Scripture Verse

The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. Isaiah 35:1

Introduction

portrait
Ignaz J. Pleyel
(1757–1831)

Words: Un­known au­thor, in the Chris­tian’s Ma­ga­zine, Feb­ru­a­ry 1766, ti­tled A New Ode as Sung by the Wo­men at the Mag­da­len Cha­pel. Ju­li­an be­lieved the au­thor was prob­ab­ly the mag­a­zine’s ed­it­or, Will­iam Dodd. The words have been pub­lished in num­er­ous forms; the orig­in­al ver­sion is at the end of this page.

Music: Pley­el’s Hymn Ig­naz J. Pley­el, 1791 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

portrait
William Dodd
(1729–1777)

Charles Wes­ley’s ver­sion, from The Po­et­ic­al Works of John and Charles Wes­ley, Vol­ume 1, pag­es 290–92:

Heavenly Father, sovereign Lord,
Ever faithful to Thy word,
Humbly we our seal set to,
Testify that Thou art true.

Lo! for us the wilds are glad,
All in cheerful green arrayed,
Opening sweets they all disclose,
Bud and blossom as the rose.

Hark! the wastes have found a voice,
Lonely deserts now rejoice,
Gladsome hallelujahs sing,
All around with praises ring.

Lo! abundantly they bloom,
Lebanon is hither come,
Carmel’s stores the heav’ns dispense,
Sharon’s fertile excellence.

See, these barren souls of ours
Bloom, and put forth fruits and flowers—
Flowers of Eden, fruits of grace,
Peace, and joy, and righteousness.

We behold (the abjects we)
Christ, the incarnate Deity—
Christ, in whom Thy glories shine,
Excellence of strength divine.

Ye that tremble at His frown,
He shall lift your hands cast down;
Christ, who all your weakness sees,
He shall prop your feeble knees.

Ye of fearful hearts, be strong;
Jesus will not tarry long;
Fear not, lest His truth should fail,
Jesus is unchangeable.

God, your God, shall surely come,
Quell your foes, and seal their doom,
He shall come and save you too;
We, O Lord, have found Thee true.

Blind we were, but now we see,
Deaf—we hearken now to Thee,
Dumb—for Thee our tongues employ,
Lame—and, lo! we leap for joy!

Faint we were, and parched with drought,
Water at Thy word gushed out;
Streams of grace our thirst refresh,
Starting from the wilderness.

Still we gasp Thy grace to know,
Here for ever let it flow,
Make the thirsty land a pool,
Fix the Spirit in our soul.

Where the ancient dragon lay,
Open for Thyself a way;
There let holy tempers rise,
All the fruits of paradise.

Lead us in the way of peace,
In the path of righteousness,
Never by the sinner trod,
Till he feels the cleansing blood.

There the simple cannot stray;
Babes, though blind, may find their way—
Find, nor ever thence depart,
Safe in lowliness of heart.

Far from fear, from danger far,
No devouring beast is there;
There the humble walk secure,
God hath made their footsteps sure.

Jesu, mighty to redeem,
Let our lot be cast with them:
Far from earth our souls remove,
Ransomed by Thy dying love.

Leave us not below to mourn;
Fain we would to Thee return,
Crowned with righteousness arise
Far above these nether skies.

Come, and all our sorrows chase,
Wipe the tears from every face;
Gladness let us now obtain,
Partners of Thy endless reign.

Death, the latest foe, destroy;
Sorrow then shall yield to joy,
Gloomy grief shall flee away,
Swallowed up endless day.

A mod­i­fied cen­to from Wes­ley’s ver­sion, in A Book of Hymns for Pub­lic and Pri­vate De­vo­tion, 10th edi­tion, by Sam­u­el Long­fel­low (Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts: Tick­nor & Fields, 1848), num­ber 598— The Pro­phet’s Vi­sion:

Faint the earth, and parched with drought,
Make the waters, Lord, gush out!
Streams of love our thirst to bless,
Starting in the wilderness.
Long we wait Thy peace to know:
Father, bid the waters flow,
Make the thirsty land a pool,
Make man’s suffering spirit whole.

Hark! the wastes have found a voice;
Loneliest deserts now rejoice,
When the Lord His presence shows,
Lo, they blossom like the rose;
See! This barren earth of ours
Buds and puts forth fruits and flowers,
Flowers of Eden, fruits of peace,
Love and joy and righteousness!

Benjamin Will­iams’ ver­sion, alt.

Heavenly Father, sovereign Lord,
Be Thy glorious name adored!
Lord, Thy mercies never fail;
Hail, celestial Goodness, hail!

Though unworthy of Thine ear,
Deign our humble songs to hear;
Purer praise we hope to bring,
When around Thy throne we sing.

While on earth ordained to stay,
Guide our footsteps in Thy way,
Till we come to dwell with Thee,
Till we all Thy glory see.

When, with angel harps again,
We will wake a nobler strain;
There, in joyful songs of praise,
Our triumphant songs we raise.

Original ver­sion (omit­ting re­pe­ti­tions):

Grateful notes and numbers bring;
While Jehovah’s praise we sing:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord!
Be Thy glorious name adored.

Men on earth, and saints above,
Sing the great Redeemer’s love:
Lord, Thy mercies never fail!
Hail, celestial goodness, hail!

Though unworthy, Lord, Thine ear,
Our humble hallelujahs hear;
Purer praise hope to bring
When with saints we stand and sing.

Lead us to that blissful state,
Where Thou reignest supremely great;
Look with pity from Thy throne,
And send Thy Holy Spirit down.

While on earth ordained to stay
Guide our footsteps in Thy way;
Till we come to reign with Thee,
And all Thy glorious greatness see.

Then with angels we’ll again
Wake a louder, louder strain;
There, in joyful songs of praise,
We’ll our grateful voices raise.

There no tongue shall silent be:
There all shall join sweet harmony;
That through Heaven’s all spacious round,
Thy praise, O God, may ever sound!