John Mason Neale, 1818 – 1866

Translated from Bernard of Cluny's 12th century poem, "De Contemptu Mundi." 


“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”  2 Peter 3:13


Jerusalem the golden,
with milk and honey blest,
beneath your contemplation
sink heart and voice oppressed.
I know not, O I know not,
what joys await us there;
what radiancy of glory,
what bliss beyond compare.

They stand, those halls of Zion,
all jubilant with song,
and bright with many an angel,
and all the martyr throng.
The Prince is ever in them,
the daylight is serene;
the pastures of the blessed
are decked in glorious sheen.

There is the throne of David;
and there, from care released,
the song of them that triumph,
the shout of them that feast;
and they who with their Leader
have conquered in the fight,
forever and forever
are clad in robes of white.

O sweet and blessed country,
the home of God's elect!
O sweet and blessed country
that eager hearts expect!
Jesus, in mercy bring us
to that dear land of rest;
who are, with God the Father
and Spirit, ever blest.

Read Neale's full text.



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Hymn Story: The New Jerusalem

“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”  2 Peter 3:13

It's a heartbreaking time in our country and across the world as we grapple with the hard realities of hate, injustice and loss of life that matters. 

As Christians, we know that the power of the gospel crosses all racial lines and enables us to love and live in unity and now, more than ever, is the time to spread that message, love without partiality and point to the cross and its power.

To help us fight injustice with the truth of the gospel, let's encourage our hearts with the hope of what's coming: a new heaven and a new earth where there will be no injustice, no racism, no hate and complete peace and righteousness. 

The thought of the New Jerusalem motivated and encouraged Bernard of Cluny, too, way back in the 12th century.

This Benedictine monk’s deep longing for the New Jerusalem as presented in his 3,000 word poem "De Contemptu Mundi" has inspired Christians for centuries to meditate on the world to come and keep a needful heavenly perspective in today's turbulent world.

John Mason Neale, one Christian inspired by the lengthy Latin poem, translated part of it into another lengthy poem called "The Celestial Country" and part of that poem is the hymn we know today as "Jerusalem the Golden." 

In this moving hymn, we read of a coming day when all around us will finally be at peace.

We're reminded that we have no reason to despair as well as no reason to fear, stand still or keep silent in fighting evil and sharing the gospel.