The Authority of Christ

Jesus, the ruler of all nature.
The long-awaited Savior,
The King of kings forever.
Jesus, the wonder of the shepherds,
The healer of the lepers,
The calmer of the waters.

All praise and honor He has claimed – All pow’r and glory.
All hell is trembling at the name of Jesus!

Sing with the angels, come and
Shout with old Simeon and
Cry with the women that His mercy freed, O
Follow the fishermen and
Bow with the sinners, because
We are in awe of the authority of Christ.

Jesus, Who spoke in puzzling parables,
Who left the haughty humbled,
Who challenged and who troubled.
Jesus, Who freely gave forgiveness,
Confounding all who witnessed
That he could show such boldness.

All praise and honor He has claimed – All pow’r and glory.
All hell is trembling at the name of Jesus!

Sing with the angels, come and
Shout with old Simeon and
Cry with the women that His mercy freed, O
Follow the fishermen and
Bow with the sinners, because
We are in awe of the authority of Christ.

Jesus, Who let the mob be furious,
Submitting to their blood lust,
Rose to life victorious!

All praise and honor He has claimed – All pow’r and glory.
All hell is trembling at the name of Jesus!

Sing with the angels, come and
Shout with old Simeon and
Cry with the women that His mercy freed, O
Follow the fishermen and
Bow with the sinners, because
We are in awe of the authority of Christ.

-The Authority of Christ from “Song from the Book of Luke” by The Gospel Coalition

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, 
         The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea, 
The plowman homeward plods his weary way, 
         And leaves the world to darkness and to me. 

Now fades the glimm’ring landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow’r 
         The moping owl does to the moon complain 
Of such, as wand’ring near her secret bow’r, 
         Molest her ancient solitary reign. 

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade, 
         Where heaves the turf in many a mould’ring heap, 
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid, 
         The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep. 

The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn, 
         The swallow twitt’ring from the straw-built shed, 
The cock’s shrill clarion, or the echoing horn, 
         No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed. 

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn, 
         Or busy housewife ply her evening care: 
No children run to lisp their sire’s return, 
         Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share. 

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield, 
         Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; 
How jocund did they drive their team afield! 
         How bow’d the woods beneath their sturdy stroke! 

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil, 
         Their homely joys, and destiny obscure; 
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile 
         The short and simple annals of the poor. 

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r, 
         And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave, 
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour. 
         The paths of glory lead but to the grave. 

Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault, 
         If Mem’ry o’er their tomb no trophies raise, 
Where thro’ the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault 
         The pealing anthem swells the note of praise. 

Can storied urn or animated bust 
         Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? 
Can Honour’s voice provoke the silent dust, 
         Or Flatt’ry soothe the dull cold ear of Death? 

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid 
         Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire; 
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway’d, 
         Or wak’d to ecstasy the living lyre. 

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page 
         Rich with the spoils of time did ne’er unroll; 
Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage, 
         And froze the genial current of the soul. 

Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flow’r is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast 
         The little tyrant of his fields withstood; 
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest, 
         Some Cromwell guiltless of his country’s blood. 

Th’ applause of list’ning senates to command, 
         The threats of pain and ruin to despise, 
To scatter plenty o’er a smiling land, 
         And read their hist’ry in a nation’s eyes, 

Their lot forbade: nor circumscrib’d alone 
         Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin’d; 
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne, 
         And shut the gates of mercy on mankind, 

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide, 
         To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame, 
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride 
         With incense kindled at the Muse’s flame. 

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife, 
         Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray; 
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life 
         They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. 

Yet ev’n these bones from insult to protect, 
         Some frail memorial still erected nigh, 
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck’d, 
         Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. 

Their name, their years, spelt by th’ unletter’d muse, 
         The place of fame and elegy supply: 
And many a holy text around she strews, 
         That teach the rustic moralist to die. 

For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey, 
         This pleasing anxious being e’er resign’d, 
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day, 
         Nor cast one longing, ling’ring look behind? 

On some fond breast the parting soul relies, 
         Some pious drops the closing eye requires; 
Ev’n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries, 
         Ev’n in our ashes live their wonted fires. 

For thee, who mindful of th’ unhonour’d Dead 
         Dost in these lines their artless tale relate; 
If chance, by lonely contemplation led, 
         Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate, 

Haply some hoary-headed swain may say, 
         “Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn 
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away 
         To meet the sun upon the upland lawn. 

“There at the foot of yonder nodding beech 
         That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, 
His listless length at noontide would he stretch, 
         And pore upon the brook that babbles by. 

“Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn, 
         Mutt’ring his wayward fancies he would rove, 
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn, 
         Or craz’d with care, or cross’d in hopeless love. 

“One morn I miss’d him on the custom’d hill, 
         Along the heath and near his fav’rite tree; 
Another came; nor yet beside the rill, 
         Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he; 

“The next with dirges due in sad array 
         Slow thro’ the church-way path we saw him borne. 
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay, 
         Grav’d on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.” 

THE EPITAPH 
Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown. 
Fair Science frown’d not on his humble birth, 
And Melancholy mark’d him for her own. 

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere, 
Heav’n did a recompense as largely send: 
He gave to Mis’ry all he had, a tear, 
He gain’d from Heav’n (’twas all he wish’d) a friend. 

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose)
The bosom of his Father and his God.

-Thomas Gray

Note from Erik: I’ve italicized the 14th Stanza. What a beautiful reminder that God’s glory fills heaven and earth. Even though much of God’s majestic creative works will never be seen by mortal eye; Yet he takes pleasure in all his works.

Jesus Lives, and So Shall I

Jesus lives, and so shall I.
Death! thy sting is gone forever!
He who deigned for me to die,
Lives, the bands of death to sever.
He shall raise me from the dust:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and reigns supreme,
And, his kingdom still remaining,
I shall also be with him,
Ever living, ever reigning.
God has promised: be it must:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and by his grace,
Vict’ry o’er my passions giving,
I will cleanse my heart and ways,
Ever to his glory living.
Me he raises from the dust.
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, I know full well
Nought from him my heart can sever,
Life nor death nor powers of hell,
Joy nor grief, hence forth forever.
None of all his saints is lost;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and death is now
But my entrance into glory.
Courage, then, my soul, for thou
Hast a crown of life before thee;
Thou shalt find thy hopes were just;
Jesus is the Christian’s Trust.

-Christian Friedrich Gellert; translated by Philip Schaff.

Shepherds, Rejoice! Lift Up Your Eyes

“Shepherds, rejoice! lift up your eyes,
And send your fears away;
News from the regions of the skies,
Salvation’s born today.

“Jesus, the God Whom angels fear,
Comes down to dwell with you;
Today He makes His entrance here,
But not as monarchs do.

“No gold nor purple swaddling bands.
Nor royal shining things;
A manger for His cradle stands,
And holds the King of kings.

“Go, shepherds, where the Infant lies,
And see His humble throne
With tears of joy in all your eyes,
Go, shepherds, kiss the Son.”

Thus Gabriel sang, and straight around
The heav’nly armies throng;
They tune their harps to lofty sound,
And thus conclude the song:

“Glory to God that reigns above!
Let peace surround the earth!
Mortals shall know their Maker’s love,
At their Redeemer’s birth.”

Lord, and shall angels have their songs,
And men no tunes to raise?
O may we lose our useless tongues
When they forget to praise.

Glory to God that reigns above,
That pitied us forlorn;
We join to sing our Maker’s love,
For there’s a Savior born.

-Isaac Watts, Horæ Lyr­i­ca, 1706-9.

O for a Closer Walk with God

O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!

Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
And drove Thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

-William Cowper, in Con­yer’s Col­lect­ion of Psalms and Hymns, 1772.

My God! How Perfect Are Thy Ways!

My God! how perfect are Thy ways!
But mine polluted are;
Sin twines itself about my praise,
And slides into my prayer.

When I would speak what Thou hast done
To save me from my sin;
I cannot make Thy mercies known
But self-applause creeps in.

Divine desire, that holy flame
Thy grace creates in me;
Alas! impatience is its name,
When it returns to Thee.

This heart, a fountain of vile thoughts,
How does it overflow?
While self upon the surface floats
Still bubbling from below.

Let others in the gaudy dress
Of fancied merit shine;
The Lord shall be my righteousness
The Lord for ever mine.

-William Cowper, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779), num­ber 67.

Go Light Your World

There is a candle in every soul
Some brightly burning, some dark and cold
And there is a spirit who brings a fire
Ignites a candle and makes his home

Carry your candle, and run to the darkness
Seek out the helpless, confused and torn
And hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world
Take your candle, and go light your world

Frustrated brother, see how he’s tried to
Light his own candle some other way
See now your sister, she’s been robbed and lied to
Still holds a candle without a flame

So carry your candle, and run to the darkness
Seek out the lonely, the tired and worn
And hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world
Take your candle, and go light your world

‘Cause we are a family whose hearts are blazing
So let’s raise our candles and light up the sky
Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus
Make us a beacon in darkest times

Carry your candle, and run to the darkness
Seek out the helpless, deceived and poor
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world
Take your candle, and go light your world

-Chris Rice, 

There Is A Fountain

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.

-William Cowper, in Con­yer’s Col­lect­ion of Psalms and Hymns, 1772.

Too Many, Lord, Abuse Thy Grace,

Too many, Lord, abuse Thy grace,
In this licentious day;
And while they boast they see Thy face,
They turn their own away.

Thy Book displays a gracious light
That can the blind restore;
But these are dazzled by the sight,
And blinded still the more.

The pardon, such presume upon,
They do not beg, but steal;
And when they plead it at Thy throne,
Oh! where’s the Spirit’s seal?

Was it for this, ye lawless tribe,
The dear Redeemer bled?
Is this the grace the saints imbibe
From Christ the living Head?

Ah, Lord, we know Thy chosen few
Are fed with heavenly fare;
But these, the wretched husks they chew
Proclaim them what they are.

The liberty our hearts implore
Is not to live in sin;
But still to wait at wisdom’s door,
Till mercy calls us in.

-William Cowper, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779).

O How I Love Thy Holy Word

O How I love Thy holy Word,
Thy gracious covenant, O Lord!
It guides me in the peaceful way,
I think upon it all the day.

What are the mines of shining wealth,
The strength of youth, the bloom of health!
What are all joys compared with those
Thine everlasting Word bestows!

Long unafflicted, undismayed,
In pleasures path secure I strayed;
Thou mad’st me feel Thy chast’ning rod,
And strait I turned unto my God.

What though it pierced my fainting heart,
I bless Thine hand that caused the smart;
It taught my tears awhile to flow,
But saved me from eternal woe.

O! hadst Thou left me unchastised,
Thy precept I had still despised;
And still the snare in secret laid,
Had my unwary feet betrayed.

I love Thee therefore O my God,
And breathe towards Thy dear abode;
Where in Thy presence fully blest,
Thy chosen saints forever rest.

-William Cowper, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779).