For The Love of Hymns

A couple of weeks ago at prayer meeting, we opened with a hymn that I purposefully made note of the page number, so that I could come back to it because the lyrics, along with its melody were so weighty, so overwhelming and humbling. It made me so appreciative of God’s magnificent and sovereign electing grace.

The hymn was an old hymn from the year 1707, by Isaac Watts, How Sweet and Awful Is The Place.  When I first sung this song at my church, I struggled to understand what was meant by “awful”, and later discovered it meant in its truest sense, awe-inspiring. It has been changed  to awesome in revision, which I believe diminishes its weight.

Some hymns help to right our thoughts about God and his providence. They help to buoy our faith and trust in him. Some hymns remind us that we are of another kingdom, immediately removing the distractions of this world and taking us directly before our Creator God, before whom we bow, in spirit if not physically.

Some of these hymns of old are rich in theology, plainly speaking truths of the scriptures. Some,  cause us to remember and confess our sins and unworthiness before a Holy God. I must admit though, there are some that don’t resonate; whether that be because of the non-melodic melody or the lyrics themselves.

But my heart is opened to become acquainted with more of these hymns of old.

The lyrics to How Sweet and Awful is posted below, and a YouTube from the 2008 Together for the Gospel conference. I hope that you too, may be moved.

Original Trinity Hymnal, #271

How sweet and awful is the place
With Christ within the doors,
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores.

While all our hearts and all our songs
Join to admire the feast,
Each of us cry, with thankful tongues,
“Lord, why was I a guest?

“Why was I made to hear thy voice,
And enter while there’s room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?”

‘Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.

Pity the nations, O our God,
Constrain the earth to come;
Send thy victorious Word abroad,
And bring the strangers home.

We long to see thy churches full,
That all the chosen race
May, with one voice and heart and soul,
Sing thy redeeming grace.

The second hymn is Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right, by Samuel Rodigast in 1675. This hymn to most will sound like a dirge, but to me, it’s perfectly set. I do know of at least two other versions of this hymn, one being by Sovereign Grace, but I prefer the original. Something about it makes one thoughtful.  Unfortunately, I am unable to find a decent copy of it being sung in this version, so I am only including the piano version.

Original Trinity Hymnal, #94

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Holy his will abideth;
I will be still whate’er he doth;
And follow where he guideth:
He is my God: though dark my road,
He holds me that I shall not fall:
Wherefore to him I leave it all.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path;
I know he will not leave me:
I take, content, what he hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait his day.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Though now this cup, in drinking,
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it, all unshrinking:
My God is true; each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
And pain and sorrow shall depart.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Here shall my stand be taken;
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet am I not forsaken;
My Father’s care is round me there;
He holds me that I shall not fall:
And so to him I leave it all.

There are several more that have become my favorites, but my hope is that this whets your appetite for some of these very old, theologically rich hymns.






6 thoughts on “For The Love of Hymns

  1. Thank you for following us. Douglas and I are so appreciative. I am glad to have found your post on another blog site. You commented and when I saw your picture, I felt moved to check out your blog, and so glad I did. Blessings to you.


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