A Hymn Devotion for 3 March 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Luke 10:30-35 (KJV)
It is difficult to believe that I have not written about this beloved hymn before, but am told it is not in my collection. This deeply spiritual hymn is another masterpiece by the remarkable Fanny Crosby – what a tremendous impact has her beautiful heart strings had upon the development of hymnology! Mrs. Crosby composed the hymn in 1868, and William H. Doane (a remarkable hymnist in his own right) composed the music for the hymn in 1870. This hymn has proven its virtues among the greatest ever written and will endure until our Lord returns, and was another favorite of my mother. Both Crosby and Doane passed away in 1915.
PASS ME NOT, O GENTLE SAVIOR
Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.
Hear my humble cry,
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.
Let me at Thy throne of mercy
Find a sweet relief;
Kneeling there in deep contrition,
Help my unbelief.
Trusting only in Thy merit,
Would I seek Thy face;
Heal my wounded, broken spirit,
Save me by Thy grace.
Thou the spring of all my comfort,
More than life to me,
Whom have I on earth beside Thee,
Whom in Heav’n but Thee.
There is one form of plagiarism that is, indeed, praiseworthy – and that is the plagiarism of the truth and beauty of God’s Holy Word. Fanny Crosby accomplishes this object commendably in all her writings. She captures the beauty and meaning in such simple, yet profound, ways. The leading line of this hymn is the strong desire expressed by every Lord-seeking heart, “Pass me not, O Gentle Savior.”
Pass me not, O gentle Savior, Hear my humble cry; While on others Thou art calling, Do not pass me by. Fanny may have gotten the seed-thought of this first line from Genesis 18 in which the Lord appeared to Abraham on the Plains of Mamre: “And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant.” Genesis 18:3 (KJV) But the sentiment is strongly repeated throughout Holy Writ. An old man sat by the dusty thoroughfare begging of the passersby. He was blind from youth (as was Fanny) and required friends and family to bring him to that dusty road every day. The greater physical beauty of God’s Creation escaped the observance of this gentle old fellow. He had sat for years in this place barely receiving enough to buy his bread. The sun was hot, and the day long and tiring for him. But when the Lord Jesus Christ passed his way, Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52) could not restrain himself from calling out to the Lord for Mercy. Those flocking Christ could not dissuade this man from crying out for our Lord was his only hope of remedy for his condition. Neither could the Lord be restrained from stopping and calling unto Bartimaeus. It is the old, old story of the salvation of souls. Our Lord will never pass by any who call upon Him in response to the urging of the Holy Spirit.
Let me at Thy throne of mercy Find a sweet relief; Kneeling there in deep contrition, Help my unbelief. Faith comes not from any merit or virtue on our part, but is a gift of the Holy Ghost. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Ephesians 2:8 (KJV) Being dead in trespasses and sins, we could not call upon the Lord without the Spirit’s beckon. We come in ‘deep contrition’ and scarcely knowing if His grace is sufficient to cover our sins – but it certainly IS! God plants His sweet words of such savory fragrance as to revive our dead souls and turn them to the open door of our worldly tomb.
Trusting only in Thy merit, Would I seek Thy face; Heal my wounded, broken spirit, Save me by Thy grace. Just as was blind Bartimaeus, we were blind to see the face of Christ until we had been granted the privilege to see and know Him. We were all blind before the brilliant beams of the Holy Spirit entered the dark chambers of our hearts revealing those effulgent beams of love and truth. We had no merit, no virtue, no worthiness – until Christ imputed His righteousness on those whom He foreknew and loved before the foundations of the world.
Thou the spring of all my comfort, More than life to me, Whom have I on earth beside Thee, Whom in Heav’n but Thee. He is the very Spring of Life whose thirst-quenching waters impart life eternal unlike the brief satisfaction of the muddied waters of the wadi’s of the world. “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13 (KJV) The cisterns of the world hold no water to quench the thirst of the Christ-hungry heart. The decadent music even in churches, the easy-believism being preached from America’s pulpits, and the perverse values of a society gone to the weeds will not satisfy the depth of hunger of the heart. We have none on earth who could love us like our Lord. We have no love which can grant such eternal bliss as our Lord. We have no Advocate who will stand with us without charge while bearing our own guilt on His broad shoulders. He is our High Priest here and now, and our High Priest who is forever our Intercessor and Advocate with the Father in Heaven. We have no one but Christ – and we need no other!
Savior, Savior, Hear my humble cry, While on others Thou art calling, Do not pass me by. Just as Bartimaeus did not cease calling to the Lord after the first attempt, neither should we. The earnest of our hearts’ desire is measured in perseverance. “Savior, Savior!” is the cry of the wounded man by the wayside; of the blind Bartimaeus; of the ten lepers; and of the Syro-Phoenician mother. His is our last true hope; and, incidentally, forever our ONLY hope. We see others being called by grace and faith to the Lord and wonder, “Why has He not called me?” That calling is solely the discretion of the Lord, and His time of calling will always be the perfect time – whether as we are perishing beside Him on a cross at Calvary, sinking into the turbid waters of the Galilean Sea, or counting the tax at the table of the publican. Keen ears are made to hear His Voice and respond without delay at the moment of His calling. Even, as the baby lamb, we may linger behind and find ourselves lost in the wilderness of passed transgressions, His Voice is clear and certain, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.” Matthew 8:22 (KJV) Don’t linger with the dead corpse of your passed damnation, ARISE in Christ and be made new. Hear His Voice calling you back to the “Way, the Truth, and the Life!”