In 1744, England was at war with France, and the British were expecting an invasion to dethrone George II and restore the House of Stuart to the throne. People suspected the Methodists of friendship with France and perhaps plotting to overthrow the king. Wesleyan meetings were broken up by mobs, and at times John and Charles Wesley themselves were arrested.

In the middle of the turmoil, the Wesleys published a collection of hymns to encourage their followers. The title was Hymns for Times of Trouble and Persecution. This hymn, “Ye Servants of God,” was published under the heading “To Be Sung in a Tumult.” The stanzas we have in our hymnals today do not suggest any turmoil. Still, one that was omitted reads, “Men, devils engage, the billows arise and horribly rage, and threaten the skies; their fury shall never our steadfastness shock, The weakest believer is built on a rock.”

Ye Servants of God

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

Ye servants of God,

your Master proclaim,

And publish abroad

His wonderful name;

The name all-victorious

of Jesus extol;

His kingdom is glorious

and rules over all.

God ruleth on high,

almighty to save;

And still, He is nigh,

His presence we have;

The great congregation

His triumph shall sing,

Ascribing salvation to

Jesus, our King.

“Salvation to God,

who sits on the throne!”

Let all cry aloud and

honor the Son;

The praises of Jesus

the angels proclaim,

Fall down on their faces

and worship the Lamb.

Then let us adore and give

Him His right,

All glory and power, all wisdom

and might,

All honor and blessing,

with angels above,

And thanks never ceasing,

and infinite love.

I saw a vast crowd, too great to count… standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb… And they were shouting with a mighty shout, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”


© 2017 by Robert K. Brown and Mark R. Norton – All rights reserved

Paraphrased by Music Director, David K. Bakken, Ed.D.

IMAGE: Revelations 7