Sunday, April 19, 2020

A door of hope is opened wide

The following hymn was written by William Gadsby, and appears in his hymn book A Selection of Hymns for Public Worship on page 585. The heading is “No Help for Sinners but in Christ,” with a reference to Acts 4:12. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Salvation that is of the Lord is exalted, achieving a crescendo at “A door of hope is opened wide, In Jesus’ bleeding hands and side!”

The hymn consists of six-line stanzas and is labeled with the old psalm meter 148th – what we Sacred Harp singers refer to as H. M. or Hallelujah Meter. Two good tunes for this hymn, in my opinion, are Amherst and Worlds Above, found on pages 314 and 315 in The Sacred Harp.

1. Where must a sinner fly,
That feels himself undone?
On what kind hand rely,
Eternal wrath to shun?
Can wit or reason help him out,
And bring a lasting peace about?

2. Reason no help can give,
But leaves him in distress;
Nor can he be reprieved
By works of righteousness;
The law as loud as thunder cries,
“The soul that sins against me, dies.”

3. Should creatures all agree,
To give him settled rest,
They cannot set him free,
Nor cheer his troubled breast;
No human arm his case can reach,
Nor men, nor angels heal the breach.

4. Salvation is of God;
Jehovah is his name;
The Saviour shed his blood;
The Lord of Life was slain;
And by his own atoning blood,
He made a precious way to God.

5. Here sinners may draw near,
With all their sin and guilt;
Nor death nor danger fear,
Since Jesus’ blood was spilt;
A door of hope is opened wide,
In Jesus’ bleeding hands and side.

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