Tuesday Hymns: “Great God, Whom Heaven, and Earth, and Sea”

Augustus Montague Toplady (1740-1778) was an Anglican pastor who is probably best known for his beloved hymn, “Rock of Ages.” He has been accused of being an “extreme Calvinist” (probably because of his strong-worded criticism of the Wesley brothers), yet, his hymns often present the twin doctrines of the unfathomable glory of God, and His inexhaustible mercy to sinners. Our Tuesday Hymn for this week, “Great God, Whom Heaven, and Earth, and Sea,” is a description of God’s “steadfast love and faithfulness meet[ing],” and His “righteousness and peace kiss[ing] each other.” (Psalm 85:10)

The first and second verses speak of God’s sovereign authority over all of creation, and His wrath upon all who oppose Him, yet, the third and fourth verses speak of God as the “Prince of Peace” and of His universal “reign of love.” If an “extreme Calvinist” is one who calls upon all people to look to Christ alone, and to rest totally on His mercy and grace for the hope of their salvation, I wouldn’t mind being placed in that category. The hymn is sung to the tune, Mendon.

Great God, whom Heaven, and earth, and sea,
With all their countless hosts, obey;
Upheld by whom the nations stand,
And empires fall at Thy command.
 

Beneath Thy long suspended ire,
Let every antichrist expire;
Thy knowledge spread from sea to sea,
And distant nations bow to Thee.
 

Then show Thyself the Prince of Peace,
Command the din of war to cease;
With sacred love the world inspire,
And burn its chariots in the fire.
 

Let earth beneath Thy reign of love
A universal Sabbath prove:
Jesus her peaceful king adore,
And learn the act of war no more.

 

Tuesday Hymns: “I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art”

I greet thee, Lord

This past Sunday at Reformed Presbyterian Church in Beaumont, Texas, we sang, “I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art,” directly after our Corporate Confession of Sin and Assurance of Pardon. It is a wonderful hymn speaking again and again of God’s marvelous mercy and grace that has been poured out upon us by what Jesus Christ accomplished through His life, death, and resurrection. The words have often been attributed to John Calvin, but most historians doubt that he was actually the author. The text first appears in the The Strasbourg Psalter of 1545. It is most often sung to Loys “Louis” Bourgeois’ tune from The Genevan Psalter, “Toulon.”

I greet thee, who my sure Redeemer art,
My only trust and Saviour of my heart,
Who pain didst undergo for my poor sake;
I pray thee from our hearts all cares to take.

Thou art the King of mercy and of grace,
Reigning omnipotent in every place:
So come, O King, and our whole being sway;
Shine on us with the light of thy pure day.

Thou art the life, by which alone we live,
And all our substance and our strength receive;
O comfort us in death’s approaching hour,
Strong-hearted then to face it by thy pow’r.

Thou hast the true and perfect gentleness,
No harshness hast thou and no bitterness:
Make us to taste the sweet grace found in thee
And ever stay in thy sweet unity.

Our hope is in no other save in thee;
Our faith is built upon thy promise free;
O grant to us such stronger hope and sure
That we can boldly conquer and endure.

 

Tuesday Hymns: “Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended”

When Johann Heermann (1585-1647) was a little boy he contracted a serious illness and his mother promised God that if He spared the boy’s life, she would educate him to become a pastor. She was true to her word, and after his ordination he taught at the university, then became a deacon, and eventually a Lutheran pastor in Silesia. His ministry was hampered by poor health and the Thirty Years’ War, but he faithfully ministered, and found time to write numerous hymns, including our Tuesday Hymn, “Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended.”

The hymn pictures for us the holiness and innocence of Christ, and the depth of our sin. It reminds us that our salvation comes to us entirely through the grace of God. It is not something that we can earn or repay, but it is a merciful gift that becomes ours by what Christ did through his life, death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father. It is sung to several tunes, but the haunting “Iste Confessor” (https://www.opc.org/hymn.html?hymn_id=11) is my favorite.

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
That man to judge thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty? who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee.
‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee:
I crucified thee.

Lo, the good Shepherd for the sheep is offered:
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered:
For man’s atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was thine incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation:
Thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee
Think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.

Tuesday Hymns: “Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart”

rejoice-ye-pure-in-heart
Last night at our evening worship service we sang as an opening hymn, Edward Plumptre’s hymn, “Rejoice, Ye Pure In Heart,” which is this weeks, “Tuesday Hymn.” Plumptre was educated at King’s College in London, and then at University College at Oxford. He was ordained in 1847 and spent his life in academia and in preaching. This particular hymn is a wonderful reminder that all of us are called to sing praise and thanksgiving to our king whether we are young or old, in “gladness and in woe,” and that it will continue even when we “enter [our] heavenly home.” It is sung to the tune of Arthur Henry Messiter’s tune, “Marion.”

Rejoice, ye pure in heart!
Rejoice, give thanks and sing!
Your glorious banner wave on high,
the cross of Christ your King.
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, give thanks and sing.

With voices full and strong
as ocean’s surging praise,
send forth the hymns our fathers loved,
the psalms of ancient days.
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, give thanks and sing.

Yes, on through life’s long path,
Still singing as you go;
From youth to age, by night and day,
In gladness and in woe.
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, give thanks and sing.

At last the march shall end;
the wearied ones shall rest;
the pilgrims find their heavenly home,
Jerusalem the blessed.
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, give thanks and sing.

Then on, ye pure in heart!
Rejoice, give thanks and sing!
Your glorious banner raise on high,
the cross of Christ your King.
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, give thanks and sing!

Tuesday Hymns: “Jesus, Priceless Treasure” (One day early)

franck_j

At our Sunday evening worship service the congregation makes hymn requests and last Sunday night we sang, “Jesus, Priceless Treasure” by Johann Franck (You can always tell when a former Lutheran requests a hymn; right, Beth Poss?). Franck was not a pastor, but a lawyer, and politician (He was the mayor of Konigsberg) in early 17th century Germany. He wrote over 100 hymns, approximately half of them being paraphrases of the Psalms.

Franck’s hymn speaks of the comfort that one finds in Christ, even in the midst of a world filled with evil and suffering. It is sung to Johann S. Bach’s tune, Je¬su, Meine Freude .

Jesus, priceless Treasure,
Source of purest pleasure,
Truest Friend to me.
Ah, how long in anguish
Shall my spirit languish,
Yearning, Lord, for Thee?
Thou art mine, O Lamb divine!
I will suffer naught to hide Thee,
Naught I ask beside Thee.

In Thine arms I rest me;
Foes who would molest me
Cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking,
Every heart be quaking,
Jesus calms my fear.
Lightnings flash and thunders crash;
Yet, though sin and hell assail me,
Jesus will not fail me.

Satan, I defy thee;
Death, I now decry thee;
Fear, I bid thee cease.
World, thou shalt not harm me
Nor thy threats alarm me
While I sing of peace.
God’s great power guards every hour;
Earth and all its depths adore Him,
Silent bow before Him.

Evil world, I leave thee;
Thou canst not deceive me,
Thine appeal is vain.
Sin that once did bind me,
Get thee far behind me,
Come not forth again.
Past thy hour, O pride and power;
Sinful life, thy bonds I sever,
Leave thee now forever.

Hence, all thought of sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father,
Though the storms may gather,
Still have peace within;
Yea, whatever we here must bear,
Still in Thee lies purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless Treasure!

 

 

 

“I Hear the Rolling Thunder”

how great thou art

I am sitting on my porch on this early Sunday morning once again in awe of the beauty of God’s creation. The thunder is rolling and the rain is falling (again), and the words of Stuart K. Hine’s, “How Great Thou Art,” dance through my brain:

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed
.”

Although the world is not God, it is His creation, and we see His order, power, and majesty every time the sun rises, the lightning flashes, the storm winds blow, the flowers bloom, the birds sing, the hummingbirds hover, and the list goes on and on. And, as my old friend, Dr. Bill High, once reminded me, “And this creation is fallen, can you imagine what the new heavens and new earth will be like?” (That quote is from my memory so the years may have wreaked some damage to it.)

However, while the glory of God’s creation is an amazing thing, the glory of His redemption is even more so:

And when I think of God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin
.”

Tuesday (at least, late Monday) Hymns: “When All Your Mercies, O My God”

(Yesterday morning this was our offertory, and we sang it last night at evening worship. It is a hymn of praise for the mercy and grace of God that we experience from the womb forward to eternity. This was our Tuesday hymn back in 2010 and I just wanted to share it again.)

Joseph Addison was an early 18th century English playwright, political statesman, essayist, and writer of hymns. His play, Cato: A Tragedy, was popular among British Whigs such as John Trenchard, Thomas Gordon, and Edmund Burke, along with early Americans, George Washington and Patrick Henry. Furthermore, his hymn, When All Your Mercies, O My God, is our Tuesday Hymn for this week.

The hymn speaks of God’s shepherding care for all of His sheep during the sunshine and shadow of their lives on earth, and throughout eternity; and is a wonderful testimony to the fact that Reformed theology is more than just intellectually and doctrinally stimulating, but is also warmly experiential. It has been sung to the tune of WINCHESTER OLD, and in The Trinity Hymnal, the beautiful tune, MANOAH.

When all your mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view, I’m lost
In wonder, love, and praise.

Unnumbered comforts to my soul
Your tender care bestowed,
Before my infant heart conceived
From whom those comforts flowed.

When worn with sickness, oft have you
With health renewed my face;
And, when in sins and sorrows sunk,
Revived my soul with grace.

Ten thousand thousand precious gifts
My daily thanks employ;
Nor is the least a cheerful heart
That tastes those gifts with joy.

Through ev’ry period of my life
Thy goodness I’ll pursue;
And after death, in distant worlds,
The glorious theme renew.

Through all eternity to thee
A joyful song I’ll raise;
For oh, eternity’s too short
To utter all your praise.

Tuesday Hymns: “Poor Sinner, Dejected with Fear”

William Gadsby (1773-1844) was a Baptist pastor who spent most of his days ministering in Manchester, England, and was, also, a prolific hymn writer (The CyberHymnal website lists 284 hymns attributed to Gadsby). He has once again gained popularity because of our Tuesday Hymn of the week, “Poor Sinner, Dejected with Fear.” Indelible Grace has taken a theologically solid old hymn, and released it to a new tune. Not all of Indelible Grace’s tunes are conducive for congregational singing but this one is simple and very singable. I have searched for other tunes connected to this hymn and have been unable to find any.

The hymn paints a picture of the grace that has been poured out upon sinners through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ who “knows and is known by His sheep; They’re His, and He will hold them fast.”

Poor sinner, dejected with fear,
Unbosom thy mind to the Lamb;
No wrath on His brow He does wear,
Nor will He poor mourners condemn;
His arm of omnipotent grace
Is able and willing to save;
A sweet and a permanent peace
He’ll free- ly- and faith- fully give.

Come just as thou art, with thy woe,
Fall down at the feet of the Lamb;
He will not, He cannot say, “Go”,
But surely will take out thy stain
A fountain is opened for sin,
And thousands its virtues have proved
He’ll take thee, and plunge thee therein,
And wash- thee- from filth- in His blood.

The soul that on Jesus relies,
He’ll never, no never deceive;
He freely and faithfully gives
More blessings than we can conceive;
Yea, down to old age He will keep,
Nor will He forsake us at last;
He knows and is known by His sheep;
They’re His- , and He will hold- them fast.

Tuesday Hymns: “Almighty God, Thy Lofty Throne”

The Trinity Hymnal is full of hymns that come to us from The Psalter which was published by The United Presbyterian Board of Publication in 1912. One of those hymns is our Tuesday Hymn of the Week, Almighty God, Thy Lofty Throne. It is a metrical version of Psalm 89:14-18 and speaks to us of God’s reign over all things from His heavenly throne. An old pastor friend of mine, who is in heaven now, Lester White, used to say, “God sits high, and sees low.” It is comforting to know that the God who rules over all things, also knows all things. He makes no mistakes, and is always working for His own eternal glory and our eternal good. As Romans 8:28 reminds us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

It is often sung to the tune, Winchester New.

Almighty God, thy lofty throne
Has justice for its cornerstone,
And shining bright before thy face
Are truth and love and boundless grace.

With blessing is the nation crowned
Whose people know the joyful sound;
They in the light, O Lord, shall live,
The light thy face and favor give.

Thy name with gladness they confess,
Exalted in thy righteousness;
Their fame and might to thee belong,
For in thy favor they are strong.

All glory unto God we yield,
Jehovah is our Help and Shield;
All praise and honor we will bring
To Israel’s Holy One, our King.

Tuesday Hymns: “A Man There is, a Real Man”

Joseph Hart was born in London in 1712 and at an early age resisted the truths of Christianity, going so far as to write a pamphlet entitled, “The Unreasonableness of Religion, Being Remarks and Animadversions on the Rev. John Wesley Sermon on Romans 8:32.” He was converted at a Moravian Chapel in Fetter Lane, London, after hearing a sermon on Revelation 3:10, and eventually became a Non-Conformist pastor and hymn writer. One of his best known hymns is “Come, Ye Sinners,” but I came across a hymn that I don’t ever remember singing, but it is a marvelous testimony of God’s grace to sinners, “A Man There Is, a Real Man.”

The hymn is written in common meter which means it can be sung to the tune of “Amazing Grace” or “How Sweet and Awesome is This Place” (or “The House of Rising Sun,” but I wouldn’t recommend that [snicker]). I am curious, has anyone ever sung this hymn in corporate worship, and if so, to what hymn tune was it sung?

A Man there is, a real Man,
With wounds still gaping wide,
From which rich streams of blood once ran,
In hands, and feet, and side.

‘Tis no wild fancy of our brains,
No metaphor we speak;
The same dear Man in heaven now reigns,
That suffered for our sake.

This wondrous Man of whom we tell,
Is true Almighty God;
He bought our souls from death and hell;
The price, His own heart’s blood.

That human heart He still retains,
Though throned in highest bliss;
And feels each tempted member’s pains;
For our affliction’s His.

Come, then, repenting sinner, come;
Approach with humble faith;
Owe what thou wilt, the total sum
Is canceled by His death!

His blood can cleanse the blackest soul,
And wash our guilt away;
He will present us sound and whole
In that tremendous day.

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