No mortal tongue can e’er describe

No mortal tongue can e’er describe
  The freedom of the soul,
When passed beyond all earthly bribe
  To God’s complete control.
All things are his, yes, life, and death,
  Things present or to come;
In Christ he draws in peace each breath,
  In Christ he finds his home.
When such as we the King can choose,
  To share with Him His throne,
’Tis passing strange that we refuse
  To be our Lord’s alone.
O never speak of sacrifice!
  A privilege untold
Is to be His at any price,
  In Calv’ry’s hosts enrolled.
Arise! the holy bargain strike—
  The fragment for the whole—
All men and all events alike
  Must serve the ransomed soul.
All things are yours when you are His,
  And He and you are one;
A boundless life in Him there is,
  And kingdom yet to come.

The last line of the last verse is originally: Whence doubt and fear are gone.

Ana Lara

Storrs, Connecticut, United States

In 1888, Catherine Booth, The Army Mother, made her last public address at City Temple in London, England on June 21, 1888. Here is a quote from her speech that day:

“Perhaps on no point has the Salvation Army suffered persecution more than this one point of its teaching—that it teaches a Savior not only willing to pardon but who does pardon absolutely and who communicates a sense of that pardon by his Holy Spirit to the ears of those who truly repent and sincerely believe, with a living faith, in Him, and not only washes their past sins away but has the power to keep them from their sins, and will, if they trust in Him, enable them to live in righteousness and holiness all their lives, walking in obedience to His commandments, keeping that inner law of which we have just heard—the law of Christ—which is the most perfect law and fulfills all others—loving the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, soul, and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself. ”

She was the mother of Catherine Booth – Clibborn, the writer of this hymn and the wife of William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. She was instrumental in helping her husband establish the Salvation Army. Catherine was a prolific writer and fiery preacher of the gospel. She denied an operation they could have saved her life and died two years after this sermon was preached on October 4,1890.

Ana Lara

Storrs, Connecticut, United States

Catherine Booth-Clibborn was born September 18, 1858 in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England and died May 9, 1955 (aged 96) in Newton Abbot, Devon, England. She is buried in Highgate Cemetery East in Highgate, Greater London, England.

Booth-Clibborn was a social reformer. She was the eldest daughter of William Booth, pastor in Gateshead and Salvation Army founder. She began preaching at the age of 15 and later held the rank of Captain of the Salvation Army. Catherine was sent to Paris in March 1881 with her sisters-in-law to preach the Gospel. They wore sandwich boards after they were forbidden to hand out leaflets, and often had mud and stones slung at them as they preached on street corners. They rented apartments in buildings with prostitutes and were frequently criticized by French newspapers for evangelizing. After eight months in France, when a few persons were converted to Christ, her brother gave her the nickname of “La Maréchale, ” French for “The Marshal. ”

In October, an Irish Quaker, Arthur Clibborn, joined the Salvation Army and became the Chief of Staff. They moved from France into Switzerland and faced more opposition. The authorities refused to allow them to rent halls to preach, and were arrested after holding an open-air meeting in a forest outside Neufchâtel. They were tried, acquitted and deported back to France. In February 1887, the two were married. They were transferred to Holland in 1896, a move that was difficult for her given that she did not speak Dutch.

After the birth of their tenth child and conflicts with her father, they resigned from the Salvation Army in January 1902, this move estranged her from her family. They moved to America, living for a time in Zion City, Illinois, outside Chicago. They became Pentecostals in 1906 and traveled as evangelists in the United States, Europe, and Australia. During WWI, she crossed the Atlantic six times under dangerous conditions. Still in exile, she returned to Switzerland at the age of 70 where her sermons were well received. She died of double pneumonia in 1955 and was buried in a separate cemetery from her parents and siblings.

The Kate Booth House in Vancouver, British Columbia, a residential house for domestic violence victims, was named in her honor.

Jim Balster

Anamosa, Iowa, United States

The freedom of the soul, when passed beyond all earthly bribe! No mortal tongue can ever describe.

Wes Garratt, praise the Lord! I believe I met you at a conference in Los Angeles in about 1973 or so.

Crystal McDougall

Hamilton, New Zealand

Many times when I want to complain about some service I need to do, I get reminded by the Lord of this song. Actually, to be the Lord's and be able to serve Him is precious.

To serve the Lord is the highest privilege. Whatever He asks of you is an honor to be able to carry out one with Him. Then as we live to the Lord (Romans 14:8), everything is ours!

Lydia Liu

Auckland, New Zealand

"All things are yours when you are His" (1 Cor. 2:22-23). Hallelujah, what a wonderful utterance! May we give ourselves fully to be His. There is no loss because all things are ours!

Wes Garratt

Auckland, New Zealand

I have sung this hymn many times but I was with the last two lines of verse one

in Christ he draws in peace each breath in Christ he finds his home

How amazing that Christ desires to be our inward peace moment by moment

J & A

Auckland, New Zealand

Arise! the holy bargain strike—

The fragment for the whole—

Why don't we strike this holy bargain, the fragment for the whole?

What we can give up is nothing but loss and refuse when we gain the excellency, the supereminence, the supreme preicousness, the surpassing worth of Christ! The gaining of the precious Christ far exceeds any other gains! What a privilege untold to be His alone!

Philippians 3:7-8 But what things were gains to me, these I have counted as loss on account of Christ. But moreover I also count all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse that I may gain Christ


Auckland, New Zealand

Everytime I sing this hymn, I am reminded that to give ourselves to the Lord is not a sacrifice but a privilege untold!


Grafton, New Zealand

Romans 14:7-9

For none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself; for whether we live, we live to the Lord, and whether we die, we die to the Lord.

Therefore whether we live or we die, we are the Lords. For Christ died and lived again for this, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

We praise You that You are our Lord and we belong to You. We and You are one!

R. Cheng

New Zealand

Many may say that to serve the Lord is a waste of time. Yet to those who know our King, this is not a sacrifice or duty, but a privilege untold!

The young people who recently consecrated themselves in Taiwan became very released in singing Hymns, #473. This is a very good hymn. The utterances in it indicate that the writer experienced something deep concerning consecration:

The first stanza of Hymns, #473 says, "No mortal tongue can e'er describe / The freedom of the soul, / When passed beyond all earthly bribe/ To God's complete control." Stanza 3 says, "Arise! The holy bargain strike—/ The fragment for the whole—/ All men and all events alike / Must serve the ransomed soul. / All things are yours when you are His, / And He and you are one; / A boundless life in Him there is, / Whence doubt and fear are gone," Hebrews 11:26 tells us that Moses considered the reproach of the Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. Comparing the two, Moses gave up everything of Egypt (vv. 24-25). In Matthew 16:26 the Lord said, "What shall a man be profited if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul-life? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul-life?" The Lord's words are in our ears and our hearts; they are not empty words. Verse 27 says, "The Son of Man is to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will repay each man according to his doings," Our soul will receive discipline when the millennial kingdom comes if we have sold ourselves to the world, although as saved ones, we will be spared from eternal perdition. We will not only Jose the blessing in the kingdom, but we will also weep and gnash our teeth in the outer darkness. We should fear the Lord and His word; these words will be fulfilled in the future. We cannot appreciate only words such as "God so loved the world" (John 3:16). The Lord's Word also tells us that it is not worthwhile for a man to gain the whole world but forfeit his soul-life.

Today Christians are befuddled, but we all will be required to give an account of our human life. I would be doing the saints an injustice if I did not tel1 the truth regarding this. Every saint can live a life of contacting the Lord when he wakes up in the morning and then have a life of living Christ the entire day, preaching the gospel to bring unbelievers to salvation whenever he has time or whenever he meets others, and then meeting together with them after they are saved.

The young saints in Taiwan have much expectation concerning the way of full-time service. Immediately after their graduation, many left their whole world with their future to come this way. They were encouraged by Hymns, #473, which says, "Arise! the holy bargain strike—/ The fragment for the whole," However, the "whole" is mainly a long tunnel. The entrance is very attractive, but once they are in the tunnel, some may want to get out. Nevertheless, there is no way out. I told the young saints, "we are not cheating you. We are telling you the truth about where you are. You are now in the long tunnel of Christ's death."

To move for the Lord involves a certain cost. Moving involves not only our jobs, our businesses, our homes, our families, our schooling, and other matters but also the paying of a price. We must consider what we are on the earth for. We are here not for our job, schooling, or home but for the Lord's recovery. Therefore, it is worthwhile to pay the price to move.

The price we pay by migrating cannot compare with the Christ we will gain. When you pay one hundred dollars in order to buy a diamond that is worth one thousand dollars, you do not feel that you are paying too high a price. Likewise, if we pay the price to move for the Lord's present testimony, we will gain the unsearchably rich Christ as our everything. We may say that this is to strike a "holy bargain" (Hymns, #473).

The day of the Lord's coming back is approaching. Since the day of His return is very close, we should not waste our time seeking individualistic spirituality. Instead, we should enter into the flow of the Body of Christ. It is worthwhile to enter into this flow. By entering into the Lord's flow, we will gain Christ as our everything. Everything depends on His flow. We should not worry about our future, for it is in the Lord's hands. If we enter into His flow, He will take care of our future.

Number 473 in Hymns starts on a very basic level by encouraging us to be persons who are absolutely for God. This is good, but it is elementary. However, this hymn advances to a much higher level with a line in the third stanza which says, "He and you are one." How marvelous that we, fallen human beings, can be one with the Lord! Such a thought is surely very high. Now we need to see something even higher—that as God-men we have the divine right to participate in God's divinity.

The phrase participate in means not only to partake of but to partake of for enjoyment. It indicates that we possess something and that we enjoy what we possess. We, the God-men, have the divine right to participate not in heaven but in God's divinity. We all need to realize that we can participate in God's divinity, that is, participate in God.

We human beings were created by God for this purpose. Man was created in God's image and after His likeness (Gen. 1:26). We were created not in man's image and after man's likeness but in God's image and after God's likeness. Thus, human beings have the image and likeness of God. However, at the time of creation, man did not have God's life. But now as God-men, those who have been born of God to be children of God, we have the right to participate in what God is and even to become God in life, in nature, and in expression but not in the Godhead.

It is said that the writer of this hymn is Catherine Booth-Clibborn, the daughter of the founder of the Salvation Army.

Hymn 473 in our hymnal is wonderful. When I went back to Taiwan in October of 1984, this hymn was so sweet. We could not stop the singing of this hymn, and it stirred up many hearts. I like every line except for the last one, so we can replace "Whence doubt and fear are gone" with "And kingdom yet to come." Verse 3 refers to the holy bargain, the fragment for the whole. When we sacrifice a fragment to the Lord, we gain the whole earth! When we serve Him, everyone and everything serve us—"All men and all events alike must serve the ransomed soul" (verse 3). We all need to speak and sing this hymn again and again.

Moses esteemed the reproach of the Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt (Heb. 11:26). He made an estimation and reckoned that no matter how noble and precious the treasures of this world are, they cannot be compared with Christ. The last stanza of Hymn #473, says, Arise! the holy bargain strike—The fragment for the whole—All men and all events alike Must serve the ransomed soul. All things are yours when you are His, And He and you are one; A boundless life in Him there is, Whence doubt and fear are gone.

I hope all the working brothers and sisters would have an esteeming and would consider what is noble and what is base. I made such an esteeming sixty years ago. At that time, I was still young and was as one charging on a great and tall horse into the world, ready to make gains. It seemed as if the Lord just took one look at me, and I fell from my horse. When I fell down, I began to reckon, "Should I choose the world, or should I choose Christ?" In the end, I was very clear that Christ is the best. From that day on, I chose to have Christ.

Instrumental (Guitar)