Scripture Verse

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Introduction

Words: The ear­li­est known pub­li­cation was in A Ge­ne­ral Se­lect­ion of the New­est and Most Ad­mired Hymns and Spi­ri­tu­al Songs Now in Use, by Stith Mead (Lynch­burg, Vir­gin­ia: Vir­gin­ia Con­fer­ence of the Me­tho­dist Epis­co­pal Church, 1811). That ver­sion was in a rare­ly used struc­ture some­times called Cap­tain Kidd me­ter, due its as­so­ci­ation with a bal­lad about the pi­rate Ro­bert Kidd, who was exe­cut­ed in 1701.

Music: From The Sou­thern Har­mo­ny and Mu­sic­al Com­pan­ion, by Will­iam Wal­ker (New York: Hast­ings House, 1835). Ar­ranged by Wil­liam J. Rey­nolds (1920–2009) (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
William Walker (1809–1875)

Lyrics

What won­drous love is this,
O my soul, O my soul!
What won­drous love is this,
O my soul!
What won­drous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dread­ful curse
For my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dread­ful curse
For my soul.

When I was sink­ing down,
Sinking down, sink­ing down,
When I was sink­ing down,
Sinking down,
When I was sink­ing down
Beneath God’s right­eous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown
For my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown
For my soul.

Ye wing­èd se­raphs fly,
Bear the news, bear the news!
Ye wing­èd se­raphs fly,
Bear the news!
Ye wing­èd se­raphs fly,
Like co­mets through the sky,
Fill vast eter­ni­ty
With the news, with the news!
Fill vast eter­ni­ty
With the news!

Ye friends of Zi­on’s king,
Join His praise, join His praise;
Ye friends of Zion’s king,
Join His praise;
Ye friends of Zion’s king,
With hearts and voic­es sing,
And strike each tune­ful string
In His praise, in His praise!
And strike each tune­ful string
In His praise!

To God and to the Lamb,
I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb
Who is the great I Am;
While mill­ions join the theme,
I will sing, I will sing;
While mill­ions join the theme,
I will sing.

And when from death I’m free,
I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free,
I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free,
I’ll sing and joy­ful be;
And through eter­ni­ty,
I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eter­ni­ty,
I’ll sing on.

Yes, when to that bright world
We arise, we arise,
Yes, when to that bright world
We arise;
When to that world we go,
Free from all pain and woe,
We’ll join the hap­py throng,
And sing on, and sing on,
We’ll join the hap­py throng,
And sing on.