Can It Be That I Should Gain?
Not many hymns begin with a question as does this one.
However, it is not an expression of doubt but of wonder and awe.
How can it be that the shedding of Jesus’ blood 1900 years ago is
relevant to me today?
How was it possible for the Song of God to have died for me?
Why should our Lord empty Himself of all His divine glory and become a
man, in order to save “Adam’s helpless race?”
There is considerable evidence that this hymn was written by
Charles Wesley soon after his own conversion. Charles Wesley’s crisis
experience occurred on May 20, 1738. He had been sick in body as well as in spirit.
It seemed that God spoke to him through a vision.
According to his Journal, this confrontation took place
after reading the bible for some time.
Following is his account:
“At midnight I gave myself up to Christ:
assured I was safe, sleeping or waking.
I had continued experience of his power to overcome all
temptation; and confessed, with joy and surprise, that he was able to do
exceedingly abundantly for me, above what I can ask or think.”
Can it Be, that I Should Gain
And can it be, that I should gain
interest in the Saviour’s blood`?
he for me, who caused his pain?
me, who him to death pursued?
love! how can it be
thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
’Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!
can explore his strange design?
vain the first-born seraph tries
sound the depths of love divine!
mercy all! let earth adore,
angel-minds inquire no more.
He left his Father’s throne above,
free, so infinite his grace!)
himself of all but love,
bled for Adam’s helpless race:
mercy all, immense and free,
O my God, it found out me!
Long my imprisoned spirit lay
bound in sin and nature’s night;
eye diffused a quickening ray,
woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
chains fell off, my heart was free,
rose, went forth, and followed thee.
No condemnation now I dread,
and all in him, is mine!
in him, my living Head,
clothed in righteousness divine,
I approach the eternal throne,
claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Paul, Steve Green’s MIDI Hymnal, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos
Research Systems, Inc.) 1998.