The Throne Of Grace

This encouraging hymn by Samuel Medley (1738-1799) is based on Hebrews 4:16 and can be found in Gadsby’s Hymns (#382).

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Dear Lord! to us assembled here
Reveal thy smiling face,
While we, by faith, with love and fear,
Approach the throne of grace.

Thy house is called the house of prayer,
A solemn sacred place;
O let us now thy presence share,
While at the throne of grace.

With holy boldness may we come,
Though of a sinful race,
Thankful to find there yet is room
Before the throne of grace.

Our earnest, fervent cry attend,
And all our faith increase,
While we address our heavenly Friend
Upon the throne of grace.

His tender pity and his love
Our every fear will chase;
And all our help, we then shall prove,
Comes from the throne of grace.

Dear Lord, our many wants supply;
Attend to every case;
While humbled in the dust we lie,
Low at the throne of grace.

We bless thee for thy word and laws;
We bless thee for thy peace;
And we do bless thee, Lord, because
There is a throne of grace.

Be Still My Soul

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Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
leave to thy God to order and provide
in ev’ry change He faithful will remain
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
thro’ thorny ways leads to a joyful end

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
to guide the future as He has the past
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake
all now mysterious shall be bright at last
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice, who ruled them while He dwelt below

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart
and all is darkened in the veil of tears
then shalt thou better know His love, His heart
who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
from His own fullness all He takes away

Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
when we shall be forever with the Lord
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone
sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last

Behind the lines

One of my favorite hymns to grieve by, especially the passing of a loved one. It was written by Katharina von Schlegel in the 1700s and little is known about her life which in many ways makes it even sweeter.

Dedicated to Rowena Appleton Taylor who passed away yesterday at the age of 69.

Below is a YouTube video of a traditional a cappella boys choir, Libera, singing it complete with lyrics.

 

Saint Patrick’s Hymn

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Saint Patrick’s Hymn is also known as Saint Patrick’s Breastplate, The Deer’s Cry, or The Lorica of Saint Patrick and has been attributed to him. It was also adapted into the hymn I Bind Unto Myself Today (1889) by Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895) which is provided below. There have been many different adaptations as the YouTube version at the end illustrates and you’ll find many sources with varying lyrics for it.  In addition, it’s often used as a prayer especially the last part which is my favorite beginning with “Christ be with me…”

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever,
By power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river;
His death on cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet “Well done” in judgment hour;
The service of the seraphim;
Confessors’ faith, apostles’ word,
The patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls;
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, his might to stay,
His ear to hearken, to my need;
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, his shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort
And restore me.
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of
All that love me,
Christ in mouth of
Friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Behind the lines

For more on Saint Patrick here’s a helpful article from Ligonier Ministries on Who Was Saint Patrick and Should Christians Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? 

 

 

 

I Sit Beside The Fire And Think

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“I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow-flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been;

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were,
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair.

I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring
That I shall ever see.

For still there are so many things
That I have never seen:
In every wood in every spring
There is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people who will see a world
That I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
Of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
And voices at the door.”

Behind the lines

This is one of my favorites by J.R.R. Tolkien (1892 – 1973). He wrote a contemplative lyric that anyone can relate to who has sat long by a mesmerizing fire. It’s the song of Bilbo Baggins from the Lord of the Rings which takes place in Rivendell not long before Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring set out on their journey to destroy the One Ring. The song is a fireside reflection of joyful remembrance, curiosities unfulfilled, people never met, a future unknown, and a hopeful return of loved ones at our door like Frodo (Bilbo’s adopted nephew). It can be found in Chapter III – The Ring Goes South.

 

 

Hallelujah, What a Savior!

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“Man of sorrows what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned he stood,
Sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Guilty, helpless, lost were we;
Blameless Lamb of God was he,
Sacrificed to set us free:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

He was lifted up to die;
“It is finished” was his cry;
Now in heaven exalted high:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

When he comes, our glorious King,
All his ransomed home to bring,
Then anew this song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!”

Behind the lines

This is one of my favorite hymns written by Philip Bliss (1838 -1876). Below is a YouTube video of a contemporary version by the Shelly Moore Band. I had previously posted more on Bliss’ life and works highlighting another song of his “My Redeemer” here.

Anne Steele – A Hymn Story

This Anne Steele hymn story is one of the most searched and viewed posts on GraceSyallabes. I hope you enjoy the reblog about her life of hymn-writing.

GraceSyllables

This “Hymn Story” highlights the life and works of Anne Steele (1717-1778). Anne was one of the first significant female hymn writers and she wrote 144 of them. One my favorites is When I Survey Life’s Varied Scene and I’ve included it below.

Enduring much hardship in her life, Anne’s hymns are most known for laments that encourage us to trust God through difficulties. This particular hymn offers hope and brings powerful praise by focusing on His grace in the midst of struggle.

There is controversy surrounding her story, but shouldn’t every good story have a little controversy? Hymnary.org is one source that provides the following details of her life:

“Anne Steele was born at Broughton, Hampshire, in 1717. Her father was a timber merchant, and at the same time officiated as the lay pastor of the Baptist Society at Broughton (England). Her mother died when she was 3. At the age of 19 she became an…

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A Riddle

One of my most viewed posts comes from people looking for the answer to this riddle. Can you solve it without finding the answer?

GraceSyllables

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I am just two and two, I am warm, I am cold,
And the parent of numbers that cannot be told.
I am lawful, unlawful — a duty, a fault,
I am often sold dear, good for nothing when bought;
An extraordinary boon, and a matter of course,
And yielded with pleasure when taken by force.

William Cowper (1780)

Note: I’ve provided the answer in the Comments

Behind the lines

William Cowper (pronounced Cooper) had severe bouts of depression throughout his life, but the answer to the riddle is not typically thought of as depressing.

Cowper (1731-1800) was a poet and hymn writer and his most famous hymns are, “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood,” “O For a Closer Walk with God,” and “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.”

He was good friends with John Newton (1725-1807) and included this riddle in a letter he wrote to him. Their joint hymns…

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Abide With Me

This is the best known hymn of Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847) who wrote it not long before he died. His biographies reveal he was no stranger to difficulties and poor health.

His parents separated when he was 8 or 9 and he never saw his mother again. His Father was an army officer who began to represent himself as an uncle, and his second wife as his aunt (Source: J.R. Watson, The English Hymn: A Critical and Historical Study who cites B.G. Skinner, Henry Francis Lyte, Brixham’s Poet and Priest).

In setting up this hymn, J. R. Watson also writes:

“There are many poems by Lyte which re-enact the process of separation from the beloved, either by death or parting.”

“Lyte was obsessed by darkness, separation, and loss”

What is often found in Lyte’s hymns “is a use of words in patterns, He has a striking ability to produce a phrase, and then repeat it, or vary it, or turn it back on itself.”

“It was not for nothing that he strove all his life to find rest, the stability in God that he had never had as a child. All these things go into the making of ‘Abide with me’. And because of this, (the) hymn expresses deep and mysterious truths about human nature, neither presuming nor despairing, but placing the hope of heaven against the shortness of life and the helplessness of human kind.”

“As the manuscript tells us, Lyte had in his mind Luke 24:29, Abide with us, for it is toward Evening, and the day is far spent.”

Abide With Me

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea,
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

My Psalm

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) is well-known as one of the Fireside Poets. Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that Whittier’s poems have “the morning air of a soul that breathes freely, and always the fragrance of a loving spirit.”

His best known hymn is Dear Lord and Father of mankind, but one of my favorite poems of his is My Psalm and I’ve shared it below. It’s based on his journey through life interwoven with themes of nature and God’s providence.

My two favorite verses are:

All as God wills, who wisely heeds
To give or to withhold,
And knoweth more of all my needs
Than all my prayers have told.

And

Enough that blessings undeserved
Have marked my erring track;
That wheresoe’er my feet have swerved,
His chastening turned me back;

I’m thankful for the Lord’s guiding hand and discipline, and how He intercedes knowing my needs more than I have ever confessed in prayer.

My Psalm

I mourn no more my vanished years
Beneath a tender rain,
An April rain of smiles and tears,
My heart is young again.

The west-winds blow, and, singing low,
I hear the glad streams run;
The windows of my soul I throw
Wide open to the sun.

No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.

I plough no more a desert land,
To harvest weed and tare;
The manna dropping from God’s hand
Rebukes my painful care.

I break my pilgrim staff, I lay
Aside the toiling oar;
The angel sought so far away
I welcome at my door.

The airs of spring may never play
Among the ripening corn,
Nor freshness of the flowers of May
Blow through the autumn morn.

Yet shall the blue-eyed gentian look
Through fringed lids to heaven,
And the pale aster in the brook
Shall see its image given;–

The woods shall wear their robes of praise,
The south-wind softly sigh,
And sweet, calm days in golden haze
Melt down the amber sky.

Not less shall manly deed and word
Rebuke an age of wrong;
The graven flowers that wreathe the sword
Make not the blade less strong.

But smiting hands shall learn to heal,–
To build as to destroy;
Nor less my heart for others feel
That I the more enjoy.

All as God wills, who wisely heeds
To give or to withhold,
And knoweth more of all my needs
Than all my prayers have told.

Enough that blessings undeserved
Have marked my erring track;
That wheresoe’er my feet have swerved,
His chastening turned me back;

That more and more a Providence
Of love is understood,
Making the springs of time and sense
Sweet with eternal good;–

That death seems but a covered way
Which opens into light,
Wherein no blinded child can stray
Beyond the Father’s sight;

That care and trial seem at last,
Through Memory’s sunset air,
Like mountain-ranges overpast,
In purple distance fair;

That all the jarring notes of life
Seem blending in a psalm,
And all the angles of its strife
Slow rounding into calm.

And so the shadows fall apart,
And so the west-winds play;
And all the windows of my heart
I open to the day.

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