Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Why Men Don't Preach Sovereign Grace

You won’t find this piece in your average church hymnal! As far as I can remember, we have never sung this hymn, but it speaks to an issue with some uncomfortable clarity. Some might read the words and sense an attacking spirit, but knowing something of Joseph Hart, I rather think it was written sorrowfully and with the hope it might provoke a brother to think through his theology more carefully.
I am not suggesting you sing it this Sunday, but it might be worth reading one day – when the occasion merits it.

Why Men Don't Preach Sovereign Grace
What makes mistaken men afraid
Of sovereign grace to preach!
The reason is, if truth be said,
Because they are so rich.

Why so offensive in their eyes
Does God's election seem?
Because they think themselves so wise
That they have chosen him.

Of perseverance why so loath
Are some to speak or hear?
Because, as masters over sloth,
They vow to persevere.

Whence is imputed righteousness
A point so little known?
Because men think they all possess
Some righteousness their own.

Not so the needy, helpless soul,
Prefers his humble prayer;
He looks to him that works the whole,
And seeks his treasure there.

His language is, "Let me, my God,
On sovereign grace rely;
And own 'tis free, because bestowed
On one so vile as I.

Election ! tis a word divine;
For, Lord, I plainly see,
Had not thy choice preceded mine,
I ne'er had chosen thee.

For perseverance strength I've none,
But would on this depend...
That Jesus, having loved his own,
Will love them to the end.

Empty and bare, I come to thee
For righteousness divine:
O may thy matchless merits be,
By imputation, mine."

Thus differ these; yet hoping each
To make salvation Sure.
Now most men will approve the rich,
But Christ has blessed the poor.

First titled: "Because thou sayest, I am rich." Rev 3:17. By Joseph Hart. A Selection of Hymns for Public Worship. by William Gadsby. The Gospel Standard Societies, 1977. 8 Roundwood Gardens, Harpenden, Herts. AL5 3AJ, England. Hymn 222. Pages 183-4.

7 comments:

  1. Oh, glorious hymn! A celebration of our own poverty and God's astounding riches of grace!

    I'd love to sing this at church, Paul.

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  2. I've read that eighth stanza somewhere else. What a great Gospel declaration it is!

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  3. If we haven't sung it, we've read it in church. I remember reading it in a bulletin at least once.

    Great hymn.

    Maybe since preaching itself is so passé now, maybe we should write a new hymn called "why persons don't have conversations about sovereign grace in small groups"?

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  4. Praise the Lord for posting this, it is one that has escaped mine eyes, Glory to God for saving us!

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  5. I wouldn't mind reading this in Church some time but I will try to reserve the worship songs to singing TO God not ABOUT others.

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  6. I agree with Ken...while the content in the hymn is wonderful, it seems to be "preachy," i.e., it's a sermon in musical form. The hymn is actually addressed to us, rather than to God, as all hymns should be.

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  7. I would say its more of a prayer than a sermon as it is written to God.

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