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 spread 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
His love my heart has captive made,
  His captive would I be,
For He was bound, and scourged and died,
  My captive soul to free.
5
He breaks the power of canceled sin,
  He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean;
  His blood availed for me.
6
So now Thy blessed Name I love,
  Thy will would e’er be mine.
Had I a thousand hearts to give,
  My Lord, they all were Thine!
5
Steve Miller

Detroit, Michigan, United States

Here is the complete original 18 stanza poem. Most hymnals use only stanzas 7 through 12. By singing the whole thing, I am reminded of all that Salvation has done for me, and what it will do for all kinds of sinners like me.

"The rapture of 'O for a thousand tongues to sing', is explained by what goes before, especially verses 2 & 5." - 'An Illustrated and Annotated Edition of the Hymnal of the Methodist Episcopal Church' by Charles Nutter

1. Glory to God, and praise and love,

Be ever, ever given;

By saints below and saints above,

The Church in earth and heaven.

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2. On this glad day the glorious Sun

Of righteousness arose,

On my benighted soul he shone,

And filled it with repose.

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3. Sudden expired the legal strife;

'Twas then I ceased to grieve.

My second, real, living life,

I then began to live.

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4. Then with my heart I first believed,

Believed with faith divine;

Power with the Holy Ghost received

To call the Saviour mine.

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5. I felt my Lord's atoning blood

Close to my soul applied;

*Me*, *me* he loved - the Son of God

For *me*, for *me* he died!

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6. I found and owned his promise true,

Ascertained of my part,

My pardon passed in heaven I know,

When written on my heart.

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original stanzas 7-9 are Hymnal.net stanzas 1-3.

Wesley wrote "dear Redeemer" instead of "great Redeemer" in stanza 7 (Charles Nutter), but this change is in all hymnals, old or new that I have seen.

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original stanza 10 is Hymnal.net stanza 5.

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11. He speaks, - and, listening to his voice,

New life the dead receive;

The mournful, broken hearts rejoice;

The humble poor believe.

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12. Hear him, ye deaf; his praise, ye dumb,

Your loosen'd tongues employ;

Ye blind, behold your Saviour come,

And leap, ye lame, for joy.

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13. Look unto him, ye nations; own

Your God, ye fallen race;

Look, and be saved through faith alone,

Be justified by grace.

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14. See all your sins on Jesus laid;

The Lamb of God was slain;

His soul was once an offering made

For every soul of man.

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15. Harlots, and publicans, and thieves,

In holy triumph join!

Saved is the sinner that believes,

From crimes as great as mine.

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16. Murderers, and all ye hellish crew,

Ye sons of lust and pride,

Believe the Savior died for you;

For me the Saviour died.

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17. Awake from guilty nature's sleep,

And Christ shall give you light,

Cast all your sins into the deep,

And wash the AEthiop white.

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18. With me, your chief, ye then shall know,

Shall feel your sins forgiven;

Anticipate your heaven below,

And own that love is heaven.

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Consider stanzas 15 & 18 in light of the fact that Charles Wesley was the son of a pastor and was piously and studiously trained.

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When the full hymn is given in a hymnal, original stanzas 7-12 usually become stanzas 1-6. Then original stanzas 1-6 become stanzas 8-13, followed by original stanzas 13-18 as stanzas 14-19. There is an inserted stanza #7, apparently to bridge the gap from original stanza 12 (as stanza 6) to original stanza 1 (as stanza 8). Here is the inserted stanza. It sounds like it is written by Wesley:

7. In Christ your Head, you then shall know,

Shall feel your sins forgiven;

Anticipate your heaven below,

And own that love is heaven.


Mark Agnini

Barrington, IL, United States

I feel as Steve does about stanzas 11 and 12. I cannot sing them without tears of joy gloriously pouring forth


Steve Miller

Detroit, MI, United States

Charles Wesley was suffering a bout of pleurisy in May, 1738, while he and his brother were studying under the Moravian scholar Peter Böhler in London. At the time, Wesley was plagued by extreme doubts about his faith. Taken to bed with the sickness on May 21 Wesley was attended by a group of Christians who offered him testimony and basic care, and he was deeply affected by this. He read from his Bible and found himself deeply affected by the words, and at peace with God. Shortly his strength began to return. He wrote of this experience in his journal and counted it as a renewal of his faith; when his brother John had a similar experience on the 24th, the two men met and sang a hymn Wesley had written in praise of his renewal.

One year from the experience, Wesley was taken with the urge to write another hymn, this one in commemoration of his renewal of faith. This hymn took the form of an 18-stanza poem, beginning with the opening lines 'Glory to God, and praise, and love,/Be ever, ever given' and was published in 1740 and entitled 'For the anniversary day of one's conversion'. The seventh verse, which begins, 'O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing', and which now is invariably the first verse of a shorter hymn, recalls the words of Peter Böhler who said, 'Had I a thousand tongues I would praise Him with them all.' The hymn was placed first in John Wesley's A Collection of Hymns for the People Called Methodists published in 1780. It appeared first in every (Wesleyan) Methodist hymnal from that time until the publication of Hymns and Psalms in 1983. - Wikipedia

This shorter version of the hymn starts with the original stanza 7, as almost all shorter versions do, and continues through to the original stanza 10. In this version stanzas 4 and 6 are not written by Wesley, but are inserted.

I also especially like the original stanzas 11-12:

11. He speaks; and, listening to His voice,

New life the dead receive,

The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,

The humble poor believe.

12. Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,

Your loosen’d tongues employ;

Ye blind, behold your Saviour come;

And leap, ye lame, for joy.


Patience Otoje

Ago Palace Way, Lagos, Nigeria

I pray God according to verse 2, to spread abroad the Honors of HIS Name by my Singing ministry in Jesus name. Amen.


Clarence Boutilier

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Very Beautiful