A New Song
William Burt Pope

As I have gathered early Methodist material for my forthcoming Fundamental Wesleyan Commentary on Revelation, I discovered a sermon by William Burt Pope entitled "The New Song,"Sermon #21 in Discourses on the Kingdom and Reign of Christ (1869). Here is my summary of that sermon: -Vic Reasoner

Pope preached that the song was new in its circumstances. Jesus had promised his disciples that they would see heaven open (John 1:51). Through the open door (Rev 4:1), we are transported to the other world. The prophets of old beheld the day of Christ and were glad. The disciples had seen the sufferings of Christ. Now they behold the glory that should follow. The worship of heaven and earth is essentially unified. We on earth join the high service in this new temple, blending our praises and prayers with heaven. These visions are given to regulate our worship. The circumstances of Christ are also new. He has passed into a new stage of his mediatorial career. He is at the right hand of the Father and in the center of the universe.

This song is new in its manifestation of God in redemption. The song we hear extols the accomplishment of human redemption. It is the continuation and final close of the hymn to the incarnate and suffering Redeemer which ruled the psalmody of heaven and earth from the Fall. When it began in heaven we know not, but we hear it throughout the scriptures, which testify of his coming. It is the melody which the Bible makes everywhere in its heart to the Lord. It first proclaimed from age to age a coming Deliverer. That song became old and a new one extolled his advent. Now the hymn of the incarnation, which can never become old, receives its perfection by glorifying the great end of the incarnation, the redemption of the human race. This new song began in heaven. When the Redeemer left the earth only a few knew it in all its meaning. Nor can we, with our best knowledge and devotion, share the same insight that is granted above. The song of creation was also heard by the apostle and he taught us that display of divine glory can be magnified adequately only in heaven. Much more is the song of redemption reserved for that higher scene. For You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood, with its variations in this book, remains the standard and text of our feebler echoes upon earth. A new song when John heard it, it will be new forever. This new song pays tribute to the Trinity, but its peculiar characteristic is the personal exaltation of the Redeemer. But this song not only focuses on his glory, but upon his mediatorial office. John saw that the Lamb of God, crucified for the sins of the world, had conquered the enemies of God and man, and redeemed the race of mankind.

This song is new in its inspiration. There is a new joy in heaven as angels join us with gratitude for salvation, adoring the divine perfections in the government of the universe. The human worshipers in heaven sing with a new inspiration. They join the song with the full gratitude of an accomplished salvation. Like John himself, we must be encouraged to rehearse and learn this song for ourselves. It is our blessed privilege to sing the song of confident assurance in these our probationary days of sorrow and conflict and salvation not yet finally secure. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.

Meanwhile the singers of this song are constantly passing from the outer courts, where they rehearse it, into the Holiest. Each moment adds a new voice to the harmony of heaven, and not one added voice that the Redeemer's ear does not distinguish. The ransomed of the Lord are returning to Zion, not merely one by one, but in every increasing tribes, with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads.

Finally, there is a new song for which both saints on earth and saints in heave are alike preparing. The song with which the whole company of the redeemed shall enter into the joy of their Lord, we shall all together sing. Those worshipers without us will not be made perfect. Ear has not yet heard that final hymn nor has it yet entered into the heart of man to conceive. It cannot be sung until all the singers are made ready nor shall it be heard but in the new Jerusalem.