Friday, August 18, 2006

"And Let This Feeble Body Fail"

Life on this poor, problematic planet will not last.

There couldn't be a truth more obvious. Yet men constantly seek distraction from honestly facing the fact of their death as well as such other hard realities as pain, grief, desperation, injustice and deep longing.

However, for the Christian; that is, the person who has received the gift of salvation via the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ's death on the cross, there is a joyful confidence that this planet is not the final destination.

Here is how Charles Wesley described this assured expectation in a funeral hymn written in 1759. It is titled, "And let this feeble body fail."

(By the way, for those of you who only know new church tunes, you might like to hear how the music goes that normally accompanies these words. This music, which you can listen to in a Midi file right here, was written several decades later by Oxford music professor, John Stainer.)

And Let This Feeble Body Fail

And let this feeble body fail,
And let it droop and die;
My soul shall quit the mournful vale,
And soar to worlds on high;
Shall join the disembodied saints,
And find its long sought rest,
That only bliss for which it pants,
In my Redeemer’s breast.

In hope of that immortal crown
I now the cross sustain,
And gladly wander up and down,
And smile at toil and pain:
I suffer out my threescore years,
Till my Deliverer come,
And wipe away His servant’s tears,
And take His exile home.

O what hath Jesus bought for me!
Before my ravished eyes
Rivers of life divine I see,
And trees of paradise:
I see a world of spirits bright,
Who taste the pleasures there;
They all are robed in spotless white,
And conquering palms they bear.

O what are all my sufferings here,
If, Lord, Thou count me meet
With that enraptured host to appear,
And worship at Thy feet!
Give joy or grief, give ease or pain,
Take life or friends away,
But let me find them all again
In that eternal day.