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Awake and Sing the Song

Representative Text

1 Awake, and sing the song
Of Moses and the Lamb;
Tune every heart and every tongue
To praise the Savior's name.

2 Sing of His dying love;
Sing of His rising power;
Sing how He intercedes above
For those whose sins He bore.

3 Tell, in seraphic strains,
What He has done for you;
How He has taken off your chains
And formed your hearts anew.

4 His faithfulness proclaim
While life to you is given:
Join hands and hearts to praise His name
Till we all meet in heaven.


Source: African Methodist Episcopal Church Hymnal #15

Author: William Hammond

Hammond, William, B.A, born at Battle, Sussex, Jan. 6, 1719, and educated at St. John's College, Cambridge. In 1743 he joined the Calvinistic Methodists; and in 1745, the Moravian Brethren. He died in London, Aug. 19, 1783, and was buried in the Moravian burial-ground, Sloane Street, Chelsea. He left an Autobiography in Greek, which remains unpublished. His original hymns, together with his translations from the Latin, were published in his:— Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs. To which is prefix'd A Preface, giving some Account of a Weak Faith, and a Full Assurance of Faith; and briefly stating the Doctrine of Sanctification; and shewing a Christian's Completeness, Perfection, and Happiness in Christ. By William Hammond, A.B., late of… Go to person page >


Awake, and sing the song. W. Hammond. [Praise.] This hymn appeared with the heading, "Before Singing of Hymns, by Way of Introduction," in his Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, 1745 (London, W. Strahan), pp. 84-86, in 14 stanzas of 4 lines. In its complete form it is unknown to the hymnals. Centos therefrom are, however, in use in all English-speaking countries. The growth of these centos is somewhat complicated, and can be best set forth in detail thus:—
1. The first use of the hymn in an abbreviated form was by G. Whitefield. In his Collection of Hymns for Social Worship, 1753, he included as No. 47, stanzas i., ii., xiii., and xiv., with alterations which we give with the original readings in brackets:

“Praising Christ.
1. "Awake and sing the Song
Of Moses and the Lamb;
[Tune] Wake ev'ry heart and ev'ry tongue
To praise the Saviour's Name.

2. "Sing of His dying love,
Sing of His rising pow'r;
Sing how He intercedes above
For [all] those whose sins He bore.

3. "Sing 'till [you] we feel [your] our hearts
Ascending with [your] our tongues,
Sing 'till the love of sin departs,
And grace inspires [your] our Songs.

4. "Sing 'till [you] we hear Christ say,
‘Your sins are all forgiv'n';
[Go] Sing on rejoicing [all the way] ev'ry day,
[And sing your souls to heav'n.]
'Till we all meet in heav'n."

2. The second form given to this cento was by M. Madan in his Collection of Psalms & Hymns, &c, 1760, No. 35. In this we have stanzas i. and iii., as above, in Whitefield, and stanza iv. expanded into two stanzas thus:—

4. "Sing on your heav'nly way,
Ye ransom'd sinners, sing,
Sing on, rejoicing, ev'ry day
In Christ, th' eternal King.

5. "Soon shall ye hear him say,
‘Ye blessed children, come;
Soon will He call ye hence away,
And take His wand'rers home."

This cento was repeated by Dr. Conyers in his Collection of Psalms & Hymns, 1774, by De Courcy, in his Collection, 1775, and thence through numerous hymnals into Mercer's and Thring's Collections, Lord Selborne's Book of Praise, and others in the Church of England; and through Lady Huntingdon's Collection, 1764, into a limited number of Nonconformists' hymn books. In many of these reprints the ye of stanza v., 1. 3, is changed to you. Amongst modern American collections in which this cento is given in full are:—Dutch Reformed Hymns of the Church N. Y., 1869; Baptist Praise Book, N. Y. & Chicago, 1871; Hatfield's Church Hymn Book, 1872, and the Church Praise Book, 1882; and, with the omission of stanza iii., in the Episcopal Hymns for Church & Home, Phil., 1860; Presbyterian Psalms & Hymns Richmond, 1867; Church Pastorals, Boston, 1864; Presbyterian Hymnal, Phil., 1874; and the new Episcopal Hymnal, 1871. The signature to this cento is "W. Hammond, 1745; G. Whitefield, 1753; and M. Madan, 1760."
3. The third cento appeared in Toplady's Psalms & Hymns, 1776, No. 118, in 6 stanzas, the first five being Madan’s text as above, with us for ye, in stanza v. 1. 3, and the addition of the following:—

"There shall our raptur'd tongue
His endless praise proclaim;
And sing, in sweetest notes, the song
Of Moses and the Lamb."

This stanza is from Watts's Hymns & Sacred Songs, 1709, Bk. i., No. 49, stanza vi.:—

“Then will our love and joy be full,
And feel a warmer flame;
And sweeter voices tune the song
Of Moses and the Lamb.”

This cento is the most widely adopted of any, both in Great Britain and America. It is found in full in Snepp's Songs of Grace & Glory, the Methodist Free Church Sunday School Hymn Book and others; and with the omission of stanza iii., "Sing till we feel our hearts, &c," in the Hymnal Companion, the Baptist Hymnal, &c. The collections are far too many to name, and any book can be tested by the text as above. The American modern hymn books which adopt it in full include Hymns & Songs of Praise, N. Y., 1874, and the Evangelical Hymnal, 1880, in full, with a slight alteration in stanza vi.; Songs of Zion (A. R. T. Society), 1864; Sabbath Hymn Book, N. Y. 1858; Baptist Service of Song, Boston, 1871, &c.; and with omission of stanza iii., in Baptist Hymns & Tune Book, Phil., 1871; Manual of Praise, Oberlin, 0., 1880; Evangelical Hymns Cleveland, 0., 1882; and in Canada, the Presbyterian Hymn Book, Toronto, 1880. Its ascription is "W. Hammond, 1745; G. Whitefield, 1753; M. Madan, 1760; A. M. Toplady [with Watts], 1776."
4. The fourth form appeared in Hall's Mitre Hymn Book, 1836, No. 138. As a cento it has failed to gain a position; but one stanza, No. iv. of cento 2, above rewritten, is retained in cento 5, below. It reads in Hall:—

"Ye pilgrims on the road
To Sion's city, sing;
Rejoicing in the Lamb of God--
In Christ, our heav'nly King."

5. In the American New School Presbyterian Church Psalmist, 1843, the arrangement of No. 3 above was given with the omission of stanza iii., and the substitution of Hall’s "Ye pilgrims," &c, with "Rejoice, ye," for "Rejoicing," for stanza iv. This text is second in popularity only to cento 3. It is given sometimes in 5 stanzas and again in 6 stanzas, and is included, amongst other hymn books, in the Baptist Psalms & Hymns, 1858; New Congregational Hymn Book, 1859; Windle; Hymns for the Church Catholic, 1882; late editions of Rippon's Selection and others in Great Britain and in America, in the Methodist Episcopal Hymn Book, 1849; Songs for the Sanctuary, N. Y., 1865, &c. The ascription to this is, "W. Hammond, 1745; G. Whitefield, 1753; M. Madan, 1760; A. M. Toplady [withWatts], 1776; Hall's Mitre, 1836."
6. In the Parish Hymn Book, 1863-1875, No. 105, we have stanzas i., ii., iv., v., vi., from Toplady, slightly altered, together with the addition of a doxology. This is "W. Hammond, 1745; G. Whitefield, 1753; M. Madan, 1760; A. M. Toplady, [with Watts], 1776; Parish Hymn Book, 1863."
7. The last arrangement we have to notice is No. 335 of Church Hymns, 1871. This is Toplady's text, stanzas i., ii., iv., v., vi., with alterations in the first stanza:—

Awake and sing the song
Of glory to the Lamb,"

which we meet for the first time, and stanza v.:—

"And sweeter voices swell the song
Of glory to the Lamb,"

of which the first line is Watts's (as above, No. 3) with swell for tune, and the second a fresh departure. It may be noted that this return to Watts was made by Cotterill in his Selection, 1810. The signature to this cento is: "W. Hammond, 1745; G. Whitefield, 1753; M. Madan, 1760; A.M. Toplady [with Watts], 1776; Church Hymns, 1871."
In Bingham's Hymnologia Christiana Latina, 1871, there is a rendering into Latin of cento 5 in 5 stanzas slightly altered again, as:—"Jam cantilenam gratulantes tollite."
Beyond what we have here set forth in somewhat wearisome detail, other minute changes are to be found in collections of less importance than those noticed. These may be tested by the quotations given above, and a reference to the original text in Lyra Britannica 1867, pp. 263-5.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


ST. THOMAS (Williams)

ST. THOMAS is actually lines 5 through 8 of the sixteen-line tune HOLBORN, composed by Aaron Williams (b. London, England, 1731; d. London, 1776) and published in his Collection (1763, 1765) as a setting for Charles Wesley's text "Soldiers of Christ, Arise" (570). The harmonization is by Lowell Maso…

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Instances (1 - 9 of 9)
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African Methodist Episcopal Church Hymnal #15

TextPage Scan

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #17

Great Songs of the Church (Revised) #153

Hymns for Worship #6

Hymns for Worship (Revised) #6

The Baptist Hymnal #158

The Christian Harmony #21


The Cyber Hymnal #317


The Hymnal 1982 #181

Include 655 pre-1979 instances
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