Hail, Thou once-despisèd Jesus!

Representative Text

1 Hail, Thou once despised Jesus!
Hail, Thou Galilean king!
Thou didst suffer to release us;
Thou didst free salvation bring.
Hail, Thou agonizing Savior,
bearer of our sin and shame!
By Thy merit we find favor;
life is given through Thy name.

2 Paschal Lamb, by God appointed,
all our sins on Thee were laid;
by almighty Love anointed,
Thou hast full atonement made:
all Thy people are forgiven
through the virtue of Thy blood;
opened is the gate of heaven;
peace is made 'twixt man and God.

3 Jesus, hail, enthroned in glory,
there forever to abide!
All the heav'nly host adore Thee,
seated at Thy Father's side.
There for sinners Thou art pleading;
there Thou dost our place prepare;
ever for us interceding,
till in glory we appear.

4 Worship, honor, pow'r, and blessing
Thou art worthy to receive;
highest praises, without ceasing,
meet it is for us to give.
Help, ye bright angelic spirits,
bring your sweetest, noblest lays;
help to sing our Savior's merits;
help to chant Immanuel's praise!

Source: Psalms and Hymns to the Living God #297

Author: John Bakewell

Bakewell, John, born at Brailsford, Derbyshire, 1721. At about the age of eighteen his mind was turned towards religious truths by reading Boston's Fourfold State. From that date he became an ardent evangelist, and in 1744 (the year of the first Methodist Conference) he begun to preach. Removing to London some short time after, he became acquainted with the Wesleys, M. Madan, A. M. Toplady, J. Fletcher, and other earnest evangelical men. After conducting for some years the Greenwich Royal Park Academy, he resigned in favour of his son-in-law, Dr. James Egau, and employed much of his time in preaching at various places for the Wesleyans. He died at Lewisham, near Greenwich, March 18, 1819, aged 98, and was buried in the Wesleyan burying grou… Go to person page >

Alterer: Augustus Toplady

Toplady, Augustus Montague, the author of "Rock of Ages," was born at Farnham, Surrey, November 4, 1740. His father was an officer in the British army. His mother was a woman of remarkable piety. He prepared for the university at Westminster School, and subsequently was graduated at Trinity College, Dublin. While on a visit in Ireland in his sixteenth year he was awakened and converted at a service held in a barn in Codymain. The text was Ephesians ii. 13: "But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." The preacher was an illiterate but warm-hearted layman named Morris. Concerning this experience Toplady wrote: "Strange that I, who had so long sat under the means of grace in England, should b… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Hail, Thou once-despised Jesus!
Title: Hail, Thou once-despisèd Jesus!
Author: John Bakewell (1757)
Alterer: Augustus Toplady (1776)
Meter: D
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Scripture References:
st. 1 = Isa. 53:3-5
st. 2 = Rom 5:11
st. 3 = Acts 5:31, Rom. 8:34, Heb. 7:25
st. 4 = Rev. 4:11, Rev. 5:12

The original two-stanza version of this text, now attributed to John Bakewell (b. Brailsford, Derbyshire, England, 1721; d. Lewisham, England, 1819), was published anonymously in the 1757 London pamphlet A Collection of Hymns Addressed to the Holy, Holy, Triune God. Bakewell was a lay evangelist and itinerant preacher in the Methodist tradition. He was personally acquainted with John and Charles Wesley (PHH 267) as well as with Augustus Toplady (PHH 497). Although he wrote several hymns and other devotional poetry, only "Hail, Thou Once-Despised Jesus" remains in common use.

Martin Madan altered and extended the text for his Collection of Psalms and Hymns (1760); later hymnal editors further altered the text. The present version is derived from the modernized text in Hymns for Today's Church (1982).

Described by Austin Lovelace as "rhymed theology," the text moves from Christ's suffering and death (st. 1-2) to his exaltation at the Father's right hand (st. 3-4); from our redemption and forgiveness (st. 1-2) to Christ's intercession for us (st. 3). Finally, we join in a cosmic praise of the Savior (st. 4).

Liturgical Use:
Lent; Holy Week; Easter; Ascension; as a processional hymn for the beginning of worship services.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Hail, Thou once despised Jesus. J. Bakewell. [Ascension.] In a volume of Poetical Tract, 1757-74, in the Bodleian Library, Oxford [Hymni G. Pamph..,1276 (1)], there is, bound up with others, a small pamphlet of 72 pages with the following title:—

A Collection of Hymns addressed to The Holy, Holy, Holy, triune God, in the Person of Christ Jesus, our Mediator and Advocate. [Psalms xlvii. 6, in Hebrew; and Cant. iv. 16, in English.] London: Printed by M. Lewis, in Paternoster-Row, MDCCLVII.

At page 40 of this pamphlet the following hymn is found:—

"Hymn XLVI.
"Hail, thou once-despised Jesus,
Hail, thou Galilean King!
Who didst suffer to release us,
Who didst free salvation bring!
Hail, thou universal Saviour,
Who hast borne our sin and shame;
By whose merits we find favour,
Life is given thro' thy name!
i. [ii.]
"Jesus, hail! inthron'd in glory,
There for ever to abide;
All the heav'nly host adore thee,
Seated at thy Father's side:
Worship, honour, pow'r, and blessing,
Thou art worthy to receive—
Loudest praises without ceasing
Meet it is for us to give! "

In M. Madan's Collection of Psalms & Hymns, 1760, this hymn reappeared in the following expanded form, the added portions being in italics:—

"Hymn CX.
"Praise to Christ.
“Hail thou once despised Jesus:
Hail thou Galilean King!
Who didst suffer to release us,
Who didst free Salvation bring!
Hail thou universal Saviour,
Who hast borne our Sin and Shame,
By whose Merits we find Favour,
Life is giv'n thro' thy Name!
"Paschal Lamb by God appointed,
All our Sins were on Thee laid!
By Almighty Love appointed,
Thou hast full atonement made;
Ev'ry Sin may beforgiv'n
Thro' the Virtue of thy Blood,
Open'd is the Gate of Heav'n,
Peace is made 'twixt Man and God,

“Jesus Hail! enthron'd in Glory,
There for ever to abide !
All the heav'nly Hosts adore Thee
Seated at thy Father's Side:
There for Sinners Thou art pleading
'Spare them yet another Year'—
Thou for Saints art interceding
Till in Glory they appea
“Worship, Honour, Pow'r, and Blessing,
Christ is worthy to receive-
Loudest Praises without ceasing
Meet it is for us to give!
Help, ye bright angelic Spirits,
Bring your sweetest, noblest Lays,
Help to sing our Jesu's Merits,
Help to chaunt Immanuel’s Praise

This text was repeated with slight alterations (specially in stanza ii, line 3, "love anointed" for " love appointed," in R. Conyers's Collection of Psalms & Hymns, 1774, No. 70; in the Lady Huntingdon Collection of Hymns, Edinburgh, c. 1771; and others. The next important change in the hymn was made by A. M. Toplady, with the object of making it subservient to his stern Calvinistic views. His text in his Psalms & Hymns, 1776, No. 113, is:—

i. "Hail, thou once despised Jesus!
Hail, thou Galilean King!
Thou didst suffer to release us,
Thou didst free salvation bring.
Hail, thou agonizing Saviour,
Bearer of our sin and shame!
By thy merits we find favour,
Life is given through thy name.
["Paschal Lamb," &c, omitted on doctrinal grounds.]
ii. "Jesus, hail, enthroned in glory,
There for ever to abide!
All the heav'nly host adore thee,
Seated at thy Father's side.
There for sinners thou art pleading,
There thou dost our place prepare,
Ever for us
Till in glory we appear.
"Worship, honour, pow'r, and blessing,
Thou art worthy to receive;
Loudest praises, without ceasing,
Meet it is for us to give.
Help, ye bright angelic spirits!
Bring your sweetest, noblest lays;
Help to sing our Saviour's merits,
Help to chaunt Immanuel's praise."

In A Collection of Psalms & Hymns on various subjects for Published and Private Worship. Designed for the Congregation of Northampton Chapel. By William Taylor and Herbert Jones. London, 1777, No. 162, there is a cento from Madan's text to which is added what has long been regarded as the fifth stanza of "Hail, Thou once despised Jesus." It is from James Allen's Collection of Hymns for the Use of those that Seek and those that Have Redemption in the Blood of Christ, 1757, No. 97, and reads:—

"Soon we shall with those in glory,
His transcendent grace relate;
Gladly sing th' amazing story
Of His dying love so great.
In that blessed contemplation,
We for evermore shall dwell;
Crown'd with bliss and consolation,
Such as none below can tell."

The sources of the various arrangements of “Hail, Thou once despised Jesus," found in modern hymn-books in all English-speaking countries, can be easily determined by reference to the above texts, which, in every case, ore printed from the originals. In addition to the numerous centos in common use which begin with "Hail, Thou once," &c, there are also
(1) “Paschal Lamb, by God appointed," and
(2) “Jesus, hail, enthroned in glory."
J. Bakewell's share in the composition of this hymn in its full modern form of 5 stanzas of 8 lines seems thus to have been very limited. Unless it can be shewn that he re-wrote and enlarged it for M. Madan's Psalms & Hymns, 1760, of the 40 lines so confidently attributed to him, only 16 are his. In the Bodleian Library Catalogue, the pamphlet in which Bakewell's two stanzas appeared, is said to be "Assigned by Mr. Daniel Sedgwick to William Jones, of Nayland." From Sedgwick's manuscript we find that this was a guess on his part. The compiler of the pamphlet is unknown.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


AUTUMN (Barthélemon)

This tune is adapted from Barthélemon's piece Durandarte and Belerma: A Pathetic Scotch Ballad (1797). Some editors describe AUTUMN as "adapted from Psalm xlii in the Genevan Psalter, 1551", referring to the similarity between this tune and FREU DICH SEHR.

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