(Click Title to Listen)
Words by Charles Wesley
Music by Felix Mendelssohn
This hymn by Charles Wesley was written within a
year of Wesley’s conversion. Thus, as Albert Bailey writes, “the inspiration of
his newly-made contact with God was still fresh” (The Gospel in Hymns,
100). Rather than simply tell the nativity story, Wesley pours theological
truths into this text. The first verse tells the story of the angels
proclaiming Christ’s birth, and the second and third verse go on to make it
very clear why the angels sang. Simply by describing Christ, Wesley tells us
the entire Gospel story. We are told of Christ’s nature, his birth and
incarnation, his ministry, and his salvific purpose. The Psalter Hymnal
Handbook describes the hymn like this: “A curious
mixture of exclamation, exhortation, and theological reflection. The focus
shifts rapidly from angels, to us, to nations. The text’s strength may not lie
so much in any orderly sequence of thought but in its use of Scripture to teach
its theology. That teaching surely produces in us a childlike response of
faith; we too can sing ‘Glory to the newborn King!’” ~ from Hymnary.org
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of the virgin’s womb:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.
Hail the heav’n born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n 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.
About the Writer. . .
Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Charles Wesley, the son of Samuel Wesley was born December 18, 1707. Educated at Westminster School and afterwards at Christ Church, Oxford, he took his degree in 1729 and became a college tutor. For many years he engaged with his brother, John, in preaching the Gospel. He died March 29, 1788.
To Charles Wesley has been justly assigned the appellation of the "Bard of Methodism." His prominence in hymn writing may be judged from the fact that in the "Wesleyan Hymn Book," 623 of the 770 hymns were written by him; and he published more than thirty poetical works, written either by himself alone, or in conjunction with his brother. The number of his separate hymns is at least five thousand.
Artwork this page: "Heavenly Host" by Anita Bice, Used by permission. anitabiceart.com
We are commanded to, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." (Colossians 3:16). Accordingly, we incorporate hymns into our regular Sunday morning worship at Pacific Hope Church. We firmly believe in equipping God's people with the knowledge of His Word through sound teaching in our classes, Bible studies, and even in our Sunday morning worship. Our worship will always be with the purpose of exalting the Lord to His proper place; it is never man-centered or seeking to create an emotional experience.