(Just sharing an email that I sent to my Doctrine Bible study ladies with you here today. Been enjoying thinking on these lyrics this season!)
Hi Ladies ~
I hope you all are well, and that this email finds you finished with papers, exams, etc.
I heard this familiar Christmas carol playing recently and thought of you all. It is full of references to the theological and doctrinal truths that we studied this semester. The lyrics I’ve included for you here are the original ones written by Charles Wesley ~ founder of the Methodist Church along with his brother, John. The ones we have today are the ones that George Whitfield altered a few years later ~ ones Wesley was not happy about. It’s kind of funny to me that Whitfield was much more of a Calvinist than Wesley, who was an Arminian (unlimited atonement ~ remember the chart on page 267??), but Wesley seems to have the more accurate interpretation of Scripture here.
Here’s an old article from Christianity Today that gives a few more details about this song:
|This is Charles. ☺
|And this is George. ☺
And here are the original lyrics…
Hark! how all the welkin rings
“Glory to the King of Kings;
Peace on Earth and mercy mild;
God and sinners reconciled!”
(Reference to peace and reconciliation ~ the justification that comes only through Jesus!)
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies
Universal nature say,
“Christ the Lord is born to-day!”
(Reference to the joy of finally receiving the long awaited and prophesied Messiah.)
Christ, by highest heaven ador’d;
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb!
(Reference to the truth that Jesus is God, because He is eternal ~ He has no beginning and no end. He is “The Ancient of Days.” Also, reference to the all-important virgin birth!)
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see
Hail! The incarnate deity!
Pleased as man with men to appear
Jesus! Our Immanuel here!
(Woo Hoo! Accurate reference to the Trinity ~ the “God who is Three.” Jesus is the deity. He is divine. He is fully God, and now fully man!)
Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings.
(Reference to the prophecy in Isaiah about His coming. Reference to the Resurrection and the true healing that ONLY it can bring!)
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the son’s of earth;
Born to give them second birth.
( “Jesus in any way cease to be fully God, but rather He chose not to continually avail Himself of His divine rights and attributes while on Earth.” p. 231 Doctrine. Also, reference to the truth that Jesus came for the purpose of dying, and that His death was necessary for our salvation ~ or second birth.)
Come, desire of nations, come
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conquering seed;
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
(Hurray! This is the protoevangelium! Remember?? The first mention of the gospel in all of Scripture? It’s in Genesis 3 ~ the chapter on the fall and the curse.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours and ours to Thine.
( “…By His glory and excellence…you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world.” 2 Peter 1: 3-4 Also, Romans 6: 5 ~ “For we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection…” )
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface;
Stamp Thy image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
(Sin entered the world through one man. Salvation comes through One Man ~ Jesus, the second Adam; the last Adam. 1 Corinthians 15 says, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. Yes ~ conform us to Your image, Lord ~ stamp it upon us!)
Let us, Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the life, the inner man:
O! To all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
(Yes! The WHOLE POINT of studying doctrine and theology ~ to understand what we have lost, but regained through Christ ~ to have Him formed in our hearts!)
Isn’t that a great reminder of so many of the things we learned this semester??? I miss studying and learning alongside each of you ladies each week. I pray that this old hymn is only among many treasures that lift your eyes and your heart to Him in worship in this Christmas season.
P.S. Suzanne ~ thank you for treating us ALL out to breakfast! So fun. And Amherst ladies ~ I made it to Goberry once before we came to Texas, and plan on many returns in the spring! Thank you!