Come let us join our friends above

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General information

This is an hymn by Charles Wesley, 1759, from Funeral Hymns, Hymn 1. It has been widely revised. Original meter is 86. 86. D (C.M.D.), often split into 86. 86 (C.M.).

"The use of the hymn, either in full or in altered or abbreviated form, has extended to all English-speaking countries. … there are also the following hymns which are derived therefrom:

  1. . “The saints on earth and those above.” This appeared in the Appendix to the 6th ed. of Cotterill’s Selection 1815, No. 227 … It is composed: Stanza i. From Isaac Watts’s Hymns & Spiritual Songs, 1709, Bk. 2, No. 152, St. 5, which reads: 'The saints on earth and all the dead / But one communion make; / All join in Christ, their living head, / And of His grace partake.' This is altered to: 'The saints on earth and those above / But one communion make: / Joined to their Lord in bonds of love, / All of His grace partake.' St. 2-5 are st. 2, 3 lines 1-4, and 5 lines 4-8, of [Wesley's hymn], slightly altered.
  2. . “Let saints below join saints above.” This appeared in Murray’s Hymnal, 1852, and is C. Wesley's text partly rewritten, and reduced to 6 st. of 4 lines.
  3. . "Let saints on earth in concert sing.” This … is Murray’s arrangement of Wesley’s text as above with the omission of [the first half of] st. 1. This is altered in the Harrow School Hymns, 1857, to “Let all below in concert sing.”
  4. . “Come, let us join our friends above, whose glory is begun.” This, in the Marlborough College Hymns, 1869, is C. Wesley’s text somewhat altered, and with many of the lines transposed.

The combined use of the original and these altered forms of the text is very extensive in all English-speaking countries" (John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology 1907, p. 248.

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Text and translations

English.png English text

Charles Wesley, 1759

1. Come let us join our friends above
That have obtained the prize,
And on the eagle-wings of love
To joy celestial rise;

Let all the saints terrestrial sing
With those to glory gone,
For all the servants of our King
In earth and heaven are one.

2. One family we dwell in him,
One church above, beneath,
Though now divided by the stream,
The narrow stream of death:

One army of the living God,
To his command we bow:
Part of his host hath crossed the flood,
And part is crossing now.

3. Ten thousand to their endless home
This solemn moment fly,
And we are to the margin come,
And we expect to die:

His militant, embodied host
With wishful looks we stand,
And long to see that happy coast,
And reach that heavenly land.

4. Our old companions in distress
We haste again to see,
And eager long for our release
And full felicity:

E’en now by faith we join our hands
With those that went before,
And greet the blood-besprinkled bands
On the eternal shore.

5. Our spirits too shall quickly join,
Like theirs, with glory crowned,
And shout to see our Captain’s sign,
To hear his trumpet sound:

O that we now might grasp our guide,
O that the word were given!
Come Lord of hosts the waves divide,
And land us all in heaven.

 

Francis Murray, A Hymnal, 1857

1. Let saints below join saints above,
To whom their rest is given;
And on the eagle wings of love
Soar towards the joys of heaven.

2. Let saints on earth in concert sing,
With those whose work is done;
For all the servants of our King
In every place are one.

3. One family, we dwell in him,
One church, above, beneath;
Though now divided by the stream,
The narrow stream of death.

4. One army of the living God,
To his command we bow:
Part of the host have crossed the flood,
And part are crossing now.

5. E’en now to their eternal home
There pass some spirits blest;
While others to the margin come,
Waiting their call to rest.

6. Jesus, be Thou our constant guide;
Then, when the word is given,
Bid Jordan’s narrow stream divide,
And give us rest in heaven.

 

The New English Hymnal, 1986






1. Let saints on earth in concert sing
With those whose work is done;
For all the servants of our King
In earth and heaven are one.

2. One family, we dwell in him,
One church, above, beneath;
Though now divided by the stream,
The narrow stream of death.

3. One army of the living God,
To his command we bow;
Part of his host has crossed the flood,
And part is crossing now.

4. E'en now to their eternal home
There pass some spirits blest,
While others to the margin come,
Waiting their call to rest.

5. Jesus, be thou our constant guide;
Then, when the word is given,
Bid Jordan's narrow stream divide,
And bring us safe to heaven.

 

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