Posted by: rcottrill | February 4, 2019

The Riches of Love

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Words: Henry Burns Hartzler (b. Mar. 23, 1840; d. Sept. 3, 1920)
Music: N. B. Sargent (see here)

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

Note: Henry Hartzler was a pastor and Bible teacher in Pennsylvania. He wrote a number of hymns too. Hartzler was associated with evangelist Dwight L. Moody. The present song, The Riches of Love, from 1888, is arranged as a duet in the book in which I found it–though I see Hymnary.org has it in four-part harmony. We know nothing of N. B. Sargent who wrote the tune. He produced a number of other gospel songs himself, sometimes both words and music. He seems to have lived around the same time as Hartzler.

The discovery of gold deposits, and the lure of great riches, precipitated two historic events on the North American continent.

The first was the California Gold Rush (1848-1855). When gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill, in Coloma, some 300,000 people made there way there, from the eastern States and beyond. Before they were done, an estimated two billion dollars worth of the precious metal had been taken from the ground.

The second was the Klondike Gold Rush (1896-1899). It lasted for a shorter time, and was more modest in its scope, partly due to the remote area in the Yukon where the gold was found. Somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 prospectors made their way there, and found about a billion dollars worth of gold.

That may sound like a lot. But the two gold rushes didn’t end in all those seekers getting rich. Very few did. Most laboured on for awhile and made modest discoveries that may hardly have covered their expenses. The trip itself was difficult and costly, and prices for goods when they got there were high. The work was hard, and sometimes dangerous. The conditions were primitive, and the camps sometimes wild and lawless. Many returned home broken and discouraged, with little to show for their labours.

The Bible speaks many times about the seductive folly of riches, particularly in the book of Proverbs. “He who trusts in his riches will fall” (Prov. 11:28). “For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven” (Prov, 23:5). “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches” (Prov. 22:1). “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (I Tim. 6:10). Not only that, it will always be temporal and fleeting. “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (I Tim. 6:7).

We’re to put our faith in God, not in what the Bible calls “uncertain riches” (I Tim. 6:17). In the will of God, some gain material wealth, but it’s important that no one make the acquisition of it their life’s goal. Rather, the rich should invest their wealth and possessions in serving the Lord and helping others. The Lord Jesus called this laying up treasures in heaven, an investment for eternity (Matt. 6:19-20).

Instead of material gain, the Word of God points us to the greater riches of spiritual blessings, “the riches of [God’s] goodness” (Rom. 2:4), “the unsearchable [boundless, fathomless, incalculable, and exhaustless] riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8), and “the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7), which will continue blessing us for all eternity (Eph. 2:7). Unlike the fleeting riches of this world, “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it” (Prov. 10:22).

The Riches of Love celebrates the wonderful love of God which blesses us in so many ways, through Christ (Phil. 4:19). God’s love for the believer is great (Eph. 2:4), and everlasting (Jer. 31:3). And nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:30).

1) The treasures of earth are not mine,
I hold not its silver and gold;
But a treasure far greater is mine;
I have riches of value untold.

Oh, the depths of the riches of love,
The riches of love in Christ Jesus,
Far better than gold, or wealth untold,
Are the riches of love in Christ Jesus.

2) The treasures of earth must all fail,
Its riches and honour decay,
But the riches of love that are mine,
Even death cannot take them away.

4) Come, take of the riches of Christ,
Exhaustless, and free is the store,
Of its wonderful fullness receive,
Till you hunger and thirst nevermore.

Questions:
1) In addition to giving us eternal salvation, through faith in Christ, what are some of the other “riches” with which the Lord has blessed us?

2) What are some of the contrasts between the riches of this world, and the riches a loving God gives to us?

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


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