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Monday, October 02, 2006

Law and Grace

In a sermon on the subject of law and grace, Wayne Thompson, pastor of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Rusk, Texas, quoted this wonderful little poem:

"Do this and live!" the law demands,
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
But sweeter sounds the gospel brings,
It bids me fly, and gives me wings!


To my way of thinking, it really captures the contrast.

I have not yet found the proper attribution for it -- I've seen from John Bunyan in the 1600s to John Fischer in the 1970s -- and would be glad to know the author.

6 comments:

amity said...

Robert, I found this on this lovely little hymn:

Alleluia
Words and Music by John Fischer

"Do this and live," the law commands,
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
A better way his grace doth bring,
It bids me fly and gives me wings.

Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia, praise the Lord!
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia, praise the Lord!

http://www.fischtank.com/ft/music/tncovenant.cfm

amity said...

Never mind that... here is the real original McCoy, i do believe:

Ralph Erskine (1684-1752)
The Sermons and Practical Works of Ralph Erskine, 1778

http://homepage.mac.com/shanerosenthal/reformationink/relawgospel.htm

nice sonnet, but long, so i will leave you to read it for yourself if you wish.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Thanks. That second one looks like the real McCoy. I had my attention called to the Fischer site. I'm not sure what they intend -- perhaps that the arrangement of words and music are by Fischer. Since I had seen a quotation of one of the variants of this stanza in a Charles Spurgeon sermon, I was pretty sure it wasn't written by John Fischer in 1975!

amity said...

Right. I wonder if his conscience troubles him a bit over that? Maybe he doesn't know who to attribute it to himself, so just treats it as a "folk hymn."

Still some reference to it being "traditional" would be nice, not just "words and music by....me."

Anonymous said...

The original wording of this was John Bunyan :

Run, John, run
"The law commands
But gives me neither feet nor hands
Tis better news the Gospel brings
It bids me fly
It gives me wings"
He died in 1689, when Ralpoh Erskine was merely 5 years old however he would have certainly found this published in Bunyan's work on law and grace which was published in 1659.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Anonymous, Thanks for the information on the author of these words. I appreciate the help.