Opening Hymn Story


(SDAH 221)

This hymn by Charles Wesley (1707-1788) was written in 1744 and first appeared in John Wesley's Moral and Sacred Poems. It was republished by Charles in Hymns for Our Lord's Resurrection. Each of these stanzas concluded with the exultant refrain of rejoicing, but Wesley concluded his last stanza with the stirring couplet:

We soon shall hear the Archangel's voice,

The trump of God shall sound, rejoice.

DARWALL'S 148TH, named for the composer and the psalm for which he wrote it, "Ye Boundless Realms of Joy," was first used in Aaron Williams's New Universal Psalmist, 1770. John Darwall was born in the village of Haughton, Staffordshire, England, in January 1731. An Oxford graduate, he served as curate, then 20 years as vicar, of St. Matthew's church, Walsall, where this tune was first sung on Whitsunday in 1773. He died there on December 18, 1789. As an amateur musician, Darwall wrote two volumes of piano sonatas, hymn texts, and tunes and composed music for all 150 psalms in two-part harmony.

The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, published in 1985, was the first Adventist hymnal to include this hymn.

--Condensed from Wayne Hooper and Edward E. White, Companion to the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, 1988, pp. 263-265.