For A Thousand Tongues
and Charles Wesley, while students at Oxford University, formed a
religious Holy Club because of their dissatisfaction with the spiritual
lethargy at the school.
a result of their methodical habits of living and studying, they were
jokingly called methodists by their fellow students. Upon graduation
these young brothers were sent to America by the Anglican Church to help
stabilize the religious climate of the Georgia colonies and to
evangelize the Indians.
Following a short and unsuccessful
ministry in America, the disillusioned Wesleys returned to England,
where once again they came under the influence of a group of devout
Moravian believers meeting in Aldersgate, London.
May, 1738, both of these brothers had a spiritual heart-warming
experience, realizing that though they had been zealous in the
Church’s ministry, neither had ever personally accepted Christ as
Savior nor had known the joy of their religious faith as did their
that time the Wesleys’ ministry took on a new dimension and power.
John and Charles were endued with an indefatigable spirit, usually
working fifteen to eighteen hours each day. It is estimated that they
traveled a quarter of a million miles throughout Great Britain, mostly
on horseback, while conducting more than 40,000 public services.
alone wrote no less than 6,500 hymn texts, with hardly a day or an
experience passing without its crystallization into verse.
“O For a Thousand Tongues” was
written in 1749 on the occasion of Charles’s eleventh anniversary of
his own Aldergate conversion experience. It is thought to have been
inspired by a chance remark by Peter Bohler, an influential Moravian
leader, who exclaimed:
I a thousand tongues, I would praise Christ Jesus with all of them.”
hymn originally had nineteen stanzas and when published was entitled,
“For the Anniversary Day of One’s Conversion.”
O for a
Thousand Tongues to Sing
(1) O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer's praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!
(2) My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spreads through all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy name.
(3) Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease,
'Tis music in the sinner's ears,
'Tis life and health and peace.
(4) He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.
(5) Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb.
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold Your Savior come;
And leap, ye lame, for joy!