The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Hail, Thou Once Despised Jesus

Alternate Title: Hail, Thou Agonizing Saviour

Words: John Bakewell (1721-1819), 1757, alt.

Music includes: “Autumn,” Francois H. Barthélémon, 1785;
Hyfrydol,” Rowland H. Prichard, 1830;
Pleading Savior,” from the Christian Lyre, by Joshua Leavitt, 1830;
Hilda (Barnby),” Joseph Barnby, 1861.

Source: The Book of Christmas Hymns (London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1868), pp. 104-105.

1. Hail, thou once despised Jesus!
Hail, thou Galilean King!
Thou didst suffer to release us;
Thou didst free salvation bring.
Hail, thou universal Savior,
Bearer of our sin and shame,
By Thy merit we find favor:
Life is given through thy Name.

2. Paschal Lamb, by God appointed,
All our sins on Thee were laid:
By Almighty Love anointed,
Thou hast full atonement made.
All thy people are forgiven
Through the virtue of Thy blood:
Opened is the gate of heaven,
Peace is made 'twixt man and God.

3. Jesus, hail! enthroned in glory,
There for ever to abide;
All the heavenly hosts adore Thee,
Seated at Thy Father's side.
There for sinners Thou art pleading:
There Thou dost our place prepare;
Thou for saints are interceding
Till in glory they appear.

4. Worship, honor, power, and blessing
Thou art worthy to receive;
Loudest praises, without ceasing,
Meet it is for us to give.
Help, ye bright angelic spirits,
Bring your sweetest, noblest lays;
Help to sing our Saviour's merits,
Help to chant Immanuel's praise!

5. Soon we shall with those in glory,
His transcendent grace relate;
Gladly sing th' amazing story
Of His dying love so great:
In that blessed contemplation
We for evermore shall dwell,
Crowned with bliss and consolation,
Such as none below can tell.

Note:

This hymn had a fascinating genesis. Originally, it was a hymn consisting of two stanzas of eight lines, “Hail, Thou Once Despised Jesus,” by John Bakewell. His 72-page collection was found bound up in a volume titled Poetical Tract, 1757-74, in the Bodleian Library, Oxford [Hymni G. Pamph. 1276 1]. Typical of the times, it had a florid title:

A Collection of Hymns addressed to The Holy, Holy, Holy, triune God, in the Person of Christ Jesus, our Mediator and Advocate. [Ps. xlvii. 6, in Hebrew; and Cant. iv. 16, in English.] (London: Printed by M. Lewis, in Paternoster Row, 1757).

At page 40 of this hymnal the following hymn is found:

Hymn XLVI.

I.

Hail, thou once-despised Jesus,
Hail, thou Galilean King!
Who didst suffer to release us,
Who didst free salvation bring!
Hail, thou universal Saviour,
Who hast born our sin and shame;
By whose merits we find favour,
Life is given thro' thy name!

II.

"Jesus, hail! inthron'd in glory,
There for ever to abide;
All the heav'nly host adore thee,
Seated at thy Father's side:
Worship, honour, pow'r, and blessing,
Thou art worthy to receive—
Loudest praises without ceasing
Meet it is for us to give!"

 

Ten years later, Rev. Martin Madan (1726-1790) doubled the size of the hymn.

I.

HAIL thou once despised Jesus:
Hail thou Galilean King!
Who didst suffer to release us,
Who didst free Salvation bring!
Hail thou universal Saviour,
Who hast borne our Sin and Shame,
By whose Merits we find Favour,
Life is giv'n thro' thy Name !

II.

Paschal Lamb by God appointed,
All our Sins were on Thee laid ! 1
By Almighty Love appointed,
Thou hast full Atonement made:
Ev'ry 2 Sin may be forgiv'n
Thro' the Virtue of thy Blood,
Open'd is the Gate of Heav'n, 3
Peace is made 'twixt Man and God.

III.
Jesus Hail ! enthron'd in Glory,
There forever to abide!
All the heav'nly Hosts adore Thee
Seated at thy Father's Side:
There for Sinners 4 Thou art pleading 5
“Spare them yet another Year"— 6
Thou tor Saints art interceding 7
Till in Glory they appear.

IV.
Worship, Honour, Pow'r, and Blessing,
Christ is worthy to receive –
Loudest Praises without ceasing
Meet it is for us to give !
Help ye bright angelic Spirits,
Bring your sweetest, noblest Lays,
Help to sing our Jesu's Merits,
Help, to chaunt Immanuel's Praise.

Footnotes:

1. Is. 8:6.

2. I John 1:7.

3. Heb. 10:20

4. Is. 8:12, latter part.

5. I John 2:1

6. Luke 13:8.

7. Heb. 7:25

Source: Martin Madan, A Collection of Psalms and Hymns (London: Henry Cock, 1767), No. 110, pp. 110-111. Madan loved to tinker with the hymns written by others, including Hark! How All The Welkin Rings., Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (? See The Hymnary for more), and others. Madan founded Lock Hospital, Hyde Park.

 

As is often the case, the religious beliefs of a given denomination can cause a hymn to be changed. In this case, it was the strictly Calvinistic beliefs of Augustus Montague Toplady that caused the second verse to be stricken, leaving the following three verses:

1. HAIL, thou once despised Jesus!
Hail, thou Galilean king!
Thou didst suffer to release us,
Thou didst free Salvation bring!
Hail, thou universal Saviour,
Bearer of our our Sin and Shame !
By whose merits we find favour,
Life is given through thy name.

2. Jesus, hail, enthron'd in glory,
There for ever to abide!
All the heav'nly host adore thee,
Seated at thy Father's side.
There for sinners thou art pleading,
There thou dost our place prepare;
Ever for us interceding,
Till in glory we appear.
3. Worship, honour, pow'r, and blessing,
Thou art worthy to receive;
Loudest praises, without ceasing,
Meet it is for us to give.
Help, ye bright angelic spirits !
Bring your sweetest, noblest lays;
Help to sing our Saviour's merits,
Help to chant Immanuel's praise.

Source: Augustus Montague Toplady, Psalms and Hymns for Public and Private Worship. A New Edition Enlarged. (London: J. Mathews, 1794), No. 116, pp. 129-130.

 

To the four verses found in Madan, a fifth verse added in A Collection of Psalms & Hymns on various subjects for Public and Private Worship. Designed for the Congregation of Northampton Chapel by William Taylor and Herbert Jones (London, 1777), No. 162. It reads:

5. Soon we shall with those in glory.
His transcendent grace relate;
Gladly sing th' amazing story
Of His dying love so great.
In that blessed contemplation.
We for evermore shall dwell;
Crown'd with bliss and consolation.
Such as none below can tell.

Julian identified the source of this last verse to be from Hymn 97, “My Lord, How Great's The Favour?” in James Allen and Christopher Batty's A Collection of Hymns for the Use of those that Seek and those that Have Redemption in the Blood of Christ (Kendal: Tho. Ashburner, 1757), No. 97, pp. 98-99. Their verse is:

Then I, with all in glory,
Will thankfully relate
Th' amazing pleasing story
Of Jesu's love so great:
In this blest contemplation
I ever shall be well;
And prove such consolation,
As none below can tell.

Also known as the Kendal Hymn Book, it is a hymnal of the Nonconformist belief system. Allen was an “Inghamite” minister, an English denomination founded by Benjamin Ingham (1712-1772), which combines elements of Methodism and Moravianism. A copy is available at the Internet Archive.

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