Words by Edward H. Plumptre (1821-1891)

(Also included in The Broadman Hymnal, 1940 ed., Broadman Press, Nashville – #285; the Baptist Hymnal, 1975 ed., Convention Press, Nashville, #28; 1991 ed., Convention Press, Nashville, #39; 2008, ed., LifeWay, Nashville, #578; Favorite Hymns of Praise, 1967, Tabernacle Publishing Company, Chicago – #7; Inspiring Hymns, 1968, Zondervan, Grand Rapids – #301; The Celebration Hymnal, 1997, Word/Integrity, Waco – #169; The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration, 1986, Word, Waco – #562.)

It is surprising to me that this hymn is such a favorite among the hymn collectors when I don’t recall having ever sung it in worship. I will also note that collections vary (almost evenly) as to whether they include four or five stanzas.

The Hymn

  1. *+^Rejoice, ye pure in heart!
    Rejoice, give thanks and sing!
    Your glorious banner wave on high,
    the cross of Christ your King.

    Rejoice, rejoice,
    rejoice, give thanks and sing.
  2. Bright youth and snow crowned age,
    strong men and maidens meek,
    raise high your free, exulting song,
    God’s wondrous praises speak.
  3. Yes onward, onward still
    with hymn, and chant and song,
    through gate, and porch and columned aisle,
    the hallowed pathways throng. [Refrain]
  4. *+^With all the angel choirs,
    with all the saints of earth,
    pour out the strains of joy and bliss,
    true rapture, noblest mirth.
  5. Your clear hosannas raise;
    and alleluias loud;
    whilst answering echoes upward float,
    Like wreaths of incense cloud. [Refrain]
  6. With voice as full and strong
    as ocean’s surging praise,
    send forth the hymns our fathers loved,
    the psalms of ancient days. [Refrain]
  7. *+^Yes, on through life’s long path,
    still chanting as ye go;
    from youth to age, by night and day,
    in gladness and in woe.
  8. *+^Still lift your standard high,
    still march in firm array,
    as warriors through the darkness toil,
    till dawns the golden day.
  9. At last the march shall end;
    the wearied ones shall rest;
    the pilgrims find their heavenly home,
    Jerusalem the blessed. [Refrain]
  10. *Then on, ye pure in heart!
    Rejoice, give thanks and sing!
    Your glorious banner wave on high,
    the cross of Christ your King.
  11. ^Praise God who reigns on high,
    the Lord whom we adore,
    the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
    one God forevermore. [Refrain]

(Hymn words accessed at Hymns.me.uk) Stanzas in bold are those used in our sample hymnal. Italicized stanzas are from Broadman, Inspiring Hymns. *Favorite Hymns, +The Hymnal, ^Celebration. One should also note that occasionally there are word variations and in one case stanzas are in a different order—although all hymnals agree on the refrain.

Scriptural Connection

An excellent connection to make with the Scripture for this hymn can be found in Psalm 32:11, a verse calling those who are righteous and upright to rejoice in the Lord.

What does it mean?

In this hymn we find a very useful tool for worship. It can be used as a call to worship much like a number of the hymns we have already studied. It is also an excellent praise song to sing during a service of thanksgiving—after all, repeatedly the worshiper is called to give thanks—specifically, to “Rejoice, give thanks and sing!”

Perhaps, since it is such a favorite of those who collect hymns, we might dust this one off and renew an interest in the encouragement to rejoice. It doesn’t really matter that the collectors choose different stanzas from the collection, and this wealth of number of stanzas may even lend to our being able to add it to our worship a number of Sundays in a row without singing more than one or two of the stanzas in repetition.

*Hymn numbers for this series’ titles are from the Baptist Hymnal, 1956 edition, Nashville, Convention Press.