Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve

Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve. Philip Doddridge* (1702-1751). This was hymn CCXCVI in Doddridge’s Hymns Founded on Various Texts in the Holy Scriptures (1755). This was headed ‘Pressing on in the Christian Race. Phil. iii. 12-14.’ It was a variant on the common ‘Awake, my soul’ theme’, distinguished from other examples by its exhortation to zeal and vigour: Awake, my Soul, stretch ev’ry Nerve   And press with Vigour on: A heav’nly Race demands thy Zeal,   And an immortal Crown. While this is entirely in keeping with Philippians 3: 12-14, the phrase ‘stretch ev’ry Nerve’ is at the heart of the 18th-century experience for Dissenters. It requires the congregation to be attentive (as...

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