Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise thee
For the bliss thy love bestows,
For the pard’ning grace that saves me,
And the peace that from it flows;
Help, O God, my weak endeavor;
This dull soul to rapture raise;
Thou must light the flame, or never
Can my love be warmed to praise.
Praise, my soul, the God that sought thee,
Wretched wand’rer far astray;
Found thee lost, and kindly brought thee
From the paths of death away;
Praise, with love’s devoutest feeling,
Him who saw thy guilt-born fear,
And, the light of hope revealing,
Bade the blood-stained cross appear.
Praise thy Saviour God that drew thee
To that cross, new life to give,
Held a blood-sealed pardon to thee,
Bade thee look to him and live;
Praise the grace whose threats alarmed thee,
Roused thee from thy fatal ease,
Praise the grace whose promise warmed thee,
Praise the grace that whispered peace.
Lord, this bosom’s ardent feeling
Vainly would my lips express;
Low before thy footstool kneeling,
Deign thy suppliant’s prayer to bless:
Let thy love, my soul’s chief treasure,
Love’s pure flame within me raise,
And, since words can never measure,
Let my life show forth thy praise.
Francis Scott Key (1817)
Another great hymn I enjoyed singing this afternoon. One line struck me forceably: “Praise the grace whose threats alarmed thee”. I hadn’t quite thought of grace operating like that before. But it’s true. That is the grace of God. His justice would have served no warning, only his grace would.
We discussed this a little this afternoon in our men’s study group. We recognize God’s common grace in our world, at least we often do. But most of the world around us doesn’t. To them, it’s just their luck, good or bad. And yet in his grace God has warned us of hell to come. I, for one, am thankful, for it was that threat that alarmed me over forty years ago.
But the hymn doesn’t stop with that aspect of grace. It continues, “Roused thee from thy fatal ease, \ Praise the grace whose promise warmed thee, \ Praise the grace that whispered peace.” Now that’s amazing grace, grace abounding, to the chief of sinners.