Surrey Chapel, London, England, from 19thcenturyphotos.com
Rowland Hill, the blessed minister at Surrey Chapel, was one of the greatest gospel preachers of 19th century England. He set the popular tune to the British national air “Rule Britannia” to a hymn entitled “Hail, Immanuel”, having remarked, “why should the devil have all the good tunes?” Its words ironically mimic the patriotic air. Hill wanted the English people to know that their real strength lie only in the will and reign of the Lord Jesus Christ who rules the universe. The organ playing at Surrey Chapel must have caused many passers by outside to pause hearing this grand hymn. I’ve finally found the text of this hymn is found in James Sherman’s Memoir of Rowland Hill:
The musical air “Rule Britannia!” can be heard as sung at the BBC proms in 2009:
National Portrait Gallery
How vast the benefits divine which we in Christ possess!
We are redeemed from guilt and shame and called to holiness.
But not for works which we have done, or shall hereafter do,
Hath God decreed on sinful men salvation to bestow.
The glory, Lord, from first to last, is due to Thee alone;
Aught to ourselves we dare not take, or rob Thee of Thy crown.
Our glorious Surety undertook to satisfy for man,
And grace was given us in Him before the world began.
This is Thy will, that in Thy love we ever should abide;
That earth and hell should not prevail to turn Thy Word aside.
Not one of all the chosen race but shall to Heav’n attain,
Partake on earth the purposed grace and then with Jesus reign.
“How Vast The Benefits Divine”, hymn by Augustus M. Toplady, 1774