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~O For A Thousand Tongues

       John and Charles Wesley, while students at Oxford University, formed a religious Holy Club because of their dissatisfaction with the spiritual lethargy at the school.

       As 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.

       In 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 Moravian friends.

       From that time the Wesleys’ ministry took on a new dimension and power.

       Both 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.

       Charles 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:

       “Had I a thousand tongues, I would praise Christ Jesus with all of them.”

       The hymn originally had nineteen stanzas and when published was entitled, “For the Anniversary Day of One’s Conversion.”

—Kenneth Osbeck



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!








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