than twenty-five hymns.
Stephens died in Salt Lake City on October 27, 1930, at 76.
The tune is titled Willard most likely named after Willard, Box Elder County. The tune is only used for this hymn.
"Men [and women] are that they might have JOY..."
2 Nephi 2:25