However, I enjoy the music of God’s church and the history of that music fascinates me. I’m continually amazed at the sheer volume of the music that has been written over the years. I’m further amazed at how some songs have remained popular, while others with magnificent messages, seem to have dropped off the radar.
Of course, I’m limited by my own experience within the Baptist churches I’ve served as to what songs are “well known.” Which is another reason I love these old hymnals so much. It helps me to branch out beyond those Baptist borders to see some of the amazing songs that have been written by lovers of Christ throughout history.
Here’s the point. As I stated last December in an almost identical post to this one, one of my favorite books in my collection is the 1833 Church Psalmody: A Collection of Psalms and Hymns, adapted to Public Worship. Selected from Dr. Watts and Other Authors. In that post I included a few selections celebrating our Lord’s birth. As we approach the celebration of His Death and Resurrection, I thought it only appropriate to add a few choice morsels on that subject as well.
Whether or not you’re a fan of these older songs, read them with your heart fixed on our great God of Grace; meditate on the truths they describe; and I guarantee you’ll be move to worship.
1. BLEST morning, whose first dawning rays
Beheld our rising God ;
That saw him triumph o'er the dust.
And leave his dark abode.
2. In the cold prison of a tomb
The great Redeemer lay —
— Till the revolving skies had brought
The third, th' appointed day.
3 Hell and the grave unite their force
To hold the Lord in vain;
Behold the mighty conqueror rise,
And burst their feeble chain.
4 To thy great name, almighty Lord,
These sacred hours we pay,
And loud hosannas shall proclaim,
The triumph of the day.
THE Lord is risen indeed!" —
Then justice asks no more;
Mercy and truth are now agreed,
Who stood opposed before.
2 "The Lord is risen indeed!" —
Then is his work performed;
The mighty captive now is freed.
And death, our foe, disarmed.
3 "The Lord is risen indeed!" —
Then hell has lost his prey:
With him is risen the ransomed seed,
To reign in endless day.
4 "The Lord is risen indeed!" —
Attending angels hear;
Up to the courts of heaven, with speed.
The joyful tidings bear.
5 Then wake your golden lyres.
And strike each cheerful chord;
Join, all ye bright, celestial choirs,
To sing our risen Lord.
-Thomas Kelly, 1802
CHRIST, the Lord, is risen to-day.
Our triumphant holy day:
He endured the cross and grave,
Sinners to redeem and save.
2 Lo! he rises— mighty King!
Where, O death! is now thy sting?
Lo ! he claims his native sky!
Grave ! where is thy victory?
3 Sinners! see your ransom paid,
Peace with God forever made:
With your risen Saviour, rise;
Claim with him the purchased skies.
4 Christ, the Lord, is risen to-day.
Our triumphant holy day:
Loud the song of victory raise;
Shout the great Redeemer's praise.
MORNING breaks upon the tomb,
Jesus scatters all its gloom!
Day of triumph! through the skies.
See the glorious Saviour rise!
2 Ye who are of death afraid,
Triumph in the scattered shade;
Drive your anxious cares away;
See the place where Jesus lay.
3 Christians, dry your flowing tears;
Chase your unbelieving fears;
Look on his deserted grave;
Doubt no more his power to save.
- William Collyer, 1812
HARK, ten thousand harps and voices
Sound the note of praise above —
Jesus reigns, and heaven rejoices;
Jesus reigns the God of love:
See, he sits on yonder throne;
Jesus rules the world alone.
2 Jesus, hail! whose glory brightens
All above, and gives it worth;
Lord of life — thy smile enlightens,
Cheers, and charms thy saints on earth:
When we think of love like thine,
Lord, we own it love divine.
3 King of glory, reign forever-
Thine an everlasting crown:
Nothing from thy love shall sever
Those whom thou hast made thine own;
Happy objects of thy grace.
Destined to behold thy face.
4 Saviour, hasten thine appearing;
Bring — oh bring the glorious day,
When, the awful summons hearing,
Heaven and earth shall pass away:
Then with golden harps, we'll sing —
"Glory, glory to our King."