How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds!

10:14AM, Thursday, January 3, 2008

I happened upon this hymn, and I am compelled to share it with you, my friends. Be reminded of who Jesus is. Be encouraged by these words from our sleeping brother, John Newton.

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;
’Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.

Dear Name, the Rock on which I build,
My Shield and Hiding Place,
My never failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace!

By Thee my prayers acceptance gain,
Although with sin defiled;
Satan accuses me in vain,
And I am owned a child.

Jesus! my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
O Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.

Till then I would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath,
And may the music of Thy Name
Refresh my soul in death!


Opus Dei

11:40PM, Friday, November 9, 2007

Can there be anything more beautiful than the paintings which God Himself paints? Can there be anything sweeter to the ear than music God Himself inspires?

Tears well up in my eyes every time I hear this piece. To hear it while perusing even but a few of the works wrought by a divine hand moves my soul all the more.

O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!
(Psalm 8 )

No Appeal to the Flesh

1:27AM, Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I’m making a note here of some things Charles Spurgeon said in order to analyze it later this week.

Our Savior did not use any means which might enlist man’s lower nature on his side. When I have heard of large congregations gathered together by the music of a fine choir, I have remembered that the same thing is done at the opera house and the music-hall, and I have felt no joy. When we have heard of crowds enchanted by the sublime music of the pealing organ, I have seen in the fact rather a glorification of St. Cecilia than of Jesus Christ. Our Lord trusted in no measure or degree to the charms of music for the establishing his throne. He has not given to his disciples the slightest intimation that they are to employ the attractions of the concert room to promote the kingdom of heaven.

I find no rubric in Scripture commanding Paul to clothe himself in robes of blue, scarlet, or violet; neither do I find Peter commanded to wear a surplice, an alb, or a chasuble. The Holy Spirit has not cared even to hint at a surpliced choir, or at banners, processions, and processional hymns. Now, if our Lord had arranged a religion of fine shows, and pompous ceremonies, and gorgeous architecture, and enchanting, music, and bewitching incense, and the like, we could have comprehended its growth; but he is “a root out of a dry ground”, for he owes nothing to any of these.

Christianity has been infinitely hindered by the musical, the aesthetic, and the ceremonial devices of men, but it has never been advantaged by them, no, not a jot. The sensuous delights of sound and sight have always been enlisted on the side of error, but Christ has employed nobler and more spiritual agencies. Things which fascinate the senses are left to be the chosen instruments of Antichrist, but the gospel, disdaining Saul’s armor, goes forth in the natural simplicity of its own might, like David, with sling and stone. Our holy religion owes nothing whatever to any carnal means; so far as they are concerned, it is “a root out of a dry ground.”

(Charles Spurgeon, A Root Out of Dry Ground, 1872)

Simply Amazed

10:23AM, Sunday, September 2, 2007

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest Friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

The joy can never be spoken, above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of Life, desiring Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring, I’d breathe my soul to Thee.

I am enamored with the Cross of Christ: its justice and its mercy; its unmerited favor and its infinite mercy; the infinite love of God on display and the hope of salvation it offers.

My lips tremble and tears flow as I contemplate His death and my utter unworthiness of His grace. I am sinful man. He is the thrice holy God. On no merit of my own did God choose me and know me before the establishment of the universe. The defining miracle of my life is that God’s sovereign grace overcame my rebellious and sinful core and brought to me even the desire to submit to Him. Forever I am a debtor to God’s grace.

When I do Thy will, my Father, ’tis not as though I deserve payment. ‘Tis only what I ought do, for I am an unworthy servant and Thou my gracious Master. Lord have mercy on me, I plead. Cleanse me of all that does not glorify Thee. Assist me to walk humbly in Thy grace and confidently in Thy strength.

Toccata & Fugue in D minor (BWV 565)

10:34PM, Friday, July 27, 2007

To demonstrate that I am not without musical taste (I’m looking at you Banana Phone haters), here is a beautiful rendition of J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor as played by Karl Richter.

A Newfound Love

4:56PM, Sunday, July 8, 2007

I have of late taken interest in broadening my musical tastes, particularly in the genre of “classical” music. I happened upon some of J.S. Bach’s works as performed by artists on YouTube and I fell in love. I’ve heard some of the tunes before — Toccata and Fugue in D minor, Prelude in C Major from the Well Tempered Clavier, Prelude from Cello Suite No. 1 — but had never really listened to them all the way through. What a treat!

He was at once both a composer and a theologian. I must listen to more, particularly his cantatas. I hope you will consider doing the same, my friends. There is a beauty in this man’s music that reflects and proclaims God’s glory. Good, solid doctrine set to powerfully emotive music.

Perhaps I should consider learning German so I can understand his works in their original tongue. Any volunteers?