Do What is Right

Today in Church, we sang the Hymn do what is right. As we sang it, I looked at the lyrics as well as the author of the text and made a cool connection.

The Text of the Hymn is Anonymous, but it was found in a hymnal called The Psalms of Life published in Boston in 1857. The Full title of the book is The Psalms of Life: A Compilation of Psalms, Hymns, Chants, Anthems, &c. Embodying the Spiritual, Progressive and Reformatory Sentiment of the Present Age. Given the title, location of publication and subject matter of many of the hymns it is pretty clear that this was an abolitionist hymnal. Given this context, the lyrics of Do What is Right make so much more sense.

1. Do what is right; the day-dawn is breaking,
Hailing a future of freedom and light.
Angels above us are silent notes taking
Of ev’ry action; then do what is right!

(Chorus)
Do what is right; let the consequence follow.
Battle for freedom in spirit and might;
And with stout hearts look ye forth till tomorrow.
God will protect you; then do what is right!

2. Do what is right; the shackles are falling.
Chains of the bondsmen no longer are bright;
Lightened by hope, soon they’ll cease to be galling.
Truth goeth onward; then do what is right!

3. Do what is right; be faithful and fearless.
Onward, press onward, the goal is in sight.
Eyes that are wet now, ere long will be tearless.
Blessings await you in doing what’s right!

I love that this hymn has found its way into our modern hymn book. This hymn illustrates the abolitionist roots of many of the early members of the Church. It illustrates the courage required for standing up against morally incorrect practices that are widely accepted in society. It illustrates that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of action and courage.

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