O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing

A bout of pleurisy while studying under Peter Bohler led to the renewal of Charles Wesley’s faith on May 21, 1738. One year after this renewal, he decided to write a hymn to commemorate this event. The result was an 18 stanza long poem. The seventh verse, which says, “O for a thousand tongues to sing” has become the first verse of the shorter hymn we know today. The reference for these words is most likely from Peter Bohler who said, “Had I a thousand tongues, I would praise Him with them all.” The hymn was placed first in John Wesley’s A Collection of Hymns for the People Called Methodists published in 1780. The music to which we traditionally sing these words was composed by Lowell Mason in 1839. Mr. Mason was the first music teacher hired by an American public school. He wrote music for over 1600 hymns and is said to be the “Father of American Church Music.”1

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread thro’ all the earth abroad
The honours of your name.

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease,
’tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’tis life and health and peace.

He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean;
His blood availed for me.

To God all glory, praise, and love
Be now and ever given
By saints below and saints above,
The Church in earth and heaven.

1hymnswelove.blogspot.com/2012/06/story-behind-o-for-thousand-tongues-to.html

All Creatures of Our God and King

A monk in search of reform, Francis Assisi lived a humble, simple lifestyle in service to God and to his fellow man from around 1181-1226. He is said to have loved nature, travel, and would preach to anyone who’d listen, even if it was a group of birds in a cave. His love of nature and his love for the Creator of nature is what birthed his “Song of Brother Sun and All Creatures,” or “Cantico del frate sole.” It was one of several popular laude spirituale, or popular spiritual songs in Italian for use outside of the liturgical context. Francis is believed to have written this poem near the end of his earthly life, during a period of tremendous pain and suffering. And among its more salient details are the tone with which Francis writes, a tone that expresses a desire for man and nature to be one, a love of the earth and all God’s creatures in it and is based in part upon Psalm 1481.

All creatures of our God and King,
lift up your voice and with us sing:
Alleluia, Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
thou silver moon with softer gleam,

Refrain
O praise him, O praise him,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
ye clouds that sail in heaven along,
O praise him, Alleluia!
Thou rising morn in praise rejoice,
ye lights of evening, find a voice:

Refrain

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
make music for thy Lord to hear,
Alleluia, Alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright
that givest us both warmth and light,

Refrain

All ye who are of tender heart,
forgiving others, take your part,
sing his praises, Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
praise God and on him cast your care,

Refrain

Let all things their Creator bless,
and worship him in humbleness,
O praise him, Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son
and praise the Spirit, Three in One,

Refrain

1medium.com/congregational-song/hymn-reflection-all-creatures-of-our-god-and-king-fd4d2ff960c1

All Praise To Our Redeeming Lord

This hymn by Charles Wesley (1707-1788) was included in Hymns for Those that Seek and Those that have Redemption in the Blood of Jesus Christ (London, July 1747), a volume of 52 hymns published by William Strahan (1715-1785). Though issued anonymously, the majority of the hymns can be traced to Charles Wesley. This collection also included the better-known hymns, “Love divine, all loves excelling” (No. 9) and “Come sinners to the gospel feast” (No. 50). Christian friendship or fellowship was a primary topic for Charles Wesley. who devoted 55 hymns to this theme.For the Wesleys, “there was no religion but social religion, no holiness but social holiness. In other words, faith always includes a social dimension. One cannot be a solitary Christian”1.

All praise to our redeeming Lord,
who joins us by his grace,
and bids us, each to each restored,
together seek his face.

He bids us build each other up;
and gathered into one,
to our high calling’s glorious hope,
we hand in hand go on.

The gift which he on one bestows
we all delight to prove;
the grace through every vessel flows,
in purest streams of love.

Even now we think and speak the same,
and cordially agree;
concentered all, through Jesus’ name,
in perfect harmony.

We all partake the joy of one,
the common peace we feel,
a peace to sensual minds unknown,
a joy unspeakable.

And if our fellowship below
in Jesus be so sweet,
What height of rapture shall we know
When round his throne we meet.

1umcdiscipleship.org/articles/history-of-hymns-all-praise-to-our-redeeming-lord

Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Elizabeth Clephane lived in Scotland with two older sisters and a father who was the county sheriff. She was known in her town as “The Sunbeam”, even though she was sickly and had a weak disposition. Elizabeth was very benevolent and used what money she has to help others. She wrote two hymns that remain, “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” and “The Ninety and Nine”, but neither were published until after she died at the young age of thirty-nine. The editor who published Clephane’s poems described her words as written by someone on the “edge of life” staring into eternity from the earth1.

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty Rock
Within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness,
A rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat
And the burden of the day.

Upon the cross of Jesus
Mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One
Who suffered there for me:
And from my stricken heart with tears
Two wonders I confess,
The wonders of redeeming love
And my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow
For my abiding place:
I ask no other sunshine than
The sunshine of his face;
Content to let the world go by,
To know no gain nor loss;
My sinful self my only shame,
My glory all the cross.

1page 151 – Leeman, D. and Leeman, B., 2022. Our Hymns, Our Heritage: A Student Guide to Songs of the Church

Amazing Grace

One of the best loved and most often sung hymns, this hymn expresses John Newton’s personal experience of conversion from sin as an act of God’s grace. At the end of his life, Newton (b. London, England, 1725; d. London, 1807) said, “There are two things I’ll never forget: that I was a great sinner, and that Jesus Christ is a greater Saviour!” This hymn was published in six stanzas with the heading “1 Chronicles 17:16-17, Faith’s review and expectation”, and is Newton’s spiritual autobiography; but the truth it affirms–that we are saved by grace alone–is one that all Christians may confess with joy and gratitude1. The below version is by Providence church in Austin.

Amazing grace (how sweet the sound)
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come:
’tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
his word my hope secures;
he will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease:
I shall possess, within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
the sun forbear to shine;
but God, who called me here below,
will be forever mine.

1hymnary.org/text/amazing_grace_how_sweet_the_sound

The Love Of God is Greater Far

The text of stanzas 1 and 2 and the tune (Lehman) was composed by Frederick Martin Lehman, who was born on August 7, 1868, at Mecklenburg in Schwerin, Germany. Lehman emigrated to America with his family at age four, settling in Iowa, where he lived most of his childhood. Studying for the ministry at Northwestern College in Naperville, IL, he became a Nazarene minister and served churches in Audubon, IA, and New London, IN1. Lehman wrote a pamphlet, in 1948, entitled History of the Song, The Love of God which tells about the origin of this beloved hymn “While at camp-meeting in a midwestern state, some fifty years ago in our early ministry, an evangelist climaxed his message by quoting the last stanza of this song, written nearly one thousand years ago by a Jewish songwriter.”. The profound depths of the line moved us to preserve the words for future generations. Not until we had come to California in 19172. The version I have included below includes only 2 of 3 stanzas, but still will have you singing joyfully.

The love of God is greater far
than tongue or pen can ever tell;
it goes beyond the highest star,
and reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Refrain:
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
the saints’ and angels’ song.

When ancient time shall pass away,
and human thrones and kingdoms fall;
when those who here refuse to pray
on rocks and hills and mountains call;
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
all measureless and strong;
grace will resound the whole earth round—
the saints’ and angels’ song.

Refrain

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
and were the skies of parchment made;
were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill,
and ev’ryone a scribe by trade;
to write the love of God above
would drain the ocean dry;
nor could the scroll contain the whole,
though stretched from sky to sky.

Refrain

1hymnstudiesblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/the-love-of-god-is-greater-far/
2barryshymns.blogspot.com/2011/01/love-of-god.html

A Present Help

Charlotte Elliott was the grand­daugh­ter of Hen­ry Venn, min­is­ter at Hud­ders­field, and au­thor of The Com­plete Du­ty of a Man, and friend and com­pan­ion of John Wes­ley. Char­lotte be­came an in­val­id around age 30, and re­mained so the rest of her life. About her phys­i­cal con­di­tion, El­li­ott wrote: “My Hea­ven­ly Fa­ther knows, and He alone, what it is, day af­ter day, and hour af­ter hour, to fight against bo­di­ly feel­ings of al­most over­pow­er­ing weak­ness and lang­uor and ex­haust­ion, to re­solve, as He en­a­bles me to do, not to yield to the sloth­ful­ness, the de­press­ion, the ir­ri­ta­bil­i­ty, such as a bo­dy caus­es me to long to in­dulge, but to rise ev­ery morn­ing de­term­ined on tak­ing this for my mot­to, If any man will come af­ter me, let him de­ny him­self, take up his cross dai­ly, and fol­low me”1. The below is included in “The In­va­lid’s Hymn Book”, and she also wrote the more well known hymn “Just As I Am”.

God of pity! God of love!
Send me comfort from above
Let not anxious thoughts perplex
Harrowing fears my spirit vex
Let me trust thee, and be still
Waiting patiently Thy will.

Though to weak short-sighted man
All uncertain seems each plan
Each event Thy will ordains
Fixed immutably remains
Not one link in life’s long chain
Can be lost, or wrought in vain.

All that chain, through bygone years
Woven in links of love appears
Not one storm of vengeful wrath
E’er has swept across my path
Why should fear o’er faith prevail?
Thy sure mercies cannot fail.

What are distance, time, or place
To that God who fills all space?
What are sea or land to Him?
Can the eye Omniscient dim?
Those we love, whate’er betide
Does that eye o’er them preside

Clinging to Thy strengthening arm
Thou wilt keep me safe from harm;
Thou wilt grant the hope that cheers
Will prove better than my fears;
Bid my sad misgivings cease
Guide me to my home in peace.

1hymnbook.igracemusic.com/people/charlotte-elliott

Jesus, I Come

The text was written by William True Sleeper, who was born in New Hampshire, on Feb. 9, 1819. Educated at Phillips-Exeter Academy, the University of Vermont, and Andover Theological Seminary, he became a Congregational minister following his graduation1. It’s said he wrote the words for ‘Jesus, I Come’, sending them to his friend George Stebbins for the accompanying music. It wasn’t the first time the two had collaborated – Stebbins had asked Sleeper some years earlier for words to match a tune he had in mind to invite seekers to commit to God. So, when William had the same idea years later (perhaps when he was in his late 60s), he knew who had the God-given talent to bring his poem to fruition in a song. William was still inviting people to come inside, out of many things obstructing their lives – the message we can imagine he spoke and then underscored in song2.

Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, I come to thee.
Out of my sickness into thy health,
Out of my want and into thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into thyself,
Jesus, I come to thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of thy cross,
Jesus, I come to thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to thee.
Out of my self to dwell in thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to thee.

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the joy and light of thy home,
Jesus, I come to thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of thy sheltering fold,
Ever thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to thee.

Jesus, I Come – Shelly Moore Band
Jesus I Come – Indelible Grace Music

1hymnstudiesblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/jesus-i-come/

2songscoops.blogspot.com/2018/10/jesus-i-come-william-true-sleeper.htm