Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers!

Yesterday, I posted one of our favourite hymns, I Need Thee, Precious Saviour!  As I said, we sing it to a tune that was originally arranged for “Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers!”  — another hymn we didn’t know, and chose for inclusion in our hymnbook based on its words alone.

Rejoice, rejoice, believers, and let your lights appear.
The evening is advancing, and darker night is near.
The Bridegroom is arising, and soon He draweth nigh.
Up, pray, and watch, and wrestle: At midnight comes the cry.

See that your lamps are burning; replenish them with oil.
And wait for your salvation, the end of earthly toil.
The watchers on the mountain proclaim the Bridegroom near.
Go meet Him as He cometh, with alleluias clear.

O wise and holy virgins, now raise your voices higher,
Until in songs of triumph ye meet the angel choir.
The marriage feast is waiting, the gates wide open stand;
Rise up, ye heirs of glory, the Bridegroom is at hand.

Our hope and expectation, O Jesus, now appear!
Arise, Thou Sun so longed for, above this shadowed sphere!
With hearts and hands uplifted, we plead, O Lord, to see
The day of earth’s redemption that brings us unto Thee.

Ye saints, who here in patience your cross and sufferings bore,
Shall live and reign forever, when sorrow is no more.
Around the throne of glory the Lamb ye shall behold;
In triumph cast before Him your diadems of gold!

This hymn was written by Laurentius Laurenti of Germany (1660-1722), and was translated by Sarah B Findlater (1823-1907), a Scotswoman.  We sing it to the traditional Finnish tune NYLAND.  The name apparently comes from the Swedish name for the most populous province in Finland, though the tune itself may have originated elsewhere in Finland.  It was apparently first used with an English-language hymn in Wales, with the hymn “In Heavenly Love Abiding.”

As far as we know, this hymn and this tune have not been put together before.  The result is a German hymn with a Scottish translator to a Finnish tune with a Swedish name brought into English hymnody by a Welshman. :)

You can start the video below to hear the tune, and sing along with it.  Below that is the Scripture text of the parable of the virgins on which the hymn is based.

Matthew 25:1-13

1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

About Jon Gleason

Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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