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Hymns on Pardon

A few Sundays back, I structured our congregational singing around the theme of God’s pardon of guilty sinners on the basis of Christ’s death.  There is a wonderful section in John Bunyan’s work The Holy War which relates how the rebellious city of Mansoul was conquered by Prince Emmanuel, and recognizing their hopeless state, had sent messengers to cast their wretched city upon the mercy of their conquerer.  In response to their plea, Emmanuel rehearses their crimes, but tells them, “I will consider your petition, and will answer it so as will be for my glory.”  After allowing the city to pass some time in repentant mourning, the Prince called several of its representatives to his royal pavilion outside the city, and they thoroughly acknowledged their willful rebellion, expecting nothing but death.  To their amazement, the Prince responded with these words:

The sins, trespasses, iniquities, that you, with the whole town of Mansoul, have from time to time committed against my Father and me, I have power and commandment from my Father to forgive to the town of Mansoul, and do forgive you accordingly.

The representatives returned with rejoicing, and cried out the news when they came within earshot of Mansoul:

Oh! tidings! glad tidings! good tidings of good, and of great joy to poor Mansoul! . . . PARDON, PARDON, PARDON for Mansoul!


We began with Wesley’s  “Arise, My Soul, Arise”:

My God is reconciled; His pard’ning voice I hear.
He owns me for his child; I can no longer fear.
With confidence I now draw nigh, With confidence I now draw nigh,
And, ‘Father, Abba, Father,’ cry.

From there, we moved to another Wesley hymn, “Thou Hidden Source of Calm Repose.” This marvelous text says in part,

Thy mighty Name salvation is,
And keeps my happy soul above;
Comfort it brings, and power and peace,
And joy and everlasting love;
To me with Thy dear Name are given
Pardon and holiness and Heaven.

Later, we engaged Samuel Davies’s paean of praise for God’s matchless grace, “Great God of Wonders”:

In wonder lost, with trembling joy,
We take the pardon of our God:
Pardon for crimes of deepest dye,
A pardon bought with Jesus’ blood,
A pardon bought with Jesus’ blood.

Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

And finally, our congregation sang the well-loved Chisholm hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”:

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Isaiah 55:7 (KJV): “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”


About Chuck Bumgardner

I seek to be a student of the Scriptures — New Testament in particular — and also have a deep love for the praise of God through music in the church. I have at the present time the privilege of overseeing the music and leading the singing in my local church, a ministry which brings me great joy and provides a God-ordained outlet for my musical energies. I've enjoyed serving in music-related areas in the church since high school — some 25 years now — as a vocalist, choir member, choir director, and congregational songleader. In addition to serving as a member — and for a time as an assistant pastor — in various local churches, I've also had the privilege of traveling during my college years to many churches throughout the United States and Canada as part of a vocal ensemble. I hunger to see, both in my own church and beyond, an increased appreciation for the great historic music of the church in which theologically rich texts are wedded to music which provides an appropriate setting for those texts, and through which our affections are turned toward God. I'm also eager to see new contributions to the rich heritage of Christian music which share in the same characteristics.

3 Responses to Hymns on Pardon

  1. A great selections of hymns. You have given me an idea to center a communion service around the theme of forgiveness and pardon. We will have to add:

    Abel’s blood for vengeance

    pleaded to the skies;

    but the blood of Jesus

    for our pardon cries.

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