God Bless Our Native Land
“God Bless our Native Land” This hymn—whilst not particularly “Christian”—is traditionally sung for many patriotic occasions, both sacred and secular. The tune has a long history. It is most notably known as the tune of the text “God Save the Queen (King).” According to the modestly-entitled Pocock’s Everlasting Songster Containing a Selection of the most Approved Songs, which have been and are likely to be sung forever with Universal Applause (London: 1804), the original text of this tune was as follows:
God save great George our King,
Long live our noble King,
God save the King!
Send him victorious,
Happy and Glorious,
Long to reign over us, God Save the King.
O Lord our God, arise,
Scatter his enemies, and make them fall.
Confound their politicks,
Frustrate their knavish tricks!
On him our hearts are fixed!
O, save us all!
Thy choicest gifts in store,
On him be pleased to pour,
Long may he reign!
May he defend our laws,
And ever give us cause,
To sing with heart and voice, God Save the King!
Probably the title of this volume is a misnomer, for almost all the songs included therein are long since forgotten. Certainly songs as the above were not met with “universal applause”—particularly in the newly-founded United States!
Where exactly this text and tune originated is unclear. Although the British text is most well-known, France has a version entitled “Dieu sauve la France,” Denmark and Sweden have their own versions, and the German version, “Gott segne Sachsenland,” is that from which the English “God Bless our Native Land” is translated. The original German text was composed by Siegfried August Mahlmann (1771-1826.) Later, this version was translated into English by Charles Brooks and John Dwight.
Whilst the modern American Christian must remember that they are “not of this world” (John 15: 18-21) and that nationalism must never supersede the doctrines of the Church, patriotic celebrations such as American Independence Day can remind the Christian of the blessings bestowed upon him or her by God through the maintenance of a country which allows for basic freedoms and liberties. This hymn reminds us that any country is dependent upon God’s blessings.