Posted by: rcottrill | August 8, 2012

A Child of the King

Words: Harriet Eugenia Peck Buell (b. Nov. 2, 1834; d. Feb. 6, 1910)
Music: John Bunnell Sumner (b. Mar. 25, 1838; d. May 10, 1918)

Wordwise Hymns (Harriet Buell born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: The Cyber Hymnal link tells how John Sumner came to select Mrs. Buell’s poem to create a new gospel song. It also has a wonderful and touching account of how the song was used of God to bring a man to the Saviour.

Like another more recent gospel song, Ira Stanphill’s Mansion Over the Hilltop, published in 1949, Harriet Buell’s 1877 song deals with the material grandeur of heaven, and the riches that await us there. But unlike the former, which is almost unrelentingly materialistic, Harriet Buell’s also brings in the spiritual dimension of our salvation.

It is true that the Lord is preparing “many mansions” (or dwelling places) for the saints in the heavenly city (Jn. 14:2). (Incidentally, I wondered at Mrs. Buell’s second line in CH-4, “They’re building a palace for me over there.” Since Christ says, “I [singular] go to prepare a place for you,” it might have been better to write “He’s building a palace…”)

But what of the kingship of the Almighty. That God rules as King over all is a truth attested to in many Scriptures. For example:

“The LORD is King forever and ever” (Ps. 10:16).

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen” (I Tim. 1:17).

“Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!” (Rev. 15:3).

And if God rules as King over the saints, being children of God (I Jn. 3:1) is to be children of the King. It follows, then, that we are “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17), with all the wealth and privileges pertaining to that.

But how did that come to be? As the song says (CH-3) we each began as “a sinner by choice and an alien by birth.” We were “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1), and destined for a lost eternity. But God the Son became Man, to suffer and die, taking upon Himself the just punishment for our sin (CH-2; cf. II Cor. 8:9).

Now, through faith in Him (Jn. 3:16), we can be cleansed and forgiven, and exalted to sonship in His forever family. And even though, in this life, we may struggle to make ends meet, we can look forward to enjoying the wealth of all heaven. Though we do not have all the riches God has promised in hand as yet, they’re already ours, reserved for us there (I Pet. 1:3-5).

CH-3) I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice, an alien by birth,
But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown.

I’m a child of the King,
A child of the King:
With Jesus my Saviour,
I’m a child of the King.

CH-4) A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
They’re building a palace for me over there;
Though exiled from home, yet still may I sing:
All glory to God, I’m a child of the King.

1) What is the difference between how the world often measures wealth, and how God measures it?

2) What to you is the greatest blessing or benefit to being “a child of the King”?

Wordwise Hymns (Harriet Buell born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal


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