Adrianus (Adriaen) Valerius (1575-1625) was a Dutch poet and composer. He is known mostly for his poems dealing with peasant life and the Dutch War of Independence. At the time We Gather Together was written, the Dutch were at war against the Catholic King Philip II of Spain and Dutch Protestants were forbidden to gather for worship - which resulted in "Wilt heden nu treden" (WeGather Together). The hymn first appeared in a 1626 collection of Dutch patriotic songs, Nederlandtsch Gedencklanck.
As indicated by the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, WeGather Together's first appeared in an American hymnal was in 1903. It's popularity continued among the Dutch. In 1937 when the Dutch Reformed Church in North America decided to put away traditions that they had brought with them to the New World in the 1600's of singing only psalms; they added hymns to the church service, We Gather Together was chosen as the first hymn in their first hymnal.
The modern English text was written by Theodore Baker in 1894.
We Gather Together
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!
We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!