Year B – Proper 19 – How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds

How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds by John Newton is a beautiful devotional hymn. John Newton (1725-1807) is well-known as hymn-writers go. We all know and love his most famous hymn, Amazing Grace as well as Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder. Newton, of all the hymns he wrote, actually loved this one the most and during his life it was the most popular in his congregation. It was published in the “Olney” collection. The fourth verse says,  “By Thee my prayers acceptance find, Although with sin defiled; Satan accuses me in vain, And I am owned a child.” At the end of Newton’s life when his faculties were failing he said, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things — that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.”

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;
’Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.

Dear Name, the Rock on which I build,
My Shield and Hiding Place,
My never failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace!

By Thee my prayers acceptance gain,
Although with sin defiled;
Satan accuses me in vain,
And I am owned a child.

Jesus! my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
O Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.

Till then I would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath,
And may the music of Thy Name
Refresh my soul in death!

Year B – Proper 16 – Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken

Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken is a familiar traditional hymn. The Text is from John Newton, 1725-1807 and the Music is from Croatian folk song; arr. by Franz Joseph Haydn. Haydn orig­in­al­ly adapt­ed this tune (Austria) as something like a “national anthem” and it was first per­formed for the em­per­or’s birth­day, February 12, 1797. The text is actually a paraphrase of Psalm 87: “On the holy mount stands the city he founded; 87:2 the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. 87:3 Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.”

1.    Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God;
God, whose word cannot be broken,
formed thee for his own abode.
On the Rock of Ages founded,
what can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
thou mayst smile at all thy foes.

2.    See, the streams of living waters,
springing from eternal love,
well supply thy sons and daughters,
and all fear of want remove.
Who can faint while such a river
ever will their thirst assuage?
Grace which like the Lord, the giver,
never fails from age to age.

3.    Round each habitation hovering,
see the cloud and fire appear
for a glory and a covering,
showing that the Lord is near!
Thus deriving from our banner
light by night and shade by day,
safe we feed upon the manna
which God gives us when we pray.

4.    Blest inhabitants of Zion,
washed in our Redeemer’s blood;
Jesus, whom our souls rely on,
makes us monarchs, priests to God.
Us, by his great love, he raises,
rulers over self to reign,
and as priests his solemn praises
we for thankful offering bring.