• Beth Jones

the doctrinal loci in stanzas from hymnody

Charles Wesley and the United Methodist Hymnal (plus some Rich Mullins) are big reasons I'm a theologian. So, why not lay out some favorite bits of hymns as a way of articulating doctrine?


I've kept it simple, without hymn authors or titles, so the whole thing can be read through as a single piece, but any of the quotes can easily be found with a quick web search. Charles Wesley enthusiasts (see what I did there?) will recognize plenty. I of course wanted to use every verse of "And Can it Be," but I've kept it to one.

One of the best results of stacking up the lyrics this way? It makes it clear that every doctrine leads to praise.

Doctrine of Scripture


The Spirit breathes upon the Word,

And brings the truth to sight;

Precepts and promises afford

A sanctifying light.


How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord,

is laid for your faith in his excellent Word!

What more can he say than to you he has said,

to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?


Standing on the promises of Christ, the Lord,

Bound to him eternally by love's strong cord,

Overcoming daily with the Spirit's sword,

Standing on the promises of God.


Doctrine of God


Immortal, invisible, God only wise,

in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,

most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.


Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,

there is no shadow of turning with thee.

Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;

as thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.


Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

All thy works shall praise thy name in earth, and sky and sea.

Holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty!

God in three persons, blessed Trinity!


The King of love my shepherd is,

whose goodness faileth never.

I nothing lack if I am his,

and he is mine forever.


Doctrine of creation


All creatures of our God and King, lift up your voice and with us sing, Alleluia, alleluia! Thou burning sun with golden beam, thou silver moon with softer gleam: O praise him, O praise him, Alleluia, alleluia, allelluia!


This is my Father's world,

And to my listening ears

All nature sings, and round me rings

The music of the spheres.

This is my Father's world:

I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas--

His hand the wonders wrought.


Know that the Lord is God indeed;

he formed us all without our aid.

We are the flock he comes to feed,

the sheep who by his hand were made.


All Your works with joy surround You,

Earth and heav'n reflect Your rays,

Stars and angels sing around You,

Center of unbroken praise;

Field and forest, vale and mountain,

Flow'ry meadow, flashing sea,

Chanting bird and flowing fountain

Praising You eternally!


We sing the goodness of the Lord

that filled the earth with food;

he formed the creatures with his word

and then pronounced them good.

Lord, how your wonders are displayed,

where'er we turn our eyes,

if we survey the ground we tread

or gaze upon the skies.



Providence


Praise to the Lord; over all things he gloriously reigneth:

Borne as on eagle-wings, safely his saints he sustaineth.

Hast thou not seen

How all thou needest hath been

Granted in what he ordaineth?


And though this world, with devils filled,

should threaten to undo us,

we will not fear, for God hath willed

the truth to triumph through us:

the prince of darkness grim,

we tremble not for him;

his rage we can endure,

for lo! his doom is sure,

one little word shall fell him.


Your bountiful care, what tongue can recite?

It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;

it streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,

and sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.


Theological anthropology


For the joy of human love,

brother, sister, parent, child,

friends on earth, and friends above,

for all gentle thoughts and mild,

Christ, our Lord, to you we raise

this, our hymn of grateful praise.


I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;

Ev'ry hour I need Thee;

Oh, bless me now, my Savior,

I come to Thee.


Adam's likeness, Lord, efface,

Stamp thy image in its place.

Second Adam from above,

Reinstate us in thy love.


Doctrine of the fall


Not the labors of my hands

can fulfill thy law's demands;

could my zeal no respite know,

could my tears forever flow,

all for sin could not atone;

thou must save, and thou alone.


Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,

weak and wounded, sick and sore;

Jesus ready stands to save you,

full of pity, love, and power.


Nothing can for sin atone:

nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Naught of good that I have done:

nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Jesus, the sinner’s Friend, to Thee, Lost and undone, for aid I flee, Weary of earth, myself, and sin; Open Thine arms, and take me in.



Christology


Of the Father's love begotten

ere the worlds began to be,

he is Alpha and Omega,

he the source, the ending he,

of the things that are, that have been,

and that future years shall see

evermore and evermore.


Fairest Lord Jesus,

ruler of all nature,

O thou of God and man the Son,

Thee will I cherish,

Thee will I honor,

thou, my soul's glory, joy, and crown.


Christ, by highest heaven adored,

Christ, the everlasting Lord,

late in time behold him come,

offspring of the Virgin's womb:

veiled in flesh the Godhead see;

hail th'incarnate Deity,

pleased with us in flesh to dwell,

Jesus, our Immanuel.


He breaks the power of cancelled sin,

he sets the prisoner free;

his blood can make the foulest clean;

his blood availed for me.


O sacred Head, now wounded,

with grief and shame weighed down,

now scornfully surrounded

with thorns, thine only crown!

O sacred Head, what glory,

what bliss till now was thine!

Yet, though despised and gory,

I joy to call thee mine.


Jesus shall reign where'er the sun

does its successive journeys run,

his kingdom stretch from shore to shore,

till moons shall wax and wane no more.


Crown him the Lord of love;

behold his hands and side,

rich wounds, yet visible above,

in beauty glorified;

no angels in the sky

can fully bear that sight,

but downward bends their burning eye

at mysteries so bright.


Soteriology


'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

and grace my fears relieved;

how precious did that grace appear

the hour I first believed!


Long my imprisoned spirit lay

Fast bound in sin and nature's night;

Thine eye diffused a quick'ning ray,

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;

My chains fell off, my heart was free;

I rose, went forth and followed Thee.


There is a fountain filled with blood

Drawn from Immanuel's veins;

And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,

Lose all their guilty stains


Now incline me to repent!

Let me now my fall lament!

Now my foul revolt deplore!

Weep, believe, and sin no more.


Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit

into ev’ry troubled breast.

Let us all in thee inherit,

let us find the promised rest.

Take away the love of sinning;

Alpha and Omega be.

End of faith, as its beginning,

set our hearts at liberty.


Oh, to grace how great a debtor

daily I'm constrained to be!

Let thy goodness, like a fetter,

bind my wand'ring heart to thee:

prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,

prone to leave the God I love;

here's my heart, O take and seal it;

seal it for thy courts above.


Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

let this blest assurance control:

that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

and has shed his own blood for my soul.


All the way my Savior leads me–

What have I to ask beside?

Can I doubt His tender mercy,

Who through life has been my guide?

Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,

Here by faith in Him to dwell!

For I know, whate’er befall me,

Jesus doeth all things well;

For I know, whate’er befall me,

Jesus doeth all things well.


Pneumatology


Spirit of faith, come down,

reveal the things of God,

and make to us the Godhead known,

and witness with the blood.

Tis thine the blood to apply

and give us eyes to see,

who did for every sinner die

hath surely died for me.


Come, holy Comforter,

thy sacred witness bear

in this glad hour!

Thou, who almighty art,

now rule in ev'ry heart,

and ne'er from us depart,

Spirit of pow'r.


Come, Holy Spirit, Heav'nly Dove,

With all Thy quick'ning pow'rs;

Come, shed abroad a Savior’s love,

And that shall kindle ours.


Teach me to love you as your angels love,

one holy passion filling all my frame:

the fullness of the heaven-descended Dove;

my heart an altar, and your love the flame.


O, that the Comforter would come,

Nor visit as a transient guest,

But fix in me his constant home,

And keep possession of my breast;

And make my soul his loved abode,

The temple of indwelling God!



Ecclesiology


I love to tell the story of unseen things above,

Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love;

I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true,

It satisfies my longings as nothing else would do.


Elect from ev'ry nation,

yet one o'er all the earth;

her charter of salvation:

one Lord, one faith, one birth.

One holy name she blesses,

partakes one holy food,

and to one hope she presses,

with ev'ry grace endued.


Oh, blest communion, fellowship divine!

We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;

yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.

Alleluia! Alleluia!


Children of the heav’nly Father

safely in his bosom gather;

nestling bird nor star in heaven

such a refuge e’er was given.


Come and partake the gospel feast,

be saved from sin, in Jesus rest;

O taste the goodness of our God,

and eat his flesh and drink his blood.


I love the windows of thy grace,

Through which my Lord is seen,

And long to meet my Savior's face

Without a glass between.


Eschatology

Lo! He comes with clouds descending,

once for ev'ry sinner slain;

thousand, thousand saints attending

swell the triumph of his train:

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Christ reveals his endless reign.


Rank on rank the host of heaven

Spreads its vanguard on the way

As the Light of Light descending

From the realms of endless day,

Comes the pow'rs of hell to vanquish

As the darkness clears away.


When he shall come with trumpet sound,

O may I then in him be found:

dressed in his righteousness alone,

faultless to stand before the throne.


The hill of Zion yields

a thousand sacred sweets,

before we reach the heav’nly fields,

or walk the golden streets,

We’re marching to Zion,

beautiful, beautiful Zion.

We’re marching upward to Zion,

the beautiful city of God.


His kingdom cannot fail,

He rules o'er earth and heav'n;

The keys of death and hell

Are to our Jesus giv'n:

Lift up your heart,

Lift up your voice!

Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!


Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!

Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!

Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!

Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!


I want to sing "Ahhhhh-mennnnnn." What are some of your favorite hymns related to the doctrines?

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