God of all power, and truth, and grace (StF 498i)

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God of all power, and truth, and grace 

Source: Singing the Faith: 498i
Words: Charles Wesley
Music: “Ombersley” by William Gladstone
Metre: 88.88. Long Metre
Verses: 6

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Categories: 88.88. Long Metre, Gladstone, William Henry, Growth in Grace and Holiness, Guitar chords available, Ombersley, Wesley, Charles.

One Response to God of all power, and truth, and grace (StF 498i)

  1. Editor says:

    The Revd Dr John Ogden has been in touch with the following observations about verse 4. In StF, it reads:

    Give me a new, a perfect heart,
    free from all doubt and fear at last;
    the mind which was in Christ impart,
    and let my spirit hold you fast.

    Dr Ogden compares this version of Wesley’s text with that in the 1933 Methodist Hymn-book (# 592). He writes:

    “… The language of these two texts reflects many significant changes of custom and meaning over nearly three centuries. Some verses in the older text have been discarded or reconfigured to suit a new idiom. I have no problem with this as a matter of principle, but I am concerned by line 4 of the modern 4th verse: ‘and let my spirit hold you fast’. This line ‘modernizes’ the original: ‘and let my spirit cleave to thee’.
    Unfortunately, the meaning of ‘cleave’ is not well rendered, for a modern audience, by ‘hold you fast’. The sense of these modern words carries the suggestion of holding God prisoner – God held fast – whereas the original was intended, surely, to convey the idea of our clinging on to God for our very lives… it seems to me that the theology has been turned on its head.”

    ED. If understood as Dr Ogden reads the phrase, this would indeed imply a different theological statement. It’s perhaps worth noting, though, that the Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “cleave” (in its second meaning) as “to stick fast or adhere to” – or, in a wider, figurative sense, “to cling or hold fast to; to attach oneself to” – which, presumably, was the meaning in the minds of the more recent text revisors. Arguably, the problem is not so much the use of the word “fast” as the loss of the word “to” which does create a different feel:

    Give me a new, a perfect heart,
    From doubt, and fear, and sorrow free;
    The mind which was in Christ impart,
    And let my spirit cleave to thee.

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