Posted by: rcottrill | May 31, 2017

Yet There Is Room

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Words: Horatius Bonar (b. Dec. 19, 1808; d. July 31, 1889)
Music: Ira David Sankey (b. Aug. 28, 1840; d. Aug. 13, 1908)

Wordwise Hymns (Horatius Bonar)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Horatius Bonar, a pastor in the Free Church of Scotland, wrote more than six hundred hymns, and has been called “the prince of Scottish hymn writers.”

There seem to have been about eight different tunes used with this hymn over the years. The Cyber Hymnal has Uzziah Burnap’s tune, but Ira Sankey wrote one two decades before. Clearly it was composed for the use of Mr. Sankey during the Moody evangelistic meetings in Scotland (1873-1874).

Parents have sometimes tried bizarre threats in an attempt to frighten their children into good behaviour. “If you don’t behave, Santa won’t come to our house this year.” Or, “If you keep telling lies, your nose will grow like Pinocchio’s.”

Idle threats and scare tactics used with children are wrong-headed, and are even a form of verbal abuse. In the long run they do more harm than good. Such manipulative tricks aside, warnings rooted in facts, and shared with kindness and concern, deserve careful attention. When parents warn children of the danger of running out into the street without looking both ways, it’s for their protection.

In truth, a certain level of fear breeds caution, and can motivate appropriate action. When a doctor warns a patient that his smoking is going to cause serious damage to his lungs or heart, it may push him to deal with the addiction. When we hear that our air and water are being dangerously polluted, it should lead us to be more careful with our resources.

In the Word of God there are many warnings.

¤ Isaiah is told, “Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isa. 58:1).

¤ And this admonition is given through Ezekiel: “When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning…his blood I will require at your hand” (Ezek. 3:18).

¤ The Bible tells us the prophet Jonah “cried out and said, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’ So the people of Nineveh believed God” (Jon. 3:4-5). And the Lord saw their sincere repentance and stayed His hand of judgment (vs. 10).

¤ Paul comments on his ministry in the city of Ephesus, “Remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears,” tears of deep concern for them (Acts 20:31).

Sometimes evangelists who warn sinners about judgment to come are labeled “Hell-fire Preachers,” and it’s argued, “You can’t scare people into heaven.” But that’s not necessarily true. Sometimes an overt fear of judgment is the reason people turn to Christ for salvation. Even though He had great compassion for those in spiritual need, the Lord Jesus also issued stern warnings of eternal judgment (e.g. Matt. 25:41).

Alarms can be sounded in song, as well. When evangelist Dwight Moody was conducting meetings in Scotland, his soloist Ira Sankey asked Scottish hymn writer Horatius Bonar to create a song of gospel invitation for him. Bonar did so, and it was used effectively.

On one occasion, a Christian woman asked a friend to accompany her to one of Moody’s meetings. The young woman, worldly, and careless about spiritual things, at first refused. But when the other persisted, she finally agreed to go. But she was unimpressed with Moody’s preaching, saying there was “nothing in it.” Then, after the evangelist finished, Mr. Sankey sang the selection written for him by Pastor Bonar.

The song, inspired by a parable of the Lord’s (Lk. 14:16, 22), speaks of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, in heaven (Rev. 19:7-9). The only quibble I have with the hymn is that Bonar suggests those who are saved now will be “guests” at the supper. The church is Christ’s bride (II Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25, 30-32), it is the Old Testament saints who will be the guests.

CH-1) “Yet there is room:” the Lamb’s bright hall of song,
With its fair glory, beckons thee along;
Room, room, still room! O enter, enter now.

CH-3) The bridal hall is filling for the feast;
Pass in, pass in, and be the Bridegroom’s guest;
Room, room, still room! O enter, enter now.

CH-5) Yet there is room: still open stands the gate,
The gate of love; it is not yet too late:
Room, room, still room! O enter, enter now.

CH-6) O enter in; that banquet is for thee;
That cup of everlasting joy is free;
Room, room, still room! O enter, enter now.

Through the welcoming words of invitation hymn the sin-hardened heart of the woman remained untouched. But the final stanza struck her like a lightning bolt, awakening fear at the Judgment Day up ahead.

CH-9) Ere night that gate may close, and seal thy doom;
Then the last low, long cry, “No room, no room!”
No room, no room! O woeful cry, “No room!”

In response to those solemn words, she opened her heart to the Saviour and was converted.

1) What causes the hardness of people’s hearts against the gospel?

2) What is your favourite hymn of invitation to trust Christ as Saviour?

Wordwise Hymns (Horatius Bonar)
The Cyber Hymnal


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