Hallelujah to the Lamb
Lyrics by Isaac Watts *
Chorus by Alfred B. Smith **
Come, let us join our cheerful songs
with angels round the throne;
ten thousand thousand are their tongues,
but all their joys are one.
Hallelujah to the Lamb,
who died on Mount Calvary!
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah! Amen.
‘Worthy the Lamb that died,’ they cry,
‘to be exalted thus’;
‘Worthy the Lamb,’ our lips reply,
‘for he was slain for us.’ [Chorus]
Jesus is worthy to receive
honour and power divine;
and blessings, more than we can give,
be, Lord, for ever thine. [Chorus]
Let all that dwell above the sky,
and air, and earth, and seas,
conspire to lift thy glories high,
and speak thine endless praise. [Chorus]
The whole creation joins in one
to bless the sacred name
of him that sits upon the throne,
and to adore the Lamb. [Chorus]
* Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
In 1702, Watts became pastor of the Independent Church, Berry St., London.. In 1712, he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas’ pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. He did not retire from ministerial duties, but preached as often as his delicate health would permit.
The number of Watts’ publications is very large. His collected works, first published in 1720, embrace sermons, treatises, poems and hymns. His “Hymns” appeared in July, 1707. The first hymn he is said to have composed for religious worship, is “Behold the Glories of the Lamb,” written at the age of twenty. It is as a writer of psalms and hymns that he is everywhere known. Some of his hymns were written to be sung after his sermons, giving expression to the meaning of the text upon which he had preached. His published hymns number more than eight hundred.
Watts died November 25, 1748. A monumental statue (left) was erected in Southampton, his native place, and there is also a monument (above)to his memory in the South Choir of Westminster Abbey. “Happy,” said one of his contemporaries, “will be that reader whose mind is disposed, by his verses or his prose, to imitate him in all but his non-conformity, to copy his benevolence to men, and his reverence to God.”
** Alfred B. Smith (1916-2001)
[Biography compiled from the Living Hymns web site]
The fascinating life of Dr. Al Smith, “Mr. Singspiration,” began on November 8, 1916 in a small Holland Dutch community in northern New Jersey where the news of the day reported that “Mr. and Mrs. Barney Smith” had become the proud parents of a baby boy who they named Alfred Barney Smith. Alfred’s early years were filled with loving care from a father and mother who loved the Lord.
When Alfred was eight and a half years of age his mother decided that it was time to start her son on the violin. Under the tutelage of excellent instructors, young Alfred made great progress, soon he was performing in concerts in various parts of the east including solos with various symphony orchestras.
At fourteen he was invited to a tent meeting in Hawthorne, New Jersey, where he accepted Christ as Savior. He was thrilled upon hearing the one hundred and fifty people in the tent singing “Saved, Saved, Saved” and “One Day.” That day he fell in love with Gospel music It was a love that never left him. In 1930, he began playing on radio broadcasts. The station was WKBO, located in Jersey City, New Jersey. The program was called “the Old Fashioned Gospel Hour.”
In 1937, Alfred B. Smith graduated from Moody Bible Institute and immediately began as Minister of Music at The Church of the Open Door in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1938 the church loaned him to The Philadelphia School of the Bible – now The Philadelphia College of the Bible. It was during that year that Smith wrote “For God So Loved the World” after visiting the ninety-four year-old hymn writer George C. Stebbins. He was beginning an adventure in inspiration that kept him occupied for over sixty years.
In 1939 he was offered a scholarship to Wheaton College (which he gratefully accepted). His next three and half years were busy ones. In 1940 Billy Graham was a student at Wheaton. Smith and Graham decided that they would work together as an evangelistic team. Graham did the preaching and Smith coordinated the music. As a result of their ministry, the company Singspiration was born in 1941. God worked in a mighty way…in Singspiration’s first two months of sales the entire printing of five thousand books was sold! In 1942 Al Smith married Catherine Barron. The same year he produced “Singspiration Two,” and choose Zondervan of Grand Rapids, Michigan to be his distributor.
In 1953, Montrose, New Jersey became the new headquarters for Singspiration and a new Christian radio station, WPEL. In 1957, John W. Peterson, Norman Johnson and Harold DeCou join the Singspiration staff. New publications including cantatas begin to cover not only America but Canada, England and other parts of the English speaking world.
In 1963, Singspiration moved to Grand Rapids and became part of Zondervan. Free from the pressure of managing Singspiration he devoted most of his time to ministering in church meetings. He also kept quite busy with the writing “Hymn Histories” and the hymnal “Living Hymns.” “Living Hymns” was first published in 1972 and “Hymn Histories” in 1982.
In 1985, Al and his family moved to Greenville, South Carolina, where his children attended Bob Jones Academy. Here for the last fifteen years of his life he was able to continue his publishing. Though he battled cancer in his later years, Dr. Smith was always going the extra mile to share the love of God with others whether in his home church, Greenville Christian Fellowship, or in countless other churches across the nation.
Shortly before Al Smith passed away he shared his vision for the ministry to continue after his death. His sons, David and Jonathan, caught that vision and started Al Smith Ministries to keep the music of Alfred B. Smith available. God has allowed them to continue to offer the resources their father spent his life making. In 2009 Al Smith Ministries partnered with Striving Together Publications to be our exclusive distributor for “Living Hymns”. A new edition was completed that kept the original hymnal the same, updating the type setting and adding over sixty more songs to the book.
[Note: I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Smith and hearing him speak (he had a strong, clear “radio voice”) when he visited Fellowship Bible Church in North Andover in the late 1970s. He and Pastor Joseph Stringer were of the same era and joked like old friends. The church was filled for a Sunday evening service and Dr. Smith led us in a “Singspiration” of his songs. It was a memorable evening of worshipful music. Salem Bible Church, and other churches formed in those years, call our all-singing services Singspirations! Of course, our church hymnal is the latest edition of “Living Hymns”! MFV]