~* WE'RE MARCHING TO ZION *~
Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.
Hebrews 12:22

Should we sing psalms or hymns in our church services? This was the controversy stirring many congregations during the 17th and 18th Centuries. Isaac Watts was the life-long champion of the "humanly composed" hymn while the majority of the English-speaking churches insisted on the traditional psalm settings. Tempers frequently flared, and some churches actually split in the heat of this decidedly inharmonious musical conflict. In some churches a compromise was reached. The psalm setting would be sung in the early part of the service with a hymn used at the close; during which time the parishioners could leave or simply refuse to sing.

Isaac Watts' "Come, We That Love the Lord" was no doubt written in part to refute his critics, who termed his hymns "Watts' Whims", as well as to provide some subtle barbs for those who refused to sing his hymns: "Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God; but children of the heavenly Kings may speak their joys abroad." The hymn first appeared in Watt's Hymns and Spiritual Songs of 1707 and was titled "Heavenly Joy on Earth".

May we remember the importance of this verse, "Singing to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19). This implies harmony--spiritual harmony as well as spiritual words and music.



Come, we that love the Lord,
And let our joys be known;
Join in a song with sweet accord,
Join in a song with sweet accord
And thus surround the throne,
And thus surround the throne!

The sorrows of the mind
Be banished from the place;
Religion never was designed
Religion never was designed,
To make our pleasures less,
To make our pleasures less.

Let those refuse to sing,
Who never knew our God;
But children of the heavenly King,
But children of the heavenly King
May speak their joys abroad,
May speak their joys abroad!

The God that rules on High,
And thunders when He please,
Who rides upon the stormy sky,
Who rides upon the stormy sky,
And manages the seas,
And manages the seas!

This awe-full God is ours,
Our Father and our Love;
He has sent down His heav’nly Pow'r,
He has sent down His heav’nly Pow'r,
To carry us Above,
To carry us Above!

There we shall see His face,
And never, never sin!
There, from the rivers of His grace,
There, from the rivers of His grace,
Drink endless pleasures in,
Drink endless pleasures in!

Yea, and before we rise,
To that immortal state,
The thoughts of such amazing bliss,
The thoughts of such amazing bliss,
Should constant joys create,
Should constant joys create!

The men of grace have found,
Glory begun below.
Celestial fruits on earthly ground
Celestial fruits on earthly ground
From faith and hope may grow,
From faith and hope may grow!

The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets
Before we reach the heav’nly fields,
Before we reach the heav’nly fields,
Or walk the golden streets,
Or walk the golden streets!

Then let our songs abound,
And every tear be dry;
We’re marching through Emmanuel's ground,
We’re marching through Emmanuel's ground,
To fairer worlds on High,
To fairer worlds on High!

CHORUS: We’re marching to Zion,
Beautiful, beautiful Zion;
We’re marching upward to Zion,
The beautiful city of God!



*For Today*: Psalm 149:1; Isaiah 35:10; Habakkuk 3:17 & 18; I Peter 4:13

Determine to follow the suggestion of this hymn: "Let our joys [not our minor differences] be known and thus surround the throne." Rejoice in the truth that the best is yet to come--"fairer worlds on High"--!

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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