by Pastor David Grey
“Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King over all the earth. Praise him with a psalm! God reigns above the nations, sitting on his holy throne.” — Psalm 47:6-8
In anticipation of our Independence Day celebration in 2012, I found myself wondering what hymns and songs were popular or at least in their infancy in 1776.
What did our Christian forefathers who forged ‘one nation under God’ sing in church? We know that many were believers and that their faith in the God of Scriptures greatly influenced their thoughts and decisions as well as the laws they passed which closely follow the precepts of scripture. They attended church and not a few were pastors. Here is what I found.
One of the popular hymns of the day in the American colonies (especially within the Methodist movement) was Charles Wesley’s hymn, “And Can it Be.”
Mr. Wesley wrote the words to this powerful hymn in 1738. He sang it with his brother John shortly after John’s “Aldersgate experience.” It was first published in 1738 subtitled, “Free Grace.”
It was widely sung in churches at the time of the Revolution as it still is today. Each line expresses the awe the believer feels at the realization that God would choose to love us. “Died He for me? Who caused His pain. For me? Who Him to death pursued?” How can it be?
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