Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.@John 15:13

The ear­li­est known pub­li­cation was in A Gen­er­al Se­lect­ion of the New­est and Most Ad­mired Hymns and Spir­it­u­al Songs Now in Use, by Stith Mead (Lynch­burg, Vir­gin­ia: Vir­gin­ia Con­fer­ence of the Me­tho­dist Epis­co­pal Church, 1811). That ver­sion was in a rare­ly used struc­ture some­times called Cap­tain Kidd me­ter, due its as­so­ci­a­tion with a bal­lad about the pi­rate Ro­bert Kidd, who was ex­e­cut­ed in 1701.

From The South­ern Har­mo­ny and Mu­sic­al Com­pan­ion, by Will­iam Walk­er (New York: Hast­ings House, 1835). Ar­ranged by Wil­liam J. Rey­nolds (1920–2009) (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
William Walker (1809–1875)

What wondrous love is this,
O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this,
O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse
For my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse
For my soul.

When I was sinking down,
Sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down,
Sinking down,
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown
For my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown
For my soul.

Ye wingèd seraphs fly,
Bear the news, bear the news!
Ye wingèd seraphs fly,
Bear the news!
Ye wingèd seraphs fly,
Like comets through the sky,
Fill vast eternity
With the news, with the news!
Fill vast eternity
With the news!

Ye friends of Zion’s king,
Join His praise, join His praise;
Ye friends of Zion’s king,
Join His praise;
Ye friends of Zion’s king,
With hearts and voices sing,
And strike each tuneful string
In His praise, in His praise!
And strike each tuneful string
In His praise!

To God and to the Lamb,
I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb
Who is the great I Am;
While millions join the theme,
I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme,
I will sing.

And when from death I’m free,
I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free,
I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free,
I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity,
I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity,
I’ll sing on.

Yes, when to that bright world
We arise, we arise,
Yes, when to that bright world
We arise;
When to that world we go,
Free from all pain and woe,
We’ll join the happy throng,
And sing on, and sing on,
We’ll join the happy throng,
And sing on.