Posted by: rcottrill | February 8, 2016

Abiding

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church.

Words: Charles B. J. Root (no information)
Music: D. C. Wright (no information); musical arrangement by Russell Kelso Carter (b. Nov. 18, 1849; d. Aug. 23, 1928)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: There is little information on this hymn or it’s creators. Was Charles Root a relation to the more famous gospel song writer George Root? I don’t know. D. C. Wright is called, in one hymn book, S. C. Wright, so the facts there are doubtful too.

Years ago, when autograph books were popular, a boy named Russell wrote in mine: “Fellowship is two fellows in one ship.”

That’s not a bad basic definition of what fellowship is. There is, in the imagery, the concept of a shared experience from which others are excluded. Whether the sailing is pleasant, or storms are encountered, the two are in it together, facing the journey’s delights or dangers, and there is an implied commitment to one another’s welfare.

The dictionary says fellowship is the condition of being a fellow, that is, being a companion or partner of someone else. There’s something held in common by two or more people. A shared experience, accompanied often by shared feelings, interests and goals. That should also include friendship or love, but it doesn’t always. In Shakespeare’s Henry VIII, Katherine of Aragon, the king’s first wife, says of her husband, “All the fellowship I hold now with him / Is only my obedience.”

In the Bible, the word fellowship translates the Greek word koinonia (koi-noh-NEE-ah). And it is of interest to us that the church ordinance some call the Lord’s Supper is also referred to as the Communion (I Cor. 10:16). That’s the same word, koinonia, the Fellowship. This suggests that, in Christian experience, fellowship with the Lord includes worship, as well as spiritual qualities such as faith and obedience.

We have been “called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (I Cor. 1:9). And there is a word used by the Lord Jesus that is close to fellowship in its full significance. The word “abide” is found ten times, in as many verses, in John chapter 15. It means to dwell with, intimating that one has taken specific steps to remain in contact with the Lord, and sustain a spirit-renewing fellowship with Him. There is also, in the word “abide,” the idea of rest and settled contentment.

While it is not the Greek word koinonia Jesus uses, fellowship is certainly in view. Christ tells His followers:

“As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (vs. 4). “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (vs. 5).

“Fruit,” in a spiritual sense is both the development of Christlike character (Gal. 5:22-23), and the results of our service for the Lord in the lives of others (Jn. 15:15; Rom. 1:13).

Fellowship, or abiding is maintained by faith in God (cf. I Jn. 4:15), and obedience to His Word (Jn. 15:10). This certainly relates to our prayer life as well. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (vs. 7). This is because, when we are abiding, what we ask for will be in tune with the will of God (I Jn. 5:14), and requested with a desire for His glory (Jn. 14:13).

In 1885 a gospel song was published, called simply Abiding. We may not know anything about the author but his name, but a look at his hymn will show that Mr. Root certainly knew his Bible. As the song begins, he alludes to Martha’s sister Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet to fellowship and learn. Thoughts are garnered from other verses of Scripture too. I’ve inserted some in the text of the song, so you can see what I mean.

CH-1) Abiding, oh, so wondrous sweet,
I’m resting at the Saviour’s feet, [Lk. 10:39]
I trust in Him, I’m satisfied,
I’m resting in the Crucified.

Abiding, abiding,
Oh! so wondrous sweet;
I’m resting, resting,
At the Saviour’s feet.

CH-2) He speaks, and by His word is giv’n
His peace, a rich foretaste of heav’n;
Not as the world He peace doth give, [Jn. 14:27]
’Tis through this hope my soul shall live.

CH-3) I live; not I; ’tis He alone [Gal. 2:20]
By whom the mighty work is done;
Dead to myself, alive to Him, [Rom. 6:11]
I count all loss His rest to gain. [Phil. 3:7]

CH-4) Now rest, my heart, the work is done; [Heb. 4:10]
I’m saved through the eternal Son:
Let all my pow’rs my soul employ,
To tell the world my peace and joy.

Questions:
1) Notice the contrast made in Psalm 1:1-2. What is the opposite there of “abiding,” as Jesus describes it?

2) What will be the evidence that a Christian is not “abiding” as he should?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | February 5, 2016

Zeal Is That Pure and Heavenly Flame

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church.

Words: John Newton (b. July 24, 1725; d. Dec. 21, 1807)
Music: St. Agnes, by John Bacchus Dykes (b. Mar. 10, 1823; d. Jan. 22, 1876)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (John Newton born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: This hymn was published in 1779, in Newton and Cowper’s historically significant Olney Hymns.

The hymns in our English hymn books cover the alphabet from beginning to end. Overall, there are titles representing every letter except “X.” Hymns beginning with “K,” “Q” and “Z” are rare, but not unknown.

Checking the indices of evangelical hymnals from the past sixty years, you’ll likely find A Charge to Keep I Have, by Charles Wesley (1707-1788) is often the first on the list. For one beginning with the last letter of the alphabet we have to go further afield. The Cyber Hymnal currently lists over 11,000 hymns. Included on the growing list are ten beginning with the letter “Z.”

While it’s not vitally important that our hymn books contain songs starting with every letter from “A” to “Z,” there’s a sense in which that provides a significant illustration of a Bible truth. Just as the alphabet contains all the letters needed to make up all the words we use, the sixty-six books contained in our Bibles, from Genesis to Revelation, are God’s complete and infallible written word to humanity. There are no new Bible books still being written. In fact, the Lord condemns anyone for trying add to the revealed Scriptures (Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Prov. 30:5-6; Rev. 22:18).

Then, there is the person of Christ Himself. Four times, the Lord Jesus speaks of Himself as “the Alpha and the Omega” (Rev. 1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13). Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, the language in which the New Testament was originally written. The Lord Jesus is declaring that in Himself He embodies all the fullness of the perfections of the Godhead (Col. 2:9). He is “the first and the last,” and “the beginning and the end of all things” (Rev. 1:17-18; 2:8)–and preeminent over all from “A” to”Z”  (Col. 1:18).

In the scope of our hymn books we have, then, a picture of the completeness of God’s Word, and a picture of the completeness of Christ, both in His perfect character, His work of eternal salvation, and more.

To date in this blog, I’ve have covered well over a thousand hymns, representing most of the letters of the English alphabet, but not “Z.” Recently I remedied that, adding this article beginning with that letter. It was written by John Newton, the man who also gave us Amazing Grace. In his hymn called Zeal Is That Pure and Heavenly Flame, Pastor Newton gives us an insightful lesson on the meaning of Christian zeal.

Zeal, of course, isn’t exclusively Christian. A zealous person is passionate and enthusiastic about something–maybe a political party, or a sports team, or winning a lottery. But Newton points out that zeal can sometimes be simply prideful self expression, and selfish ambition, in disguise. Such a self-serving quality contrasts with Spirit-inspired zeal in other ways too.

A proper and godly kind of zeal can be seen many times in the Scriptures.

¤ God the Father has a zeal to see His Son reigning on His rightful throne (Isa. 9:6-7).

¤ The prophet Elijah zealously opposed apostasy (I Kgs. 19:10).

¤ The Lord Jesus acted with holy zeal when He saw the temple being used as “a house of merchandise” (Jn. 2:13-17).

¤ And when the Lord saves sinners, through faith in Christ, He wants them to be “zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:14).

CH-1) Zeal is that pure and heav’nly flame,
The fire of love supplies;
While that which often bears the name,
Is self in a disguise.

CH-2) True zeal is merciful and mild,
Can pity and forbear;
The false is headstrong, fierce and wild,
And breathes revenge and war.

CH-4) Zeal has attained its highest aim,
Its end is satisfied;
If sinners love the Saviour’s name,
Nor seeks it ought betide.

CH-5) But self, however well employed,
Has its own ends in view;
And says, as boasting Jehu cried,
“Come, see what I can do.”

CH-6) Self may its poor reward obtain,
And be applauded here;
But zeal the best applause will gain,
When Jesus shall appear.

Questions:
1) What are some of the things people are zealous for today, good and bad?

2) What are the things you are most zealous for in your own life?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (John Newton born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | February 3, 2016

When the Mists Have Rolled Away

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church.

Words: Annie Herbert Barker (b. circa ____, 1844; d. Jan. 21, 1932)
Music: Ira David Sankey (b. Aug. 28, 1840; d. Aug. 13, 1908)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: The song was written by Annie Barker around 1873. (The Cyber Hymnal seems in error to say 1883.) Annie Herbert was a native New Yorker, and a school teacher. She later married Mr. Barker and the two of them set off on a pioneering venture to Montana. The Wordwise Hymns link includes a most remarkable story about her and her hymn. I encourage you to check it out.

Ira Sankey, the soloist and song leader for evangelist Dwight L. Moody, not only wrote the tune for the song, but he sang it as a solo in some rather novel circumstances. He wrote about it in his book, My Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns. And since my father comes into the article below, I’ll add that this happened in the city where he was born, but about two decades before he came on the scene. Mr. Sankey says:

I sang this hymn for the first time in the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, in 1883, at one of Mr. Moody’s meetings. The service was held at eight o’clock on a gloomy winter morning. The hall was densely crowded and filled with mist, so much so that the people could hardly be discerned at the farther end of the hall. I felt the need of something to brighten up the meeting, and then and there decided to launch this new song. It was received with much enthusiasm, and at once became a favorite of Mr. Moody’s, and continued to be so until his death (pp. 301-302).

There is a long-ago television program, now available online, involving an elderly man named Samuel Seymour. As a boy of five, he was taken to the theatre one night, and saw a man fall from the balcony and hurt his leg. Little Sam was very concerned about him. But what he did not learn until later was that the man was John Wilkes Booth, who had just shot President Lincoln.

It brings to my mind memories we sometimes have about where we were, and what were we doing, at the time of some significant event. Where were you in 1963, when John F. Kennedy was shot? Where were you in September of 2001, when the World Trade Centre towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack? Where were you when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005.

Often these seminal events involve sudden death and destruction, but not always. And even events of a more individual and personal kind can stick in our memories, and be recalled, as where we were when such-and-such too place. Weddings, births, and the graduation of family members or close friends, can sometimes be recalled in later years with vivid mental pictures.

In my teens, I was on a touring vacation with my parents, and we rented a cabin in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of New York. In the early morning, after a refreshing night’s rest, my father and I walked to the edge of a steep precipice and gazed on an awe-inspiring sight below. It seemed as though we were above the clouds, looking down on swirling white mists not yet burned off by the sun.

My father was a trained musician, who served in our home church as both its organist and choir director. Inspired by the scene, he began to sing a hymn with his rich baritone voice. It’s message was so fitting to what we witnessed that the incident has remained with me.

It’s possible that, in her travels, hymn writer Annie Barker actually viewed the same scene my father and I did, or one much like it. Her song speaks of how, when the mists of time have been swept aside, believers will enter God’s eternal kingdom of light and love. Her hymn is based on two particular verses of Scripture.

¤ “Now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known” (I Cor. 13:12).

¤ “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He [Christ] is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (I Jn. 3:2).

It’s appropriate that the Lord Jesus is spoken of as “the Sun of Righteousness” (Mal. 4:2), and “the Dayspring [or Dawning] from on high” (Lk. 1:78). The Bible also refers to “the brightness of His coming” (II Thess. 2:8), and we look forward to a new day in the glory of His presence, in a city of gold in which “the Lamb is its light” (Rev. 21:23).

CH-1) When the mists have rolled in splendour
From the beauty of the hills,
And the sunlight falls in gladness
On the rivers and the rills,
We recall our Father’s promise
In the rainbow of the spray:
We shall know each other better
When the mists have rolled away.

We shall know, as we are known,
Never more to walk alone,
In the dawning of the morning
Of that bright and happy day,
We shall know each other better,
When the mists have rolled away.

CH-3) We shall come with joy and gladness,
We shall gather round the throne.
Face to face with those that love us
We shall know as we are known.
And the song of our redemption
Shall resound through endless day
When the shadows have departed
And the mists have rolled away.

Questions:
1) What are some things we don’t know now about the future that we sometimes wish we did?

2) What are some reasons our all-wise heavenly Father may be keeping such things from us?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | February 1, 2016

The Master Has Come

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church.

Words: Sarah Doudney (b. Jan. 15, 1841; d. Dec. 15, 1926)
Music: Ash Grove, a traditional Welsh Melody

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Notes: In 1871, English author Sarah Doudney published this hymn about following the Lord. In recent hymn books it is wedded to the tune of an old Welsh folk song called The Ash Grove, which seems a good fit. The melody dates from 1862 or earlier. It has been used for some newer hymns as well.

A friend said to me one day, “I just saw a little boy marching across the school playground with great determination. Then he turned his head, waved his arm, and shouted, ‘Follow me, men!’ But,” said my friend with a grin, “there was no one behind him!”

We chuckled at that. Childhood imagination is amazing. Perhaps the boy envisaged himself as an army commander, leading his troops into battle. But he could as easily be Superman the next day, or a cowboy on the prairies.

Adults can have their daydreams too. Author James Thurber published a story in 1939 called The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Walter was a meek and ordinary man, but he had a wild fantasy life. There he was in charge, the leader of the pack. He imagined himself being a wartime pilot, a surgeon, and even a heartless killer. But that points to a darker side to the tale. Even Walter’s fantasies often ended badly. Being a murderer put him before an imaginary firing squad! And his real life, though well-meaning, was so many times bumbling and ineffectual.

Leading and following are a part of many phases of our lives, but those relationships do not always function well. There are those who try to lead, but few seem willing to follow them. Then, some would-be followers seem to wander in life, with no leader at all. The Bible says that when Christ “saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matt. 9:36).

Other people definitely choose the wrong leader. This sometimes happens, for example, when young people idolize a corrupt entertainment star or sports hero. In Jesus’ day, it was the hypocritical Pharisees who often led the Jewish people astray. The Lord made a cutting comment about them: “They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch” (Matt. 15:14).

Some seemed to try living with two sets of values–in effect, two different leaders–at the same time. That won’t work. Of them the Lord Jesus said, “”No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money]” (Matt. 6:24).

In contrast, the Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect Leader for us. And every Christian worker should be followed only to the extent that he or she consistently follows the Lord. As Paul put it, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (I Cor. 11:1, NIV).

The Lord Jesus Christ has, in infinite supply, the knowledge and wisdom needed to lead us (Col. 2:2-3). His word is true, His promises are sure (Jn. 1:14, 17; II Cor. 1:20). He has both the power and authority to direct us (Phil. 4:13, 19; Acts 10:36). And we are given an eternally worthy goal, as His followers: “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (II Cor. 5:20; cf. Matt. 28:18-20 ).

Sarah Doudney’s hymn issues a challenge to each believer. Though Jesus, in calling His disciples, said to several, “Follow Me,” this hymn may have been inspired by another call, Martha’s message to her sister Mary: “The Master is come, and calleth for thee” (Jn. 11:28, KJV).

CH-1) The Master hath come, and He calls us to follow
The track of the footprints He leaves on our way;
Far over the mountain and through the deep hollow,
The path leads us on to the mansions of day:
The Master hath called us, the children who fear Him,
Who march ’neath Christ’s banner, His own little band;
We love Him and seek Him, we long to be near Him,
And rest in the light of His beautiful land.

CH-2) The Master hath called us; the road may be dreary
And dangers and sorrows are strewn on the track;
But God’s Holy Spirit shall comfort the weary;
We follow the Savior and cannot turn back;
The Master hath called us, though doubt and temptation
May compass our journey, we cheerfully sing:
“Press onward, look upward,” through much tribulation;
The children of Zion must follow the King.

CH-3) The Master hath called us, in life’s early morning,
With spirits as fresh as the dew on the sod:
We turn from the world, with its smiles and its scorning,
To cast in our lot with the people of God:
The Master hath called us, His sons and His daughters,
We plead for His blessing and trust in His love;
And through the green pastures, beside the still waters,
He’ll lead us at last to His kingdom above.

Questions:
1) If following Christ becomes difficult, what assurances and help do we have?

2) In (or into) what kind of Christian service is the Lord presently leading you?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | January 29, 2016

The Lord Bless You and Keep You

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church.

Words: Numbers 6:24-26
Music: Peter Christian Lutkin (b. Mar. 27, 1858; d. Dec. 27, 1931)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Dr. Lutkin was a highly trained American composer, teacher of music, and organist. He also served as the editor of a hymnal. The music for the present prayer hymn was written in 1900. Other than replacing the repeated “thee” with “you” the text follows the reading of the King James Version.

We’ve likely all heard the proverb, “Good things come in small packages.” It’s a reminder that size is not necessarily a measure of quality or of importance. The girl presented with a tiny ring box by the fellow proposing to her understands that, as does the grandma holding her new baby grandson in her arms.

This is a blog about the hymns and gospel songs of the English-speaking church, their history and their biblical meaning. Most of these contain three or four stanzas or verses, and some add a repeated refrain. For example:

¤ Holy, Holy, Holy has four stanzas with a total of 126 words
¤ O God, Our Help in Ages Past originally had nine stanzas, with 204 words
¤ The Old Rugged Cross has four stanzas, and 254 words (counting repeated refrains)
¤ How Great Thou Art has four stanzas, and 274 words (counting repeated refrains)

But the beautiful hymn we’ll consider now, based on a priestly benediction in the Old Testament, is contained in three verses in the book of Numbers, with a total of 32 words. The hymn version, with several repeats and an Amen, runs to 49 words. Sometimes called the Aaronic Benediction, and originally intended for the people of Israel, it is a meaningful and encouraging prayer, not only fitted to the far side of the cross, but for today as well.

Given to Moses by the Lord, the Bible verses are these:

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance [face] upon you, and give you peace” (Num. 6:24-26).

There is a richness of meaning in those few words. Since they are given by the Lord Himself (vs. 22), we conclude that it is the Lord’s desire to bestow blessings on His people. We do not need to beg for them, as though we have to somehow change God’s mind. He is ready and willing to bless those who come to Him in faith.

For one thing, the Lord will protect (“keep”) His children. And for Him to be “gracious” is to show His loving kindness, mercy, an divine favour toward us. The “peace” spoken of is more that a cessation of war. It involves a settled tranquility of life and general sense of well-being. The double reference to the face of God is poetic imagery meaning, “May the Lord be actively present in your life, and look upon you with favour.”

The King James and New King James versions use all capitals with “LORD” to represent Jehovah, or Yahweh in Hebrew. The threefold use of the name in the prayer perhaps suggests the three Persons of the Trinity. It is God the Father who protects (Ps. 46:1; 121:1-2; ), God the Son who brings grace (Jn. 1:16-17), and God the Holy Spirit who nurtures inner peace (Gal. 5:22-23).

As quoted on the Cyber Hymnal, American evangelist Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) said of this prayer:

“Here is a benediction that can give all the time, without being impoverished. Every heart may utter it, every letter may conclude with it, every day may begin with it, every night may be sanctified by it. Here is blessing–keeping–shining–the uplifting upon our poor life of all heaven’s glad morning. It is the Lord Himself who brings this bar of music from heaven’s infinite anthems.”

Peter Lutkin turned the words of Numbers into a melodious prayer. Though his composition has moving parts, with a bit of practice, a congregation can sing it effectively as a closing hymn. This writer also has heard beautiful choral renditions of it, concluding with an elaborate seven-fold “Amen.”

Following the Bible text quite closely, Peter Lutkin’s version says:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord lift His countenance upon you,
And give you peace, and give you peace; and give you peace;
The Lord make His face to shine upon you,
And be gracious, and be gracious;
The Lord be gracious, gracious unto you. Amen.

Questions:
1) In what ways this week have you experienced some of the things mentioned in this prayer?

2) Is this a prayer you would offer on behalf of others?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | January 27, 2016

Something More Than Gold

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church.

Words: attributed to T. P. Hamilton (no further data)
Music: attributed to T. P. Hamilton

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (T. P. Hamilton)
Hymnary.org

Note: In 1912, T. P. Hamilton published a children’s hymn about Zacchaeus called Something More Than Gold. At least, I think that’s what happened. We know nothing about Hamilton, other than his name. One hymn book calls the song and its tune Anonymous. Another says that someone with the initials F. E. Y. assisted Hamilton in writing the words, though it gives credit to the latter for the tune. To add to the confusion, another book credits the words to “Sister Helen,” and the tune to R. E. Winsett.

In 1969, American jazz singer Peggy Lee had a hit song called Is That All There Is? It presents the stark picture of an individual looking back on life with disappointment, and black despair.

“If that’s all there is, my friends,
Then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball,
If that’s all there is.”

That seems to echo the disillusioned words of Ecclesiastes: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity [“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless,” says the NIV]….So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry” (Ecc. 1:2; 8:15).

The book of Ecclesiastes is one of the most misunderstood of all the sixty-six books that make up the Bible. Its important message seems almost to contradict what is said in the rest of God’s Word. But there’s a reason for that. Ecclesiastes gives us a sermon by King Solomon (Ecc. 1:1), and he’s pointing out the folly of a life lived without God, and without eternal values. He is describing the view of the natural man. But in much of it he seems to be speaking of himself and the mistakes he’d made.

Solomon began well. But his luxurious lifestyle, and his many idolatrous wives warped his values and, for a time at least, he turned away from God (I Kgs. 11:4). In Ecclesiastes, he presents the disappointment and disaster of a life that excludes God and a recognition of eternity. There is a key phrase found twenty-seven times in the book: “Under the sun” (e.g. Ecc. 1:3). It describes this mortal life, from the womb to the tomb. And if that’s all there is, then it’s a dead end street.

Whether it’s success in our job, or worldly pleasure we seek, or possessions, or popularity–whatever it is will not give us true meaning and satisfaction, because life “under the sun” is not all there is. The rich man craves one more dollar, the pleasure seeker one more lustful liaison, the drug addict looks for one more fix. But there has to be something more to life than that.

Of course, there is. And it’s possible that Ecclesiastes represents Solomon’s repentance and renewed faith in old age. As well as being a confession of what he learned would not work, Solomon ends by showing what the missing factors are in a life merely lived “under the sun.” The two things ignored or forgotten by secular man are: God, and eternity.

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter,” the king says (Ecc. 12:13-14). “God will bring every work into judgment [in eternity], including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” That being so, how should we live out our earthly lives? What basic values should we espouse? “Fear [reverence] God,” says Solomon, “and keep His commandments.” In other words, give God first place in your life, and live to honour and serve Him. “This is man’s all”–the bottom line for everyone.

The Bible tells of a man who lived in Jericho, during the time of Jesus (Lk. 19:1-2). Zacchaeus was a wealthy tax collector. These men served the hated Romans, and were allowed to collect funds far beyond what was required by the government, pocketing the difference. They were utterly despised by the Jews.

But Zacchaeus began to realize that there was more to life than money. As he listened to the words of Christ, he repented of his ways, and pledged to return any funds taken unethically. With great joy, he welcomed the Saviour into his home and into his life (vs. 3-10). Learn from Zacchaeus, and “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’” (Ecc. 12:1).

1) A certain man of whom we read,
Who lived in days of old,
Though he was rich, he felt his need
Of something more than gold.

Oh, yes, my friend, there’s something more,
Something more than gold:
To know your sins are all forgiv’n
Is something more than gold.

The Bible tells us Zacchaeus was short of stature, but he wanted to see and hear Christ so much that he had climbed a tree for a better view, as He passed by.

4) But Jesus stood beneath that tree,
And said, “On Me behold;
Zacchaeus come down, I’ve brought thee
This something more than gold.

5) So he obeyed, and soon he found
The half had not been told;
Where love and joy and peace abound,
‘Tis better far than gold.

Questions:
1) Why is what the Lord offers to us “more than gold”?

2) What effect do you imagine the conversion of Zacchaeus and his transformed life had on his former customers?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (T. P. Hamilton)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | January 25, 2016

Pass It On

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church.

Words: Henry Burton (b. ___, 1840; d. _____, 1930)
Music: George Coles Stebbins (b. Feb. 26, 1846; d. Oct. 6, 1945)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal (Henry Burton)
Hymnary.org

Note: Henry Burton was an English clergyman, though he did spend some years in America receiving training. I encourage you to read the absolutely remarkable story on the Wordwise Hymns link, of how this song came to be written.

The expression “pay it forward” was popularized by a 2000 Hollywood film, but it’s actually an old concept. It was used in a Greek play, in 317 BC, and can be found in the writings of Benjamin Franklin, and others.

The idea is this: rather than trying to pay back someone who has done you a favour, pass the benefit on to others, thus paying it forward. There are a number of positive principles in that–principles that are also found in the Bible. Let’s consider four of them, briefly.

First, there is the principle of grace. In the Greek language of the New Testament, that’s related to the word for gift. Grace represents a blessing given without expected payment. That so dominates the character of God that He is called “the God of all grace” (I Pet. 5:10). In saving sinners, God is gracious, because we have nothing by which to adequately pay Him back. No good deed or church ritual will do it. Only God can save sinners, as a gift of His grace (Eph. 2:8-9).

At the human level, gift-giving is ideally an exercise of grace. We don’t expect payment for a gift–or it wouldn’t be a true gift. And when someone blesses our lives, helping us in some way, they may even be a little insulted if we try to pay for it! It’s not, “The Smiths had us over for dinner, so now we have to have them over!” No, it shouldn’t work that way. That is often simply a manifestation of pride.

Second is the principle of thankfulness. While we can’t pay for a gift, we can express appreciation for it. Believers do that to God when we thank Him for His blessings. And because God’s gracious gifts will never come to an end (Eph. 2:7), we’ll be thanking Him for all eternity. “Thanksgiving and honour and power and might, be to our God forever and ever” (Rev. 7:12). At the human level, we can and should show gratitude to those who are good to us (Phil. 1:3). Rather than attempt to pay back the giver of a gift, a sincere thank you is appropriate.

Third comes the principle of responsibility. Whatever we are given, we are responsible to use wisely and well. This gets us to the pay-it-forward idea. The Bible tells us that God’s gifts are a stewardship, something we’ve been entrusted with, and stewards should be faithful in their care of what is entrusted to them (I Cor. 4:2). “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another [i.e. serve one another], as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (I Pet. 4:10). What we are given we are called upon to put to good use.

Finally, there is the principle of multiplication. Like the expanding ripples on a pond when we throw in a stone, the good we do to others will continue to pay dividends in their lives, and in the lives of others they touch in turn. In the Bible, the teaching of God’s Word is seen that way. The Apostle Paul says, “The things that you have heard from me…commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (II Tim. 2:2). Keep the process going!

In the day-to-day world, grace and goodness are sometimes in short supply. More often the motivating concept is: “What will I get out of this?” Politicians dispense favours with a view to winning more votes. Stores offer bargains to try to bring in more customers who will spend their money there. But, think for a moment. What would our communities be like if each of us daily looked for ways we could benefit others–freely, and without seeking selfish advantage–with the blessings we’ve received?

Henry Burton gave us a fine gospel song in 1885, based on the pay-it-forward principle. It says:

1) Have you had a kindness shown? Pass it on!
‘Twas not given for thee alone: pass it on!
Let it travel down the years,
Let it wipe another’s tears,
Till in heaven the deed appears: pass it on!

2) Did you hear the loving word? Pass it on!
Like the singing of a bird? Pass it on!
Let its music live and grow,
Let it cheer another’s woe;
You have reaped what others sow–pass it on!

4) Have you found the heavenly light? Pass it on!
Souls are groping in the night, daylight gone;
Hold thy lighted lamp on high,
Be a star in some one’s sky:
He may live who else would die—pass it on!

Questions:
1) Have you had a special kindness shown to you this week?

2) What blessing received have you used to bless another person this week?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal (Henry Burton)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | January 22, 2016

Oppressed with Unbelief and Sin

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church.

Words: John Newton (b. July 24, 1725; d. Dec. 21, 1807
Music: Germany, William Gardiner (b. Mar. 15, 1770; d. Nov. 16, 1853) from Sacred Melodies, 1815.

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (John Newton’s conversion)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)
Hymnary.org

Note: As of my writing of this blog, the hymn does not appear on the Cyber Hymnal. But it is worthy of note. Like a number of Pastor Newton’s hymns, it seems very much a personal testimony. It was published in Olney Hymns, the book he produced in 1779, with friend and poet William Cowper. Quite a number of Long Metre tunes (8.8.8.8) would fit it. Germany, the one I’ve chosen is commonly used with Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness.

The life of John Newton is likely better known than that of most other hymn writers. In his younger years he was a seaman, and was involved in transporting kidnapped African men and women to be sold as slaves on this side of the Atlantic. In addition to this reprehensible business, Newton was a blasphemer of such vile extremes that his profanity even terrified the hardened but superstitious sailors with whom he sailed.

The Lord finally got his attention in a violent storm at sea. So destructive did it seem that Newton thought at any moment he would be killed. When he cried out, almost without thinking, “Lord have mercy on us!” he was stunned by what he had said. A wicked man who only used God’s name to swear, how could he expect mercy? He deserved only the judgment of God. But he found in the Lord amazing grace.

The hymn is headed with the text Second Corinthians 12:9. It would be well for us to note two verses in the passage, as Newton applies them in a special way. In the context, we learn that the Apostle Paul has been troubled by some kind of physical malady (vs. 7). Exactly what this was is unknown, but he apparently felt it was hindering his ministry. He prayed on three occasions that the Lord would heal him (vs. 8), but no healing came. Instead:

“He [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (II Cor. 12:9-10).

Here is God’s answer to a Christian praying for healing. But John Newton took the promise of grace, applying it to himself as a greatly distressed seeking sinner, crying out for God to save him. Grace, which Newton wrote about so wonderfully in his most famous hymn, Amazing Grace, can be defined most simply God’s undeserved, unearned favour and blessing.

It is by His grace we are saved, through faith in Christ, not because of any merit or works of our own (Eph. 2:8-9). But we need grace to live the Christian life too. In that case, it becomes the “favour” of divine enablement or empowerment granted to us. And we are invited to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

It’s in the latter sense that Paul seems to use the term grace. But Newton’s application of it to saving grace (and beyond) certainly makes sense too. And we get a powerful and moving sense of the extremity of his despair in this hymn. He was delivered from the storm, but then what? We see him here as he struggled for several days with his own guilt, and sought to find an answer.

As a point of interest, notice the words “fightings without, and fears within” in the first stanza. More than four decades after Olney Hymns was published, Charlotte Elliott used almost the same wording in stanza three of her great hymn, Just as I Am–“Fightings and fears within, without, / O Lamb of God, I come.” Perhaps a reading of Newton’s work suggested it to her, but the struggle is not unique to either one. Newton’s hymn says:

1) Oppressed with unbelief and sin,
Fightings without, and fears within;
While earth and hell, with force combined,
Assault and terrify my mind.

2) What strength have I against such foes,
Such hosts and legions to oppose?
Alas! I tremble, faint, and fall,
Lord save me, or I give up all.

3) Thus sorely pressed I sought the Lord,
To give me some sweet, cheering word;
Again I sought, and yet again,
I waited long, but not in vain.

Then comes the joyous turning:

4) O, ‘twas a cheering word indeed!
Exactly suited to my need;
“Sufficient for thee is My grace,
Thy weakness my great pow’r displays.”

5) Now despond and mourn no more,
I welcome all I feared before;
Though weak, I’m strong, though troubled, blessed.
For Christ’s own pow’r shall on me rest.

6) My grace would soon exhausted be,
But His is boundless as the sea;
Then let me boast with holy Paul,
That I am nothing, Christ is all.

Questions:
1) Have you, or has anyone you know, gone through the struggles of the soul pictured in the hymn?

2) What Scripture meant the most, in your (or their) journey toward the light?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (John Newton’s conversion)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | January 20, 2016

My Ain Countrie

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church.

Words: Mary Augusta Lee Demarest (b. _____, 1838; d. Jan. 8, 1888)
Music: Ione T. Hanna (b. Aug. 21, 1837; d. Aug. 6, 1924)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Mary Lee wrote this hymn before her own marriage, when she was twenty-three. Her original poem appears to have had about eight stanzas. For the hymn, half have been chosen, and the metre adjusted slightly to fit the tune.

Some years ago, I was on the staff of a Bible college. The registration and orientation of freshmen each year was not always easy for them. So much to remember, so much to learn. It was all rather intimidating. And, for some at least, there was the problem of homesickness. Perhaps they had never been away from home before, for any extended period.

This added depressive feelings to the anxiety of facing something quite new. At times it actually made the students physically ill. Fortunately, a few days of adjusting to the college routine, along with making some new friends, usually moderated their distress considerably. But not always. There were a few, over the years, who simply surrendered to their longings for home and quit school before they even got going.

There is an example of homesickness in the Bible. Late in the Old Testament period, when the people of Israel continued in disobedience toward God, and in idolatry, He allowed the armies of Babylon to enter their land and take many of the choicest citizens captive. There, the people pined for their homeland.

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, and those who plundered us requested mirth, saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’ How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” (Ps. 137:1-4).

A similar experience led to the writing of a beautiful hymn in 1861. The story is told by gospel musician Ira Sankey, the soloist and song leader for evangelist Dwight Moody. I’ll only take a paragraph to summarize it here. I encourage you to read the whole story. You’ll find it on the Cyber Hymnal link.

Many years ago John Macduff and his young bride left Scotland for America, there to seek their fortune. After tarrying a few weeks in New York, they went on West, where they had great success. But John’s wife’s health began to fail. The anxious husband said that he feared she was homesick. “John,” she replied, “I am wearying for my ain countrie.” Her husband’s heart was moved with compassion, and in an effort to save her, he eventually sold his home, and took her back across the ocean to Scotland where she did indeed recover.

In 1861, Mary Demarest, when she heard about the Macduffs’ experience, wrote a hymn entitled My Ain Countrie. But instead of Scotland, she portrayed the believer’s longing for the home the Lord Jesus said He is being prepared for us above.

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:2-3).

Paul tells us he had “a desire to depart and be with Christ” (Phil. 1:23). A similar longing for a home God would provide was in the heart of Abraham, centuries before. “By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:9-10).

It was with such longings and expectations that Mrs. Demarest created her hymn. It was written in Scottish dialect, so it is not likely used many places other than Scotland–where Ira Sankey himself sang it as a solo, blessing many. Below the full text I’ve given a “translation” of several of the more obscure lines.

CH-1) I am far frae my hame, an’ I’m weary aftenwhiles,
For the langed for hame bringin’, an’ my Father’s welcome smiles;
An’ I’ll ne’er be fu’ content, until mine een do see
The gowden gates o’ heav’n an’ my ain countrie.

The earth is fleck’d wi’ flowers, mony tinted, fresh an’ gay
The birdies warble blithely, for my Faither made them sae:
But these sights an’ these soun’s will as naething be to me,
When I hear the angels singin’ in my ain countrie.

CH-2) I’ve His gude word o’ promise that some gladsome day, the King
To His ain royal palace his banished hame will bring;
*Wi’een an’ wi’ hert rinnin’ owre, we shall see
The King in His beauty, in oor ain countrie.

CH-3) **Sae little noo I ken, o’ yon blessèd, bonnie place
I only ken it’s hame, whaur we shall see His face,
It wad surely be eneuch for ever mair to be
In the glory o’ His presence, in oor ain countrie.

CH-4) He is faithfu’ that hath promised, an He’ll surely come again,
***He’ll keep His tryst wi’ me, at what oor I dinnna ken;
But He bids me still to wait, an’ ready aye to be,
To gang at ony moment to my ain countrie.

* With eyes and with heart running over, we shall see
** So little now I know of yonder blessed, lovely place
*** He’ll keep His appointed meeting with me, at what hour I do not know.

Questions:
1) What things in our lives help to awaken a longing for our heavenly home?

2) What things can tend to dampen or hinder this desire?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | January 18, 2016

I Lay My Sins on Jesus

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church.

Words: Horatius Bonar (b. Dec. 19, 1808; d. July 31, 1889)
Music: Aurelia, by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (b. Aug. 14, 1810; d. Apr. 19, 1876)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Horatius Bonar)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Published in 1843, as the Cyber Hymnal notes, “This is believed to be Bonar’s first hymn [of 600 he wrote]. He later apologized for it, saying, ‘It might be good gospel, but it is not good poetry.’” As to the tune, we also use Aurelia for The Church’s One Foundation.

As I write this, we have recently come through a Federal Election here in Canada. Now a different political party is in power. And if things run true to form, we’ll soon be hearing–perhaps for several years–that everything wrong with the country is the fault of the previous government. Old habits die hard, and the blame game has been in vogue almost since the beginning of time.

When our first parents sinned (Gen. 2:17; 3:6), and the Lord confronted them, Adam quickly blamed Eve. After all, she was the one who gave him the forbidden fruit to eat. But he went a step further, audaciously hinting that God was at fault too for giving him his partner (“the woman You gave me” (Gen. 3:12). Eve then passed the buck to the devil who, in the guise of a serpent, had tempted them (vs. 13). But God held them all responsible.

There are two sides to the coin–not me…him/her instead. We try to divest ourselves of responsibility by putting it elsewhere. How often have you seen signs that say, “We are not responsible for any loss or damage to your property [implying you are, for trusting them with it].” Whether it’s your winter coat at the cleaners, or your car in a parking lot, the owners do not want to be held accountable for anything going wrong–though, in fact, they may well be.

Why do we do it? It’s an attempt to preserve our good image, before God, before others, and even to ourselves. It’s no fun carrying a load of guilt. Even when we are held accountable, and pushed to apologize, we may try to blunt the force of this with all too familiar qualifications. “I was at fault, but you were too.” Or, “It was wrong, but I wasn’t well at the time.” Or, “It was an accident.” Or, “I couldn’t help it.” (You can likely supply other statements along a similar line.)

However, when it comes to sin, each one of us stands guilty before God. “We know that whatever the law [God’s holy Word] says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God….All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:19, 23).

God sees and knows not only our outward actions, but our inner motivations as well. As David the psalmist puts it:

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether” (Ps. 139:1-4).

But something wonderful happened at the cross. There, the sinless Son of God was crucified and died, enduring the wrath of God–not for His own sins, because He had none (II Cor. 5:21; I Pet. 2:22). No, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5).

Please look at that last text again. Christ bore cruel treatment from whom? From us. We did it. We are to blame. By proxy, it was we sinners who abused and crucified Him. But a gracious God turned our wicked actions around and used them for our good. Christ bore the punishment for our sins, so that we, through faith in Him, might be cleansed and forgiven. Amazing!

It brings to mind a hymn by the great Scottish pastor and hymn writer Horatius Bonar, which takes its title from the opening line–“I lay my sins on Jesus.” In one sense, that is not true. It was God the Father who laid all our sins on Jesus. Isaiah 53:6 says it. “The LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” But that may not be what Dr. Bonar was saying. What God did at the cross has the potential of saving us, but it must be personally and individually applied.

In that sense, the statement is correct. If we are to receive God’s eternal salvation, there must come a time we say, as individuals, “The Son of God…loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Like the Israelite of old with his sacrifice, we lay our hand, by faith, in the Christ of Calvary, and identify His death as for our sins (cf. Lev. 1:4). Recognizing that Jesus died for me is, in a way, personally attributing His death to my sins.

CH-1) I lay my sins on Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God;
He bears them all, and frees us from the accursèd load;
I bring my guilt to Jesus, to wash my crimson stains
White in His blood most precious, till not a stain remains.

CH-3) I rest my soul on Jesus, this weary soul of mine;
His right hand me embraces, I on His breast recline.
I love the name of Jesus, Immanuel, Christ, the Lord;
Like fragrance on the breezes His name abroad is poured.

CH-4) I long to be like Jesus, strong, loving, lowly, mild;
I long to be like Jesus, the Father’s holy child:
I long to be with Jesus, amid the heavenly throng,
To sing with saints His praises, to learn the angels’ song.

Questions:
1) Have you laid your sins on Jesus in this personal way, and trusted in Christ for salvation?

2) If not, why not now?  And if so, what are some of the differences this has made in your life?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Horatius Bonar)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

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