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501. Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing

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1 Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer's praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!

2 My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of your name.

3 The name of Jesus charms our fears
and bids our sorrows cease;
'tis music in the sinner's ears,
'tis life and health and peace.

4 He breaks the power of canceled sin,
he sets the prisoner free;
his blood can make the foulest clean;
his blood avails for me.

5 He speaks, and, listening to his voice,
new life the dead receive;
the mournful, broken hearts rejoice;
the humble poor believe.

6 Hear him, you deaf; you voiceless ones,
your loosened tongues employ;
you blind, behold your Savior come;
and leap, you lame, for joy!

7 To God all glory, praise, and love
be now and ever given
by saints below and saints above,
the church in earth and heaven.

Text Information
First Line: Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing
Title: Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing
Author: Charles Wesley (1739, alt.)
Meter: CM
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ;
Topic: Doxologies; Praise & Adoration; Songs for Children: Hymns (4 more...)
Tune Information
Composer: Carl G. Gläser (1828)
Adapter and Arranger: Lowell Mason (1839)
Meter: CM
Key: G Major

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1-2 = Ps.145:10-12
st. 2 = Luke 4:18-19, Isa. 61:1-2
st. 3 = Acts 3:16, Rom. 5:1
st. 4 = Col. 2:14
st. 5 = Heb. 2:4
st. 6 = Matt. 11:5, Isa.35:6, Acts 3:8
st. 7 = Rev. 5:13

In 1739, for the first anniversary of his conversion, Charles Wesley (PHH 267) wrote an eighteen-stanza text beginning "Glory to God, and praise and love." It was published in Hymns and Sacred Poems (1740), a hymnal compiled by Wesley and his brother John. The familiar hymn "Oh, for a Thousand Tongues" comes from stanzas 1 and 7-12 of this longer text (this pattern already occurs in Richard Conyers's Collection of Psalms and Hymns 1772). Stanza 7 is the doxology stanza that began the original hymn. Wesley acquired the title phrase of this text from Peter Böhler, a Moravian, who said to Wesley, "If I had a thousand tongues, I would praise Christ with them all" (Böhler was actually quoting from Johann Mentzner's German hymn "O dass ich tausend Zungen hätte").

Through this jubilant, partly autobiographical text Wesley exalts his Redeemer and Lord. With its many biblical allusions it has become a great favorite of many Christians.

Liturgical Use:
Many types of services; profession of faith; baptism; other times of renewal; Pentecost.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Lowell Mason (PHH 96) adapted AZMON from a melody composed by Carl G. Gläser in 1828. Mason published a duple-meter version in his Modern Psalmist (1839) but changed it to triple meter in his later publications. Mason used (often obscure) biblical names for his tune titles; Azmon, a city south of Canaan, appears in Numbers 34:4-5.

AZMON is the preferred tune for this text in the United States. The British often use RlCHMOND (335), which offers a descant, or LYNGHAM (404), a fuguing tune. Either of these would make fine alternate tunes.

This great hymn of praise and rejoicing calls for exuberant singing and strong, full accompaniment. Assign some stanzas to antiphonal groups singing in harmony; reserve the final stanza for unison with descant.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Audio recording: Piano Harmony (auto-generated)
MIDI file: MIDI Preview
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