Scripture Verse

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14


George F. Handel

Words: Phi­lip Dodd­ridge (1702–1751). Pub­lished post­hu­mous­ly in Hymns Found­ed on Va­ri­ous Texts in the Ho­ly Scrip­tures, by Job Or­ton (Shrop­shire, Eng­land: Jo­shua Ed­dowes & John Cot­ton, 1755), num­ber 296: Press­ing on in the Chris­tian race.

Music: Christ­mas George F. Han­del, from the op­era Ci­roë (Cy­rus), 1728. Ar­ranged in Har­mon­ia Sacra, 1812 (🔊 pdf nwc) (re­peats last line of each verse).

Philip Doddridge


A min­is­ter­i­al broth­er says that when a child he heard a ser­mon on the text, So run that ye ob­tain, and hear­ing the mem­bers so strong­ly ex­hort­ed to en­gage in a race, he thought it was go­ing to take place right after the ser­vice.

Greatly did he feel dis­ap­point­ed when, hav­ing hast­ened out of the church to get a good po­si­tion on the fence, from which he could get a good view of the rac­ers, he found that they did not run a bit. In Cun­ning­ham Val­ley [Penn­syl­van­ia], we had lit­er­al­ly such a race at the close of preach­ing.

The church con­sist­ed of but one au­di­ence-room, and that was wedged so full of hear­ers, that it was im­pos­si­ble in a pray­er-meet­ing ser­vice to speak to those who de­sired to make known their an­xi­e­ties, and to seek spe­cial ad­vice.

So we se­cured three rooms at a ho­tel a few squares dis­tant. But these, prov­ing in­ad­e­quate to hold all, there was a reg­u­lar race at the close of each service to gain ad­mit­tance.

As there was a thaw in mid-win­ter, and roads un­paved, it was an am­us­ing sight to see the au­di­ence splash­ing through the mud on a reg­u­lar trot—men, wo­men and child­ren run­ning as if for their lives.

What still add­ed to the im­press­ive­ness of the scene was the fact that the tav­ern sign, swing­ing on its rus­ty piv­ots ov­er our heads as we en­tered the tav­ern, screeched most pi­te­ous­ly, as if it were ut­ter­ing the death groans of King Al­co­hol, and so they proved to be.

Most of the in­mates of the land­lord’s fa­mi­ly be­com­ing sub­jects of grace, the sign-post was cut down af­ter the close of our meet­ing, and the build­ing was af­ter­wards used for oth­er pur­pos­es.

Long, p. 144


Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve,
And press with vigor on;
A heav’nly race demands thy zeal,
And an immortal crown.

A cloud of witnesses around
Hold thee in full survey;
Forget the steps already trod,
And onward urge thy way.

’Tis God’s all animating voice
That calls thee from on high;
’Tis His own hand presents the prize
To thine aspiring eye.

That prize, with peerless glories bright,
Which shall new luster boast,
When victors’ wreaths and monarchs’ gems
Shall blend in common dust.

Blest Savior, introduced by Thee,
Have I my race begun;
And, crowned with victory at Thy feet,
I’ll lay my honors down.