Sunday, March 21, 2021

And can it be that I should gain

Charles Wesley (1707-1788) called the following hymn “Free Grace.” It appeared in his Hymns and Sacred Poems (London: Strahan, 1739) in six stanzas in meter 88.88.88. It explores the mystery of “free grace,” the “strange design” of love divine that sounds the depths and reaches the heights of heaven. Salvation is in Christ alone. In church hymnals, it seems most often paired with Sagina by Thomas Campbell – in which the last lines of the hymn are repeated. In David’s Harp it accompanies a tune called Nashville, which matches its six lines.
1. And can it be that I should gain
An Int’rest in the Saviour’s blood?
Dy’d He for me?— who caus’d his pain?
For me?— who him to Death pursu’d?
Amazing Love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
2. ’Tis Myst’ry all! th’Immortal dies!
Who can explore his strange Design?
In vain the first-born Seraph tries
To sound the Depths of Love Divine!
’Tis Mercy all! let Earth adore;
Let Angel Minds enquire no more.
3. He left his Father’s Throne above,
(So free, so infinite his Grace!)
Empty’d himself of All but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless Race:
’Tis Mercy all, immense and free!
For, O my God! it found out me!
4. Long my imprison’d spirit lay,
Fast bound in Sin and Nature’s Night;
Thine Eye diffus’d a quick’ning Ray,
I woke; the Dungeon flam’d with Light;
My Chains fell off, my Heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and follow’d Thee.
5. Still the small inward Voice I hear,
That whispers all my Sins forgiv’n;
Still the Atoning Blood is near,
That quench’d the Wrath of hostile Heav’n:
I feel the Life his Wounds impart;
I feel my Saviour in my Heart.
6. No Condemnation now I dread,
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine:
Alive in Him, my Living Head,
And cloath’d in Righteousness Divine,
Bold I approach th’Eternal Throne,
And claim the Crown, thro’ Christ, my own.

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