Audio: (ad lib) - hymnal verse – harmonized descant.  Free score. 

Taken from the professional stage name - Michael Leoni - of popular 18th cantor Meyer Lyon of the Great Synagogue of London, the tune LEONI is set to a (very) loose paraphrase of the Jewish Yigdal. Thomas Olivers wrote both the setting and the hymn, The God of Abraham Praise. A convert of George Whitfield, Olivers had himself become an evangelist in John Wesley's movement. Tradition (unverified) has it that Olivers, like many in London at that time, attended a Sabbath worship at the Great Synagogue to hear the maestro, and heard Lyon sing the Yigdal, a 15th C hymn derived from Maimonides' credal thirteen fundamentals of Jewish faith. Because some of the principles of the Yigdal conflict with Christian theology, it might be better to consider Olivers' work as inspired by the seminal work as sung by Lyon, particularly because the resulting twelve-verse interpretation was of an unmistakably Methodist nature. Some of the enduring editions and alternate translations have merged to produce versions more closely reconciled to an Abrahamic character, though generally still interpretive; some hymnal versions conclude with a Trinitarian doxology. Nevertheless, this celebration of a common Judeo-Christian derivation has, in some translations, found ecumenical use. Olivers' original, "A Hymn to the God of Abraham" was published as a leaflet in 1772, and found instant and wide acceptance. It appeared in the Sacred Harmony published in 1780 by John Wesley.


Further reading
Christianity Today (Introtext and paywall)
UMC Discipleship Ministries (C. Michael Hawn)

The God who reigns on high

The whole triumphant host

Blank Score


Seraphic Verse

The God who reigns on high

The God who reigns on high the great archangels sing;

and "Holy, Holy, Holy!" cry, "Almighty king;

Who was, and is, the same, and evermore shall be:

Eternal Father, great I AM, we worship thee."

Trinitarian Verse

The whole triumphant host

The whole triumphant host give thanks to God on high;

"Hail Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" they ever cry;

Hail Abraham's God and mine! (We join the heavenly lays);

All might and majesty are thine, and endless praise.

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