Hymn orig. written by Charles Wesley (1743) beginning ‘Hark, how all the welkin rings’. G. Whitefield incl. it in his Collection of 1753, substituting the familiar first line. It was further altered in other hymn publications in 1760, 1774, and 1775. In 1782 it was added to the suppl. of Tate and Brady. Dr. W. H. Cummings, org. of Waltham Abbey, fitted the tune of the 2nd no. of Mendelssohn's Festgesang to the words for his choir and pubd. the adaptation in 1856. It soon became very popular. Mendelssohn thought the tune would ‘never do to sacred words’.