We bless Thee, God and Father

1
We bless Thee, God and Father,
  We joy before Thy face;
Beyond dark death for ever,
  We share Thy Son’s blest place.
He lives a Man before Thee,
  In cloudless light above,
In Thine unbounded favor,
  Thine everlasting love.
2
His Father and our Father,
  His God and ours Thou art;
And He is Thy Beloved,
  The gladness of Thy heart.
We’re His, in joy He brings us
  To share His part and place,
To know Thy love and favor,
  The shining of Thy face.
3
Thy love that now enfolds us
  Can ne’er wax cold or dim;
In Him that love doth center,
  And we are loved in Him.
In Him Thy love and glory
  Find their eternal rest;
The many sons—His brethren—
  In Him, how near, how blest!
14
Sue

China

阿爸父啊!赞美感谢您对我们的无限怜悯,慈爱与恩惠!


Andrea Villanueva

United States

This hymn causes my heart to worship the Father and love the saints!


Ann Kilili

London, United Kingdom

The many sons—His brethren—

In Him, how near, how blest!


Hayden

Auckland, New Zealand

Love You Lord Jesus.


Dan Wang

San Diego, California, United States

Father God, thank You for sending Your only begotten son. Now we can be His many sons.


Gregory Morris

Penymynydd, Flintshire, Wales

Generally, this Hymn is sung to Holmbridge by JT Lightwood 1856-1944. It is in most Methodist hymn books and is #226 in the 1954 Little Flock Tune Book. Ewing is a bit of a plodder for this refined and ethereal hymn.


Ruth Burling

Northampton, United Kingdom

Alexander Carruthers was my great grandfather and I have learnt much from his poetry and hymns. They are a treasure to cherish. This is beautiful. Not sure if it was in the book of poems your father published, Kathy?


Kathy Clist

Auckland, New Zealand

Alexander Carruthers was my grandfather. If anyone would like information about the author of this hymn they are welcome to email me.


Emmanuel

Fort Worth, Texas, United States

This hymn is very beutiful and enjoyable......I couldn't stop singing this hymn 😇


William Jeng

Irvine, CA, United States

Thank You we are not in fear before You, we can freely behold Your shining face!

Stanza I of Hymns, #48 says,

We bless Thee, God and Father,

We joy before Thy face;

Beyond dark death for ever,

We share Thy Son's blest place.

He lives a Man before Thee,

In cloudless light above,

In Thine unbounded favor,

Thine everlasting love.

In stanza 2 we find these words: "He brings us / To share His part and place, / To know Thy love and favor, / The shining of Thy face." This hymn was written by one of the Brethren, a group of believers who had much objective knowledge of the Bible. Early in my Christian life I met with the Brethren, and I came to know their teachings very well. With the exception of J. N. Darby and a few others, the Brethren did not accurately see the central lane of God's economy.

The above hymn tells us that God has caused us to share His Son's blessed place. We must not understand this to mean that God has merely adopted us as sons. God's economy is not to adopt sons; it is to regenerate sinners to make them His sons (John 1:12-13; Gal. 3:26; Eph. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:3, 23). God's economy is not merely to give us a place so that we may share His love and favor. Rather, God's eternal purpose is to give us His life, the eternal divine life (John 3:16). When a father generates a child, he does not simply give him a place. That is the principle of adoption. A man may see a poor child on the street, pity him, and adopt him. This adoption gives the child a place in the man's family. God's economy, however, is not with adoption but with regeneration. Every child born of a father possesses the father's life. God regenerated us so that we may have His life. Moreover, with this life there is an inheritance (Acts 26:18; Rom. 8:17; Gal. 4:7; Eph. 1:14; Titus 3:7; 1 Pet. 1:4). A son of God, who possesses God's divine life and the inheritance of this life, need not be. concerned about his place. It is not scriptural to simply say that the Father favors us so that we may share His Son's place. The Father's intention is that we share the Son's life (1 John 5:11-12).

This hymn continues, "He lives a Man before Thee, / In cloudless light above," referring to the third heavens. Emphasizing that God's home is in heaven is according to the traditional concept of Christianity. Isaiah 66:1-2 says, "Thus says Jehovah, / Heaven is My throne, / And the earth the footstool for My feet. / Where then is the house that you will build for Me, / And where is the place of My rest? / For all these things My hand has made; / And so all these things have come into being, declares Jehovah. / But to this kind of man will I look, to him who is poor / And of a 'contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word," The Triune God does not desire to live in heaven. He desires to dwell in a living people.

The above hymn goes on to speak of God's unbounded favor and His everlasting love. Favor and love alone are not clear terms when speaking of God's eternal economy. Here it would be better to refer to God's unlimited divine nature and eternal life. My intention is not to criticize this hymn. I simply wish to point out that even the great Brethren teachers retained some of the traditional concepts of Christianity. I am concerned that we may repeat the history of the Brethren, being knowledgeable of the Bible and doing everything scripturally yet missing the mark of God's economy and not knowing its focus. This is the shortcoming of today's Christianity.

When Hymns, #600 is compared with Hymns, #48, we can see that Hymns, #48 is full of light. It is a short but deep hymn that was composed by Alexander Carruthers, probably a Brethren writer who lived during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Even though this writer did not use the terms economy or dispensation, by reading his hymn, we can tell that he saw something concerning God's economy.

Hymns, #48 is full of revelation concerning the New Testament economy of God. However, if we do not have the spiritual education, it will be difficult to enter into the feeling of this hymn. The first stanza of Hymns, #48 says,

We bless Thee, God and Father,

We joy before Thy face;

Beyond dark death for ever,

We share Thy Son's blest place.

He lives a Man before Thee,

In cloudless light above,

In Thine unbounded favor,

Thine everlasting love.

The phrase We share Thy Son's blest place is deep in significance related to God's economy. It means that we share the place of God's Son and also that this place has been blessed by God. Also, the fifth and sixth lines, which say, "He lives a Man before Thee, / In cloudless light above," are rich in meaning.

The second and third stanzas say,

His Father and our Father,

His God and ours Thou art;

And He is Thy Beloved,

The gladness of Thy heart.

We're His, in joy He brings us

To share His part and place,

To know Thy love and favor,

The shining of Thy face.

Thy love that now enfolds us

Can ne'er wax cold or dim;

In Him that love doth center.

And we are loved in Him.

In Him Thy love and glory

Find their eternal rest;

The many sons—His brethren—

In Him, how near, how blest!

In stanza 2 His Father and our Father, / His God and ours Thou an refers to the Lord's word in John 20:17, which says, "Go to My brothers and say to them, I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God." This thought, along with the thought in the subsequent lines of this stanza and in the third stanza, suggests a deep, rich, and enlightened understanding of God's New Testament economy. The words To share His part and place, / To know Thy love and favor, / The shining of Thy face imply that Christ is the shining of God's face (2 Cor. 4:6). Furthermore, the words In Him that love doth center, / And we are loved in Him and In Him Thy love and glory / Find their eternal rest; / The many sons—His brethren—I In Him, how near, how blest! are very poetic, and they are full of God's economy (Matt. 17:5; John 17:23-24; Heb. 2:10). Hymns, #48 is a short hymn, but when we examine its content, we are enlightened to see God's economy and are able to appreciate the depth of the writer's understanding.

When we call or sing a hymn, we must have a proper understanding of that hymn. Then whether we read it or sing it, we will be able to appreciate it. Other than the saints in the Lord's recovery or some of the Brethren, it is difficult to find Christians who can understand such a hymn. Today many of the younger ones among the present Brethren assemblies have lost this kind of enlightenment. Because of this, we collected some of these hymns in order to preserve and to enjoy what the Lord has given to His children through the generations. Actually, this labor of collecting the best hymns was not initiated by me; it was started by Brother Nee, and I learned from him to continue this work. For our use, spiritual education, and enlightenment, he selected all the deep hymns from the hymnal used by the Brethren. I have continued in the same principle even to the selection of the tunes.