1 How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
in a believer's ear!
It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds,
and drives away our fear.
2 It makes the wounded spirit whole
and calms the troubled breast;
'tis manna to the hungry soul,
and to the weary, rest.
3 O Jesus, Shepherd, Guardian, Friend,
my Prophet, Priest, and King,
my Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
accept the praise I bring.
4 How weak the effort of my heart,
how cold my warmest thought;
but when I see you as you are,
I'll praise you as I ought.
5 Till then I would your love proclaim
with every fleeting breath;
and may the music of your name
refresh my soul in death.
Newton said that Song of Songs 1:3 ("your name is like perfume poured out") was the inspiration for this text: stanzas 1 and 2 compare perfume, with its sweet fragrance and healing properties, to the name of Jesus, which "soothes" and "heals." With its many biblical names for the Savior, stanza 3 evokes a variety of images about the person and ministry of Christ. The final stanzas confess that though our worship of Christ may be weak and imperfect, we will use our resources to praise him and testify to his love.
Psalter Hymnal Handbook
Difficult times occur in the lives and communities of God’s people because this is a fallen world. The confessions demonstrate this perspective:
Yet, in a fallen world, God’s providential care is the source of great assurance, comfort and strength. Through these thoughts, our trust in God is inspired.
Belgic Confession, Article 26 speaks about the intercession of Christ as the ascended Lord. “We have no access to God except through the one and only Mediator and Intercessor, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” We, therefore, do not offer our prayers as though saints could be our intercessor, nor do we offer them on the “basis of our own dignity but only on the basis of the excellence and dignity of Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is ours by faith.” Because Jesus Christ is our sympathetic High Priest, we approach the throne “in full assurance of faith.”
No greater assurance can be found than that expressed in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1: “I am not my own by I belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.”
In all difficult times, we eagerly await the final day when God “will set all things right, judge evil, and condemn the wicked” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 57).
No hope is stronger than that expressed in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1: we “…belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ…because I belong to him, Christ by His Holy Spirit assures me of eternal life...”
The basic perspective of hope is expressed in Belgic Confession, Article 37 “…the Lord will make them (us) possess a glory such as the human heart could never imagine. So we look forward to that day (of Christ’s return) with longing in order to enjoy fully the promises of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 15, Question and Answer 42 clarifies what may be misunderstood when it says that even though Christ died for us, we still have to die, but “our death does not pay the debt of our sins. Rather it puts an end to our sinning and is our entrance into eternal life.” Additionally, Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 17, Question and Answer 45 explains that Christ’s resurrection “is a sure pledge to us of our blessed resurrection.”
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 22, Questions and Answers 57 and 58 speak reassurances about the actual event of dying: “Not only will my soul be taken immediately after this life to Christ its head, but also my very flesh will be raised by the power of Christ, reunited with my soul, and made like Christ’s glorious body,” and “even as I already now experience in my heart the beginning of eternal joy, after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God forever” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 22, Question and Answer 58).
Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 56 summarizes our hope by testifying, “We long for that day when our bodies are raised, the Lord wipes away our tears, and we dwell forever in the presence of God. We will take our place in the new creation, where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, and the Lord will be our light. Come, Lord Jesus, come.”