Sunday, December 13, 2015

046. "Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face"

In many ways our Gentile ancestors who lived without restored gospel truths were filled with more light and a closeness to God than we are. Even their everyday language was filled with faith, references, and deference to the Lord and His involvement in their lives. Many of these individuals were inspired to write essays, hymns, and poems of praise and devotion to God. One such example I came across recently is the Scottish minister Horatius Bonar (1808-1889). Bonar's prolific writings included biographies, books, poems, and over 600 hymns. He was well known for his hymns about the sacrament in particular. There is a sacred connection to Christ and eternal truth illustrated in the prose of these hymns. I found the following particularly inspiring:

Some of his books include:

  • Follow the Lamb ISBN 0-906731-63-1
  • Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes on The Acts & Larger Epistles ASIN B002ZJRS9K
  • Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes on the Book of Revelation ASIN B002ZRQ55U
  • How Shall I Go to God ISBN 978-0-8010-0713-2.

One hymn struck me in terms of its tangible description of the presence of God: "Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face". I've included the lyrics below as well as a link to a Scottish choir singing this hymn. 

Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face;
Here faith can touch and handle things unseen;
Here would I grasp with firmer hand Thy grace,
And all my weariness upon Thee lean.

Here would I feed upon the Bread of God;
Here drink with Thee the royal wine of heav’n;
Here would I lay aside each earthly load;
Here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiv’n.

I have no help but Thine; nor do I need
Another arm save Thine to lean upon;
It is enough, my Lord, enough indeed;
My strength is in Thy might, Thy might alone.

This is the hour of banquet and of song;
This is the heav’nly table spread for me;
Here let me feast, and, feasting, still prolong
The brief bright hour of fellowship with Thee.

Too soon we rise; the symbols disappear;
The feast, though not the love, is past and gone;
The bread and wine remove, but Thou art here,
Nearer than ever still our Shield and Sun.

Feast after feast thus comes and passes by,
Yet passing, points to the glad feast above,
Giving sweet foretastes of the festal joy,
The Lamb’s great bridal-feast of bliss and love.

I have no wisdom save in Him who is
My Wisdom and my Teacher both in one;
No wisdom do I lack while Thou art wise,
No teaching do I crave save Thine alone.

Mine is the sin, but Thine the righteousness;
Mine is the guilt but Thine the cleansing blood;
Here is my robe, my refuge and my peace,
Thy blood, Thy righteousness, O Lord my God!

I know that deadly evils compass me,
Dark perils threaten, yet I would not fear,
Nor poorly shrink, nor feebly turn to flee;
Thou, O my Christ, art buckler, sword, and spear.

But see the Pillar-Cloud is rising now,
And moving onward through the desert night;
It beckons, and I follow; for I know
It leads me to the heritage of light.

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