“Have You Heard the Glorious Tidings?”

“…I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Lk. 2:10)

     INTRO.: A song which talks about the good tidings of great joy that came to earth with Jesus Christ is “Have You Heard the Glorious Tidings?”  The text was written by Catherine Booth-Clibborn, who was born Sept. 18, 1858 (some sources give the year as 1860, and one as 1865), the second child and oldest daughter of General William and Catherine Mumford Booth, founders of the Salvation Army. A noted Salvation Army worker with the rank of Captain, the younger Catherine, known as Kate, at 21 along with another female officer named Florence Soper was sent to set up Salvation Army units in France, where she was known as “La Marechale.”  As a captain, she led two lieutenants in Paris, wearing sandwich boards when the police forbid them to hand out leaflets. They were not well received.  Their street-corner activities were often interrupted by people pelting them with mud and stones. After repeated attempts by men on the roads to strangle them by their bonnet strings, they began pinning the strings on rather than sewing them. They lived in rented apartments among poor conditions. Progress was slow. Opposition was fierce, and those who were converted were given a rough time, sometimes being fired from their jobs.  The newspaper reports in France were nearly unanimously critical.

     At age 28, in 1887, Kate married her chief of staff in France, Arthur Sydney Clibborn (1855-1939). He was a former Quaker from Ireland, who as did all of the Booth sons-in-law, added "Booth" to his name.  Keeping on in spite of unbelievable opposition, they gained respect of raucous crowds, and while not achieving large gains, "La Marèchale" stood her ground. Switzerland, assumed to be good Protestant ground by Booth, was added to their responsibilities, but it remained very tough territory and the opposition was even fiercer. The authorities refused to allow them to rent halls in which to preach, and she was imprisoned for conducting an open-air meeting in the forest until a court ruling in 1894 overthrew all decrees against the Army’s meetings. In 1896, Commissioner and Mrs. Booth-Clibborn took command of Holland, with Belgium as a province. Together they continued preaching and spreading their message in Europe, the United States, and Australia for the rest of their lives.  Mrs. Booth-Clibborn produced several hymns. Hymnary.org lists 28 and I have found reference to two others.

     “Have You Heard the Glorious Tidings?” is usually listed as copyright 1918 by Victoria Booth-Clibborn Demarest, who was Kate’s daughter, and if that is the case, it was probably first published in a 1918 book entitled Booth-Clibborn Victory Songs. However, Hymnary.org says that it was also found in a 1913 book entitled Hymns by the Marachale and Others. Some books say, “Words and arrangement copyright 1918 by Victoria Booth-Clibborn Demarest.” It is possible that the text was first published in the 1913 book and the present arrangement came out in the 1918 book. Mrs. Booth-Clibborn died on May 9, 1955. The tune was arranged from music by a Swiss composer and music educator who developed eurhythmics, a method of learning and experiencing music through movement, named Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, who was born on July 6, 1865, the only son of Jules-Louis and Julie Jaques, a French-Swiss couple living in Vienna, where his father represented Swiss clockmakers. Emile and his sister were introduced as children to concerts, theater, opera, and piano lessons. After the family moved to Geneva Emile studied at the Conservatoire de Musique from 1877 to 1883 and continued his professional training in Paris and Vienna from 1884 to 1891).

     Emile, who changed his last name from Jaques to Jaques-Dalcroze to avoid confusion with a well-known polka composer, worked one season as a conductor at the Théatre des Nouveautés in Algiers, where North African music stimulated his interest in the connections of human movement and rhythm. Beginning his career as a pedagogue at the Geneva Conservatory in 1892, Emile taught harmony and solfege, in which courses he began testing many of his influential and revolutionary ideas. By 1906, he had begun giving public presentations of his method, and in 1910, with the help of German industrialist Wolf Dohrn, he founded a school at Hellerau, outside of Dresden, dedicated to the teaching of his method, but with the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the school was abandoned. After this, he established his own school in Geneva, the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze, where he taught until shortly before his death on July 1, 1950. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, “Have You Heard the Glorious Tidings” appeared in the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 both edited by E. L. Jorgenson.

     The song mentions some things that the glorious tidings of Jesus Christ brings to mankind.

I. Stanza 1 refers to salvation through the blood of Christ
“Have you heard the glorious tidings, Jesus saves from doubt and fear?
Have you heard the glorious tidings, Jesus saves from doubt and fear?
Salvation, salvation, Through the precious blood of the Son of God;
Salvation, salvation, Through the precious blood of the Son of God.”
 A. God sent inspired men to reveal His word and preach glad tidings of good things: Rom. 10:15
 B. These glorious tidings tell us that Jesus saves from doubt and fear caused by sin: Matt. 1:21
 C. This salvation is available through the precious blood of the Son of God: 1 Pet. 1:18-19

II. Stanza 2 refers to the reflection of Christ’s glory in mankind
“Since I met Thee, O my Savior, Earth has lost its charm for me;
Since I met Thee, O my Savior, Earth has lost its charm for me.
Thy glory, Thy glory, O reflect in me: I am one with Thee;
Thy glory, Thy glory, O reflect in me: I am one with Thee.”
 A. The means by which we meet the Savior, in the sense used here, is by coming to Him in obedience to His word: Heb. 5:8-9
 B. When we do this, earth loses its charms for us because we begin setting our affections on things above rather than things of earth: Col. 3:1-2
 C. The result of this is that His glory is reflected in us as we transformed into the same image from glory to glory: 2 Cor. 3:18

III. Stanza 3 refers to the blessings that we have in Christ
“Thou has sought and drawn and won me, Blessed Bridegroom of my soul;
Thou hast sought and drawn and won me, Blessed Bridegroom of my soul.
I love Thee, I love Thee; All I have is Thine, all Thou hast is mine.
I love Thee, I love Thee; All I have is Thine, all Thou hast is mine.”
 A. Jesus came to seek and draw us to Him: Lk. 19:10, Jn. 12:32
 B. The reason is that He wants to be the blessed Bridegroom of our souls: Matt. 25:1-10
 C. Therefore, as we give all we have to Him, He gives us all spiritual blessings in heavenly places: Eph. 1:3

     CONCL.:  This is a rather repetitive song that perhaps would not have received what notice it has were it not for the glorious-sounding music of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze. However, even aside from that, it still has an important message. Christians need to be shouting out to a lost and dying world to ask the question, “Have You Heard the Glorious Tidings?”


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