Inspired by a brother’s twitter question, I thought I’d post my personal top 5 favorite hymns of all time – covering various theological themes. Each of theses hymns has had a specific and poignant effect upon my spiritual life, and I’ve tried to highlight the particular lyric/phrase which has done so.
1. A Debtor to Mercy Alone
(1771 – lyrics: Augustus Toplady, music and alt words: Bob Kauflin, 1998)*
A debtor to mercy alone, Of covenant mercy I sing
I come with Your righteousness on, My humble offering to bring
The judgments of Your holy law, With me can have nothing to do
My Savior’s obedience and blood, Hide all my transgressions from view
The work which Your goodness began, The arm of Your strength will complete
Your promise is yes and amen, And never was forfeited yet
The future or things that are now, No power below or above
Can make You Your purpose forego, Or sever my soul from Your love
My name from the palms of Your hands, Eternity will not erase
Impressed on Your heart it remains, In marks of indelible grace
Yes I, to the end will endure, Until I bow down at Your throne
Forever and always secure, A debtor to mercy alone
2. That Man of Calvary
(1894 – lyrics and music: Manie Ferguson)
Fairest of all the earth beside, Chiefest of all unto Thy bride,
Fullness Divine in Thee I see, Beautiful Man of Calvary!
That Man of Calvary Has won my heart from me,
And died to set me free, Blest Man of Calvary!
Drinking a dire and dreadful cup, Crucified Jesus lifted up,
Bearing our guilt and misery, Sorrowful Man of Calvary!
Granting the sinner life and peace, Granting the captive sweet release,
Shedding His blood to make us free, Merciful Man of Calvary!
Comfort of all my earthly way, Jesus, I’ll meet Thee some sweet day,
Center of glory, Thee I’ll see, Wonderful Man of Calvary!
Gathered with Thee eternally, Sharing Thy love by glassy sea,
Like Thee forever I shall be, Glorified Man of Calvary!
3. O Christ, He is the Fountain
(1857 – lyrics: Anne Cousin, music: Samuel Rutherford)
O Christ, He is the fountain, The deep sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I’ve tasted, More deep I’ll drink above!
There, to an ocean fullness, His mercy doth expand.
And glory, glory dwelleth In Immanuel’s land.
With mercy and with judgment, My web of time He wove,
And aye the dews of sorrow, Were lustred with His love.
I’ll bless the hand that guided, I’ll bless the heart that planned,
When throned where glory dwelleth, In Immanuel’s land.
Oh! I am my Beloved’s, And my Beloved’s mine!
He brings a poor vile sinner Into His house of wine!
I stand upon His merit, I know no other stand,
Not even where glory dwelleth, In Immanuel’s land.
The bride eyes not her garment, But her dear Bridegroom’s face:
I will not gaze at glory, But on my King of grace
Not at the crown He giveth, But on His pierced hand:
The Lamb is all the glory Of Immanuel’s land.
4. From Whence This Fear and Unbelief
(1774 – lyrics: Augustus Toplady, music and alt words: Doug Plank
Now why this fear and unbelief? Has not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for us?
And will the righteous Judge of men, Condemn me for that debt of sin
Now canceled at the cross?
Jesus, all my trust is in Your blood
Jesus, You’ve rescued us Through Your great love
Complete atonement You have made, And by Your death have fully paid
The debt Your people owed
No wrath remains for us to face, We’re sheltered by Your saving grace
And sprinkled with Your blood
How sweet the sound of saving grace
How sweet the sound of saving grace, Christ died for me
Be still my soul and know this peace, The merits of your great high priest
Have bought your liberty
Rely then on His precious blood, Don’t fear your banishment from God
Since Jesus sets you free
5. How Sweet and Aweful Is the Place
(1707 – lyrics: Isaac Watts, tune: ST. COLUMBIA)
How sweet and aweful is the place, With Christ within the doors
While everlasting love displays, The choicest of her stores
While all our hearts and all our songs, Join to admire the feast
Each of us cry with thankful tongues, “Lord, why was I a guest?”
“Why was I made to hear Thy voice, And enter while there’s room
When thousands make a wretched choice, And rather starve than come?”
’Twas the same love that spread the feast, That sweetly drew us in
Else we had still refused to taste, And perished in our sin
Pity the nations, O our God, Constrain the earth to come
Send Thy victorious Word abroad, And bring the strangers home
We long to see Thy churches full, That all the chosen race
May with one voice and heart and soul, Sing Thy redeeming grace