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My Top Ten Hymns

My seventh choice is another Charles Wesley hymn of praise and worship.

7. Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia! - Charles Wesley

Why one of my choices?

Angel at the Tomb

Easter would be the poorer without this hymn. I was blessed to lead worship on Easter Day this year and this was the first hymn added to my order of service as I am sure it was on many others.

A joyous celebration of the resurrection which means everything to us as Christians.

Absolutely great theology throughout and what a promise! "Ours the cross the grave the skies". Both a promise of our gift from God through the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus and a challenge to us to take up our cross with him and that our inevitable death will not be the end as eternal life awaits us.

What form that may take who knows! but I am assured by the events of Easter that there is a place for us in heaven praising and worshipping God.


Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
All creation joins to say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, let earth reply, Alleluia!

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Vain the stone, the watch the seal, Alleluia!
Christ has burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

Background to the Hymn

Charles Wesley wrote this hymn in 1739, in celebration of the first service in London's first Wesleyan Chapel.

The chapel was known as the Foundry Meeting House, as it was a disused foundry. Charles purchased the building to house his growing number of converts.

It was originally published in Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739, in a much longer fom.

Martin Madan's Collection of Psalms and Hymns, 1760, included a shorter version with many lines rearranged.

We are now used to the five verses we sing.

The "Alleluia" at the end of each line was not part of the original hymn being added later by an unknown editor as it was a better fit to the tune.

"Alleluia," or "Hallelujah" is a common expression of praise, from the early Christian Church.

From the Book "The Methodist Hymn Book Illustrated by John Telford B.A. (1906)

Hymns and Sacred Psalms, 1739; Works, i 185 "Hymn for Easter Day" Five weak verses are omitted to the great advantage of the hymn

Ver. 6 borrows from Young's Last Day, published in 1713--

Triumphant King of Glory! Soul of bliss!
What a stupendous turn of fate is this!

John Wesley did not insert it in the Large Hymn-Book, 1780, though Martin Madan included it in his Psalms and Hymns 1760 and changed "Dying once, He all doth save" into "Once he died our souls to save." It appeared in the supplement of 1831. Samuel Wesley wrote a hymn for Easter, which supplied his brother with some hints for ver. 3--

In vain the stone, the watch, the seal!
Forbid an early rise
To Him who burst the gates of hell!
And opened Paradise.

The use of "Hallelujah" after every line represents an old Christiam custom. Vigilantius, one of the reformers of the fifth century, is denounced by Jerome: "He rejects the vigils; only at Easter should we sing Hallelujah." That shout of praise had been used by the Christian ploughman at his work and by sailors as they encouraged each other to ply the oar. It became the recognised salutation on Easter morning, and has left its stamp on the English liturgy in the "Praise ye the Lord," which is simply the old Hebrew "Hallelujah."

As originally published in Hymns and Sacred Poems.


1 CHRIST the LORD is ris'n To-day,"
Sons of Men and Angels say,
Raise your Joys and Triumphs high,
Sing ye Heav'ns, and Earth reply.

2 Love's Redeeming Work is done,
Fought the Fight, the Battle won,
Lo! our Sun's Eclipse is o'er,
Lo ! He sets in Blood no more,

3 Vain the Stone, the Watch, the Seal ;
CHRIST hath burst the Gates of Hell!
Death in vain forbids; his Rise:
CHRIST hath open'd Paradise!

4 Lives again our glorious King,
Where, O Death, is now thy Sting ?
Once He died our Souls to save,
Where thy Victory, O Grave ?

5 Soar we now, where CHRIST has led,
Following our Exalted Head,
Made like Him, like Him we rise:
Ours the Cross ; the Grave ; the Skies.

6 What tho' once we perish'd All,
Partners of our Parent's Fall,
Second Life we All receive,
In our Heav'nly Adam live.

7 Ris'n with Him, we upward move,
Still we seek the Things above,
Still pursue, and kiss the Son,
Seated on his Father's Throne ;

8 Scarce on Earth a Thought bellow,
Dead to all we leave below,
Heav'n our Aim, and lov'd Abode,
Hid our Life with CHRIST in GOD!

9 Hid; 'till CHRIST our Life appear,
Glorious in his Members here :
Join'd to Him, we then shall shine
All Immortal, all Divine !

10 Hail the LORD of Earth and Heav'n !
Praise to Thee by both be giv'n :
Thee we greet Triumphant now ;
Hail the Refurrection Thou !

11 King of Glory, Soul of Bliss,
Everlasting Life is This,
Thee to know, thy Pow'r to prove,
Thus to sing, and thus to love !

In Martin Madan's Collection of Psalms and Hymns, 1760 the hymn contained only Verses 1 - 6 and 10 - 11