Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hymn For The Week: O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing

....the whole multitude....began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; (Luke 19:37)

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing Hymn (Piano)

The Wesley brothers sent word of their conversation to their sainted mother, Susanna, who didn't know what to make of it. "I think you have fallen into an odd way of thinking," She replied. "You say that till within a few months you had no spiritual life and no justifying faith....I heartily rejoice that you can think that you were totally without saving faith before, but it is one thing to have faith, and another thing to be sensible we have it."

Well, Charles was now very sensible of having it. His life changed, and he gained victory over both his temper and his unfortunate drinking habit. "I was amazed to find my old enemy, intemperance, so suddenly subdued, that I almost forgot I was ever in bondage to him"

He also began to spread to spread the news of what had happened to him. "In the coach to London," He wrote, "I preached faith that in Christ. A lady was extremely offended.... (and) threatened to beat me. I declared I deserved nothing but hell; so did she; and must confess it, before she should have a title to heaven. This was most intolerable to her."

New vitality came into Charles' public preaching. He discontinued the practice of reading his sermons, and began preaching extemporaneously. He found a fruitful arena for ministry at the infamous Newgate Prison, and allowed himself to be locked up with condemned men on nights before their executions, that he might comfort and witness to them during their final hours.

As the first anniversary of his conversion approached, Charles wrote an eighteen stanza hymn describing his praise to the Lord. It was titled, "For the Anniversary Day of One's Conversion" and the first stanza began: "Gloy to God, and praise, and love...." Verse seven began, "O for a thousand tongues to sing," inspired by a statement Charles had once heard: "Had I a thousand tongues, I would praise Him with them all."

Beginning with a 1767 hymnbook, the seventh stanza was made the first, and when John Wesley compiled his Collection of Hymns in 1780, he chose this for the first hymn in the book.

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