Posted by: rcottrill | November 1, 2017

Come to Calvary’s Holy Mountain

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: James Montgomery (b. Nov. 4, 1771; d. Apr. 30, 1854)
Music: Consolation (or Lindeman) Ludvig Mathias Lindeman (b. Nov. 28, 1812; d. May 23, 1887)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (James Montgomery)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: James Montgomery was a newspaper editor and a hymn writer. He gave us Angels from the Realms of Glory, a wonderful Christmas carol. But here we’ll consider a hymn about the cross. Come to Calvary’s Holy Mountain was published in 1819. A fine blending of doctrinal truth and devotional passion, it was inspired by a prophecy of Zechariah, ““In that day a fountain shall be opened…for sin and for uncleanness” (Zech. 13:1).

As for the tune, you also could try it with the tune Irbe, by Henry John Gauntlett (1805-1876), to which we sing the Christmas carol Once in Royal David’s City.

Advertisers are paid a great deal of money to come up with symbols that represent companies and their products. Images that connect to them so well that they bring an instant and favourable association, the one with the other, sometimes worldwide.

See those golden arches along the road, or in print, and you know they represent the McDonald’s fast-food restaurants. The technology company Apple is represented by…an apple. The Volkswagen car company’s symbol is a V and W, superimposed over one another. Volks is German for people, and wagen means car, so the company wants you to see a “VW” as the people’s car, built for just regular folks.

We have no trouble seeing the cross on which Jesus died as the most recognizable symbol of the Christian faith. There are large ones and small ones, plain ones and bejeweled ones. They adorn church buildings, or are worn as jewelry, are printed on book covers and tee-shirts, or are tattooed on bodies.

The reasons why they appear are varied. The cross may be a statement of faith, a superstitious good luck charm, a bow to tradition, or simply a decoration with no awareness of its meaning. In most cases, however, the crosses we see are a radical departure from the cross that bore the Son of God, nearly two thousand years ago.

The crosses around us are often stylized, polished, crisp and clean, with no hint of unpleasantness. But to tell it like it is, crucifixion was a brutal means of execution, usually bringing a slow, agonizing death. This was intentional, as was the practice of executing criminals in public, in a prominent place. It was used as a warning and deterrent to others who were tempted to break the law.

And what does Scripture have to say about the meaning of the cross of Calvary and the death of Christ. There we read:

“He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8). “[Christ] for the joy that was set before Him [the joy of our salvation] endured the cross, despising the shame” (Heb. 12:2). “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). “[He] made peace [with God] through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20).

God’s Word tells us “there are “enemies of the cross” (Phil. 3:18), and “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (I Cor. 1:18). But, as Christians, “God forbid that [we] should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ [as the means of our eternal salvation]” (Gal. 6:14).

CH-1) Come to Calvary’s holy mountain,
Sinners, ruined by the fall;
Here a pure and healing fountain
Flows to you, to me, to all,
In a full, perpetual tide,
Opened when our Saviour died.

CH-2) Come in poverty and meanness,
Come defiled, without, within;
From infection and uncleanness,
From the leprosy of sin,
Wash your robes and make them white;
Ye shall walk with God in light.

CH-3) Come in sorrow and contrition,
Wounded, impotent, and blind;
Here the guilty, free remission,
Here the troubled, peace may find
Health this fountain will restore;
He that drinks shall thirst no more.

CH-4) He that drinks shall live forever;
’Tis a soul renewing flood.
God is faithful; God will never
Break His covenant of blood,
Signed when our Redeemer died,
Sealed when He was glorified.

Signed, sealed, and delivered, when we put our faith in Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).

Questions:
1) What words or phrases from Montgomery’s hymn powerfully describe the sinner’s desperate condition?

2) What words from the hymn describe what God can do for the sinner, through Christ?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (James Montgomery)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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