Search Fore Hymn

And Can It Be?

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour's blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Saviour in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Charles Wesley 1738

In then most familiar paths there are often unseen or unknown treasures that we fail to pay attention to.  I would not dare to count how many times I’ve sung this hymn since coming to Christ (though i do know how many times I’ve sung it since coming to New Zealand – namely NONE!).  Saying that though, I have never sung the fifth verse that Wesley penned.

I can sort of see why it has been left unsung – it speaks of feeling the Saviour ‘in my heart’ which would seem to reduce Jesus to some pietistic existential experience BUT the lines prior to it surely cure that ‘sentiment’ and make it an expression of hope filled grace?  To sing of the blood atoning of Christ, quenching the wrath of hostile heaven would be a breath of fresh air from the past into Christian gatherings which sing of Christ’s thought on the cross being ‘of me above all’.

Our thoughts in worship should be well taught and transformed hearts in the face of the staggering reality that YES, YES, YES – it can be that we might know God through the atoning blood of Christ, in the power of the Spirit and thus approaching the Father with great confidence. Confidence not born of ourselves but as we the twice-born children of God come to Him, by His Promise, according to His Word for the praise of His Glory!

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:19-25


I thought that the verses usually sung came from a much longer poem of Charles Wesley, testimony style, from which brother John took a few verses for the hymn. Hence the absence of that verse among many. But I may be completely wrong! Good verse anyway :)

Oh, and I appreciate the link so haven't wanted to say, but I'm a rarely spelled Grier rather than the common -ee- version :)

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