Dear Friend of Hymnary,

As you know, we don't ask for money too often. But we're asking now.

So before you hit the "close" button on this box, please consider a donation to keep Hymnary going.

More than half a million people come here every month -- worship leaders, hymnologists, hymn lovers and more -- people who now have access to the most complete database of North American hymnody on the planet thanks to this site. But keeping all of this afloat does not come without a cost, and we have limited sources of revenue. So if you benefit from, would you please consider a donation today? Even small amounts help, and they also let us know you're behind us and support what we do.

You can make your tax-deductible contribution by clicking the Donate button below, or you can send a check to Hymnary at 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

On behalf of the entire Hymnary team,
Harry Plantinga

Whether the Word Be Preached or Read

Full Text

Whether the Word be preached or read,
no saving benefit I gain
from empty sounds or letters dead;
unprofitable all and vain,
unless by faith thy word I hear
and see its heavenly character.

Unmixed with faith, the Scripture gives
no comfort, life, or light to see,
but me in darker darkness leaves,
implunged in deeper misery,
overwhelmed with nature's sorest ills.
The Spirit saves, the letter kills.

If God enlighten through his Word,
I shall my kind Enlightener bless;
but void and naked of my Lord,
what are all verbal promises?
Nothing to me, till faith divine
inspire, inspeak, and make them mine.

Jesus, the appropriating grace
'tis thine on sinners to bestow.
Open mine eyes to see thy face,
open my heart thyself to know.
And then I through thy Word obtain
sure present, and eternal gain.

Source: The United Methodist Hymnal #595

Author: Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley, M.A. was the great hymn-writer of the Wesley family, perhaps, taking quantity and quality into consideration, the great hymn-writer of all ages. Charles Wesley was the youngest son and 18th child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley, and was born at Epworth Rectory, Dec. 18, 1707. In 1716 he went to Westminster School, being provided with a home and board by his elder brother Samuel, then usher at the school, until 1721, when he was elected King's Scholar, and as such received his board and education free. In 1726 Charles Wesley was elected to a Westminster studentship at Christ Church, Oxford, where he took his degree in 1729, and became a college tutor. In the early part of the same year his religious impressions were much deepene… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Whether the Word be preached or read
Title: Whether the Word Be Preached or Read
Author: Charles Wesley (1783)
Language: English



Dmitri Stephanovich Bortnianski (b. Gloukoff, Ukraine, 1751; d. St. Petersburg, Russia, 1825) was a Russian composer of church music, operas, and instrumental music. His tune ST. PETERSBURG (also known as RUSSIAN HYMN) was first published in J. H. Tscherlitzky's Choralbuch (1825). The tune is suppo…

Go to tune page >


The Cyber Hymnal #7708
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)


Instances (1 - 2 of 2)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
The Cyber Hymnal #7708TextScoreAudio
The United Methodist Hymnal #595TextPage Scan