A new item, unashamedly nicked from some of my blogging colleagues, which as the heading suggests I will try to post on a regular basis. Charles Wesley’s hymn, sung this morning at Wesley’s Chapel to John Howgate’s splendid tune WORSLEY. (An example of what I call a ‘dum de dum’ tune, after the rhythm.) Comment at the end.
My heart is full of Christ, and longs
Its glorious matter to declare!
Of Him I make my loftier song,
I cannot from His praise forbear;
My ready tongue makes haste to sing
The glories of my heavenly King.
Fairer than all the earth-born race,
Perfect in comeliness Thou art;
Replenished are Thy lips with grace,
And full of love Thy tender heart:
God ever blest! we bow the knee,
And own all fullness dwells in Thee.
Gird on Thy thigh the Spirit’s sword,
And take to Thee Thy power divine;
Stir up Thy strength, almighty Lord,
All power and majesty are Thine:
Assert Thy worship and renown;
O all redeeming God, come down!
Come, and maintain Thy righteous cause,
And let Thy glorious toil succeed;
Dispread the victory of Thy cross,
Ride on, and prosper in Thy deed;
Through earth triumphantly ride on,
And reign in every heart alone.
The hymn we sing today is just four of the original twenty one verses. It is a Christian paraphrase of Psalm 45:
My heart is inditing a good matter:
I speak of the things which I have made touching the king:
my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
Thou art fairer than the children of men:
grace is poured into thy lips:
therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty,
with thy glory and thy majesty.
And in thy majesty ride prosperously
because of truth and meekness and righteousness;
and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
In a manner more typical of Isaac Watts, the earthly ‘king’ addressed by the psalmist becomes Jesus, ‘my heavenly King’. Thus a prayer for the Davidic king becomes a song of praise to Jesus, our ‘all redeeming God’.