Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885) a recognized Greek scholar, wrote many theological works and a number of hymns. Of his hymns, he said, “It is the first duty of a hymn to teach sound doctrine and thence to save souls.” Many of his hymns are short sermons in verse form. The text of this hymn, heavily influenced by Paul's resurrection discourse in 1 Corinthians 15:1-28, proclaims the meaning of Christ's resurrection. Christ has risen (st. 1) as the firstfruits (st. 2), therefore, let us praise our Triune God (st. 3). The "alleluias" that begin stanzas 1 and 3, and that run throughout stanza 3, lift this teaching hymn to a high level of praise.

Thomas J. Williams (1869-1944), a Welshman born in the hard-to-pronounce town of Ynysmeudwy, composed this tune. Because an English folksinger claimed that the tune had been washed up on the Welsh coast in a bottle, the tune is often named TON-Y-BOTL (Welsh for, "tune in a bottle"). The tune is also named EBENEZER, likely for the chapel Williams attended at the time he composed it.

Sources: Psalter Hymnal Handbook; Internet

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