Tuesday Hymns: “Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee”

Josiah Conder (1789-1859) was a Congregationalist author, editor, hymn writer, and avid abolitionist in London during the nineteenth century. Although he lost sight in one of his eyes to small pox at the age of five, he grew to be a prolific writer and collector of hymns with his The Congregational Hymn Book selling over 90,000 copies. He is the author of our Tuesday Hymn of the week, ’Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee.

The hymn displays the vivid truth of 1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned,” which states that apart from a sovereign work of God’s Spirit, man is not only not willing to receive the truth of the Gospel, but he is unable to receive the truth of the Gospel. Salvation is truly a work of God’s mercy and grace from start to finish. “For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him alone be the glory. Amen.”

Because the tune that is usually connected to the hymn (Savoy Chapel) is somewhat difficult to sing, this past Sunday we sang it to the tune of St. Theodulph.

‘Tis not that I did choose thee,
For, Lord, that could not be;
This heart would still refuse thee,
Hadst thou not chosen me.
Thou from the sin that stained me
Hast cleansed and set me free;
Of old thou hast ordained me,
That I should live to thee.

‘Twas sovereign mercy called me
And taught my op’ning mind;
The world had else enthralled me,
To heavenly glories blind.
My heart owns none before thee,
For thy rich grace I thirst;
This knowing, if I love thee,
Thou must have loved me first.

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