Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Concern over a Lost Verse of Charles Wesley

Much concern among the Beaker People. While putting Wesley's marvellous "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing" on the laptop ready for tomorrow's Praise-a-thon, we found the following verse, way down in an online version.
"Harlots and publicans and thieves
In holy triumph join!
Saved is the sinner that believes
From crimes as great as mine." 
And there was wailing and gnashing of teeth. Charles Wesley was an Oxford graduate, a Methodist preacher, an Anglican divine and - as far as we are aware - only ever got in trouble for preaching in fields, which isn't a criminal offence. He didn't even contract a pointless wedding and then pretty well abandon his wife to go a-preaching. Oh no. That was his brother did that. Charles, having married a young woman 20 years his junior, so far stuck by his matrimonial duty that he and his wife had 9 children. Although, sadly, in the ways of those times, only 3 survived to adulthood.

So if sinners are saved from crimes as great as Charles Wesley's, who then can be saved? A great wailing and gnashing of teeth went up as the Beaker Folk remembered their parking tickets, speeding fines, and - worryingly - conviction for having a shotgun without a licence.

Sorry, Chassa, you're just too nice. No wonder that they took that verse out of all modern hymnals. We can't shoot that high (except the Beaker Person with the shotgun, obviously). If we had to sing that every week, we'd never come to church any more.


  1. That hymn has a LOT of verses we never sing. I hadn't realized we could be singing a single Wesley hymn instead of repeating several more modern songs several times each.

    I wonder if our choir director would be responsive to a suggestion that we sing the hymn in its original form.

  2. Spread over an entire service, maybe?

    They had to make their own entertainment in them days.


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