Lo! He comes with clouds descending, Once for guilty sinners slainAuthor: Charles Wesley (1758)
Published in 651 hymnals
Printable scores: PDF, SibeliusAudio files: MIDI, Recording
1 Lo, he comes, with clouds descending,
once for our salvation slain;
thousand thousand saints attending
swell the triumph of his train:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Christ the Lord returns to reign.
2 Now redemption, long expected,
comes in solemn splendor near;
all the saints this world rejected
thrill the trumpet sound to hear:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
See the day of God appear!
3 Those dear tokens of his passion
still his dazzling body bears,
cause of endless exultation
to his ransomed worshipers;
with what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture
gaze we on those glorious scars!
4 Yea, amen! let all adore thee,
high on thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the power and glory,
claim the kingdom as thine own:
O come quickly! O come quickly! O come quickly!
Thou shalt reign, and thou alone.
Source: Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #479
|First Line:||Lo! He comes with clouds descending, Once for guilty sinners slain|
|Title:||Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending|
|Author:||Charles Wesley (1758)|
st. 1 = Matt. 24:30, Rev. 5:11-13
st. 2 = Rev. 1:7, Zech. 12:10, John 19:37
In 1750 John Cennick, a friend of John and Charles Wesley (PHH 267), wrote an Advent hymn that began, "Lo! he cometh, countless trumpets blow before his bloody sign!" Cennick's hymn was published in his Collection (1752). Charles Wesley completely rewrote the text and published his version in Hymns of Intercession for all Mankind (1758) with the title "Thy Kingdom Come" (changed to "The Second Advent" in other editions). Though later hymnals occasionally mixed Cennick's lines with Wesley's, the Psalter Hymnal includes most of Wesley's original text.
Like so many of Wesley's texts, "Lo! He Comes" abounds with biblical imagery. Stanzas 1, 2, and 4 are based on the rich language of John's apocalyptic visions recorded in Revelation 1:7 and 5:11-13. The third stanza reminds us that Christ's wounds and atoning death should lead us to greater faith and ultimately to our worship of Christ in glory (as Christ himself reminded the doubting Thomas). Stanza 4 is a majestic doxology to Christ, our Savior and Lord.
Advent; other worship services that focus on Christ's coming again in glory.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
Lo! He comes with clouds descending, Once for favoured sinners slain. [The Second Advent.] The hymn in modern collections which opens with these lines is a cento of a somewhat complicated character, und will need, for clearness and accuracy, the reproduction of the original text of several hymns.
1. The first form of the hymn is by John Cennick. There is evidence to show that it was sung by the congregation of the Moravian Chapel, in Dublin, on April 20, 1750; but the earliest printed text known appeared in the fifth (1752) edition of Cennick's Collection of Sacred Hymns, &c, Dublin, S[amuel] rowell, and is as follows:—
 "Lo! He cometh, countless trumpets
Blow before his bloody sign!
'Midst ten thousand saints and angels,
See the Crucified shine.
Welcome, welcome bleeding Lamb!
 "Now His merits by the harpers,
Thro' the eternal deeps resounds!
Now resplendent shine His nailprints,
Every eye shall see His wounds!
They who pierced Him, Shall at His appearing wail.
 "Every island, sea, and mountain,
Heaven and earth shall flee away!
All who hate Him must, ashamed,
Hear the trump proclaim His day:
Come to judgment!
Stand before the Son of Man!
 "All who love Him view His glory,
Shining in His bruised Face:
His dear Person on the rainbow,
Now His people's heads shall raise:
Now on clouds He comes! He comes!
 “Now redemption, long expected,
See, in solemn pomp appear:
All His people, once despised,
Now shall meet Him in the air:
Now the promised kingdom's come!
 "View Him smiling, now determined
Every evil to destroy!
All the nations now shall sing Him
Songs of everlastingjoy!
O come quickly!
Allelujah ! come Lord, come!"
2. The next form is by Charles Wesley. In 1758 was published the Hymns of Intercession for All Mankind, a tract of 40 hymns. (Poetical Works1868-72, vol. vi. 148.) Of these there were three in the same metre, viz.:—
xxxviii. “Rise, ye dearly purchased sinners."
xxxix. "Lo! He comes with clouds descending.”
xl. "Lift your heads, ye friends of Jesus."
The original text of the second of these hymns is as follows:—
"1. Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favour'd sinners slain!
Thousand, thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of his train:
God appears, on earth to reign !
"2. Every eye shall now behold Him
Rob'd in dreadful majesty,
Those who set at nought and sold Him,
Pierc'd, and nail'd Him to the tree,
Deeply wailing Shall the true Messiah see.
"3. The dear tokens of his passion
Still His dazling body bears,
Cause of endless exultation
To his ransom'd worshippers;
With what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars!
"4. Yea, amen! let all adore Thee
High on thine eternal throne!
Saviour, take the power and glory,
Claim the kingdom for thine own:
Everlasting God, come down."
3. The third form of the text is really the first form of the modern cento. It was given by M. Madan in his Collection of Psalms & Hymns, &c., 1760, No. 42.
4. This cento, with the omission of stanza v. came into general use, and was rarely altered until after 1830, when Hall, in his Mitre Hymn Book, 1836, and others, began to tamper with the text. Several editors were assisted in making their alterations and changes in the text through T. Olivers's hymn, "Come, Immortal King of Glory" (q.v.), first published in 20 stanzas without date; and then in 36 stanzas in 1763. The fourth stanza of the 1763 text reads :—
“Lo! He comes with clouds descending;
Hark! the trump of God is blown;
And th' archangel's voice attending,
Make the high procession known,
Sons of Adam
Rise and stand before your God."
A cento from this hymn, and beginning with this stanza, is given in Lord Selborne's Book of Praise, 1862. Either from the original, or from Lord Selborne's cento, several lines by Olivers are interwoven in some modern collections with Madan's cento of 1760, as in Thring's Collection, 1882, where in stanza iv. lines 5, 6 are from Olivers's stanza xxxv.
5. The alterations which are found in the Madan cento in modern hymnbooks are very numerous, and range from a single word to several lines. Of these altered versions more than twenty exist in the hymn-books now in common use in English-speaking countries. These alterations have not been made to suit any special school of thought, and in most cases they weaken, instead of strengthen the hymn. They can easily be detected by comparing any text with those given above.
6. Amongst the imitations of this hymn that are in common use we have "Lo! He comes with clouds descending," with stanza ii. beginning “See the universe in motion." This imitation embodies a great many lines from Wesley's text. It is by M. Bridges, and was published in his Hymns of the Heart, 1848, in 9 stanzas. In 1855 it was given in H. W. Beecher's Plymouth Collection, with the omission of stanza iv., and attributed to Brydges in error. A second imitation is: “Lo! He comes with pomp victorious." This is given anonymously in the 1876 edition of E. Harland's Church Psalter and Hymnal.
7. The Cennick-Wesley cento (Madan’s) is one of the most popular hymns in the English language, and is in extensive use in all English-speaking countries. It has also been translated into many languages. The translation into Latin, "Nube vectus en descendit," by the Rev. C. B. Pearson in his Latin Translation of English Hymns, 1862, p. 19, is from Wesley's text, with the addition of Cennick's stanza v.
8. The history of the tune "Olivers" in its original form, and also in its recast form as "Helmsley," both of which are inseparably associated with this hymn, is given by Major Crawford in Grove's Dictionary of Music, vol. ii. p. 161. It appears from this article that Thomas Olivers (who is named above, and is the author of the popular hymn "The God of Abraham praise") constructed a tune partly out of a concert-room song, beginning "Guardian angels, now protect me," and the same was published in Wesley's Select Hymns and Tunes Annexed, 1765, under the title Olivers. In 1769 it was recast by M. Madan, and published under the name of Helmsley, in his Collection of Hymn and Psalm Tunes. Four years afterwards a burlesque called The Golden Pippin (1769) was produced in London, and failed. In 1776 it was revived in a shortened form, and one of the actresses, Miss Catley, introduced into it the melody of "Guardian angels" adapted to the words of the burlesque. Although there is no indication of this in the book of words, she no doubt concluded the song, on which Olivers had based his tune eleven years before, by dancing "Miss Catley's Hornpipe," constructed for the purpose out of the then popular Helmsley. It seems, therefore, that instead of the hymn tune being liable to the obloquy, so continually cast upon it, of being made out of "Miss Catley's Hornpipe," the hornpipe was made out of the tune.
--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
|Instances (1 - 53 of 53)||First Line||Title||Tune||Tune Key||Author||Meter||Scripture||Date||Subject||Source|
|Ambassador Hymnal: for Lutheran worship #155||Lo! He comes with clouds descending||Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending||SICILIAN MARINERS||Charles Wesley, 1707-1788||87 87 87||1994||Jesus Christ | Second Coming|
|Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #41||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley (1707-1788); John Cennick (1718-1755)||87 87 47 extended||Zechariah 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10||2013||Adoration | ; Advent | ; Advent Sunday | Year A; Advent Sunday | Year B; Advent Sunday | Year C; Church Year | Advent; Church Year | Good Friday; Church Year | Christ the King; Jesus | coming again; Kingdom of God | ; Other Saints and Festivals | St Stephen; The Fourth Sunday before Advent | Year C|
|Baptist Hymnal 1991 #199||Lo, He comes with clouds descending||Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending||REGENT SQUARE||Charles Wesley; John Cennick||184.108.40.206.8.7.||Matthew 24:30||1991|
|Celebrating Grace Hymnal #100||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending||WESNATE||Charles Wesley; John Cennick||220.127.116.11.8.7||Revelation 1:7||2010||God the Son | Christmastide; Christian Year-Advent | ; Jesus Christ-Return ||
|Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #29||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending||PICARDY||Charles Wesley, 1707-88||87 87 87||1993||Advent ||
|Christian Worship: supplement #704||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley, 1707-1788||87 87 12 7||2008||Advent ||
|Church Family Worship #599||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||87 87 87||1988|
|Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #132||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||2000|
|Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #477||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley (1707-1788); John Cennick (1718-1755)||87 87 12 7||1 Thessalonians 3:13; Daniel 7:13-14; Hebrews 9:28; John 1:29; John 19:31-37; John 20:20; John 20:27; Jude 1:14; Luke 21:27; Mark 13:26; Mark 14:62; Matthew 6:13; Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:64; Psalm 106:48; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 5:6; Revelation 5:9-14; Revelation 11:15; Revelation 19:6; Revelation 22:20; Zechariah 12:10||2005||Christ Risen | Coming Again; Christ Incarnate | Promise of the Messiah|
|Common Praise (1998) #114||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley (1707-1788); John Cennick (1718-1755); Martin Madan (1726 - 1790)||87 87 47||Daniel 7:1-3; Daniel 7:9-10; Daniel 7:13-18; Mark 13:24-37; 1 Corinthians 15:12-28; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 1:4-8; Revelation 21:1-6; Revelation 21:10; Revelation 22:7; Revelation 22:1-21||1998||Advent ||
|Common Praise: A new edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern #31||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley, 1707-1788; John Cennick, 1718-1755||87 87 47||1 Corinthians 15:24-25; Daniel 7:13; John 19:27; Mark 13:26; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 19:4||2000||Advent | ; Advent I | Year A; Advent I | Year B|
|Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #414||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||2000|
|Complete Mission Praise #424||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||87 87 87||2000|
|Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #98||Lo! He comes with clouds descending||Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending||HELMSLEY||C. Wesley, 1707-88||87 87 12 7||1996||Watchfulness | ; Advent 2 ||
|Evangelical Lutheran Worship #435||Lo! He comes with clouds descending||Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley, 1707-1788||8 7 8 7 12 7||2006||End Time | ; Advent | ; Judgment ||
|Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #348||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley; John Cennick||18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124||Daniel 7:13-14; Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 14:9; Matthew 16:27-28; Matthew 24:30; Matthew 25:31-46; Mark 13:26-27; Mark 14:62; Luke 21:27-28; Luke 21:31; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28; Revelation 1:7-8||2013||Adoration | ; Christ's Return and Judgment | ; Jesus Christ | Advent; Redemption | ; Salvation ||
|Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #57||Lo! he comes, with clouds descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley, 1707-1788||87. 87 12 7||1985|
|Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #58||Lo! he comes, with clouds descending||ST. THOMAS (Wade)||Charles Wesley, 1707-1788||87. 87. 87||1985|
|Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #28||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||87 87 87||1983|
|Hymns and Psalms - 1983 #241||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley||1983|
|Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #196||Jesus comes with clouds descending||HELMSLEY||J. Cennick (1718-1755); C. Wesley (1707-1788); M. Madan (1726-1790)||8 7 8 7 4 7 extended||Revelation 1:7||1987||God, Saviour | Returning and Triumphant; Advent 1 | The Advent Hope|
|Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #449||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley||2008|
|Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #307||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||87 87 87||1996|
|Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #479||Lo! he comes, with clouds descending||Lo! He Comes, with Clouds Descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley||126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52||Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 24:30; John 19:37; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Jude; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 5:11-14||2013||Church Year | Christ the King; Jesus Christ | Majesty; Jesus Christ | Second Coming|
|Lutheran Service Book #336||Lo! He comes with clouds descending||Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley, 1707-88||87 87 12 7||Revelation 1:7; John 20:24-31; Revelation 7:9-12||2006||End Times ||
|Lutheran Worship #15||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending||PICARDY||Charles Wesley, 1707-88||87 87 87||1982||Advent | ; Church Triumphant | ; Judgment | ; Second Coming of Christ | ; Sunday of the Fulfillment ||
|Moravian Book of Worship #259||Jesus comes with clouds descending||Jesus Comes with Clouds Descending||UNSER HERRSCHER, UNSER KÖNIG||Charles Wesley||Zechariah 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Jude 1:14; Revelation 11:15-18; Revelation 22:13-20||1995||Advent | ; Christ--Victorious | ; Christian year--Advent | ; Christian year--Reign of Christ | ; Christian year--Return of Christ ||
|Praise! Our Songs and Hymns #251||Lo! He comes with clouds descending||Lo, He Comes, with Clouds Descending||PRAISE MY SOUL||Charles Wesley||1979||Christ | His Return|
|Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #6||Jesus comes with clouds descending||Jesus Comes with Clouds Descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley||184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11||Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 24:30; Mark 14:62; Revelation 1:7||1990|
|Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #612||Lo! he comes, with clouds descending||Lo! He Comes, with Clouds Descending||WESTMINSTER ABBEY||Charles Wesley||87 87 87||Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 21; Revelation 1||1987||Praise & Adoration | ; Return of Christ | ; The New Creation | ; Advent | ; Kingdom | ; Lamb of God | ; New Creation ||
|Rejoice in the Lord #605||Lo! He comes with clouds descending||Lo! He Comes||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley||18.104.22.168.4.7||1985|
|Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #211||Lo! He comes, with clouds descending||HOLYWOOD||1985|
|Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century #438||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||87 87 87||1999|
|Sing Joyfully #572||Lo, He comes with clouds descending||Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending||[Lo, He comes with clouds descending]||Charles Wesley||1989|
|Singing the Faith #177||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley, 1707-1788||87 87 47 extended||1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Hebrews 9:28; John 19:31-37; Jude 1:14; Luke 1:25-36; Luke 21:25-36; Mark 13:26; Mark 14:62; Matthew 24:1-14; Matthew 24:29-44; Revelation 1:4-12; Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 5:6-14; Revelation 19:1-6; Revelation 22:17||2011||The Promised Christ: Advent ||
|Small Church Music #303||Lo! He comes, with clouds descending||Helmsley||HELMSLEY||John Cennick||22.214.171.124.8.7|
|Small Church Music #3377||Lo! He comes, with clouds descending||St. Thomas||ST. THOMAS||Charles Wesley||126.96.36.199|
|Small Church Music #3765||Lo! He comes, with clouds descending||Regent Square||REGENT SQUARE||John Cennick||188.8.131.52.8.7|
|The Celebration Hymnal: songs and hymns for worship #754||Lo, He comes with clouds descending||Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending||REGENT SQUARE||Charles Wesley; Martin Madan; John Cennick||184.108.40.206.8.7.||1997||Everlasting Fellowship | The Second Coming of Christ|
|The Christian Life Hymnal #210||Lo! He comes with clouds descending||Regent Square||2006|
|The Christian Life Hymnal #211||Lo! He comes with clouds descending||Helmsley||2006|
|The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #768||Jesus comes with clouds descending||Jesus Comes with Clouds Descending||REGENT SQUARE||Charles Wesley, 1707-1788||220.127.116.11.8.7.||Zechariah 12:10; Mark 14:62; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 4:9-11; Revelation 22:20||1996||Last Sunday after Pentecost | ; Advent | Coming; Judgment | ; Second Advent ||
|The Cyber Hymnal #3717||Lo! He comes with clouds descending||Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending||HELMSLEY||John Cennick; Charles Wesley; Martin Madan||87.87.87||<cite>Collection of Sacred Hymns</cite>, 1752|
|The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #241||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending||REGENT SQUARE||John Cennick; Martin Madan; Charles Wesley||18.104.22.168.8.7.||1986||Christ | Second Coming; Judgment ||
|The New English Hymnal #9||Lo! he comes with clouds descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley, 1707-88||87 87 47||1986||The Christian Year | Advent|
|The United Methodist Hymnal #718||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley||87.87.87||Revelation 1:7||1989||New Heaven and a New Earth | Return and Reign of the Lord; Adoration and Praise | ; Christian Year | Christ the King; Judgment | ; Kingdom of God | ; Triumph ||
|The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement #157||[Lo, he comes with clouds descending]||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley||1991|
|The Worshiping Church #283||Jesus comes with clouds descending||Jesus Comes with Clouds Descending||BRYN CALFARIA||Charles Wesley; Martin Madan||22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.7.||John 19:37; Zechariah 12:10; Jude; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 22:20||1990||Jesus Christ | Majesty||Based on John Cennick, 1752|
|Together in Song: Australian hymn book II #273||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley, 1707-88||87.87.47 extended||Mark 13:24-27; Mark 14:62-72; Matthew 24:20; Matthew 26:65-75; Revelation 1:12-18; Revelation 11:15-17; Revelation 22:20||1999||Advent | ; Christ's Sacrifice | ; Consummation in Christ | ; Epiphany | ; Jesus Christ | Coming today; Jesus Christ | Reign; Jesus Christ | Return; Judgment of God | ; Majesty of God | ; Mission/Sending ||
|Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #318||Lo! he comes with clouds descending||Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending||HOLYWOOD||Charles Wesley; John Cennick; Martin Madan||188.8.131.52.8.7.||Revelation 1:7||1990||Christ | Kingly Office of; Christians | Triumph of; Resurrection of Believers | ; Resurrection of All | ; Jesus Christ | His Second Coming and Judgment|
|Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #25||Lo, he comes with clouds descending||Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending||HELMSLEY||Charles Wesley; Martin Madan; John Cennick||8 7 8 7 4 7||1996||Adoration and Praise | ; Christian Year | Advent; Communion of Saints | ; God | Kingdom, Majesty, Realm; God | Majesty; Hallelujah | ; Jesus Christ | Kingship, Conqueror; Jesus Christ | Second Coming; Judgment | ; Kingdom of God | ; Redemption | ; Advent 2 | Year A; Advent 4 | Year A; Easter 2 | Year A; Proper 27 | Year A; Reign of Christ | Year A; Advent 1 | Year B; Easter 2 | Year B; Proper 27 | Year B; Proper 28 | Year B; Reign of Christ | Year B; Advent 1 | Year C; Easter 2 | Year C|
|Welsh and English Hymns and Anthems #32b||Lo! He comes with clouds descending||LLANGYNOG||C. Wesley. (1707-1788)||M.7. (8.7.4.)||1979|
|Worship and Rejoice #318||Jesus comes with clouds descending||Jesus Comes with Clouds Descending||REGENT SQUARE||Charles Wesley, 1707-1788||184.108.40.206.8.7.||Revelation 20:6; Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 11:15; John 19:37; Revelation 4:4-10; Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7; Job 19:25; Revelation 22:20; Jude 1:14||2001||Jesus Christ | Majesty|