George Whitfield

When the story of 18th century western church history is told, there are three names that simply must be included:  John and Charles Wesley and George Whitfield.  Growing up within the Church of England, these three men each came to a genuine faith in Christ later in life.  After their conversions, these men followed Christ in a radical way, spreading the knowledge of Christ to the common people.  These three men were some of the early fathers of American Evangelicalism because they had an interest in taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people wherever they were.  Instead of staying inside large stone cathedrals, these men took to the open air, holding outdoor revival meetings and church services where thousands were in attendance.  In a day before microphones and high tech audio/visual equipment, Whitfield alone preached to as many as 30,000 people in one audience!

Charles Wesley

Given their common threads, it is not a surprise that these men were friends and had a great deal of respect for each other’s ministry, even though they had some theological differences.  Charles Wesley wrote over 7,500 hymns in his lifetime.  Some of these hymns were incorporated into Whitfield’s open air revival meetings.  One of Wesley’s hymns that Whitfield used was a hymn Wesley titled, “Hark, How the Welkin Rings!”  (The word “welkin” means “vault of heavens”.)  This song had the same tune as another famous Wesley hymn, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today!”  Whitfield loved the song, but did not care for the opening line.  He changed the opening line to further connect this song with the birth of Christ.  His new first line was the now famous, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing!”  Whitfield made this change, but never asked his friend Wesley for permission to do so.  This outraged Wesley.  Even after Whitfield’s version grew in popularity and became very well know, Wesley refused to acknowledge or sing the Whitfield abridged version of his song.  Can you imagine that?  The author of one of the most famous Christmas songs ever written never sang it!  About 100 years later the tune was changed to the current form by Felix Mendelsson.

What are your Christmas traditions?  What do you do every year at Christmas time that you would be very upset if it changed?  For some it is the day and time that presents are opened.  For others it is the songs that you “should sing” in church or on Christmas Eve.  For others it is a particular service (and time) that must be attended or a particular passage of Scripture that must be the text for that service.  Whatever it is, there are somethings that just “have to happen” in order for it to be Christmas for you.  What happens if your form changes?  What happens if you open presents on Christmas day instead of Christmas Eve?  What happens if you sing “Manger Throne” instead of “Silent Night”?  What happens if the “wrong passage” is preached at the Christmas service?  If these changes happen, will you refuse to sing?

May we learn something from Wesley’s folly.  May we learn that most of the traditions we embrace today have evolved over time.  Santa Claus has not always been at the mall, Candles weren’t always a part of Christmas Eve services, and at one time, it was the “Welkin,” not the “Herald Angels” that were ringing/singing.  At one time, maybe the greatest Christmas hymn in existence today sounded like an Easter song to our modern ear.  The key is not the form, but the spirit behind it.  Whitfield and Mendelssohn improved Wesley’s hymn.  Is it possible that God might be using some of the changes in your Christmas worship celebrations to increase your soul’s rejoicing this season?  Don’t refuse to sing.  Join the angel chorus and worship Christ the new born King!

I have attached below the original lyrics of Wesley’s hymn, “Hark How the Welkin Rings!”

“Hark, how all the welkin rings,

“Glory to the King of kings;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
Universal nature say,
“Christ the Lord is born to-day!”

Christ, by highest Heaven ador’d,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb!

Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate deity!
Pleased as man with men to appear,
Jesus! Our Immanuel here!

Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen 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.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conquering seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

Now display thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to thine.

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface;
Stamp Thy image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.

Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the life, the inner Man:
O! to all thyself impart,
Form’d in each believing heart.”

19 thoughts on “What! Harold the Angel Wasn’t Always Singing!?!

  1. Hi! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog article or
    vice-versa? My website goes over a lot of the same subjects as yours and I
    feel we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!

  2. Greetings! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give
    a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading your posts.

    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects?

    Many thanks!

  3. Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website
    with us so I came to look it over. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be
    tweeting this to my followers! Outstanding blog
    and outstanding design and style.

  4. Here we’ll combine the classic non-competing superset method with the classic bodybuilder method of dropsets. Instead of performing a very difficult long workout in which you burn many calories and end up hungry, with short burst high intensity exercises your body uses fat as an energy source and not carbohydrates. This metabolic rate will usually remain high up to 18 hours or more after each exercise.

  5. Generally, lactic acid testing would be secondary
    to screening tests and evaluation of symptoms.
    Figuratively speaking, you cannot expect an apple to become an
    orange or you cannot wait for silver to turn into gold.
    It’s vital that your doctor performs a physical to ensure that the following body parts can
    handle the stress you will place under the routine.

  6. A home based boutique requires a low cost, yet effective
    marketing strategy. It has been seen a number of times that plans usually backfire.
    FAA certification standards as well make
    ongoing training necessary; every twenty-four months, technicians are needed to have at least 16 hours of training at aviation
    maintenance technician schools to maintain certification.

  7. If your genes are not up for it, you will be gaining some fat as well in the process.
    There are other too many weight loss programs and manuals
    out there, such as Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle by Tom Venuto and The Truth About
    Six Pack Abs by Mike Geary. The best meals are those that are
    composed of slow-to-burn food such as brown rice or oats.

  8. First of all, I want to point out that dieting and
    exercises are best methods for fat loss. Obesity is a health
    hazard, but there are ways to work with it, without compromising
    your health further. ” If this happens, weight loss will slow down and it will become more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

  9. First of all, I want to point out that dieting and exercises are best methods for fat loss.
    Women should take half a serving, and men should take one serving,
    mixed in the recommended amounts of water. Sunlight on un-protected skin produces a highly usable form of Vitamin D that lasts twice as long in
    your bloodstream as when you consume it through food or a supplement, but
    you still need caution due to the risk of skin cancer.

  10. Remember to stop sitting around and putting this off until
    the next day. For many WLS participants a better solution is to eat a nutrients dense apple about
    30 minutes before working out. You won’t be hungry
    and you will end up eating more with less calories.

  11. Different from Kung Fu, Karate displays more combative and focuses on blows
    with the hands and feet. Nokia Sports Tracker uses GPS on your Nokia smartphone to keep track of your distance while either running, cycling, walking, skiing or any form
    of activity that requires extended motion. So let’s go over a
    few of the elements that cause a bodybuilding workout routine
    to leave its adherent mired in frustration due to a lack of muscle building gains.

  12. Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is fundamental and all. Nevertheless think about if you added some great
    graphics or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and videos, this website could undeniably be one of the best in its field.
    Awesome blog!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s