We speak of the realms of the blest

Eliz­a­beth K. Mills, 1829

We speak of the realms of the blest,
That country so bright and so fair,
And oft are its glories confessed—
But what must it be to be there!
We speak of its pathway of gold—
Its walls decked with jewels so rare,
Its wonders and pleasures untold—
But what must it be to be there!

We speak of its freedom from sin,
From sorrow, temptation and care,
From trials without and within—
But what must it be to be there!
We speak of its service of love,
Of the robes which the glorified wear,
Of the church of the Firstborn above—
But what must it be to be there!

Our mourning is all at an end,
When, raised by the life-giving word,
We see the new city descend,
Adorned as a bride for her Lord;
The city so holy and clean,
No sorrow can breathe in the air;
No gloom of affliction or sin,
No shadow of evil, is there.

Do Thou, midst temptation and woe,
For Heaven my spirit prepare;
And shortly I also shall know
And feel what it is to be there.
Then o’er the bright fields we shall roam,
In glory celestial and fair,
With saints and with angels at home,
And Jesus Himself will be there.

Very little is written either about this hymn nor its author. After much gleanings, I came across the following. This hymn was written by Mrs Mills who was the daughter of Philip King. She was born at Stoke Newington in 1805; married to Thomas Mills M.P. and died at Finsbury Place, London, April 21st. 1829. Her popular hymn, “We speak of the realms of the blest” (Heaven) is thus annotated in Millers Singers and Songs, etc. 1869, page 483. We are much indebted to John Remington Mills, Esq. M.P. for information about this hymn, written by his accomplished relative. The original has six stanzas, and was composed after reading “Bridges on the 119th. Psalm” (on verse 44 page 116) … Already deservedly a favourite, new interest will be added to this hymn when we know that the authoress was early called to the “realms of the blest” of which she sang so sweetly, and that she wrote this hymn a few weeks before her death. The text of this hymn is usually given in an imperfect form. Few children’s hymns have been received with more favour. It is found in almost every hymn book published for children in Great Britain and America during the last fifty years (1865-1915). In some collections it begins “We sing of the land of the blest” and in others, “We talk of the land of the blest”.

Mrs. Mills’ hymn in ‘Spiritual Songs’ is no. 433, ‘We sing of the realms of the blest”. It may have been written as a children’s hymn, but its longings and anticipation of glory with Christ is something that adults can appreciate.

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