Lots of singing yesterday at Westminster Central Hall, accompanied by a very versatile group of musicians – 7 congregational hymns/songs, 3 choir pieces and a solo! The hymn after the sermon was Charles Wesley’s ‘stately and noble hymn’ (Companions to Hymns and Psalms), based on Ezekiel 36:23-28 (here in the Authorised Version familiar to Wesley:
And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
The hymn we sing today is just 6 verses of the 28 verse original. Entitled ‘Pleading the Promise of Sanctification’, like many of Charles Wesley’s hymns it had a theological/apologetic purpose in addition to its devotional role, indicated by it being placed at the end of John Wesley’s Sermon on Christian Perfection and quoted by John Fletcher in his Last Check to Antinomianism.
God of all power, and truth, and grace,
Which shall from age to age endure;
Whose word, when heaven and earth shall pass
Remains and stands for ever sure:
That I Thy mercy may proclaim,
That all mankind Thy truth may see,
Hallow Thy great and glorious Name
And perfect holiness in me.
Thy sanctifying Spirit pour,
To quench my thirst and wash me clean;
Now, Father, let the gracious shower
Descend, and make me pure from sin.
Give me a new, a perfect heart,
From doubt, and fear, and sorrow free;
The mind which was in Christ impart,
And let my spirit cleave to Thee.
O that I now, from sin released,
Thy word might to the utmost prove!
Enter into the promised rest,
The Canaan of Thy perfect love!
Now let me gain perfection’s height,
Now let me into nothing fall!
Be less than nothing in my sight,
And feel that Christ is all in all.