496. My Lord, I Did Not Choose You

1 My Lord, I did not choose you,
for that could never be;
my heart would still refuse you,
had you not chosen me.
You took the sin that stained me,
you cleansed me, made me new;
of old you have ordained me,
that I should live in you.

2 Unless your grace had called me
and taught my opening mind,
the world would have enthralled me,
to heavenly glories blind.
My heart knows none above you;
for your rich grace I thirst.
I know that if I love you,
you must have loved me first.

Text Information
First Line: My Lord, I did not choose you
Title: My Lord, I Did Not Choose You
Author: Josiah Conder (1836, alt.)
Publication Date: 1987
Meter: 76 76 D
Scripture: ; ;
Topic: Election; Love: God's Love to Us; Redemption (2 more...)
Language: English
Tune Information
Meter: 76 76 D
Key: E♭ Major

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = John 15:16, Eph. 1:4, 2 Thess. 2:13
st. 2 = I John 4:10, 19

Originally beginning "'Tis not that I did choose thee," this hymn by Josiah Conder (b. Aldersgate, London, England, 1789; d. St. John's Wood, London, 1855) was published in Leifchild's Original Hymns (1843). Although not as well known as other hymn texts by Conder (e.g., "Bread of Heaven, On Thee We Feed" or “The Lord Is King, Lift Up Thy Voice”), this text has been treasured in the songbooks of the Christian Reformed Church because of its focus on the doctrine of election. The text simply confesses that God chose us as his people long before any of us responded to his love.

A prolific poet and author of books on a variety of topics, Conder was a Congregational layman who took over his father's bookshop and for some twenty years edited the Eclectic Review. His hymns were published posthumously in Hymns of Praise, Prayer, and Devout Meditation (1856). Isaac Watts' (PHH 155) hymns had dominated the Congregational Church for many years, but in 1836 the Congregationalist Union published The Congregational Hymn Book, a supplement to Dr. Watts' Psalms and Hymns edited by Conder. That hymnbook contained fifty-six of Conder's hymns.

Liturgical Use:
During the service of confession/assurance; with confessional preaching on the doctrine of election.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Said to be a "Greek Air," CALCUTTA was one of the popular national tunes used by Dublin's Thomas Moore (1779-1852) in his Sacred Songs (1816). Arthur S. Sullivan (PHH 46) adapted it for congregational singing and published it in his Church Hymns with Tunes (1874). The tune is named CALCUTTA because of its association with "From Greenland's Icy Mountains," a text by Reginald Heber (PHH 249), who was the Anglican bishop of Calcutta at the time of his death.

CALCUTTA is a bar form (AAB) with a harmonization that invites part singing.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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