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Words: Christian Henry Bateman (b. Aug. 9, 1813; d. July 27, 1889)
Music: Madrid, an old Spanish melody of unknown origin, first published by Benjamin Carr in 1825, as a piano selection, and later arranged as a hymn tune
The Cyber Hymnal
Note: The song was published in Scotland, in 1843, in Sacred Melodies for Children. Appropriately, the first line was originally, “Come, children, join to sing.” The hymn has been made more universally useful by the word change to “Christians.”
The Companion to the United Methodist Hymnal (p. 287) claims that this hymn did not originate with Mr. Bateman, but was his reworking of an 1836 hymn beginning, “Join now in praise and sing,” by William Edward Hickson. Bateman’s version at first had five stanzas, but he later reduced these to the three we use today. The Wordwise Hymns link will give you a spectacular virtuoso piano performance of the hymn tune Madrid.
T his is a lively and inspiring little hymn. “Alleluia” (the Greek form of the Hebrew Hallelujah) means: Praise the Lord! “Amen” means truly, or so be it. In the context here “Amen!” expresses the confident belief that the Lord is infinitely worthy of our praise, both in time and eternity.
To express our praise to the Lord in song is also a universal practice, an activity of men and angels, throughout time and eternity. The book of Psalms, the hymn book of the Bible, refers specifically to singing fifty-nine times.
“Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with understanding” (Ps. 47:6-7).
Many of the later psalms begin with an invitation to sing the praises of God. They are a call to the people of God to address the Lord with music.
“Sing aloud to God our strength; make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob. Raise a song and strike the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the lute” (Ps. 81:1-2; cf. 89:1; 92:1; 95:1; 96:1-2; 98:1; 101:1; 108:1; 147:1; 149:1).
In the New Testament, we have singing in the Gospels, by Jesus and the disciples (Matt. 26:30), in the book of Acts, by Paul and Silas in prison (Acts 16:25), in the epistles (Col. 3:16), and all the way on to the book of Revelation, where men and angels join in song around the eternal throne of God (Rev. 5:9; 14:3; 15:3).
CH-1) Come, Christians, join to sing
Loud praise to Christ our King;
Let all, with heart and voice,
Before His throne rejoice;
Praise is His gracious choice.
In the Colossians text noted above, Christians are exhorted:
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16).
CH-2) Come, lift your hearts on high,
Let praises fill the sky;
He is our Guide and Friend;
To us He’ll condescend;
His love shall never end.
The praise and worship of God is a logical corollary of faith. That is, when we believe and confess who the Lord is, and what He has done for us, praise is the natural outflow of that. He is infinitely worthy of it, and even eternity will not give us enough time to finish our songs of praise.
“I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised” (Ps. 18:3).
“The twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: ‘You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honour and power; For You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created’” (Rev. 4:10-11).
CH-3) Praise yet our Christ again,
Life shall not end the strain;
On heaven’s blissful shore,
His goodness we’ll adore,
1) What comes to mind for which you can praise the Lord today?
2) What are our finest hymns of praise and worship?