Wednesday, August 3, 2022

321. Hebrews 11 Hymn

This is a paraphrase of a chapter (and change) of the Bible that has impressed me with its tight argument since I was a little kid. And I was just thinking, when looking at hymn selections for a couple of Sundays in which portions of this chapter come up in the readings, that a hymn like this might be pretty handy ... give or take how horrendously long it is. I suppose you could break it up into segments to go with an extended study or sermon series on this section of Hebrews. It includes Hebrews 12:1-2 and a doxology at the end. EDIT: I struggled to find an existing tune that I thought would pair well with this hymn. In the wee hours, I sketched out an original tune for it that will, by and by, be known as BY FAITH.

By faith, the substance of our hope,
Things not yet seen we own;
By faith, the saints who passed before
A good account have known;
And that God's unseen word has framed
The worlds, by faith is shown.

By faith, what Abel sacrificed
God savored more than Cain's,
And by commending Abel's gift
His righteousness proclaims.
Thus even Abel, being dead,
A living voice obtains.

By faith was Enoch taken up,
And so he never died.
That God was fully pleased with him
Such honor testified;
Yet without faith one cannot be
Before God justified.

Apart from faith, God is not pleased;
The thing cannot be done.
Apart from faith, all works are sin,
And lost is everyone;
For He who seeks the Lord must know
He saves us through His Son.

By faith one Noah, warned of things
Divinely strange and dark,
Was moved with godly fear to build
A life-preserving ark,
And so condemned the world, and gained
Faith's justifying mark.

By faith did Abram heed the call
To tent in foreign lands,
Expecting an inheritance
From God's almighty hands;
By faith his dead flesh sired a tribe
As countless as the sands.

In faith the fathers died, assured
A promised land was theirs,
Seen from afar but entered not,
As pilgrims in the earth;
A better city they now seek,
A land of heavenly worth.

By faith, when tested, Abraham
Prepared his son to slay,
Convinced that God would raise him up,
So faithful is His way.
By faith, the latter fathers, too,
Breathed blessings in their day.

By faith, two parents saved their child
Despite the king's command;
Raised in the palace, Moses then
Forsook the king's right hand
And chose with them to suffer who
Looked for the promised land.

By faith, he hazarded the wrath
Of Egypt's dreaded king;
He kept the feast, the sprinkled blood,
Lest Israel feel death's sting,
Then led them through the sea dryshod,
Th'oppressor smothering.

By faith, the walls of Jericho
Fell, and Rahab was spared.
And must we also mention how
The faithful judges fared?
Must every king and prophet
With this precept be compared?

They conquered realms, worked justice, reaped
Rewards, stopped lions' maws,
Quenched fire, escaped the sword, grew strong
And bravely waged their cause,
Turned hosts to flight, and women's sons
Restored from out death's jaws.

Eyes on the resurrection, they
Bore witness, bearing pains;
They suffered scorn and scourging, bore
Imprisonment and chains;
Stoned, sawn in two, beheaded, they
By faith made no complaints.

Condemned to destitution, poor
And weak, they did not swerve,
But walked in desolations, dens
And caves, with holy nerve.
By faith, they were a treasure that
The world did not deseve.

All these, by faith imprinted with
A faultless, holy name,
Did not receive the promise till,
In Christ, a Better came,
That we and they together should
By faith perfection claim.

Since such a cloud of martyrs swirls
Around us, brethren, let
Us lay aside the vices that
Would catch us in their net,
And run with perseverence in
The race before us set;

And fix our eyes on Jesus, who
Begins and ends our faith,
Who for the joy before Him bore
The cross, the shame of death,
And sits at God's right hand, the throne
All powers fall beneath.

To God the Father, whom the Son
Reveals, a hymn we raise,
And to the Spirit, who with them
Is One, bring endless praise
Through Jesus Christ, the Author and
Perfecter of our faith!

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