Saturday, June 21, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday - And Can It Be?

Yes, it can be and it is time for TSMS! But that's actually the title of today's song. I discovered the hymn And Can It Be That I Should Gain? in college and absolutely fell in love with this wondrous testimony to the power of God's love and grace toward us.

I don't know why it wasn't in The Baptist Hymnal when I was growing up. A number of other Charles Wesley hymns were. But I guess since the man wrote approximately 6,000 hymns, not all of them could be included in any one book! Fortunately, it is in the 1991 version, as well as the new Baptist Hymnal and Worship Hymnal, both of which will be released later this summer.

Here is the story behind this majestic and wonderful hymn:

Charles Wesley had been raised in the church, attended Oxford, and was in "the ministry" with his brother John. However, he was not at peace. During a time in London, he came to realize that "salvation is by faith alone." His May 20, 1738 journal entry reads:
At midnight I gave myself to Christ, assured that I was safe, whether sleeping or waking. I had the continual experience of His power to overcome all temptation, and I confessed with joy and surprise that He was able to do exceedingly abundantly for me above what I can ask or think.
He fervently began pouring out his soul in hymns. It is believed that And Can It Be was written 2 days after his conversion. He apparently even dictated a final hymn to his beloved wife from his deathbed.

Sources:
1. Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions; Kenneth Osbeck, 2002
2. songsandhymns.org
I love the joy evident on many of these folks' faces as they sing this great hymn at one of the Gaither Homecoming tapings. You'll catch a glimpse or two of George Beverly Shea to the pianist's right.

Unfortunately, they just sing the first and last verses. I love verses 3 and 4 as well, which are also typically seen in today's hymnals; I was not familiar with the 2nd and 5th verses. And I bet that last verse will make you smile all weekend!



AND CAN IT BE THAT I SHOULD GAIN?

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

WORDS: Charles Wesley, 1738
MUSIC: Thomas Campbell, 1825

More songs can be found here at Amy's blog! Have a wonderful weekend!

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13 comments:

Cheryl said...

Linda,

I remember singing this when I was younger. They don't really sing very many hymms these days.

Great song!

Thanks for sharing!

Susan said...

Oh yes!!

I love when you share the background of a song!!

Blessings to you♥

Lisa Ann said...

I love this hymn. I haven't heard it in awhile so I am glad you posted it.

Peggy said...

Oh YES LINDA and IT CAN BE thatI SHOULD GAIN...hymns of Charles Wesley...more than 6,000...simply aMazing and what aMazing LOVE...
How can it be that OUR AWESOME God should die for me?

I have to say that I did not even know this hymn but somehow the music and the lyrics seem to strike a chord in my heart.

And thank you thank you thank you!
For the click to songsandhymns...
How I enjoyed the devotional!
Bless you for blessing me!
Peggy
[BTW...even though you'd never heard that version of the Our Father, you have heard of Don Moen, right? I hope so...he's MN born but leaving in the south, he writes and composes such beautiful music for himself & others/
Integrity music! I enjoy him so!almost as much as Charles Wesley's Great Hymns. or in a different way,
maybe even more-He's a contemporary
Charles Wesley](lol)Have a great weekend!

Peggy said...

Linda...I'm laughing over here!
GOD WILL MAKE A WAY...even for
the saved choir members...we sang this one when we moved into our new huge church and I gave a testimony during the instrumental part...then rushed back over to sing with the choir...it was such a delight!!! I also was able to see him, up close & personal at
MUSIC MINNESOTA summer conference, which still impresses me with his gift and charisma...bless you for responding...and giving me a laugh!

A Stone Gatherer said...

Another one of the wonderful songs I grew up on! Oh how I love to hear them and sing them again! Thanks Linda!

beckyjomama said...

There's just something about all of the old hymns. They bring me home!

Thanks for sharing!

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

That is really neat! I too love hearing the backgrounds/origins of how something came to be.
Thanks for sharing!
Lea
<*)))><

Kelli said...

You make me miss all the old hymns even more than I already do. I look forward to the "Hymn History" lesson every Saturday. I might start making it a part of my kids' homeschool lessons! You are awesome :)

Carole said...

What assurance and joy the words of "And Can It Be" bring! I fell in love with that song the first time I heard it at a music conference, and I'm going to suggest it to our worship leader. thank you, Linda!

Xandra said...

Proof, once again, that so many contemporary songs contain the lyrics to hymns, and people don't even know it!

Chris Tomlin uses some of the words in his song "Amazing Love" Great choice for this week!

Xandra

Julie Stiles Mills said...

What a blast from the past! I remember this one! But I hadn't heard it (or sung it) for years. Thanks for this!

Sita said...

This song is so rich....like Spurgeon's writing...words to savor and seep slowly into your senses...it is very precious to me...I remember singing this with thousands at Urbana many years ago....strange how hymns that used to be boring to a teenager can be so filled with meaning much later...thank you,
Love, Sita