Not Many People Know the Surprising Stories Behind These Hymns

10. Jerusalem the Golden

Slide 10 of 10

“Jerusalem the golden,

descending from above,

the city of God’s presence,

the vision of God’s love –

I know not, oh, I know not

What joys await us there,

What radiancy of glory,

What bliss beyond compare!”

Our final song, Jerusalem the Golden, dates back to the nineteenth century. The writer of this anthem was John Mason Neale, an Anglican priest and scholar. His inspiration for this work came from a piece of writing called, On Contempt for the World, whose creator was a Benedictine monk named Bernard of Cluny. Jerusalem the Golden began circulation midway through the era, and by its end, was being represented in almost every English service known to Christianity. Interestingly enough, while its text speaks of a golden Jerusalem, the essence of the hymn refers to the paradise waiting for sincere followers of Christ at the end of life.

Samuel Albert is the Editor in Chief of, a blog dedicated to the history and stories behind famous Christian music. This article was used with permission.

Editor’s Note: This slideshow was adapted from 10 Great Christian Hymns and Their Histories. To read the original article, follow this link.  

*(Image Credit:©Thinkstock/RomoloTavani)

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