For all the Saints, who from their labor rest

Representative Text

1 For all the saints who from their labors rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

2 Thou wast their rock, their fortress, and their might;
thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight;
thou, in the darkness drear, their one true light.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

3 O may thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,
fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
and win with them the victor's crown of gold.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

4 O blest communion, fellowship divine,
we feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

5 And when the fight is fierce, the warfare long,
steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

6 The golden evening brightens in the west;
soon, soon to faithful warrior cometh rest;
sweet is the calm of paradise the blest.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

7 But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
the saints triumphant rise in bright array;
the King of glory passes on his way.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

8 From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,
through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #408

Author: William Walsham How

William W. How (b. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, 1823; d. Leenane, County Mayo, Ireland, 1897) studied at Wadham College, Oxford, and Durham University and was ordained in the Church of England in 1847. He served various congregations and became Suffragan Bishop in east London in 1879 and Bishop of Wakefield in 1888. Called both the "poor man's bishop" and "the children's bishop," How was known for his work among the destitute in the London slums and among the factory workers in west Yorkshire. He wrote a number of theological works about controversies surrounding the Oxford Movement and attempted to reconcile biblical creation with the theory of evolution. He was joint editor of Psalms and Hymns (1854) and Church Hymns (1871). While rec… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: For all the Saints, who from their labor rest
Author: William Walsham How (1864)
Meter: 10.10.10.4
Language: English
Refrain First Line: Alleluia! Alleluia!

Notes

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Rev. 14:13, Heb. 12:1-2
st. 3 = Rev. 2:10
st. 4 = John 17:22
st. 6 = Prov. 4:18
st. 7 = Rev. 7:9-17

"For All the Saints" is considered to be William W. How's (PHH 279) finest hymn text. Originally in eleven stanzas, it was published in Earl Nelson's Hymns for Saints' Days (1864) with the heading, "Saints' Day Hymn. A Cloud of Witnesses. Heb. 12:1." The Psalter Hymnal includes the original stanzas 1-2, 6-8, and 10-11, with modernized pronouns. (Among the stanzas omitted in most hymnals are those that begin "for all the apostles," "for all the evangelists," and "for all the martyrs.")

The text begins with a proclamation of thanksgiving for the saints ("the cloud of witnesses") who confessed Christ and found in him protection and inspiration (st. 1-2). That proclamation is followed by a prayer for Christ's soldiers on earth to be "faithful, true, and bold" (st. 3). At the crux of the text is the confession of a "blest communion" of saints in heaven and on earth (st. 4). Though the holy warfare may be "fierce and long" (st. 5), "all the saints" may take courage from the vision of a victorious church that worships the triune God on that "more glorious day" (st. 6-7).

Liturgical Use:
Traditionally for All Saints Day (the first Sunday in November) and similar church festivals; worship that emphasizes the church as militant and triumphant; funerals.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
==================
For all Thy [the] saints who from their labours rest. Bp. W. W. How. [Saints' Days.] First published in Hymn for Saints' Day, and Other Hymns. By a Layman [Earl Nelson], 1864, in 11 stanzas of 3 lines, and the refrain "Alleluia." It was republished in Lyra Britannica, 1867; in the Sarum Hymnal, 1868; in the 1869 Appendix to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Psalms & Hymns, and subsequently in nearly every hymnal of importance published in Great Britain. It is also found in the best collections of all English-speaking countries, and, with hymnal compilers, it is one of the most popular of the author's compositions. It is sometimes given in American hymnals (as it is in the S. P. C. K. Church Hymns, as "For all the saints," &c, this being Bishop How's revised reading. In the Protestant Episcopal Hymnal, 1872, stanzas iii.-v. are given as a separate hymn (No. 186), beginning, "For the Apostles' glorious company." Original text as above. Authorized text in S. P. C. K. Church Hymns.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

=================

For all Thy [the] saints who from their labours rest, p. 380, ii. The alterations in the text of this hymn, as given in the 1904 edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern, were reluctantly sanctioned by Bp. How shortly before his death in 1897.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)

Tune

SINE NOMINE

Ralph Vaughan Williams (PHH 316) composed SINE NOMINE for this text and published it in the English Hymnal in 1906. Vaughan Williams wrote two harmonizations¬–one for unison stanzas and one for choral stanzas. The tune's title means "without name" and follows the Renaissance tradition of naming c…

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SARUM (Barnby)


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