O HAPPY DAY
Philip Doddridge, 1702–1751
I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness. (Isaiah 61:10)
It is always encouraging to share in a testimonial service by recalling with other believers the time we responded to God’s loving invitation for personal salvation. To remember what we were, how we were going, and where we could be today had not God encountered us is truly an important spiritual activity. But we must also be quick to note that the “happy day” of our new birth was never intended to be the final goal for our lives. Rather it was the starting point for developing a Christ-like life and an endless fellowship with our Lord.
Along with Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley, Philip Doddridge is generally ranked as one of England’s finest 18th century hymn writers. “O Happy Day,” a text which expresses so aptly the sense of joy in a personal relationship with God, is Doddridge’s best-known hymn today. The hymn first appeared without the refrain in the 1775 collection of Doddridge’s writings, published posthumously, as were all of his 400 hymn texts. The music did not appear for nearly 100 years after the text. It was likely adapted from one of the popular secular tunes of that time.
O happy day that fixed my choice on Thee, my Savior and my God! Well may this glowing heart rejoice and tell its raptures all abroad.
O happy bond that seals my vows to Him who merits all my love! Let cheerful anthems fill His house, while to that sacred shrine I move.
High Heav’n that heard the solemn vow, that vow renewed shall daily hear; till in life’s latest hour I bow, and bless in death a bond so dear.
’Tis done, the great transaction’s done—I am my Lord’s and He is mine; He drew me, and I followed on, charmed to confess the voice divine.
Now rest, my long-divided heart, fixed on this blissful center, rest; nor ever from my Lord depart, with Him of ev’ry good possessed.
Chorus: Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away! He taught me how to watch and pray and live rejoicing ev’ry day; happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!
For Today: Psalm 32:11; 70:4; Habakkuk 3:18; Philippians 4:4; 1 John 1:8, 9
Share with someone your conversion experience—the events that prompted the decision when you first fully realized that you were truly God’s child. Carry this musical testimony with you—