Monday, February 19, 2007

Favorite Hymns Of Praise

Favorite Hymns Of Praise, from Tabernacle Publishing Company, Wheaton, IL., copyright 1967. It does not appear to have been a denominational hymnbook, but I grew up using it in the Evangelical Free Church.

Some of it was very good. I learned a large number of good hymns from that book which have stuck to me to this day. But most of it... is best described as man-centered, world-denying, disorderly; gospel song in all it's ugly detail. And it, too, has stuck to me to this day.

"In my heart there rings a melody
There rings a melody
With heaven's harmony
In my heart there rings a melody
there rings a melody of love." p.26

"Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight
Flooding my soul with glory divine
Hallelujah, I am rejoicing
Singing His praises, Jesus is mine." p.27

"Sunlight, sunlight in my soul today
Sunlight, sunlight all along the way
Since the Savior found me, took away my sin,
I have had the sunlight of His love within." p.30

"O, there's sunshine, blessed sunshine,
While the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face,
There is sunshine in my soul." p.31

These were from what must have been the "Sunshine Section" of the hymnbook...

Jesus is the sweetest name I know,
And He's just the same as His lovely name,
And that's the reason why I love Him so;
Oh, Jesus is the sweetest name I know." p.36

"Con - - - -stantly a-bid - - - - ing,
(Constantly abiding, constantly abiding,)
Je - - - sus is mine - - - ,
(Jesus is mine, yes, Jesus is mine;)
Con - - - - stantly a-bid - - - - - ing,
(Constantly abiding, constantly abiding,)
Rap - - - -ture di- vine - - - - ;
(Rapture divine, Oh, rapture divine)" p.42

"Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by." p.51

"If you are tired of the load of your sin,
Let Jesus come into your heart;
If you desire a new life to begin,
Let Jesus come into your heart.
Just now, your doubtings give o'er;
Just now, reject Him no more;
Just now, throw open the door;
Let Jesus come into your heart." p.55

And then there is...

O Jesus Thou Art Standing

O Jesus Thou art standing
Outside the fast-closed door,
In lowly patience waiting
To pass the threshold o'er:
Shame on us Christian brothers,
His Name and sign (baptism?) who bear,
O shame, thrice shame upon us,
To keep Him standing there!

O Jesus, Thou art knocking;
And lo! that hand is scarred,
And thorns Thy brow encircle,
And tears Thy face have marred;
O love that passeth knowledge,
So patiently to wait!
O sin that hath no equal,
So fast to bar the gate!

O Jesus Thou art pleading
In accents meek and low,
"I died for you, My children,
And will ye treat Me so?"
O Lord, with shame and sorrow
We open now the door;
Dear Savior, enter, enter,
And leave us nevermore! p.56

Help! Help! I'm being buried under responsibility! And as someone said, there is so much sweetness in here that a diabetic would have to leave...

It goes on and on like this, 519 pages long.


Manda said...

I don't recognize any of those, but we used to sing 'I'll be a Sunbeam' or something like that. I wonder if was in the same section. :D The only part I recall is:

A sunbeam, a sunbeam;
Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.
A sunbeam, a sunbeam;
I'll be a sunbeam for him.

Dad used to get annoyed during responsive reading out of the back of the hymnal because it only cited the "happy texts" out of the Psalms. Very Pollyanna. I'm thankful that my children have a better alternative. :D

I'm excited to hear your new album! Music is such a great memorization tool.

Erik said...

~But most of it... is best described as man-centered, world-denying, disorderly; gospel song in all it's ugly detail~

And you can find that particular hymnal at most Protestant churches in the Central Maine area! It's awful; I played at a church that had this book (The Blue Book) and another (The Red Book, largely 18th and 17th Century hymn tunes) and I prayed every week that we'd be singing most of our hymns from the Red Book.

John said...

"Pass Me Not" was my favorite gospel song when I was really little. I have no idea why. Maybe its mournfulness appealed to something in me.

But what in the world is it talking about? The Saviour is walking around "calling" on people, whatever that means, and I'm desperately afraid that he might pass me by. Huh?

Is this salvation? On what theology does the Saviour not save those who desperately desire to be saved? Can't be that, I think. Healing? Maybe.

But it's sure a weird view of Jesus.

Jamie said...

It sure is that, John.

Tym said...

I'm not sure a diabetic would have to leave, sounds like Jesus is all Sweet and Low (ly).

lrak said...

i see your point, uplifting songs that glorify christ and his holiness can really bring a christian down especially when they confront you with the sin in your life that placed jesus christ on the cross. i'm sorry to inform you, but if you bare the title christian you will indeed face enormous resposibility. before you get started on you rehearsed this is legalism speach let me inform you that the bible says be ye holy for i am holy. it says that we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, it admonishes us to be in the world and not of the world and to walk worthy of our calling. you need not do any of these things to inherit eternal life. in fact there's nothing you could ever do to inherit eternal life. it is simply by grace through faith in christ jesus. nothing more and nothing less. however the bible says that we are bought with a price the precious blood of jesus christ we should therefore live godly in this present world. by the way if you know of another name that is sweeter than the name of jesus christ please inform me what it is. it is the sweetest name and i praise god for the author of that song who captured the essence of that name so beautifully. i believe god is truly honored and receives the glory when a christian sings that song from his heart i'm not so sure that he gets the glory from some of the new songs that you could substitute your girlfriends name for god and it sound like you were singing a love song to your girlfriend to a holy god, these songs fulfill a fleshly desire to have the rock and roll beat with pseudo christian words that are often not scriptural and take a back seat to your fleshes desire to hear that rock and roll beat. until recently rock and roll was associated with sex, drugs and violence. do we honor christ by accepting that music in our worship. better yet do you think that old hymns in any way dishonor christ. no, it just doesn't appeal to your flesh which you should be dying to by the way. they that worship god must worship him in spirit and in truth. we need to crucify our flesh. he must increase and i must decrease. please don't tell me that it is the only way to reach kids, because god's word does the work in reaching kids and typically shallow based lyrics with little or no emphasis on bible doctrine fails to edify the body of christ. it may bring an emotional high and a feel good fleshly response but it does little to exalt jesus christ and to give him preeminence. i can't imagine singing the song i heard the other day that says in one spot, " your love is better than life, na , na , na na na na na, na na na na na na na." in heaven at the throne of a holy god. i praise god for holy men and women that penned those beautiful hymns. i'm not familiar with all of them and some do have lines that i disagree with (the songs aren't the bible) but the overwhelming majority of them including the ones you ridicule are beautiful christ honoring songs that exalt christ and not man. also, the music in them reaches your spirt not your flesh. i can focus on the words and reflect and worship my savior not fall into a hypnotic beat and just have a good time in my flesh.

Jamie said...

Um, Irak, I don't think you saw my point...

These songs are as close to a definition of Jesus-is-my-girlfriend songs as one could imagine. Let's try it...

Valerie is the sweetest name I know
And she's just the same
As her lovely name
And that's the reason why I love her so...
Oh Valerie is the sweetest name I know


Constantly abiding
Valerie is mine
Constantly abiding
Rapture divine

"In my heart there rings a melody
There rings a melody
With heaven's harmony
In my heart there rings a melody
there rings a melody of love."

Who is this song about? Jesus, or my girlfriend?

If one wants to honor Jesus, then he shouldn't sing Him sappy love songs. How about the Psalms instead?

These hymnwriters were in deep rebellion against Christ and His kingdom, and did no favors to the church by urging her to sing such schlock.

Robert said...

I find your rant against the traditional hymns and gospel songs of the church quite sad. Sad because it seems so ill-informed and wrong-headed.

Yes, there are some songs whose poetry is inferior. But that can be said about plenty of contemporary songs too. And yes, there are times when the theology in them is questionable--but fewer than your comments imply. Quite a few of the writers were careful students of the Scriptures. Some even mastered the original languages, Hebrew and Greek.

You quote William Walsham How's "O Jesus, Thou Art Standing," seeming to wonder what it's all about. Dr. How is referring to the church at Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22), a congregation that talked a good game, and thought much of themselves, but had actually shut Christ out of their church life.

As to the "sign we bear," that seems to be a reference to Christian love, by which all will know we are disciples of Christ (Jn. 13:35). The Laodiceans stopped at loving themselves. Shame on them! And "Shame on us, Christian brothers," if we are like them!

Being a hymn historian, and having made a study of English hymnody through most of my adult life, I've come to admire the spiritual insight and depth of piety of those who penned them. If we fail to understand or appreciate what they've written, it could it's not they who are the problem.

Jamie said...


In How's song the thing that bothers me the most is the despicable view of Jesus; "Poor Jesus, He can't get in!" Those who read Revelation 3 14-21 and come away with that mental picture are misreading the passage. But that misreading came from somewhere. I would suggest that if you read the passage with a previous commitment to man-centeredness in worship, you will come up with that picture.

If you say to men "Shame on you for keeping Jesus out!" it may look like piety, but it is really an exaltation of man and a trampling upon the second person of the Trinity. No thanks.