Charles Wesley, 1707-1788

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
Revelation 1:5

Can any believer contemplate the "amazing love" of Calvary without sharing the awe and wonder of Charles Wesley's questions in today's hymn? Written a short time after his "heart-warming" Aldersgate experience on May 20, 1738, this song of grateful adoration for God's great plan of redemption has been one of the most deeply moving and treasured hymns for more than 250 years.

Even though he had a strict religious training in his youth, education at Oxford University, and missionary service in the new colony of Georgia, Charles Wesley had no peace or joy in his heart and life. Returning to London after a discouraging time in America, he met with a group of Moravians in the Aldersgate Hall and came to realize that "salvation is by faith alone." In his journal of May 20th he wrote:

"At midnight I gave myself to Christ, assured that I was safe, whether sleeping or waking. I had the continual experience of His power to overcome all temptation, and I confessed with joy and surprise that He was able to do 'exceeding abundantly above all I ask or think'."

In his spirit of joyous enthusiasm, Charles began to write new hymns with increased fervor. He traveled throughout Great Britain with his older brother John a quarter of a million miles, mostly on horseback, leading great crowds in singing hymns in mass outdoor services of 40,000 people.

With every new spiritual experience or thought that crossed Charles' mind, a new hymn was born. Even on his deathbed it is said that he dictated to his wife a final hymn of praise to the Lord he had loved so intimately and served so effectively.

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, should'st die for me?

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, should'st die for me?

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee!
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, should'st die for me?

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own!
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, should'st die for me?

*For Today*: Romans 5:8; Colossians 1:12-14; Hebrews 9:11 & 12; I Peter 1:18 & 19; Revelation 5:9

Live in the joy and freedom of being "alive in Him" and free of all condemnation!

Music: And Can it Be

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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