O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing

In my family’s reading from and discussion of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (Zondervan, 1994) in our after breakfast Bible reading time, we have now finished Chapter 1, “Introduction to Systematic Theology.” Grudem ends each chapter with questions for personal application, a list of special terms introduced in the chapter and defined in a glossary at the end of the book, a bibliography consisting mainly of works written from a conservative evangelical position, a Scripture memory passage, and a hymn. Originally I’d planned to share at the end of each chapter from our discussion of its questions, but not knowing how to do so for Chapter 1 without giving the questions I decided to share its hymn instead.

In introducing the hymn, Grudem observes that he wasn’t able to find any hymn related to the subject of the chapter, systematic theology, and so selected a hymn of general praise, Charles Wesley’s “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing.” He provides seven stanzas of it from a Presbyerian hymnal, Trinity Hymnal, noting that its words are in public domain and thus not subject to copyright restrictions. My being Pentecostal, I located the hymn in a Pentecostal hymnbook, Hymns of Glorious Praise. Finding that not only did it give only five of the seven stanzas but also that it contained slightly different wording in one line, I turned to the Internet’s NetHymnal.

NetHymnal observes that Wesley wrote “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” to commemorate the first anniversary of his conversion, this origin being reflected in the final stanza given below, and that the stanza that begins “O for a thousand tongues to sing” was stanza seven of Wesley’s original poem. NetHymnal gives twenty stanzas, the first nine of which are below.

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread thro’ all the earth abroad,
The honors of Thy name.

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
‘Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean;
His blood availed for me.

He speaks, and, listening to His voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.

Hear him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongue employ;
Ye blind, behold your Saviour come;
And leap, ye lame, for joy.

In Christ your Head, you then shall know,
Shall feel your sins forgiven;
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.

Glory to God, and praise and love
Be ever, ever given,
By saints below and saints above,
The church in earth and heaven.

On this glad day the glorious Sun
Of Righteousness arose;
On my behighted soul He shone
And filled it with repose.

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