Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

As Christmas approaches, I thought I would do something different.  This is one of my favorite Christmas carols, by one of my favorite hymn writers: Charles Wesley.  This is not just a nice song, it is full of theological content (which Wesley was very gifted at doing).  This is the original version of the song and may be slightly different from what you are familiar with.

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 to-day!”

Christ, by highest Heaven ador’d,
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 Immanuel 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,
Form’d in each believing heart.

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3 thoughts on “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”

  1. The melody is different from the original as well. Originally, Wesley wanted this song to be sung to the tune of “Christ the Lord is Risen Today!”. You will find that the words fit perfectly if you can manage to get your head around it. The melody that we typically use today was first adapted by William Cummings in 1855 and was originally composed by Felix Mendelssohn.

    1. es. It has been my favorite Carol for a number of years now. I always smile when I hear it played in shopping malls and stuff over the radio. If only people would listen, they would hear some awesome theology.
      I did a radio show on Christmas carols back when I was in college. So that’s where my knowledge on the subject is coming from. Singing “Hark” to the tune of “Christ the Lord is Risen Today!” is a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy. At some point, I always switch back to the Mendelssohn tune!!

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