Discovering Charles Wesley’s “Arise, My Soul, Arise”
“Arise, My Soul, Arise” was a song written by Charles Wesley and published in 1742 under the title “Behold the Man.” The song first appeared in Hymns & Sacred Poems showcasing five stanzas of six lines. It was included in 1780 in the Wesleyan Hymn Book without any alteration on the text. It has then found its way to the collections of the English Methodist bodies and later on, was spread to the non-methodist hymnals in Great Britain and America. The song was translated into many languages, one that stands out is Rev. B. Bingham’s Latin version called “Surge, surge, Mens mea.”
Charles Wesley (18 December 1707 – 29 March 1788) was the 18th child of Anglican cleric and poet Samuel Wesley and his wife, Susanna. His older brother, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, the rival movement within the Church of England. Charles and John had different views and beliefs when they were young. Charles doesn’t want to get involved or to start a breach with the Church of England.
Wesley became the King’s scholar in 1721, and he had board and education free. After ten years, he was elected Westminster studentship at Christ Church in Oxford. He took a degree in 1729 and worked as a college tutor. In the same year, his religious knowledge has widened, and he decided to form a group with his schoolmates called “Holy Club.” John Wesley and George Whitefield were among the students who joined the said group. Also, he became one of the first band of "Oxford Methodists."
Lewis Edson, the composer of the tune, was born on January 22, 1748. He was one of the first American composers and was a known singer during his time. He was working as a blacksmith before he became a singing master. He was well-known for his compositions published in the “Choristers Companion” in 1782 namely Lenox, Bridgewater and Green Field.