23 January 2024 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-19; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)


Many are missing a great blessing for not having the beauty of songs in their hearts. God gives a song in the darkest night as well as in the bright sun of day as a means of comfort and restored joy. “I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. 6 I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.” (Psalms 77:5-6)

The great classical hymns serve to reinforce our understanding of biblical doctrine. But it is important also to know the men and women behind the composition of those hymns for we often find great beauty, sometimes tragedy and greater truth revealed therein.

There are probably very few, if any, of our readers who have not often joined in singing,

Come, Thou Fount Of every blessing,
Tune my heart to Sing Thy grace ;
Streams Of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise. 

Yet – who wrote it? It was written by a certain Robert Robinson, of Cambridge, England. He was born in the year 1735, and was converted under the preaching of Whitefield. He is said to have been a man of unusual mental endowment, and shortly after his conversion he became a preacher. Unfortunately, he was also a man of a restless disposition, unstable in his thinking, always going from one thing to another, and eventually became an infidel. It would seem, from a careful perusal of this hymn, that when he wrote it in the first enthusiasm of his conversion, he was sensible of the unsettled character of  his own mind and heart; for you will notice how, in the last verse, he pleads piteously for the grace of constancy –

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let that grace now, like a fetter,
Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee !
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart—Oh take and seal it,
Seal it from Thy courts above!” 

In connection with the history of this hymn, it is related that the author of it was one day traveling by coach and had for his fellow passenger a lady, an entire stranger to him. She had lately seen this hymn, and admired it SO much that in the course of conversation she asked him whether he had ever seen it, and whether he could tell her who was the author of it? At first he avoided  her questions, for he was at that very moment an avowed infidel.

But as she pressed him for an answer and began to tell him what a blessing and comfort that one hymn had been to her soul, he at length burst into a passionate flood of tears, exclaiming, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who composed that hymn many years ago; and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had now, to enjoy the feeling I then had!

The poor man died hopeless. Alas, that one should preach the Gospel and himself be cast away!

(based on Short Stories of the Hymns, by Henry Martyn Kieffer, 1912)

By |2024-01-26T15:52:13+00:00January 26th, 2024|Blog|Comments Off on HIDDEN TESTIMONY OF HYMNS

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