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I Once Was a Stranger to Grace

Full Text

1. I once was a stranger to grace and to God,
I knew not my danger, and felt not my load;
Though friends spoke in rapture of Christ on the tree,
Jehovah Tsidkenu was nothing to me.

2. I oft read with pleasure, to sooth or engage,
Isaiah’s wild measure and John’s simple page;
But e’en when they pictured the blood sprinkled tree
Jehovah Tsidkenu seemed nothing to me.

3. Like tears from the daughters of Zion that roll,
I wept when the waters went over His soul;
Yet thought not that my sins had nailed to the tree
Jehovah Tsidkenu—’twas nothing to me.

4. When free grace awoke me, by light from on high,
Then legal fears shook me, I trembled to die;
No refuge, no safety in self could I see—
Jehovah Tsidkenu my Savior must be.

5. My terrors all vanished before the sweet name;
My guilty fears banished, with boldness I came
To drink at the fountain, life giving and free—
Jehovah Tsidkenu is all things to me.

6. Jehovah Tsidkenu! my treasure and boast,
Jehovah Tsidkenu! I ne’er can be lost;
In thee I shall conquer by flood and by field,
My cable, my anchor, my breast-plate and shield!

7. Even treading the valley, the shadow of death,
This watchword shall rally my faltering breath;
For while from life’s fever my God sets me free,
Jehovah Tsidkenu, my death song shall be.

Source: The Cyber Hymnal #3025

Author: Robert Murray M'Cheyne

McCheyne, Robert Murray, son of Adam McCheyne, W. S., was b. at Edinburgh, May 21, 1813, and educated at Edinburgh University. In 1835 he became Assistant at Larbert,near Stirling, and was ordained in 1836 Minister of St. Peter's Established Church, Dundee. In 1839 he went to Palestine as one of the Mission of Enquiry to the Jews from the Church of Scotland. He d. at Dundee, March 25, 1843. His hymns, a few of which were written in Palestine, appeared in his Songs of Zion to cheer and guide Pilgrims on their way to the New Jerusalem, By the late Rev. B. M. McCheyne....Dundee, W. Middleton, 1843. These hymns were reprinted in his Memoir and Remains, edited by Dr. Andrew A. Bonar, 1844. The Songs as reprinted in 1844 number 14, and date from… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: I once was a stranger to grace and to God
Title: I Once Was a Stranger to Grace
Author: Robert Murray M'Cheyne
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain

Notes

I once was a stranger to grace and to God. R. M. McCheyne. [The Lord our Righteousness.] Appeared in the Scottish Christian Herald, March, 1836, in 7 stanzas of 8 lines, and entitled "Jehovah Tsidkenu," "The Lord our Righteousness—The watchword of the Reformation," and signed "Larbert. . . R. McC." In 1844 it was included by A. Bonar in his Memoir & Remains of McCheyne, p. 582, and dated "November, 18, 1834." Its use, especially in America, is extensive.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Tune

[My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine] (Gordon)

In 1870 Featherstone's text came to the attention of Adoniram J. Gordon (b. New Hampton, NH, 1836; d. Boston, MA, 1895), an evangelical preacher who was compiling a new Baptist hymnal. Because he was unhappy with the existing melody for this text, Gordon composed this tune; as he wrote, "in a moment…

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FOUNDATION

The anonymous tune FOUNDATION first appeared in Joseph Funk's A Compilation of Genuine Church Music (1832) as a setting for this text (there it was called PROTECTION). The tune was also published with the text in Southern Harmony and Sacred Harp. The ancestors of Joseph Funk (b. Lancaster County, PA…

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ROBINSON (Unknown)


Timeline

Media

The Cyber Hymnal #3025
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)



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