A Hymn Devotion for 8 October 2019 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. 47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. John 6:44-51 (KJV)
This is an old Gospel Song written after the traditions of the evangelistic movement of the late 1800’s. The lyrics are the composition of that prolific blind hymn writer, Fanny Crosby in 1875. Miss Crosby has written more than 9,000 hymns. The musical score is the work of William H. Doane, also a prolific hymn writer having written some 2,000 hymns plus musical scores for many others. The hymn was written late at night following a discussion of Hebrews 10:22 – “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Miss Crosby, being blind, seems to have had a better view of our Lord in Heaven than anyone else with whom I am familiar.
DRAW ME NEARER
1. I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice,
and it told thy love to me;
but I long to rise in the arms of faith
and be closer drawn to thee.
Refrain: Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
to the cross where thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
to thy precious, bleeding side.
2. Consecrate me now to thy service, Lord,
by the power of grace divine;
let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
and my will be lost in thine. (Refrain)
3. O the pure delight of a single hour
that before thy throne I spend,
when I kneel in prayer, and with thee, my God,
I commune as friend with friend! (Refrain)
4. There are depths of love that I cannot know
till I cross the narrow sea;
there are heights of joy that I may not reach
till I rest in peace with thee. (Refrain)
I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice, and it told thy love to me; but I long to rise in the arms of faith and be closer drawn to thee. We all belong to some spiritual entity – either God or the Devil. If God, then we will do the works of God, but if to the Devil, then we will do his works which our Lord so clearly defined: “Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” Whose works do you do? It is saving grace that instills the faith which draws us ever closer to God our Father in Christ. Unless we are drawn by the Father, we cannot come to Christ. (John 5:44)
2. Consecrate me now to thy service, Lord, by the power of grace divine; let my soul look up with a steadfast hope, and my will be lost in thine. Doesn’t this verse open the essence of Christian living before our eyes and even the blind eyes of Fanny Crosby? If we have been called to the service of the Lord, we have also been consecrated by Him to that service. We were named and called before we were conceived in our mother’s womb – indeed, before the pillars of the earth were laid before Eden. Cyrus the Great was named and called to set the Hebrew children free from Babylon 200 years before he was born. The gates of the city of Babylon would be left open by Belshazzar’s drunken guards during his last feast: “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;” Isaiah 45:1 (KJV) Isaiah wrote those lines in 700 B.C.. Cyrus conquered Babylon in 537 B.C. Cyrus was called and anointed ever before he knew the God of the Hebrews. To read the prayer of Cyrus, see Ezra 1:1-4. Fanny’s hymns are always pleading for us to “look up” which is where her intense vision was focused, We must reject our own wicked self-wills (read free wills) and take upon us the mind that was in Christ. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” Philippians 2:5 (KJV) Do you have that Mind?
3. O the pure delight of a single hour that before thy throne I spend, when I kneel in prayer, and with thee, my God, I commune as friend with friend! How many hours do we spend before the Throne of God? Is our pitiful moments sufficient to commune intimately with the Lord? Do we both express our petitions and wait for His response? There is no friend who has ever died guiltless in your stead. Has any friend shown himself to be more friend than our Lord? “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 (KJV)
4. There are depths of love that I cannot know till I cross the narrow sea; there are heights of joy that I may not reach till I rest in peace with thee. To know God is to know God; but the depths of His love is of such tremendous magnitude that it is beyond our mortal comprehension. How could any of us send our only Begotten Son to die at the hands of those who hate us and are our sworn enemies? The Banks of old Jordan Waters lie just ahead for some, and at greater length for others; but, young or old, we know not the moment when the sand beneath our feet begins to shift, the thunder calls out to us from on high, and we are cast forward to those murky waters. But the Christian does not have to cross Jordan alone – He has a Friend who made Jordan Waters at his side. He will see us across with a mighty outreached arm. On that far shore shall be experienced a greater joy than we ever believed possible. The battle will be over, the enemy of our souls vanquished, And a host of familiar faces will greet us there. But, as Fanny always says, the Face of her Lord will be the first that a poor blind lady will see there.
Refrain: Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, to the cross where thou hast died. Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, to thy precious, bleeding side. How near to Christ does your love draw you? It drew the Apostle John (the Apostle of Love) to the very foot of the Cross. John would even have mounted the cross with Christ had compassion made it possible. Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and a host of other women braved the hate of the Jewish rulers and of Rome in standing at the foot of the cross while the remaining disciples hide in the distant bushes. Until we come, individually, to the Cross, we cannot begin to know the depth of His love; and it is His love that draws and compels us there. Are you so drawn there, my friends?