Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs Word on the Week 11th June 2022.
The Bible has been the source of numerous songs and has its own songbook – the psalms. Many hymns have an autobiographical flavour. The writer sharing his experience in song. We will look at John Cennick later.
Firstly, we go to Psalm eight where David celebrates the privileged place people have in the created order. ‘O Lord our God, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honour. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet…O Lord our God, how majestic is your name in all the earth (quoted in Hebrews Chapter 2 verses 6 to 8).
The writer to the Hebrews then goes on to rejoice in the privileged place Christians have in redemption history. Jesus is described as the founder of their salvation becoming a faithful high priest in the service of God to make propitiation for the sins of the people. In his redeeming work, Satan is defeated and the sting removed from death (Hebrews Chapter 2 verses 9 to 18).
John Cennick (1718 – 55) piqued my interest when I learned he had to be passed over the heads of the crowd and in through a window to get to the pulpit to preach! It was probably St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin or a neighbouring building. At this time, he was an itinerant evangelist. His writings are direct and to the point.
The more I strove against sin’s power, I sinned and stumbled but the more; Till late I heard my Saviour say, Come hither, soul, I am the Way.
In his teenage years he lived under a terrible sense of guilt. “One day he was walking in Cheapside, London, the hand of the Lord touched me”. His autobiography tells us that for the next two years he tried many things till one day he saw his failure and Jesus accomplishing salvation for him on the cross.
…Lo! glad I come; and thou, blest Lamb, shall take me to Thee as I am! Nothing but sin have I to give; Nothing but love shall I receive.
The last verse of the hymn could be termed prophetical, describing as it does, his occupation as a Moravian evangelist, for the rest of his short life.
Now will I tell to sinners round What a dear saviour I have found! I’ll point to Thy redeeming blood, And say, ’Behold the way to God!’