Now begin the heavenly theme

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General information

Now begin the heavenly theme is a hymn of unknown authorship, which has been attributed to authors including Martin Madan and John Langford. It was included as hymn 69 in John Rippon's Selection of Hymns. "The authorship of this hymn is unknown. The earliest form in which it is found differs widely from that followed in modern hymnals. In 1763 it appeared in the Appendix to M. Madan's Psalms and Hymns, as No. 172… The hymn appeared in about fifty collections between 1763 and 1833, and in all it was given anonymously, except in that of Dobell, 1806, who quoted it as from Langford's Collection This reference is to the Hymns and Spiritual Songs published by John Langford (p. 639, ii.) in 1776, and in which the hymn appeared. In Langford's 2nd edition he marked all his own hymns with an asterisk, but this hymn is unmarked. This is clear evidence against his authorship."

The original meter of this hymn is 77. 77. Jeremiah Ingalls amended this to 88. 88. (L. M.), by adding a syllable to each line.

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Text and translations

English.png English text

Rippon's Selection, 1787

Now begin the heavenly theme,
Sing aloud in Jesus' name;
Ye, who Jesus' kindness prove,
Triumph in redeeming love.

Ye, who see the Father's grace
Beaming in the Savior's face,
As to Canaan on ye move,
Praise and bless redeeming love.

Mourning souls dry up your tears,
Banish all your guilty fears,
See your guilt and curse remove,
Canceled by redeeming love.

Ye alas! who long have been
Willing slaves to death and sin,
Now from bliss no longer rove,
Stop and taste redeeming love.

Welcome all, by sin oppressed,
Welcome to his sacred rest;
Nothing brought him from above,
Nothing but redeeming love.

When his spirit leads us home,
When we to his glory come,
We shall all the fullness prove
Of our Lord's redeeming love.

He subdued th'infernal pow'rs,
Those tremendous foes of ours,
From their cursed empire drove,
Mighty in redeeming love.

Hither, then, your music bring,
Strike aloud each joyful string,
Mortals join the host above,
Join to praise redeeming love.

 

Jeremiah Ingalls, 1805

1. O now begin the heavenly theme,
Come sing aloud in Jesus' name;
Come you who Jesus' kindness prove,
Come triumph in redeeming love.

2. Come you, alas! who ere have been
The willing slaves to death and sin,
Come now from bliss no longer rove,
Stop, stop and taste redeeming love.

3. Come, mourning souls, dry up your tears,
And banish all your guilty fears,
And see the guilt secure removed,
Tis canceled by redeeming love.

4. Come, welcome all, by sin oppressed,
Come welcome to his sacred rest;
There's nothing brought him from above,
Nothing but true redeeming love.

5. ’Tis he subdues th’ infernal powers,
And his tremendous foes are ours;
Our foes are from his empire drove,
He’s mighty in redeeming love.

6. Come hither and your music bring,
Come strike aloud your joyful string;
Come mortals join the praise above!
He’s mighty in redeeming love.

7. Come, you who live In Babylon,
Come hear the voice of Christ the Son
Arise my fair one and my dove,
O come and taste redeeming love.

8. The angels that before him stand,
They go and come at his command,
Though they are seated high above,
Never will taste redeeming love.

9. O surely happy now they be,
Our God and Christ they daily see;
They all in shining ranks there move,
But ne’er will sing redeeming love.

10. O ye bright angels it is true.
That I shall surely out-do you;
When I shall reign with him above,
Then I shall sing redeeming love.

 

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