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O Come, All Ye Faithful
Luke 2:15
ADESTE FIDELES  |  Hymn History  |  Bible Passage
Author: Tr. By Frederick Oakeley, 1802-1880
Musician: John F. Wade's Cantus Diversi, 1751

  Play MP3 • Click to listen to the music for this hymn.

O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem!
Come and behold Him, Born the King of angels;

Refrain:
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, Sing in exultation!
O sing, all ye citizens of heav'n above;
Glory to God, all glory in the highest;

True God of true God, Light of light eternal,
Lo, He abhors not the Virgin's womb,
Son of the Father, Begotten, not created;

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, Born this happy morning,
Jesus, to Thee be all glory giv'n;
Word of the Father, Now in flesh appearing;



HYMN HISTORY:

John Francis Wade was an itinerant scribe. In those days long ago, when printing was still in its infancy and a rather slow way of reproducing copies of a work, he roamed from time to time offering his services to those who could pay for them.

Wade was a craftsman of the highest order, working in several languages and able also to copy music manuscripts. Consequently, his copywriting was much in demand by choir leaders, institutions of learning, churches and wealthy families.

He worked mostly in his native England but also ventured as far afield as France and some of the Western European countries to ply his trade there.

Apparently, however, scribe Wade didn't spend all his time copying the works of others. In 1750, as part of a manuscript he prepared for a college in Lisbon, Portugal, he included an original composition from his own pen,

It was written in the Latin language and began ...
Adeste, fideles,
Laeit triumphantes;
Venite, venite in Bethlehem ...

In English, it's the very popular...

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem ...

Wade also composed a fine tune for the words he had written, and when the two were blended they produced an extraordinary musical composition. It's sung with great enthusiasm in churches all over the world at Christmas.

In 1785 the carol was heard by the then Duke of Leeds. He introduced it to a group of concert singers of which he was the conductor and it increased in popularity from that time.

Eventually, it circled the globe, being translated into the language of every civilised nation on the way. In the past century for example, it has appeared in over one hundred different English translations.

However, it was not until 1852, and the translation by Canon Frederick Oakley of Shrewsbury, that it became known by its present popular title "O Come All Ye Faithful."

It should be pointed out that some historians assert that John Francis Wade was not, in fact, the author of this carol. They say he borrowed both the words and music from others whose names we will never know.

But whether or not Wade was guilty of plagiarism, it is undeniable that this moving carol would never have come into the possession of the Christian church had he not inserted it into that ancient manuscript.

Amen! Lord we bless thee
Born for our salvation,
O Jesus! forever be Thy name adored;
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing.

O come let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord!


BIBLE PASSAGE:

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.



Jim Byrd
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