Hark, how all the welkin rings

by Richard on December 18, 2007

Seeing as it’s Charles Wesley’s birthday, let’s celebrate with the original version of one of his most famous hymns. I might well have it in church this Sunday. But perhaps not all at once.

Hark, how all the welkin rings,
“Glory to the King of kings;
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
universal nature say,
“Christ the Lord is born today!”

Christ, by highest Heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a Virgin’s womb!

Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see,
hail the incarnate Deity!
pleased as man with men to appear,
Jesus, our Emmanuel here!

Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace,
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.

Mild he lays his glory by,
born that man no more may die;
born to raise the sons of earth;
born to give them second birth.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
fix in us thy humble home;
rise, the woman’s conquering Seed,
bruise in us the serpent’s head.

Now display thy saving power,
ruined nature now restore;
now in mystic union join
thine to ours, and ours to thine.

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp thy image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.

Let us thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the life, the inner man:
O, to all thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }


tortoise 12.18.07 at 10:48 pm

Yeah, we had it tonight, all the verses but still using Mendelssohn tune. And there were only eleven of us!


Swan 12.21.07 at 5:10 pm

I had to look up “welkin”, I had never heard that word before.
No wonder that part was changed to something we understand today ;)


bigfoot 12.22.07 at 1:03 am

Note that the scripture does not say the angels sing. It may be hard to imagine the praises were only spoken, but that’s what it says.
Wesley is always very true to the scripture. “Welkin ring” is an obvious figure of speach and would never be confused as a litteral translation. Everything else Wesley writes is profound straight truth.


johndark 12.31.10 at 10:59 am

Dear Swan, the change was made in the days when ‘welkin’ was known in Britain. The tortoise is not the fastest there is, but this hymn could bring it up to You.

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