Many of the early hymn writers wrote songs for children that were easy to sing and simple enough to teach children Biblical truths. This hymn was originally titled “Come, Children, Join to Sing” and was published in 1843 by its author Christian H. Batemen in “Sacred Melodies for Sabbath School and Families.” This collection of about 25 hymns was Scotland’s standard Sunday school songbook, with more than six million copies published by 1881. Adults also enjoyed singing it so much that the title was eventually changed to “Come, Christians, Join to Sing.”
Christian H. Batemen, a Scottish pastor, was born in 1813 near Halifax. He served in several churches in Scotland and England until his death in 1889 in Carlisle, England. He and his wife were parents of six children; perhaps this was his inspiration to write children’s songs.
Some hymn historians believe that Batemen was influenced by William E. Hickson’s hymn, “Join Now in Praise and Sing,” published in Hickson’s “Singing Master” in 1836. Batemen’s text is a simple language with repeated phrases, making it quite easy to sing, especially for children. The opening stanza exhorts Christians to join in worship to Christ because it’s what the Saviour desires: “Praise is his gracious choice.” Stanza two offers reassurance that King Jesus is “our guide and friend” whose “love shall never end.” Christ humbled Himself to leave heaven, become a man, and die for the sins of the world. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). The hymn ends with the encouragement that this song of praise will never end: “Singing for evermore.”
“I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:” (Revelation 19:1).
The tune “Madrid,” based on a joyful traditional Spanish melody, was later harmonized in 1929 by David Evans, a Welsh composer and director of the Welsh Hymn Festivals. The repeated phrase, “Hallelujah! Amen!” expresses that the Lord is worthy of praise, now and forevermore, and comes from the Biblical Hebrew and Greek languages meaning “Praise the Lord! So be it!” “O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms” (Psalm 95:1-2).
Loud praise to Christ our King,
Let all with heart and voice,
Before his throne rejoice;
Praise is his gracious choice,
Let praises fill the sky,
He is our guide and friend;
To us he'll condescend;
His love shall never end,
Life shall not end the strain,
On heaven's blissful shore
His goodness we'll adore;
Singing for evermore,
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