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~Make Me A Captive, Lord


       The opening phrases of this hymn may be puzzling to some readers—“Make me a captive, Lord, and then I shall be free; Force me to render up my sword, and I shall conqueror be.”  One may ask, “How is it possible to be slave and free, winner and loser, at the same time?”

       There are many paradoxes in the Bible.  When I am weak, then am I strong” (II Cor. 12:10).  Whosoever will save his life shall lose it” (Matt. 16:25).  He that is least among you all, the same shall be great” (Luke 9:48). 

       Jesus said in John 12:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” 

       Here is one of nature’s phenomena; a kernel of wheat must disintegrate and decompose in the ground in order to reproduce itself.  It must die in order that it might continue to live!

       No doubt the hymn’s writer George Matheson learned this lesson through his own personal experience.  As a brilliant young ministerial student of eighteen, he lost his sight almost completely.  Because of his blindness, he eventually had to give up his research and scholarship in theology, an activity which he dearly loved.

       Instead, George Matheson gave his time and strength to devotional preaching and writing.  During his lifetime as a minister in the Scottish Free Church, he had a profound influence on all who heard him preach, including Queen Victoria.

—Don Hustad


Make Me A Captive, Lord


(1) Make me a captive, Lord,

And then I shall be free;

Force me to render up my sword,

And I shall conqu’ror be.

I sink in life’s alarms,

when by myself I stand;

Impress on me within Thine arms,

And strong shall be my hand.


(2) My heart is weak and poor,

Until its master find;

It has no spring of action sure,

It varies with the wind;

It cannot freely move,

Till Thou has wrought its chain;

Enslave it with Thy matchless love,

And deathless it shall reign.


(3) My power is faint and low,

Till I have learned to serve;

It wants the needed fire to glow,

It wants the breeze to nerve;

It cannot drive the world,

Until itself be driv’n,

Its flag can only be unfurled,

Then Thou shalt breathe from heav’n.






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