O Happy Day, That Fixed My Choice, the Song and the Story

Composer Philip Doddridge Writes O Happy Day, That Fixed My Choice

Happy Family Portrait
When Monica Doddridge gave birth to Philip (1702 -1751, England), she had been through the pain of labor no less than 20 times. 18 of her children had died in infancy. Phillip was delivered as though stillborn, and so the midwife set him aside to attend to his mother. And then the baby cried out. At that moment Monica determined that young Philip's life had been saved for a purpose. She spent the next few years doing her best to teach her frail son the Scriptures.

At a young age, Philip Doddridge was orphaned. An excerpt from his diary tells that his faith in God remained strong: God is an immortal Father. My soul rejoices in Him. He hath hitherto helped me and provided for me; may it be my study to approve myself a more affectionate, dutiful and grateful child. With no family and no money for formal training, friends encouraged him to give up his dream of entering the ministry. Doddridge took the matter to prayer and God miraculously provided funds.

Doddridge found his place among the clergy of the English Dissenters. He was pastor of an independent congregation and taught at a seminary for dissenting ministers. More than 200 years later, this same college (now under another name) includes a large collection of his manuscripts in the library. Doddridge wrote more than 50 hymns, including the very popular O Happy Day..

O Happy Day has survived the centuries in various formats, with different melodies, and in both 3/4 and 4/4 time. The song has been recorded by several famous artists, including Joan Baez and the Hawkins Singers. It has been a part of many movies, including The Nutty Professor II, and Sister Act II. It has been sung by church and school choirs, at baptismal, confirmations, Easter and Christmas celebrations. O Happy Day is a timeless song that brings inspiration and joy to the hearts of both doubters and believers.

O Happy Day

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.


Happy day, happy day, when
Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray,
and live rejoicing every day
Happy day, happy day, when
Jesus washed my sins away.

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.


'Tis done: the great transaction's done!
I am the 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.
Here have I found a nobler part;
Here heavenly pleasures fill my breast.


High heaven, 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.


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Written by: Connie Ruth Christiansen



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