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Updated 01/24/2020


Wise Men Seeking Jesus

“Wise Men Seeking Jesus” was written by Richard Slater; popularly known as the 'Father of Salvation Army Music'. Slater (1854-1939) worked in the Army's Musical Department from 1883 until his retirement in 1913. His detailed hand-written diaries reveal new information about his background before he became a Salvationist at the age of 28. He then worked as the principal Salvationist composer, arranger and musical editor of the period and had contact with William Booth, the Army's Founder, who rejoiced in 'robbing the devil of his choice tunes'; George Bernard Shaw who wrote a penetrating critique of a band festival in 1905; and Eric Ball who was to become one of the Army's finest composers.

The melody is an older Normandy carol of unknown origin.


Lyrics by Richard Slater

When wise men came seeking for Jesus from far,
With rich gifts to greet him and led by a star,
They found in a stable the Savior of men,
A manger his cradle, so poor was he then.

Though laid in a manger, he came from a throne,
On earth though a stranger, in Heaven he was known.
How lowly, how gracious his coming to earth!
His love my love kindles to joy in his birth.