6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
John 14:6-7 (KJV)
Today’s hymn is composed by George Washington Doane. I approve of his hymn-writing more than I approve of his theology since he was an adherent of the Oxford Movement (like Keble), and was also tried by the Episcopal Court for careless computation of monies and funds of the Church – though not found guilty by that court. The evidence was overwhelming and brought by ministers tried and true. But this hymn, I believe, was given to Doane by the Lord. All that the man did was not of a questionable nature, and I believe the Lord used him. Doane was later Bishop of New Jersey during the time of his trial.
Doane wrote this hymn in 1824 and it was included in the Hymnal of 1826, and was the first American hymn to be included in the original edition of the English Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1860. The hymn is suited for use on days of Holy Communion, St. James, and St. Andrew. The tune itself is St. James by Raphael Courteville (1697).
THOU ART THE WAY, TO THEE ALONE
Thou art the Way, to thee alone
From sin and death we flee;
And he who would the Father seek,
Must seek him, Lord, by thee.
Thou art the Truth, thy word alone
True wisdom can impart;
Thou only canst inform the mind
And purify the heart.
Thou art the Life, the rending tomb
Proclaims thy conquering arm;
And those who put their trust in thee
Nor death nor hell shall harm.
Thou art the Way, the Truth, the Life;
Grant us that way to know,
That truth to keep, that life to win,
Whose joys eternal flow.
“Thou art the Way, to thee alone From sin and death we flee; And he who would the Father seek,
Must seek him, Lord, by thee.” Every true Christian will know, either by reading or by a burning faith, that our Lord Jesus Christ is the “The WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.” The three uses of the definite article adjective, THE, is of profound importance for it points to Christ alone as the Way, Truth, and Life. Our Lord is not merely ‘A’ way; or ‘another’ way – He is the ONLY WAY, the ONLY TRUTH and the ONLY LIFE! He is the ONLY manifested expression of the Father and His WORD on which we can lay our hands. He became One with us, and dwelt among us in a tent of flesh. Naturally, He offers the only escape from the penalty of sin – Death. He is our Sun and, as the eagle is equipped to fly directly to the sun when in danger, so do we fly to Him. The devil’s archerS cannot take accurate aim on us when we fly to our Sun of Righteousness for reason of the blinding Light.
“Thou art the Truth, thy word alone True wisdom can impart; Thou only canst inform the mind
And purify the heart.” There is a difference in knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is important, but it makes no careful decisions. How does one gain wisdom? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Prov 1:7 (KJV) Knowledge will lead to wisdom when the heart is filled with the Lord’s Holy Spirit. As Job says, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28 (KJV) Before we feel SECURE in the Lord, we must fear Him. That fear leads to a better knowledge of Him, and that better knowledge leads to wisdom, so that FEAR is not the end, but the beginning of the relationship. As we know Him as a loving Father, we lose our mortal fear and acquire the loving fear that a son or daughter has for an earthly father.
“Thou art the Life, the rending tomb Proclaims thy conquering arm; And those who put their trust in thee Nor death nor hell shall harm.” He is the sum parts of all living. Have you not read, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” Lev 17:11 (KJV) This is true of all mortal life; but the spiritual life of the Elect of God is also in the Blood of Christ which is a spiritual blood that gives life to every cell of our spiritual being. The Tomb whose stone closure was rent apart by the Lord’s resurrection is the eternal promise that our tombs, as well, shall be made open at the day of the Lord’s own choosing. He conquered death; and He also conquered Hell, for US. No longer are the Elect subject to that second death, or to the everlasting fires of Hell.
“Thou art the Way, the Truth, the Life; Grant us that way to know, That truth to keep, that life to win,
Whose joys eternal flow.” If we do not know the way, we have not been using our Chart and Compass (which is the Holy Word of God). It charts the sources of cool, gushing waters for the thirsty; the mountains and valleys for our navigation and refreshment; and the life-giving trees for shade and sources of many excellent fruits. He has given us His full truth for us to know and walk in. Yet, we add meaning and error to that Word by adding our own thoughts and immoral opinions thereto. Truth is unchanging, immutable, uncompromising. Sometimes it gets in the way of our social engineering, doesn’t it? When it comes to the decrees of God Almighty, national constitutions are irrelevant. We obey God’s Law as precedent above every manmade ordinance. (Ps 118:8 and Acts 5:29) If we do these things, we have another hymn to add to the riches of our hearts:
Joys are flowing like a river,
since the Comforter has come;
Christ abides with us forever,
makes the trusting heart his home.
What a wonderful salvation,
when we always see Christ’s face,
what a peaceful habitation,
what a quiet resting place