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Power From On High
5. A New Song
"Oh for a thousand tongues to sing my dear Redeemer's praise."
Then, as now, the baptism in the Holy Spirit upon the Moravians and then the Methodists, produced a flood of sacred songs. Many of the best hymns may be traced to this outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Moravian hymns were filled with praise to Christ, adoration of him as God, and proclamation of His virtues and work.
Moravian hymns were generally prayers to Christ. It was a Moravian characteristic that their prayers were generally addressed to their Saviour. Honoring the Son, they honored the Father who had sent Him as well as the Holy Spirit who glorified Christ.
A truly converted Catholic or Protestant, Calvinist or Lutheran, Moravian or Armenian, Baptist or Quaker, when baptized in the Holy Spirit and with fire often breaks out into sacred song that is prayer or praise addressed to Jesus.
This was so in Herrnhut. The chief singer then was the godly young nobleman Count Zinzendorf. He became the prince of German hymn writers.
England saw similar developments. One of the many spiritual children of Peter Boehler was John Gambold, a young clergyman of the Church of England, an Oxford graduate and a friend of the Wesleys. He joined the Moravian Church and became its first English Bishop. Some of his hymns and sacred songs became well known.
Another of Peter Boehler's English converts was James Hutton, a famous book seller. He also wrote some precious hymns.
The best known English Moravian hymn writer during the Great Revival was John Cennick. At one of Cennick's famous open air meetings, a young Scottish labourer, John Montgomery, was converted. He joined the Moravian Church and John and Mary Montgomery became Moravian missionaries in the West Indies where they died and were buried. Their son James was educated in the Moravian school at Fulneck, James Montgomery ranks with great hymn writers of that era.
Charles Wesley had more than 6,000 hymns published after his conversion in 1738 through the witness and prayers of Peter Boehler.
The majority of his hymns testify to his great experience of salvation. Peter Boehler had told him: "If I had a thousand tongues, I would praise Jesus with every one of them." This prompted Wesley shortly after his conversion to write the immortal lines:
Oh for a thousand tongues to sing
My dear Redeemer's praise
The glories of my God and King
The triumphs of His grace.
He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.
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