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Personal Choice 31

Charles Wesley

And can it be, that I Should Gain

And can it be, that I should gain

An interest in the Saviour'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, shoulds't die for me?

'Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies:

Who can explore His strange design?

In vain the first-born seraph tries

To sound the depths of love divine.

'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!

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.

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 the eternal throne,

And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Charles Wesley

As a child I was affected by the enormous influence of the King James Bible, I heard it first in the Psalm of David:

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea.

Schooled and trained around the Sunday Evening church organ and the great hymn writers of the past, my ear was being tuned to figurative language especially metaphor and ultimately poetry. Charles Wesley’s magnificent hymn was of course one of them. If we take the hymn out of the now considerable shade of nineteenth century theology and some of the many present theories of the numinous and the atonement of Christ, consider the emotional element Wesley achieves; the power and sublime figurative language and of all the poet’s craft - his hyperbole!


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