The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending

For Advent, Second Advent

Words: Charles Wesley, "Hymns of Intercession for all Mankind," 1758

Music: Not Stated

Source: Charles Rogers, Lyra Britannica: A Collection of British Hymns. Second Edition. (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1868) p. 618.

THE JUDGMENT HYMN.

Revelation i. 7.

Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favour'd sinners slain!
Thousand, thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train:
Hallelujah!
God appears on earth to reign!

Every eye shall now behold Him
Robed in dreadful majesty;
Those who set at nought and sold Him,
Pierced, and nailed Him to the tree,
Deeply wailing,
Shall the true Messiah see.

The dear tokens of His passion
Still His dazzling body bears,
Cause of endless exultation
To His ransom'd worshippers;
With what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars!

Yea, amen, let all adore Thee,
High on Thine eternal throne!
Saviour, take the power and glory,
Claim the kingdom for Thine own;
Jah, Jehovah!
Everlasting God, come down.

Note from Rogers, Lyra Britannica, p. 675.

The Judgment Hymn of Charles Wesley, p. 618, is one of the most effective renderings of the celebrated Dies iræ, dies illa, by Thomas de Celano. It constituted Part Second of a hymn in three parts, entitled, "Thy Kingdom Come," published by Wesley in his "Hymns of Intercession for all Mankind," 1758.

Rev. Martin Madan did a compilation of this hymn and the version by John Cennick, Lo! He Cometh, Countless Trumpets. See: Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending.

About 1758, Thomas Olivers published a hymn on the Last Judgment, commencing—

"Come, immortal King of glory,
Now in majesty appear;
Bid the nations stand before Thee,
Each his final doom to hear;
Come to judgment.
Come, Lord Jesus, quickly come."

Olivers composed for his hymn the tune "Helmsley." To the twenty stanzas, of which it was originally composed, he afterwards added sixteen others. In its new form, the fourth stanza proceeded :—

"Lo! He comes with clouds descending:
Hark, the trump of God is blown."

The dates of Olivers' publications are not certain, but the additional 16 stanzas were published after Wesley's hymn.

Concerning the Olivers hymn, the entry in Julian's Dictionary of Hymnology (1892) explains:

Come, Immortal King of Glory. T. Olivers. [Advent—Judgment.] One form of this hymn, in 20 stanzas of 6 I. was published by [Oliver] as a pamphlet, and printed by Griffith Wright, at Leeds, but undated. A second form in 36 stanzas, with parallel Scripture references, was printed at Bristol, and dated 1763. The two forms were reprinted by D. Sedgwick in his reprint of Olivers's Hymn's, 1868.

Two centos lave been compiled from the second form of the hymn as follows:—

1. Come, Lord Jesus. O come quickly. This is No. 336 in Snepp's Songs of Grace & Glory, 1872, and is composed of stanzas 9, 20, 21, 29, 32, and 35.

2. Lo ! He Comes With Clouds Descending ! Hark ! the trump, &c. This was given in Lord Selborne's Book of Praise, 1862, and is composed of stanzas 4, 5, 7, 9, 20, 21, 23, 24, 27, 29, 32, 35.

These centos are usually dated 1757. This date is uncertain with regard to the first form of the hymn, and certainly wrong as applied to the second form, from which they are taken. [W. T. B.]

-- Julian, p. 247.

I have been unable to see a copy of Olivers' Hymns.

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