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Thursday, August 31, 2006

From whence this fear and unbelief

From whence this fear and unbelief,
If God, my Father, put to grief
His spotless Son for me?
Can He, the righteous Judge of men,
Condemn me for that debt of sin
Which, Lord, was charged to Thee?

Complete atonement Thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate'er Thy people owed;
How, then, can wrath on me take place,
If sheltered in God's righteousness
And sprinkled by Thy blood?

If Thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my place endured
The whole of wrath divine;
Payment God will not twice demand,
First at my bleeding Surety's hand,
And then again at mine.

Turn, turn, then my soul, unto thy rest;
The merits of thy great High Priest
Speak peace and liberty;
Trust in His efficacious blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee.

The above poem was sent by one of our regular readers -- Amity. It was written by Augustus Montague Toplady. Toplady is best known "musically" for his poem "Rock of Ages, cleft for me", and theologically for his translation and editing of Jerome Zanchius' work "The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination Stated and Asserted". He was born November 4, 1740, and died August 11, 1778, at the young age of 38. Some sources credit Toplady with two verses of poetry often found with Philip Doddridge's "Grace, 'Tis a Charming Sound".

Grace first inscribed my name
In God’s eternal book;
'Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took.

Grace taught my soul to pray
And made mine eyes o'erflow;
'Twas grace which kept me to this day,
And will not let me go.

15 comments:

amity said...

Wish I knew a tune for it. I would love to sing it.

Might just have to compose something. ;^)

R. L. Vaughn said...

The hymn is Common Particular Meter -- a six-line stanza of which the first, second, fourth and fifth lines are iambic tetrameter, and the third and sixth lines are iambic trimeter (8.8.6.8.8.6.). I believe there are about four tunes of C.P.M. in the Sacred Harp, -- Refreshing Showers (Nashville, 64), Harmony (172), The Sinner Must Be Born Again (295b) and Southwell (365). There may be others in the 1991 Denson edition.

amity said...

Nashville was actually the first tune I thought of, but that frivolous little tune does not match these soul-searing words at all.

amity said...

So I did a little research on Toplady myself. I had known that there were Calvinist Methodists, (although it seems like a little bit of an oxymoron, doesn't it?) but I had never heard of Calvinist Anglicans until tonight. Entire churches, in fact. Learn something new every day.

Jim1927 said...

Amity! Calvinistic Anglicans! Lord help us! I grew up in Anglican public schools (Private boy's schools in America) and I never knew anything but calvinism. We owe a great debt to the early Anglicans for the defence of the faith. The majority of theological texts were written by Church of England scholars.

Surprise! Surprise! Anglicans even baptized by immersion early on. Queen Elizabeth 1st was immersed.....albeit, the wrong candidate. Even converts to-day can be immersed upon request and the priets are obligated to fulfil the request.

The diocese, where I am a member now, are mostly evangelical as well. We have three liberals in our area. They even accept me in their midst as a calvinistic Baptist.

Cheers,

Jim

amity said...

Jim, as always, you are a delightful education! Thanks so much. I confess my ignorance...

Now can you explain those Calvinistic Methodists?

Jim1927 said...

Robert is the real historian here, but I will give a brief history.

Like the early Baptists, methodists were equally divided in calvinism and arminianism. Oddly, the Wesley's and Whitfield came from the same school; one an arminian and the other a calvinist. Both were still within the Church of England at the time. In fact, the Methodist Church was not formed whilst Wesley was still alive.

The Welsh Methodists were soundly calvinistic, and many churches in England also. Charles Spurgeon came to know Christ in a Methodist Church.

The Plymouth Brethren developed a concept of election as being the result of foreknowledge, and not God's selection at His own will and fancy. This became popular teaching Baptist circles in America as well, especially from those who came out of Dallas Theological Seminary. It tied in nicely with dispensationalism. I think Dallas still teaches this funny doctrine.

The Methodists departed from the Church of England because they thought the Anglican atmosphere did not lend itself to free will believism. This is the avenue that Wesley took,,,I am not sure that he embraced arminianism. He put more emphasis on holiness.

The Methodists were the main body behind the Keswick Meetings; a special annual holiness, what you might call a camp, meeting.

I have attended a good number of Keswick meetings, both in England and in Canada. I don't accept their holiness aspects, but I do believe that emotion does play a larger part than many Baptists want to ascribe to the Christian experience.

Cheers, and God bless,

Jim

R. L. Vaughn said...

I have no expertise on the Calvinistic Methodists, so I'll not add much to what Jim wrote. My idea (and it's only that) is that the Methodists would have originally tended toward Calvinism and that the move toward Arminianism and holiness was a development -- certainly a part of John Wesley's developing theology. Based on his hymns (and that only), I'll always thought Charles Wesley seemed to have a "streak" of Calvinism. He seemed much more so than his brother John.

The following links might prove fruitful for future research.

Click on this link for an 1823 Calvinistic Methodist Confession of Faith. Here is another site on the Calvinistic Methodists. One thing I found interesting there is the listing of John Cennick, author of "Children of the heavenly King, As ye journey, sweetly sing; Sing your Savior’s worthy praise, Glorious in His works and ways" and "Jesus, my all, to Heaven is gone, He Whom I fix my hopes upon; His track I see, and I’ll pursue The narrow way, till Him I view." Seems he was a Calvinistic Methodist.

You might also be interested to know that the place where Charles Spurgeon relates his conversion occurring was in a Primitive Methodist Church! Go here to read The Personal Testimony of Charles Spurgeon. The site obviously has a point to make, but the testimony itself is in Spurgeon's own words.

amity said...

Thanks, you two. I thought Methodism stemmed from the development of a "method" to get one into heaven. Is that not true? If so, it surely seems contrary to anything remotely Calvinist. Am i missing something again? Will read more and check out the websites.

I used to think if I could find a time machine I would like to go back to the 1801 Cane Ridge meeting (yeah, I know, how Arminian of me), but reading about England of the 1600s - 1800s is making me think again. Of course life was rough, but it would have its reward in that atmosphere of religious thought.

amity said...

P.S. Yes, I think that same thought about Charles Wesley had passed through my mind, too.

R. L. Vaughn said...

In an article on Methodism, Richard Bucher, pastor of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Lexington, KY, writes, "In 1729, John, Charles and a number of other students at Oxford University began meeting regularly in order to develop holiness and perfection by methodical Bible study, prayer, and acts of charity. Other students mockingly referred to them as 'Methodists' or 'the Holy Club'."

This sums up pretty much what I've always heard concerning the origin of "Methodism" and its name.

Jim1927 said...

I found this little blurb in the Encycopedia Britannica on Methodists:

In 1791, after Wesley's death, the English Methodists were formally separated from the Church of England and established the Wesleyan Methodist Church. In both England and America various groups seceded from the main branch to form independent Methodist churches. Some of them later reunited. In Great Britain the Methodist New Connection was the first group to form a separate branch. Then followed the Primitive Methodists, the Bible Christians, the Protestant Methodists, the Wesleyan Methodist Association, and the Wesleyan Reformers.

It confirms what I remembered that Wesley was never a Methodist, but did ordain the first Methodist minister in Gloucester, England.........Whitfield formed the Calvinistic Methodists.

Fun to look at others, isn't it? Without being critical, that is.

Cheers,

Jim

amity said...

I look forward to the day you two decide to start a listserver, or a forum. I've got 100,000 questions.

Jim1927 said...

Amity, Only 100,000? I have been in ministry and studies since 1945, and I assure you, I have more questions than answers.

I don't think Robert would object to your questions as they fit in this "forum". You can feel free to email me at any time....Jimbo@kingston.net..If I can help in any way, I would be only too pleased.

Cheers,

Jim

Jim1927 said...

Amity, Only 100,000? I have been in ministry and studies since 1945, and I assure you, I have more questions than answers.

I don't think Robert would object to your questions as they fit in this "forum". You can feel free to email me at any time....Jimbo@kingston.net..If I can help in any way, I would be only too pleased.

Cheers,

Jim