Wesley initially wrote the hymn as a poem titled "The Whole Armour of God, Ephesians VI" in 1747 and was used to defend against criticism of Methodism in the United Kingdom. During their evangelical careers, both Charles Wesley and his brother John Wesley received physical abuse because of them. As a result, this hymn was written and also became known as "The Christian's bugle blast" because of the military references and the apparent call to arms when it was set to music. The hymn was published as "Soldiers of Christ, Arise" in 1749 in Hymns and Sacred Poems with 16 verses of 8 lines. In 1780, it was published as a hymn in John Wesley's A Collection of Hymns for the Use of the People Called Methodists with 12 verses. Since 1847, the hymn is usually only performed with 3 verses.
[...] Wesley wrote a unique piece of music entitled "Soldiers of Christ" for the hymn to be set to. However the hymn has been set to other tunes as well. One of several tunes for the hymn is by William P. Merrill (1867–1954) however, the main alternative piece of music that is used for the hymn is "Diademata" by George Job Elvey. It is opined that this music has become more associated with "Soldiers of Christ, Arise" than the original "Soldiers of Christ" music.