“COME LET US JOIN OUR CHEERFUL SONGS”

Wayne S. Walker

“…Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and
wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5.12)

     INTRO.:  A song which exhorts us to give glory and blessing to the
Lamb that was slain is “Come Let Us Join Our Cheerful Songs.”  The text
was written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748).  Watts often provided hymns to go
with his sermons.  Based on Rev. 5.11-13, this one, originally in five
stanzas, was produced perhaps as early as 1702 and was published in his
1707 “Hymns and Spiritual Songs.”  The tune (Chesterfield, Richmond,
Haweis, Mariners, Mt. Calvary, Spa Fields Chapel, or Adwinkle) is
attributed to Thomas Haseis (1734-1820).  It was contained in his 1792
“Carmina Christo, or Hymns to the Savior” to accompany his own text, “O
Thou From Whom All Goodness Flows.”  The modern arrangement was made by
Samuel Webbe Jr. (1768-1843).  It was probably produced around 1808 for
his “Collection of Psalm Tunes,” but its first documented inclusion was
in “Webbe’s Psalmody,” published posthumously in 1853 as a collection of
tunes by Webbe and his father.

     The tune was used with John Fawcett’s “How Precious Is the Book
Divine” in the 1921 “Great Songs of the Church” (No. 1) edited by E. L.
Jorgenson.  The song was found in the 1937 “Great Songs of the Church No.
2″ also edited by Jorgenson and the 1964 “Great Christian Hymnal No. 2”
edited by Tillit S. Teddlie.  The only hymnbook currently in use among
churches of Christ to include it is the 1992 “Praise for the Lord” edited
by John P. Wiegand.  The text was used with another tune (Brother James’
Air) composed by James L. M. Bain in the 1963 “Christian Hymnal” edited
by J. Nelson Slater.  The text appears with still another tune
(Graffenberg) attributed to Johann Cruger in the 1986 “Great Songs
Revised” edited by Forrest M. McCann. All of these books contain only
three stanzas, except “Great Songs Revised” which has four.

     The song is a paean of praise to the Christ who died for us.

I. Stanza 1 says that we should sing to Him
“Come, let us join our cheerful songs With angels round the throne;
Ten thousand thousand are their tongues, But all their joys are one.”
  A. We are taught to sing praises to the Lord: Eph. 5.18, Col. 3.16
  B. The angels around the throne sing praises to Him as well: Rev. 5.11
  C. Thus, we join their cheerful songs with the fruit of our lips to
praise Him: Heb. 13.15

II. Stanza 2 says that we should call Him worthy
“‘Worthy the Lamb that died,’ they cry, ‘To be exalted thus;’
‘Worthy the Lamb,’ our lips reply, ‘For He was slain for us.'”
  A. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world:
Jn. 1.29
  B. The angels call Him worthy because He was exalted to the throne of
God: Acts 2.32-33
  C. However, we call Him worthy because He was slain for us: Rom. 5.8

III. Stanza 3 says that we should offer Him blessing
“Jesus is worthy to receive Honor and power divine;
And blessings, more than we can give, Be, Lord, forever Thine.”
  A. Jesus is indeed worthy: Rev. 5.6-9
  B. Therefore, He is above all principality, power, might, and dominion:
Eph. 1.20-21
  C. The “blessings” here are not the blessings or favors that God bestows
upon us, but rather the blessings or praises that we give unto Him: Eph.
1.3

IV. Stanza 4 says that we should give Him glory
“Let all that dwell above the sky, And air, and earth, and seas,
Conspire to lift Thy glories high, And speak Thine endless praise!”
  A. The knee of every creature, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth,
should bow to Christ, and every tongue should confess His name: Phil.
2.9-11
  B. The word “glory” in the New Testament means an opinion, estimate, and
hence the honor resulting from a good reputation; when we give God glory,
we are simply giving Him the highest dignity possible: Ps. 29.1-2
  C. This is what we do when we speak His endless praise: Ps. 35.27-28

V. Stanza 5 says that we should adore Him
“The whole creation join in one To bless the sacred name
Of Him that sits upon the throne, and to adore the Lamb.”
  A. The whole creation is urged to join in this praise: Ps. 148.7-14
  B. The purpose is to bless the sacred name in which salvation alone can
be found: Acts 4.12
  C. Thus, we acknowledge both Him who sits upon the throne and the Lamb:
Rev. 5.13

     CONCL.:  Other melodies have been used with this hymn, but in my
opinion, the majesty of Watts’s words is enhanced by the majesty of
Haweis’s tune and the two combine in a resounding accolade of praise to
both Jesus Christ who died for our sins and to the Heavenly Father who
sent Him.  As we think about all that God and Christ have done to make
our salvation possible, we should always want to “Come, Let Us Join Our
Cheerful Songs.”

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